Kindle 2: more of the same or better?

Kindle2When I got my Kindle, back in 2008, I thought it was an amazing device and great for reading.  However, over the last year and a half or so, its luster has worn a bit.  When I got the iPad, I thought I’d put the Kindle down for good.  Turns out, the Kindle is still a nice device and I still use it. In fact, I’ve subscribed to the local Richmond paper on the Kindle and continue to purchase content for the device.  However, I found something that could make me mothball my old Kindle 1.  What device could do that?  The Kindle 2, of course.

Amazon is, or was, selling refurbished devices for $109 US, a great price for the device.  I purchased one for a family member, not intending to even want it for myself.  I held off on upgrading to the new Kindle since it lacks the expandability of the original.  What I found, however, was that all of my content does not come close to the 2GB memory that is in the Kindle 2.  Even with the MP3 files, I am not using that much memory.  So, as it turns out, the memory is a non-issue.

The Kindle 2 is thin, much thinner than the original and it looks much nicer and very Apple like.  The back is mostly metallic and the buttons have been re-thought and are no longer the usability nightmare that the original is.  The user interface is enhanced as well.  Gone is the elevator, replaced by a joystick like control that allows full control on screen.  Speaking of the screen, it looks better and seems more responsive than the original.  The new version sports 16 shades of gray, compared to 4 for the old Kindle. 

When you hold the Kindle 2, it is almost like you aren’t holding anything.  This thing is light.  It is also pencil thin and makes the original look prehistoric.  The devices sports version 2.3.3 of the Kindle OS.  I know there is a new release, but the device does not give you the option to upgrade, it is grayed out.  Since it is for a relative who will, likely, not be using any of the new features, I am not going to worry about this.  Supposedly, the update will be rolled out over time, so it will eventually be upgraded.

All in all, I like the new version a bit more than the old Kindle.  I might be tempted to get myself one if Amazon offers it again at that price, $109 is better than $189 any time.  Now, if they would offer the DX at a more attractive price, I might be tempted there as well.  Until then, I will make do with my iPad, Kindle and PC’s to read my books. Oh, I might use that other thing we used to call paper too.

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