Opinions on Kindle 2?

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I've been thinking about getting myself a Kindle 2. The primary use I have here is for travel (backpacking and business travel). On backpacking trips I usually end up reading a couple hours a day, either at night or in the mornings, so I can easily go through a modest-sized book on a weekend trip. The Kindle 2 weighs in at 10 oz (290g), less than plenty of paperbacks, which seem to run about .5g/page, so this is more or less a wash on a short trip and looks like a win on a longer trip. Even on a short trip, a reader has the advantage that you don't need to commit to what you're reading in advance.

Anyway, the Kindle 2 is clearly flawed (screen too small, no PDF translation, too expensive) but it may just be over the line of being useful. Some of this stuff is fixed in the Kindle DX, but it's even more expensive, almost twice as heavy, and not available yet.

Have any EG readers tried the Kindle? Any comments?

12 Comments

I bought the original Kindle in November of 2007; since that time, I've purchased about 220 books for it, and read about 170 of them, so far (I travel a lot for work, and read quickly).

Despite its various shortcomings, the Kindle far surpasses paper books in every respect, save for the viewing of color photos and illustrations. After a few minutes with it, the Kindle melts away from your consciousess, and you're just *reading* - which is the mark of a successful technology, IMHO.

When the Kindle app for the iPhone/iPod Touch became available, I downloaded it and downloaded my unread books onto my iPhone 3G . . . the reading experience on the iPhone is amazing, far better than one would think, and the portability of the thing, coupled with that excellent reading experience, have led me to do 100% of my reading on the iPhone, whilst my Kindle sits gathering dust, as a backup in case my iPhone dies (which would be a serious catastrophe for me; I don't leave town without my MacBook, but I don't leave the room without my iPhone).

So, if you've an iPhone or iPod Touch, I suggest grabbing the free app from the App Store, then downloading a couple of free sample chapters and giving it a whirl. You may find that the reading experience on the iPhone/iPod Touch is so good that you don't even need to purchase a hardware Kindle at all (the one major shortcoming of the app is that, so far, there's no search function; it was just updated to add a landscape mode, however, so I've hopes search will be added later).

YMMV, but the Kindle app on the iPhone is my reading mechanism of choice. I don't feel the need to buy a Kindle 2 or Kindle DX, because the iPhone beats it for me, hands-down.

If your goal is to do the things you stated as goals, I think the Kindle is a no-brainer (I have a Kindle 1). If your goal is to have something inexpensive and translates PDFs and has a big screen, it's probably not for you.

I don't know what you read, so it's not clear that the titles you want are available. But other than that, it's a book reader. You can read books on it. It weighs about as much as one or two books. Sounds like exactly what you want.

One other thing - on the iPhone/iPod Touch app, color illustrations and photographs show up in color, and with the latest version fo the app, they're zoomable. Yet another way in which the iPhone/iPod Touch app is superior to the hardware Kindles, IMHO.

Last comment - the iPhone/iPod Touch app is also more secure than the hardware Kindles, as you can configure a PIN with a timeout on the iPhone/iPod Touch, while, incredibly, no such function exists on the hardware Kindles (privacy issues, someone getting hold of your Kindle and maxing out your credit card ordering books on your behalf, et. al.).

(owns a Kindle 1)

Won't travel without it. Its as simple as that. Books as a vehicle to deliver content are flawed in some many ways.

I'd get one of the generic Mobipocket-supporting e-ink devices like the Cybook or BeBook. They're cheaper, lighter and support PDFs - the downside is that you download books on your PC and copy them onto the device. You're also not locked in to one vendor for the books - there's a few different places selling the format (Fictionwise and Mobipocket.com seem to be the two big ones).

After giving a good thought I chose a BeBook over a kindle. Bebook supports many file formats, including PDF, .lit and many other. Most importantly I'm not in the US, so kindle make very little sense to me.

So far I'm technical impressed (I'm not into reading... my wife use it) with the Bebook. PDF support is excellent, but there are problems with the .lit files I have. I would recommend a Bebook to anyone who wants a replacement to printing PDF files.

I just saw a rumor that Apple has plans to enter the reader market. I'm interested in seeing their offering. The Kindle hasn't looked compelling to me yet.

I am intrigued by the itouch reader ap. I'll have to check that out.

A friend swears by the Kindle.

I've been reading e-books using my iPhone, with Stanza. The screen is small, but high rez. I think it's an excellent option for late-night reading -- I can read in bed without waking up my wife with a light -- and that may work out particularly well for camping.

The touch is also an excellent option if you don't have an iPhone and don't want to get one.

I love to hold books, so never thought I'd succumb. But I did, and I love love love my Kindle 2. I'm a travel counselor, so travel a good bit, too, and it is perfect for that. But I also find I use it some at home just because it's so darn easy and a new book appears in minutes. Have to remember to turn the wireless off except when I want to download a book -- uses battery up much faster when wireless is on. Were I buying now, I'd probably go for the DX due to the larger page size...that does bug me, but you do get used to it.

I'm finding that the size is very nice, physically about the size of a 1/2 thick trade paperback including a case for the kindle. The amount of screen space for reading is slightly reduced, but after cranking the font down it feels like about the same amount of text I'd find on a standard paperback size. If you haven't played with one for a few minutes to see if that's actually big enough for you, you definitely should. Does that mean I didn't drool when I saw the DX announced? Not at all, but the DX is the size of a sheet of 8.5x11 paper which I think, for me at least, would end up being too big to carry frequently.

I'm not sure what you mean when you say "no PDF translation", since there are 2 ways to get a PDF onto your kindle2:

1) Email your document to "name"@free.kindle.com. The document will be converted and emailed back to you. You then use USB to move the document over to the kindle.

2) Email the document (unprotected Microsoft Word, PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, PRC and MOBI files) to Amazon (at your configured email address) and have it converted and delivered to your kindle wirelessly for $0.10

All of this is detailed here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200321920

I have a 2 and it is truly excellent for travel reading. Instead of trying to figure our which 3 books I should bring, I bring the Kindle with half a dozen and it's still a fraction the volume/weight.

With the radio off, I get weeks of battery life. And you know that I read a lot.

A couple of bonus scenarios:

- if you go to restaurants alone while your traveling, the Kindle is a lot easier to read while your eating.

- it's really easy to slip into a cargo pocket when you're going to the doctor/running errands. So if you get caught waiting, you have plenty of material to keep you busy.

With these benefits, I do pretty much all my reading on the Kindle now. I've noticed that I read about 20% faster on the Kindle as well.

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