Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Impressions of the New Kindle

A side-by-side comparison of the new Kindle and the old. (via Gizmodo.)

I wrote yesterday that I just ordered a Kindle with the expectation that my order would be bumped up to a Kindle 2.0 after Amazon announced it today. Turns out that expectation was right. I like what I've heard about it enough to keep the order. Here is a short-list of what I like about the new Kindle relative to the original.
  1. It is much sleeker and looks better. (Although it still has a lot of wasted space around the screen.) It is much closer to the thinness of Sony's readers and it actually looks like Amazon put some thoght into the desing and ergonomics this time.
  2. Much better buttons for page-turning. One of the biggest complaints about the original Kindle was that it was impossible to hold without accidentally turning pages. That was my experience the couple of times I actually held one.
  3. No switches on the back of the unit. That might sound like a small thing, but this means you don't have to pop it out of its case whenever you want to turn something on or off.
  4. No battery door that falls off easily.
  5. Charging through a USB cable instead of through a power brick. That means one less thing to carry when I travel.
  6. 16-shades of grey instead of only 4. This means pictures will look much better.
  7. Seven times the memory of the original. Unfortunately, there is no longer an SD slot, but that is something I think I can live with.
  8. Physical attachment points for Kindle cases. That means the new Kindle attaches securely to cases designed for it rather than relying on elastic straps to hold it in. This might sound like a small thing, but I believe it makes for a much better feel for a device. Sony has had this feature for some time now and it is a nice feature.
  9. Better battery life.
  10. A text-to-speech feature that will read any book to you through headphones or the built-in speaker. That means any book you buy can automatically become an audiobook. Granted, the voice may be somewhat computerized, but it is still a slick feature and something that would be nice for roadtrips.
My biggest disappointment is that there is still no feature to natively read PDF files. This is a critical feature for me while I'm in school and would make an eBook reader much more useful to me. I also wish they added file folders for organizing your library.

Bottom line: Overall, I'm impressed with the changes Amazon has made and think they have addressed many of the biggest complaints about the original. I've been wanting a Kindle for over a year now and am excited to finally get one. According to Amazon, I should receive mine sometime around February 25th. I can't wait! Now the only question is whether to get the Kindle case made by Amazon or order a nicer one from M-Edge? (See other cases for the new Kindle here.)

and Gizmodo reflect on their first impressions. More thoughts here, here, here, and here.

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