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Old 02-10-2009, 09:51 PM   #1
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K2: Just as Good as the Original

My opinion on the K2 can be summed up simply. If you are getting it as your first Kindle, you will probably be happy (except for the joystick). If you already have a Kindle, then I see no reason why you should upgrade. The K2 is only an incremental improvement on the original.

The K2 does have several nice features. I really like the TTS. I've used MSReader for a number of years; the voice it uses is at best grating. The K2 has a significant improved voice with both genders and 3 speeds. Even though it is nice, the people who could benefit most probably cannot use it. It's possible for a blind person to activate the TTS by memorized keystrokes. However, I do not find it feasible that a visually impaired person could navigate the menu and select a specific book. This reduces the TTS to a fringe benefit, instead of a main feature.

I also like that they fixed the keyboard. The original keyboard was apparently designed with a Blackberry user in mind; it was really a thumb board. The page turn and other buttons have also been changed; they depress on the inside edge. This will significantly reduce the annoying accidental page turns.

The screen refresh and battery life are both somewhat improved over the original. I was quoted two weeks battery life, and 20% faster page turns. True, they did effectively double the battery life, but will you benefit from it? I would not gain anything. I have a pattern of charging my Kindle every Sunday night. I will still charge every Sunday, just to be safe.

The K2 does have some shortcomings. In spite of what Amazon has said, I still think it was a mistake to drop the SD card. I liked being able to remove the card and insert it into the card reader in my laptop. I don't always have the correct cable with me, so the SD card was a guarantee that I could still add content at any times. And no, I don't want to send it over Whispernet; I don't always have a connection.

That brings me to the USB cable, which I regard as a blunder. Using the same connection for power and data isn't the problem. The problem is that Amazon dropped the USB mini-B plug in favor of what I'm told is a micro-USB plug (thanks tompe). I'm told this will be the new connection for cell phones. Even so, I regard this plug as funky bizarre non standard plug because none of my other devices use one. If I got a K2, I would have to carry around this cable to be used on exactly one device, and a second cable for my other devices.

I also have serious doubts about the joystick. I did not find it easy to use. But I really only used it for about an hour. I look forward to hearing the opinion of the first K2 buyers.

One final note: The battery is not replaceable. This hasn't bothered me on most devices, and I suspect that you would never need to replace the one on the K2. But I do agree with the those who at least want the _option_ of replacing the battery. I do think that having the option available is important. This is a point you should consider before buying the device.

P.S. I very specifically avoided commenting on the changes in the design of the case between the original Kindle and the K2. There is a quagmire of fugly original versus Applish K2 arguing that I refuse to be dragged into.

P.P.S. I left out a number of things like folders, as well as other ways that the two devices are identical. If both devices possess or lack a feature, then I saw no need to mention it.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:19 PM   #2
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It makes you wonder why they bothered. There was never any lack of people wanting the Kindle.

They could have done so much more.

thanks for the review.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the review!
I can most surely imagine the removal of an SD card drive would be terrible!
Though the larger battery may actually be very beneficial for those who use the Kindle on wireless and intensively!

Also pitty from the USB cable!
There are a lot of gadgets and tools I have using the mini USB plug,like my cellphones, DAP (Aka mp3 player), and digital camera; as well as the Sony reader.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:41 PM   #4
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It sounds like you've actually got a Kindle 2 in your hands to look at! That's great! I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about how the navigation works on the Kindle 2. I have a Sony, and not a Kindle 1, so comparisons to Kindle 1's navigation won't be too useful to me. Would the joystick be useful if there's an opportunity to use it like a mouse on a webpage?
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:42 PM   #5
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Also pitty from the USB cable!
There are a lot of gadgets and tools I have using the mini USB plug,like my cellphones, DAP (Aka mp3 player), and digital camera; as well as the Sony reader.
I think we have to live with two cable typefor a while. My phone and my N810 is micro USB. All my other devices are mini USB. And the standard probably needed to be upgraded since mini USB is not built for daily connecting-disconnecting.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by europas_ice View Post
It sounds like you've actually got a Kindle 2 in your hands to look at! That's great! I was wondering if you could tell me a little more about how the navigation works on the Kindle 2. I have a Sony, and not a Kindle 1, so comparisons to Kindle 1's navigation won't be too useful to me. Would the joystick be useful if there's an opportunity to use it like a mouse on a webpage?
That is a good question. I wish I'd thought to try the joystick with the web browser. I only had access to a Kindle at the event. I couldn't take one home with me.

