Kindle 2 — Not Bad for Reading

Late to the party considering Amazon’s Kindle 3 got announced yesterday, but here’s my Kindle 2 review.

I was one of those who scoffed at the device when the Kindle first came out. It looked like some gadget out of the 80s, all angled and clumsy looking. When the Kindle 2 with its rounded corners and better display came out, I still didn’t hop on the ereader bandwagon.  But after moving and packing all my books into box after box and lugging the heavy things from one house to the next, I started to contemplate the perks of having a whole library digitalized.

A few months ago, I finally broke down and bought a Kindle 2. I was worried that it was just another case of gadget lust and I’d grow bored of it after a few weeks, but luckily that’s not the case.  I’ve read several full-length books on it now and I have to say, it’s very convenient.

Things I like about the Kindle 2:

  • Lighter than most paperback books I read.
  • Lays down flat on a table, which makes it super easy to read and eat at the same time.
  • Easy to hold with one hand.
  • I can listen to a book using text-to-voice in the car, making my commute more bearable.
  • Screen works fine in the sun.
  • Decent battery life. I read about an hour a day and one charge can last me two weeks. With wifi turned off of course.
  • If I’m reading some embarrassing paranormal romance, I’m not carrying around some book cover with an oily-chested man on it.

Things that the Kindle 2 does poorly:

  • PDF support is crappy at best. Most native PDF files are so small they’re hardly readable and Kindle’s ‘zooming’ feature makes it practically impossible to read things in a fluid manner.
  • Text to voice is functional, but man does it butcher words.
  • Book organization/navigation is clumsy.
  • Non-changeable screensaver. The default screen-savers are decent, but I’m getting sick of some of them. I wish we could just drag & drop our own into the Kindle.

Overall, as a reading machine, Kindle 2 is probably the best out of all that I’ve tried.  Before getting used to it, I thought the 1/2 second refresh rate was going to be an issue but it’s hardly noticeable now.  The actual act of reading on the Kindle 2 is pleasant, but navigating through a list of books, especially if you tend to have tons of books on the device is clumsy even with the new update that includes the option to create folders.

Navigating it isn’t much of an issue since that only accounts for less than 5% of the time I use the Kindle 2.  Is it going to make me stop buying dead tree books forever? Probably not. There’s still nothing that compares to flipping through the pages of a new book and of course, the new book smell, but for books that I’m only going to read through once, Kindle it is.

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Comments

  1. says

    Great review! I was thinking of getting an iPad to read ebooks on the go (I’m still going to buy a real version of the book for my shelves though) and for it’s other features as well but think I’m going to wait for the second generation of the iPads.

    • says

      Thanks!

      We have an iPad at work and after testing it out a few times, I don’t think it could be considered as a reading device. The backlight makes it feel like i’m still on the computer instead of in front of a book. One thing the Kindle does well is make you think you’re reading a dead-tree book b/c the e-ink is so static-looking. Also, I’d worry that on the iPad, it’d be too easy to check email, go online, play with other apps and I’d get distracted from reading =(

  2. says

    I marked my calendar to buy the latest Kindle that is going to be released at the end of August. I love being able to read an actual book, flipping the pages, and then tucking it away on my bookshelf. Unfortunately, my room is too small (you’ve seen it before) and I can’t fit another bookshelf in there. So I decided my next best option would be the Kindle. Originally I wanted the iPad, but I think if I tried to read on that thing for a hours at a time, it would probably kill my eyesight.

    I’m so excited!

  3. Eva says

    The thing with PDFs and the Kindle is that you actually need to convert them to MOBI – then you can actually read them natively on the kindle.
    The best software for this is Calibre, which you can download and use for free.
    You can also convert other formats (.lit, epub etc) and send the MOBI version directly to your kindle (connect your kindle to your pc through your USB cable and Calibre will pick it up)

    It is amazing and fantastic to be able to convert pdfs to mobi and then read them in ‘native’ kindle with text zoom etc.

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