If you look at Amazon, there are 748 or so reviews of the Kindle 2 (as of 9:29 am, 6th March 2009). The overall rating is approximately 4 stars.
This is what reviews from actual owners look like –
- 5 stars – 400.
- 4 stars – 129.
- 3 stars – 35.
- 2 stars – 28.
- 1 star – 24.
529 out of 616 Kindle 2 owners give it 4 stars or 5 stars. That means 86% of Kindle 2 owners are very happy with it. So more of a 4.25 stars rating.
Additionally over 20 of the 1, 2 and 3 star reviews are from people angry about the Text To Speech feature being made optional.
If your main concern is whether Kindle 2 owners are happy with the Kindle 2 – Yes, they are!
Amazon doesn’t screen out reviews from non-owners and looking at reviews at Amazon paints a different picture i.e.
Digging deeper for insights –
Kindle 2 1 star reviews
The key insights into 1 star reviews for K2 –
- There are 83 1 star reviews.
- 59 are by people who’ve never owned a Kindle 2.
- That leaves 24 reviews by actual owners.
- The single biggest reason for negative reviews by Kindle 2 owners is the removal of the Text To Speech feature. Over 12 of the 83 1 star reviews are related to the removal of Text To Speech.
- Two other big reasons for negative reviews by actual owners are the lack of a cover and problems with Whispernet.
- There are 8 owners who got one-off problems like not being able to make purchases or their Kindle 2 USB not working with their laptop.
The big takeaway for me is that 24 actual owners gave the Kindle 2 a 1 star review, and 59 people who’ve never owned a Kindle 2 (and in most cases never even touched one) gave it a 1 star review. Amazon really ought to limit reviews to people who actually bought Kindle 2.
Kindle 2 – 2 star reviews
The Kindle 2 2 star reviews feature a much higher percentage of actual Kindle 2 owners –
- 46 2 star reviews.
- 28 are from actual Kindle 2 owners.
- 18 are from people who’ve never touched or owned a Kindle 2.
- A big opportunity that’s been pointed out is reading out the menus and reading out directions for ordering books. In the words of reviewer Patricia Ward – “make it accessible and you have the whole market for the visually impaired in the palm of your hand’.
- The single biggest reason for 2 star reviews is the lack of contrast between screen and text. Amazon needs to improve this with a quick software update.
- Two other big reasons are (once again) the removal of the Text to Speech feature, and the lack of folders.
Kindle 2 – 3 star reviews
The 3 star reviews are almost neatly split down the middle –
- 65 3 star reviews.
- 35 are from actual owners.
- 30 are from non-owners.
- The biggest issues owners have are the lack of a backlight, the lack of enough contrast on the screen, and the removal of Text to Speech.
- Amazon needs to communicate better. Mr. Bezos said in an interview that a backlight (and even a sidelight) takes away from readability and adds eye strain. People seem to be unaware of this.
- There were quite a few people who seemed to really like the Kindle 2 and still gave it 3 stars because of one drawback.
Kindle 2 – 4 star reviews
4 star reviewers offered up their own insights –
- There are 144 4 star reviews.
- 129 are from actual Kindle 2 owners.
- 15 are from non-owners.
- The 4 biggest improvements Kindle 2 owners are asking for are – text to speech brought back, better screen contrast, a larger screen, and folders.
- A sizable number of people who upgraded from Kindle 1 to Kindle 2 amongst the 4 star reviewers.
Kindle 2 – 5 star reviews
Brings us to the 5 star reviews which dwarf other reviews –
- There are 417 5 star reviews.
- 400 are from actual owners.
- 17 are from non-owners.
- Lots of comparisons to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and also people feeling like Captain Kirk from the Enterprise.
- The biggest improvements people wanted to see are – folders, keeping TTS/ Read To Me, an SD card slot, better screen contrast.
- If you have problems with Ghosting, Alt-G will refresh the screen and eliminate problems.
Thoughts on Actual Kindle 2 Reviews
For me the biggest takeaways are –
- People are reading again, and reading much more than they used to.
- Something that’s a widely held belief in Microsoft i.e. it takes until the third iteration of a software to create a star product. Kindle 2 is very good, and 3 is almost certainly going to be a star product.
If you’ve never owned a Kindle 1, I’d highly recommend buying a Kindle 2. In the words of a reviewer – “If you love reading, you MUST buy it”. Just make sure –
- To focus on reviews from people who’ve actually owned a Kindle 2.
- Make sure that you want a device for READING.
- If you’re low vision or blind try one out in person before buying it.