Additional coverage: Amazon Kindle 2
While Amazon isn't doling out review samples of its new Kindle 2 digital reader for a few weeks, I did get a chance to play with it at the launch event and come away with some first impressions.
Let me start by saying that the Kindle 2 is a nice upgrade over the original Kindle, but we're not talking a jump from, say, black-and-white television to color, so early adopters who own the original Kindle shouldn't feel too dejected.
Yes, the Kindle 2 is thinner--it measures a svelte 0.36 inches at its thickest point--and weighs in at 10.2 ounces. It also has 25 percent improved battery life and is about 20 percent faster, thanks to an upgraded processor. And it's got 16 shades of gray instead of 4, so the text pops a little more. But this is an evolution, not a revolution.
One thing that hasn't changed much is the height and width of the new Kindle. Some people have complained that the original Kindle should have been shorter and forgone the keyboard, like the Sony Reader. Whether you're a fan of the keyboard or not, it's worth noting that the Kindle 2 is about the same size as the original, measuring 8 inches top to bottom. According to the specs, the screen itself is a 6-inch, diagonal, E-Ink, electronic-paper display, with 600x800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi.
One gripe that Amazon has clearly addressed is the issue with the page-advance button. On the original Kindle, that button was extra long and easy to depress, which meant it was very easy to accidentally turn pages. On the Kindle 2, the page-turn buttons are smaller, and in playing with the device I noticed that it took a bit more effort to actually click the button and advance a page.
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