eReaders Blog

The Future Of Reading

Kindle Global Wireless User Review

Posted by admin on November 22, 2009

[tweetmeme] 4,910 of 5,041 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars First Impressions from a Kindle 1 owner, February 25, 2009.
By P. Inhofer.

On the one hand I love my Kindle 1… I use it everyday, I subscribe to my favorite newspaper, I mark up my books with annotations, highlights and bookmarks.

On the other hand my Kindle 1 annoys me… unintended page changes, the awkward way I sometimes have to hold it to keep from hitting buttons, the sometimes slow page refresh, and the screen freezes that now has me traveling with a paper clip lest I need to do a reset while commuting on the train.

I’ve had the Kindle 2 in my hands for almost a day and have carried it on one commute. What follows is my “first impressions” review of the Kindle 2 from the perspective of an owner of the original K1. What’s different, what’s better and what’s worse?

5 big things I immediately noticed as different:

First, when taking the K2 out of the box I immediately noted that the back cover is not easily removable (if at all) and won’t slip off in my hands – as was frequent with the K1. The keyboard is also much much smaller and less obtrusive.

The second thing I noticed is power management. No longer do I have to press and hold two buttons to put the device to sleep. The switches for On/Off and Wireless On/Off are gone. There’s a single small switch at the top of the K2 that handles Sleep.

The third thing I noticed – where’s the silver strip? In fact, the entire navigation structure has been completely revised – I’m still getting used to it but it’s a huge step forward. The silver strip has been replaced by a 4-way rocker that can also be pressed for “OK” commands, creating bookmarks, and doing highlighting.

The fourth thing I noticed – while page changing doesn’t seem to me to be particularly faster – almost every other interaction on the screen is vastly accelerated… scrolling the cursor, looking up words, highlighting text, and typing text.

The fifth thing I noticed – a new power cable. This unit uses USB cables that are not compatible with K1. It’s a bit of a bummer since I was hoping my wife and I could share power cables (she’s taking over my K1).

What’s better:

Navigation is a huge improvement. Moving the cursor to a word and having the definition of the word immediately pop up on the bottom of the screen is terrific. Using the rocker to move between articles in a newspaper makes scanning the paper much faster and enjoyable. Calling up the Menu strip is much faster and interactive. Clearly, Amazon was hard at work to make navigation quicker and easier. The hard work is apparent.

Buttons: The K1 was a constant struggle with inadvertent page changes. The design was flawed from the beginning. The single best improvement in the K2 took a few minutes of concentrated reading to realize… the button hinges are on the outside – at the edge – of the K2. You need to press on the interior of the button to get it to click. This change alone has saved me from several inadvertent page changes. Combine that with the smaller button sizes and one major source of frustration has been instantly eliminated!

Size: The K2 is thinner than the iPhone. It feels denser and maybe a tad heavier – although I did buy the premium cover which snaps into the K2 and adds to the weight (btw, I love the premium cover and think it’s worth the investment).

Network Speed: The K2 can use G3 cellphone connections and when it’s activated it makes a considerable difference in interactivity to the Kindle Store and when downloading Archived content.

Power Management: The little power button at the top of the Kindle is really a power slide. That is, slide it to toggle Sleep mode on and off. Slide and hold to do a full power down. And the K1‘s wireless on-off switch has been replaced by a menu choice in software. Works for me. Also, compared to the K1 waking from sleep is super-fast.

What’s worse…

There isn’t much I liked better in the K1 than the K2. One thing: calling up clippings and notes. In the K2 these items only list the first sentence or two of my highlights. In the K1 it displays the entire highlight – which makes reading through them much easier and more like reading Cliff Notes. The new interface in K2 is annoying and makes the feature much less useful. I’ll be writing to Amazon to see if we can get that changed.

Closing thoughts…

The K2 is a big refinement over the K1. It feels as easy to read as the K1 but doesn’t seem any crisper to my eyes (I usually read at point sizes 3 & 4). In this regard, as a book, the K1 and K2 are comparable. I wouldn’t run up my credit card to buy the K2 from a belief that it’s fundamentally easier to read. However, in my short time with the K2 it’s a more enjoyable device to use. The change in the hinging and size of the buttons is major plus and would make it hard to go back to the K1. Amazon broke a few paradigms that K1 users are accustomed to and I found myself going to the K2 User Guide to figure out some content management issues that have been changed in this release.

Why 4 stars and not 5? The Kindle will never get 5 stars from me until Amazon implements the notion of a lending library where I can lend another Kindle user a book; which would have the book would disappear from my Kindle and appear on theirs. After x number of days the book would automatically be returned to me and taken off the other person’s Kindle. Amazon says they want the device to disappear and content to stand out. I say: Until I can lend a friend a book the Kindle will never quite live up to that standard and will be, in my book, stuck at 4 stars.

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: