Thursday, February 26, 2009

Kindle 2

So I received my Kindle yesterday (Wed Feb 25 2009). I don't have a full unboxing photo set because I was too eager to get into the product and see how it works.

Purposefully I skipped over the Kindle when it came out for several reasons include cost of item, number of books available, and newness of product. I wanted to make sure that Amazon would stick by the Kindle, and I wanted to see what user opinion of the device was before I took the leap into digital ebooks. Now this definitely isn't the first time I have used ebooks, I have read ebooks on my computer, PDA (~2005), and more recently on my iPhone. So it wasn't a big jump for me to read ebooks instead of more traditional printed material.

Since I bought the phone for myself it actually came already linked to my account. When I turned on the device it automatically downloaded the one book I had ordered before the Kindle arrived and was ready definitely under a minute to be read (not that I was ready that quickly).

I would say the basic operation of the Kindle 2 is intuitive. I was able to turn it on, navigate to the book I purchased and start reading without ever having to crack open a manual. After stepping through a couple of pages to get a feel for the device I went back and started looking at the manual. Specifically I wanted to know: How to change font size (nice little button on the front for that), how to change the sleep wallpaper (not easy, there are hacks for it but not in the manual), how to upload pdf's (again various ways, but most likely won't use the 'amazon' way of doing it). Tried a couple of the tips and tricks from the Kindle v1 hacks I found, they didn't work (wanted to view the time by hitting alt-T while in reading mode, not do-able, but if you hit menu it'll show you the time).

Phsyically the kindle reading area is slightly smaller than a paperback, and if you have the font size any larger than the smallest setting you are going to be flipping a lot of 'next page' to get through a book, this isn't a problem but it is something to be aware of. The weight of the device is definitely heavier than a paperback. I would say not as bad as a good sized hard cover book.

Turning pages is still my biggest complaint even though it is quicker (by 20% if you listen to marketing) versus the Kindle v1. I had situations where I wanted to glance back over a paragraph a couple of pages before and was a little frustrated by the 7-10 seconds it took to get to where I wanted to be, and then another 3-4 to get back. This is in my opinion more of a perception issue than a usability. Flipping back to the 3-4 pages before and finding the right chapter in a book could take 5-20 seconds traditionally. On the kindle I would say it would be more like 10-45 seconds. Not a big difference but the time between page turns is a lot more apparent and makes you feel like you are waiting for the Kindle to catch up even if the time isn't that significant.

The Kindle gives you a nice progress meter at the bottom of the kindle to show how far into the book you are, currently I'm 28% through my first book.

I'll let everyone know with an update how I like it after fnishing a book.

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