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  • My Kindle 2 Finally Arrived!

    Posted on March 3rd, 2009 Hari Gangadharan 5 comments

    From late December, I was planning to order Kindle but I put it off just because of the rumors of Kindle 2 being out. I also noticed the huge waiting period for Kindle last month (almost 13 weeks). From that I was pretty sure Kindle 2 is on the way. Finally the day they announced, I ordered my Kindle 2. I have seen Kindle 1 and I liked it too but I heard that the major flaws with Kindle 1 is resolved in this version.

    Kindle - in the packageKindle 2 came in a very nice packing. After opening, I was surprised by the iPhone like thin look and its tiny bright keys. The keys actually fits nicely compared to the Kindle 1.It came powered on and the screen had instruction on how to start using Kindle! I initially thought that it was plastic paper stuck on the screen of Kindle!

    The shorter paging button is much better and it does not accidentally turn a page. The kindle 2 feels like it is marginally faster… the page rendering seems to be faster and the accidental page flip is not as annoying since we can flip back fairly quickly.

    I understand that with today’s thin devices the possibility of replacing batteries is even more difficult. However I am not happy that the Kindle 2 does not have a replaceable battery. The other biggest drawback and is a downgrade from the version 1 is the missing expansion slots. The Kindle 1 had a SD slot. I hoped that Kindle 2 had at least the micro-SD slot. But without the expansion slot your Kindle is stuck with 1.5 GB capacity. Right now with around 30 books and manuals stored in Kindle, I have not even used 20 MB. But someday you have to swap some stuff out to make room for other books. I am also unhappy that I cannot organize books in folders – I am too used to folders. Even if I create folders in the Kindle internal disk everything shows up flat in the Home screen.

    Kindle - unpackedKindle 2 has put a small joystick on the bottom for you to move your cursor. Not being a big fan of joysticks or buttons, I would have liked a thumb wheel or a roller instead. Similarly for $359, I would expect a little more bigger screen. The current screen is sufficient but it would have been much better if it were as big as the device itself. Personally the 16-shade gray scale is fine for me and I did not have difficulty reading figures in my manuals. The electronic ink is completely strain free and you could read for hours without straining your eyes. One of the features, non-native English readers like me and the young reader appreciate is the instant dictionary lookup. As soon as you place the cursor before a word you are unsure, the definition from the dictionary will be shown in the bottom. You can press enter key to see the full definition. However, I would have liked a few more lines for that popup (for the lack of a better word) that shows the definition. Many cases the definition shown is not complete and I had to press enter and see the full definition.

    Kindle - Charger amd micro-USB cableConnecting the Kindle to the computer is very easy – just like any thumb drives. I initially was disappointed to see that Amazon was not using the mini-USB for the sync cable. I am not a fan of proprietary interfaces and hate carrying a bunch of cables when I travel. Soon I realized that the cable Amazon was using is the micro-USB the new USB interface for small devices like phones. The Kindle’s charger is the best I have seen. My guess is I can use that for charging all my USB devices. It is a plug with a USB slot. You can connect the Kindle USB cable into that plug to start the charging.

    KindleKindle does not have native PDF support but your PDF books and manuals can be sent to name@kindle.com or name@free.kindle.com (where name is the Kindle id you have chosen) and the Amazon Kindle service will convert it to Kindle format. The first email address will sent the converted book directly to your Kindle using Whispernet and they charge 10 cents per book. In the other case it will be converted and sent to the primary email address in the Amazon account. You can download it and manually transfer it to your Kindle. I have converted a bunch of technical books in PDF format using this service and all of them looked OK in Kindle. Conversion service took an average of 2 minutes to convert each book. The cool thing is you can even send a zip file of all the documents you have to convert. The Amazon service will unzip, convert the documents and send them to you.

    Overall I am satisfied by this product. The price is a little too steep but I am OK with it since it comes with lifetime subscription to Whispernet. I even can browse the internet using the Whispernet. However I can give only a 70% approval rating just because of the following three annoyances:

    • Screen not big enough to hold a full page of a manual or text book
    • Lack of expansion slots
    • Lack of replaceable battery

    According to me the following are the pros:

    • Thin, sleek device – fits everywhere
    • Better page flip and handles easily
    • Sufficient internal memory
    • Great compact charger – all other devices should use make use of this compact charger
    • Whispernet and Internet connection
    • Read to Me feature
    • The instant dictionary lookup
    • Saves Trees

    And now the cons:

    • No expansion slot! What was Amazon thinking?
    • Battery cannot be replaced (by the end user)
    • Screen not big enough to hold a full page
    • What my Lexus don’t come with floor mats? They sell the Kindle cover for $30? That’s unreasonable. I already paid $360
    • Could be a little more elegant
    • No privacy settings – password protection, password protecting books, or hiding books you don’t want others to see.

    Nice to have:

    • Touch screen
    • Color screen
    • Native PDF support
    • Blackberry like Roller or a track ball instead of the Joystick
    • More lines in the dictionary lookup popup

    Kindle - connected
    Kindle

    Kindle - keyboard

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    5 responses to “My Kindle 2 Finally Arrived!”

    1. Hari,

      nice blog! I agree with your kindle comments! Yet, i still love my kindle 2 :)

      -ravi

    2. I would love to write and say what a great job you did on this, as you have put a lot of work into it.

    3. da best. Keep it going! Thank you

    4. Amazon will have to come up with something if they want to continue to dominate the market. Apple has raised the bar with the iPad hochgelegt quite so Amazon must erstmal can compete. Kindle users, I myself am very satisfied, but it will be difficult for Amazon.

    5. Great post, you have pointed out some great points , I too believe this s a very wonderful website.

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