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Kindle 2 First Thoughts

My Kindle arrived today, so here are some of my thoughts. In no particular order.

  • Unboxing was not quite Apple-like, but it was better than most consumer products.
  • Amazon should give you $9.99 or something to buy your first book. I find myself waiting to download the "perfect" first book rather than just any ol' book. I think that once I get the first one, I'll get the second and third much more quickly. ((Someone mentioned free books in the comments. That might help.))
  • Still lame that you are charged to email a document to your Kindle ((Alleviated somewhat by the fact that you can have files sent to your computer and copy them directly to your Kindle, at least.)).
  • The little letter buttons are small. The screen could probably be a bit taller. But it's really not that bad…
  • The keyboard and the 5 Way Controller thingy have a good feel to them. The squareness of the 5WC, for example, works well.
  • e-ink uses no battery power once it's drawn? I didn't know that until I read it in the user manual. Cool.

More after the jump…

  • It's a bit weird to wait for the screen to refresh, but it does so in about a second, so it's not a big deal.
  • Note-making, annotating, bookmarking, etc. seem relatively easy.
  • I got a connection from my office, and my welcome letter from Jeff Bezos was downloaded quickly. And deleted almost as quickly.
  • The simple little leather ($30) case/cover is nice.
  • For anything technical that you may want to look up on a computer or something, it's kind of cool to have a flat object you can set beside you. No more holding a physical book open to copy a passage out or something.
  • That said, why can't my Kindle email me things - like passages I select or something. Maybe even at a penny an email or something - or up to $0.10 if necessary. If I could get it to show up on the computer, this would eliminate some of that problem.
  • It's surprisingly heavy. It has a good heft, and it feels almost perfect, but I was expecting something lighter. After 15 minutes or so of holding it in your hand, you'll notice the weight, but that's partly because you might not be moving like you would with a book (turning pages and whatnot).
  • $359 and you can't give me a pair of earbuds? C'mon, Apple even gives you earbuds with the $49 Shuffle. Seriously now, Amazon.
  • I like the font size one smaller than default.
  • I won't be subscribing to any blogs, I'm fairly certain. That's what my computer (or even my iPhone) is for.
  • Apparently one of the problems with version 1 was that people would accidentally hit the "next page" button when picking up the Kindle. With version 2, the buttons require a good - but not too firm - amount of pressure, and activate with a very quiet click.
  • When you switch the voice from male to female, it starts reading at the top of the page. And it's still lame that Amazon caved so quickly to the Writers Guild.
  • When you "sleep" your Kindle, you get what seems to be a random picture. Right now I have Mark Twain. Since the e-ink uses no power (supposedly), it's kind of a nifty touch.
  • When you plug your Kindle into your Mac, it charges, but nothing else happens. It's supposed to, but nothing shows up in /Volumes/ like it should. May need to reboot Mac OS X?
  • It's somewhat annoying that the cursor starts at the top of every page. I wonder if having it start near the middle wouldn't reduce the average time to move it to where you want.
  • Built in dictionary is nice.
  • Registration was easy and took almost no time.
  • When I visit ESPN in the mobile browser, I'm told an error has occurred. First site I went to, too. Oops, same happens when I try to visit Amazon or any other site.
  • Random House is offering some free Sci Fi books or something. Too bad I don't like Sci Fi.
  • You click on something in the Kindle Store, and nothing appears to be happening. You have to look in the top left corner for the little progress spinner.
  • I bought some of those free Sci Fi books just so I'd have something to check out, and now my recommendations are filled with more Sci Fi. Ugh.

