Kindle 2 Travel Review – Is Kindle 2 the right device for Travel?

Kindle 2 is building a reputation as a great device for travel so here’s a comprehensive kindle 2 review from a travel perspective.

Kindle Travel Review – Top Benefits

Kindle 2 brings a lot of benefits to the table -

Travelling Light

  1. You can travel light as it can basically carry hundreds of books (1,500 or so is the official capacity), mp3s, and your documents.  
  2. Its very light weight, and really thin – so its very convenient to pack and carry.

Comfortable and Convenient Reading

  1. The thinness and light weight means it doesn’t get uncomfortable and is easy to carry in your hand.
  2. You can read and use it while holding it in one hand.
  3. You can read multiple books at the same time and the Kindle 2 saves your place in them.
  4. You can read newspapers, magazines, blogs and your own documents in addition to books.

Very Readable Screen

  1. The eInk means reading on it is like reading a book and doesn’t tire out the eyes.
  2. The Kindle 2 has a much improved screen over the Kindle 1 and shows images better.
  3. The screen is readable in sunlight. Note: There is no in-built light.

 Battery Life + Charging

  1. Battery Life is very impressive – 1 to 2 weeks (keep the wireless off as much as possible). 
  2. Kindle’s charger works in any country with an adapter. Or you can use the charging via USB to charge it from any laptop or desktop PC.

Instant Downloads or PC to Kindle 2 USB Transfers

  1. You can download books instantly in areas of the US covered by Sprint’s network (1-2 minutes).
  2. You also have free Internet access in these areas.  
  3. In parts of the US not covered by Sprint’s network, and outside the USA, you can buy books at Amazon.com’s Kindle Store, download to a PC, and transfer to your Kindle 2 via USB.

Kindle Travel Review – Negatives to keep in mind before buying Kindle 2

Important to have the right expectations and be sure you know what you’re buying -

  1. Kindle 2 is a book reader that also does a few additional things – that it does not specialize in. This is NOT a multi-purpose device.
  2. The screen is black and white with 16 shades of gray. It’s not color.  
  3. It costs $359. It does pay for itself in the long run. However, it’s not cheap.
  4. It’s not a very sturdy device – If you drop it on your travels it will probably break. You can get accident insurance from the Kindle Store.
  5. Kindle 2 is not water-proof. People have used it with a Zip-Loc bag in the tub and on the beach. However, taking it to wet places is not recommended.
  6. If you lose it, you’ll probably not get it back. You can deregister it to prevent people from buying books from your account. However, you’ll probably not get it back.
  7. There’s no in-built light. Due to the current state of eInk technology, this is necessary to maintain the screen’s readability.
  8. Some percentage (10-40%) of the books you want might not be available for the Kindle 2. Check beforehand at the Kindle Store.
  9. MP3s are played in the order in which they were added. You can skip to the next song – However that’s pretty much the only functionality.
  10. Read To Me feature (that reads out any book or document to you) has been made optional – The Author and Publisher decide whether it’s available.

Kindle Travel – Kindle 2 Travel FAQ for travellers

Here are a few things to keep in mind -

  1. The Kindle 2’s charger cord end that goes into the Kindle 2 is microUSB. This means its not compatible with most phone USB chargers as those use miniUSB.  
  2. Kindle 2’s battery is not replaceable. Use something like iGo to keep a back-up power source. 
  3. Kindle 2 does not have a side-light or back-light. So, be sure to take a book-light along with you.  
  4. You will probably be asked to turn the Kindle 2 off during take-off and landing even if you have the wireless turned off. (Some people have reported that they weren’t asked to – however, others were).
  5. Don’t pack Kindle 2 in a way or place that might put pressure on the screen.
  6. There will usually be people asking you questions about it – so be prepared for attention ;) .
  7. There is no Kindle 2 Cover included with the Kindle 2. Its pretty important to get a cover to protect your Kindle, especially if you’ll be travelling and/or commuting regularly.

What do travel websites think of Kindle 2?

The Travel Gear Blog reviews the Kindle 2 as “the perfect device for the person on the go” -

Whether you are on the road a lot for business, have long train commutes in the morning, or are a flashpacker, this little lightweight device allows you to bring your favorite newspapers, magazines and books with you in one little compact device. The Amazon wireless network also allows you to connect to the Internet (for free).

Kindle 2 is an “unbelievable travel tool” according to BootsnAll.com founder Sean Keener (in this USA Today article) -

Slimmer and easier to use than its predecessor, the $359 device is an “unbelievable travel tool,” raves BootsnAll.com co-founder Sean Keener, who has been “devouring books” on the Kindle 2 during his current backpacking trip through the South Pacific

You can check out the Kindle 2 Video page to see a bunch of kindle videos and get an idea of the Kindle 2’s screen and looks.

Kindle 2 Travel Review – Closing Thoughts

The Kindle 2 is definitely a very good device for travellers and the combination of

  1. Carrying hundreds of books in a lightweight, thin device.
  2. Comfort and Convenience of using Kindle 2.
  3. The fact that K2’s screen reads like a book. 
  4. Long Battery Life and convenient USB charging.
  5. Instant Downloads to the Kindle 2 (or PC to Kindle transfers outside WhisperNet coverage).

Make for a very compelling travel companion. You’ll love the Kindle 2 if you’re a frequent traveller and/or a daily commuter.

Hopefully this Kindle 2 Review helped you figure out if a Kindle meets your travel and commute needs and whether you will buy a Kindle 2.

3 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed traveling for the past ten weeks in Europe with my Kindle 1. I read more than a book a week and starting subscribing to the New Yorker as well…

  2. I was skeptical about reading a newspaper on the Kindle 2. In reality, having the WSJ magically ‘show up’ every morning and having the ability to jump to the articles that I want to read makes this a great match for me. And besides, at the end of the month, there isn’t a stack of half-read newsprint-papers filling up my recycle bin.

  3. Great stuff. Nice to read some well written posts that have some relevancy !

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