Quick Review of the Amazon Kindle 2

There are countless reviews of the new Amazon Kindle 2, so I won’t bother writing a full review.  image Here is a quick summary of my thoughts of the Kindle 2 after traveling with one for 3 weeks.

Hot:

  • Buying and loading books is ridiculously easy. You can either buy books from the Kindle itself, from your PC or even on your iPhone through their iPhone friendly UI.  I bought 5
  • Cheaper books: Contrary to what I read when the Kindle originally came out, many books are cheaper than their non-Kindle format.  For example, Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko is $11.99 in paperback or $7.99 on the Kindle (33% cheaper).  However, this is not always the case.
  • Easy to read: The text is surprisingly easy to read even when I was on an airplane, boat or sitting in the corner of some crazy small airport.
  • Battery life is very, very good. It’s even better if you turn off the wireless (aka Whispersync).  I went 12 days on the road with the wifi turned on probably 4 hours in total, and after reading 4 books, I still had 25% battery left.
  • Online synchronization of highlights and notes is awesome and adds another reason why the Kindle rocks.  I’m a big fan of non-fiction books, and highlighting sections and getting highlight summaries across all my books is incredible useful to help me reference later on.  It even syncs across to the iPhone Kindle app!
  • Large eco-system of accessories: I was surprised to find a fairly large selection of accessories for the Kindle despite it’s relatively niche status.  Protective cases are obviously the biggest sellers, of which I highly recommend the M-Edge Prodigy Hinge Case. It’s made from real leather, holds the Kindle very securely and offers great protection.  It adds bulk to the Kindle, but if you’re on the go with it, you’ll want the security of knowing you can toss it around without damaging it.

Not:

  • Still too expensive for the masses: Even with it’s latest price drop, $299 is still steep.  However, the more you read convenience and access that the Kindle provides you will make an even stronger case.
  • The keyboard sucks: The keys don’t have enough key travel on them and not to mention they are tiny making them hard to press.  Thankfully I’m not using it very often.  While you can surf the web on it, don’t get any illusions of typing up the next great American novel.

Other:

  • Backlit screen: I still found myself wanting the screen to be backlit despite the non-backlit screen being fantastic to read on.  I think it was my subconscious expectation that this is essentially a tiny computer and all computers have backlit screens.  Is it necessary? No, especially since it will dramatically impact battery life. I’ll probably just buy a book light instead and revel in my crazy long battery life.

All in all, I’m really pleased the Kindle and I would have to say that if you read more than 1 book per month, you’ll find the ease and convenience well worth the money.  I have found myself reading more now because of it!