The cursor isn't like a mouse cursor. It's more like moving around a menu with your arrow keys.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:50 PM   #7
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Again, thanks for the review. It has been roughly 9 months since I joined this forum and I am still deciding on which device to purchase. I mainly use my laptop now or purchase paperbacks/hardcovers. To me, this device seems like a parallel step. It added some features, none too significant, and removed the some others. I do like the dictionary and annotation features as well as the obvious available titles.
After initially thinking that the newspaper subscriptions were a great idea I came to realize that I get most of my news updates via internet or radio and that an RSS feed will do just fine for me as I read the paper in the morning and that content is cut off some time the night before. So to download an RSS feed of a paper before I head off in the morning is really all I need.
I am leaning towards the Astak EZ Reader but will await and see the pricing on the Astak Pro.
To sum it up it seems like a great device but not too different from the original. Is it too early to call this a "New Coke" effort yet?
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:53 PM   #8
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Is it too early to call this a "New Coke" effort yet?
Yes.
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:57 PM   #9
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Thank you for the review...at first I was wondering if the Kindle 2 might be better for my mother (who still accidentally pages ahead); however, I just couldn't see her using a joystick. One of the things I liked about the Kindle was its simplicity and ease of use for non-computer/gadget users, so the joystick seems a step more towards "coolness" than ease of use.

While its always fun to have the "latest", I'm happily sticking with my Kindle 1..even if it might look like more of a dinosaur compared to the trimmer Kindle 2.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:04 PM   #10
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Thank you for the review...at first I was wondering if the Kindle 2 might be better for my mother (who still accidentally pages ahead); however, I just couldn't see her using a joystick. One of the things I liked about the Kindle was its simplicity and ease of use for non-computer/gadget users, so the joystick seems a step more towards "coolness" than ease of use.
I don't think the joystick will be any more difficult to use than the scroll/click wheel on the original Kindle -- and perhaps easier. Of course, I haven't seen or used a Kindle2.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:16 PM   #11
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Great review. While I don't agree with all of it, It was very well written!
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:34 PM   #12
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One thing I am surprised none of the reviews have mentioned the poor placement of the home button where the page forward should be and then under that should be the page previous. There is plenty of room elsewhere for the home button. The way they have it laid out means right handed people will need to use their left hand to page back.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:38 PM   #13
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One thing I am surprised none of the reviews have mentioned the poor placement of the home button where the page forward should be and then under that should be the page previous. There is plenty of room elsewhere for the home button. The way they have it laid out means right handed people will need to use their left hand to page back.
I agree on the poor placement of the home button -- it's one of the first things I noticed in the pics (though I would think that Amazon has usability testing supporting the placement?). I think as we get more reviews from more in-depth use, issues such as this will come out.
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:42 PM   #14
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I am not in a hurry to update to Kindle2, but I was wondering if you had any impression regarding the screen. Do the 16 levels of gray make a difference in the clarity of the screen? Thanks, k4k
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Old 02-10-2009, 11:43 PM   #15
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I don't think the joystick will be any more difficult to use than the scroll/click wheel on the original Kindle -- and perhaps easier. Of course, I haven't seen or used a Kindle2.
I think it depends on the speed/sensitivity and personal preference. While I have no problems using a trackpoint mouse on my laptop, I know many who find it difficult to use and prefer a touchpad (which I could never use). The scroll wheel was much more straight forward imo.
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