Update 1 (2009-03-09 20:19:31)

  • At first I found myself hitting "Home" a lot instead of "Previous Page." I'm getting the hang of it now.
  • If I can get the thing to show up on my Mac desktop, I can sync "My Clippings" as a text file. This partially helps the "email other people" thing above.
  • I have no interest in playing music MP3s on my Kindle.
  • Some of the shortcuts are nice. alt+B adds a bookmark, alt+SYM stops and starts speaking text, and so on.
  • Speaking text has one key point of failure that's most exposed in things like the Kindle 2 User Guide: it doesn't stop at the end of a section header. So a section named "Searching Remotely" which starts "Kindle can perform remote searches…" will be read as "Searching remotely kindle can perform…" without a sentence-like pause after "Searching Remotely."
  • The $30 book cover is really nice. I dare say a cover is a necessary requirement.
  • I wonder if I can submit a blog for consideration. Not this one, but The Sand Trap.
  • To the issue of the selection starting in the middle, you can press up to start at the bottom and down to start at the top, so that mitigates the issue quite a bit.

Update 2 (2009-03-10 10:40:17)

  • Kindle mounted immediately this morning. Who knows…
  • Occasionally, the screen refresh isn't quite 100%, and you can faintly see the text or images that preceeded the one you're looking at now. Right now I can see Lewis Carroll (and even make out his name) faintly behind the "USB Drive Mode" graphics. I don't think this is a defective unit at this point, and I suspect it happens to other people's Kindles as well.
  • The cover? A must. Probably won't take it off very often, if ever.
  • The e-ink is really quite amazing and must be seen in person. It doesn't look like a "display." The best way to describe it is perhaps as if the unit was off but had one of those clear protective sticky screens on, and the protective screen had writing on it.

More tk.

9 Responses to "Kindle 2 First Thoughts"

  1. Sounds like you're pretty impressed so far? I'm planning on ordering one early next week. How long did it take to get to you after you ordered?

    1. [quote comment="53239"]Sounds like you're pretty impressed so far?How long did it take to get to you after you ordered?[/quote]

      Eh, it's okay so far. I wouldn't have paid $360 for it on my own, as I said. That may change when I find a book I like and save $10 by buying it with DRM, but for now…

      It took a good week and a half. Despite the shipping notice saying it went out on the 3rd, USPS wasn't even "notified" of the shipment until the 7th. But then I got it a day earlier than projected - the 9th instead of the 10th.

      So about ten days. Was ordered at the end of February.

  2. Just in case you hadn't noticed, almost all Kindle books on have free sample chapters, so the easy and free way to get some sample content onto your brand new Kindle is to go to and start clicking on some "Send Sample Now" buttons. Hope that helps!

  3. What don't you like about SciFi? It's not all spaceships and lazerguns.

    1. [quote comment="53246"]What don't you like about SciFi? It's not all spaceships and lazerguns.[/quote]

      I've never cared for the genre. I'm sure there are some books that might be classified as Sci Fi that I've liked - but anything involving aliens and just plain unbelievable fiction is usually not something I like.

      Something that's believable - by extending a current technology or something - that might be interesting. But people with weird names visiting weird planets with weird aliens? Nah.

      I barely care for Star Wars, and Star Trek is well below that, FWIW.

  4. The Kindle 2 is extremely slow on the Mac. It does mount but it may take 5 minutes for it to appear on your Desktop. Likewise with file transfers, slow slow. I don't know why this is.

    It's probably easier for you to email attachments to your address for $0.10 each. I found that .pdf and .azw (Amazon's Kindle format) files do make it onto the Kindle if I email them.

    BTW, has a whole bunch of free books (mostly classics) available in Kindle format.

  5. I have a Kindle 2 ands a Mac and have and no problems with using my Kindle directly with my mac. Transfers and the drive showing up on the desktop aren't a problem they both operate at the same speed as a Flash drive

  6. I also have no problems with my K2 mounting on my Mac.

    Once it mounts, you can look for the plain text file sitting on it that contains all of your highlights, annotations, etc. You can copy it over to your system and do whatever you want with it. Would be nice to be able to send it wirelessly, but this is a good enough solution for me.

  7. [...] I've had the Kindle 2 for a week. And I read the fairly long user [...]