Kindle 2 Review

This kindle 2 review is based on 6 months of use and will focus on the kindle reading and ownership experience. It will help you decide whether the kindle will add to your enjoyment of reading.

You can buy the Kindle 2 for $259 at Amazon, and there are also 7,000+ kindle 2 reviews from owners on that page. Kindle 2 ships to 174 countries – check my Kindle International Review post for availability in your country and what it means.

Kindle 2 Review – the indispensable eReader functions

The two indispensable eReader functions are –

  1. Being able to get Books. 
  2. Being able to read Books.

The Kindle 2 does extremely well on both of these – [wpvideo O3Oelzlx]

Getting books on to the Kindle

It’s really easy thanks to 24/7 wireless access to the Kindle Store from your Kindle 2 and the 60 second wireless downloads.

There are a lot of choices for both paid and free content –

  1. The Kindle Store has 350,000 books. That’s more new books than any other ebook seller, and at better prices (usually $9.99).
  2. The Kindle Store adds 10-15 free book offers every month.
  3. You can get 7,000 public domain books from the Kindle Store itself.
  4. 30,000 free public domain books are available at ManyBooks and Gutenberg (check the free books post on the left).
  5. You can also access all Google Free Books after you convert them using Calibre.

An overall 9 out of 10 stars.

Reading Books on the Kindle

  1. The Kindle has a great screen – eInk is very readable, with little to no eye-strain and works in bright sunshine. 
  2. There’s a long battery life so your reading doesn’t get interrupted (1-2 weeks without wireless, a day or so with wireless on).
  3. It’s very easy to turn pages as buttons are very conveniently placed.
  4. The Kindle 2 disappears once you start reading.
  5. Lots of good feature like changeable font sizes, Wikipedia access and the dictionary add to your reading pleasure.

An overall 9 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – the hugely important eReader functions

Screen Quality and Size

Kindle 2’s screen uses eInk technology with 16 shades of grayscale which makes for a very clear screen. Its 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi.

Here’s a video contrasting it with a paperback and a hardcover – [wpvideo yJmdUa7v].

Do check out the other Kindle 2 videos.

The 6″ screen is a good size – the full Kindle is about the size of a paperback and the Kindle’s screen is about 70% of that.

Kindle 2 gets 8 out of 10 stars on Screen Quality.

Kindle 2 Review – Ease of Use

The Kindle 2 is extremely easy to use. Most actions are straightforward and you don’t have to be a tech person at all. The lack of touch and the tiny keyboard keys do make things a bit difficult.

8 out of 10 stars.


Kindle 2 really shines here because –

  1. It’s very thin and sleek at just .36 inches.
  2. It’s also light at 10.2 ounces.
  3. It has a large in-built memory that can hold a lot of books.
  4. It has great battery life.

One downside is that there’s no SD card slot for expanding the memory.

9 out of 10 stars.


Kindle 2 has a lot of good reference features –

  1. Built-In Dictionary. 
  2. Ability to search through all books.  
  3. Wikipedia access.
  4. Free Internet Access.

9 out of 10 stars.


While Kindle 2 has a good search function, the way the results are displayed is rather inelegant and there are more features that should have been added.

Just 6 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – Content Rights and Content Portability

Kindle 2 gets a lot of flak because it isn’t an ‘open’ system.

The important things to keep in mind are –

  1. No ePub Support.
  2. Kindle books use a proprietary format that does not work on other eReaders.
  3. There is a Kindle for iPhone app that lets you read Kindle books you have bought on the iPhone and iTouch.
  4. There is Kindle for PC that lets you read Kindle books on your PC or netbook.
  5. You can download a Kindle book as many times as you like.
  6. The number of devices you can download a book to is limited – usually 5 or 6.

As far as PDF –

  • Amazon just added in-built PDF support.
  • PDFs cannot zoom text, and you cannot add notes and highlights.
  • PDFs in different languages are supported.
  • You can have Amazon convert PDFs for you, or do it yourself using software like Calibre. The converted files support changing font sizes, and adding notes and highlights.

Kindle gets 6 out of 10 on content rights and content portability.


Kindle 2 lets you add highlights, notes, and bookmarks. You can also access these in the book or through your My Clippings file.

The lack of a touch interface and the tiny keyboard hold back the Kindle and it only gets 6 of 10 stars here.

Kindle 2 Review – Changeable Font Sizes

These work very well on the Kindle. 7 out of 10 stars.


There are a rich set of controls for audiobooks. In addition you get –

  1. Amazon owns Audible which provides access to a wide variety of paid audio books. 
  2. You can get free audiobooks from LibriVox.  
  3. The built-in speakers are pretty loud and work well for when you’re driving or cooking.

7 out of 10 stars.

Easy to Use Store

The Kindle Store is excellent in comparison to other ebook stores.

There’s a good recommendation engine, you have bestsellers lists and categories for a lot of genres, and the store is accessible through the Kindle itself.

9 out of 10 stars.  

Kindle 2 Review – One Handed Use

Kindle 2 does an excellent job by placing buttons on both sides and having them located conveniently. This means that one-handed use with either hand is easy.

9 out of 10 stars.

Time and Date

Whenever you press the Menu button the time is shown. In addition you can type in @t on the Home Screen to get the date and time. A very useful feature.

7 out of 10 stars.

Language Support

Kindle does poorly here as it only supports English and languages based on the English alphabet.

There are hacks to support other fonts – however, nothing official.

1 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – Book Organization (Folders)

One real downside of the Kindle 2 is that there is no easy way to organize your books into folders, bookshelves or via tags.

There are workarounds that help a bit – However, the lack of Folders really makes things difficult.

0 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – the nice to have eReader features


This video covers the Kindle’s looks and some basic features – [wpvideo alwBbPmy]

While the Kindle does a good job of disappearing when you’re reading and has a nice, simplistic look it’s no head-turner.

A lot of people complain about the Kindle’s lack of sex appeal and they have a point.

5 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – Free Internet Access

Kindle 2 has free built-in Internet Access. It’s really convenient and adds to both your reading (via reference and search) and convenience (checking email and news).

The downside is that the Kindle’s browser is rather limited.

8 out of 10 stars.


eInk technology at the moment doesn’t support color.


Kindle 2 Review – Text to Speech Feature

A great bonus with the Kindle 2 is the ability to have the Kindle read your book to you. Some publishers switch this off. However, a lot don’t plus you can have all your personal documents and free public domain books read to you.

8 out of 10 stars.


Kindle 2 has no support for a notepad or journal.


Extensions and Utilities

Kindle 2 does not have any extensions like an address book or calendar. You can find rudimentary calendars and weekly planners at the Kindle Store or download free ones at my Kindle 3 Labs page (top of the page).

0 out of 10 stars.

Games & Diversions

Kindle 2 has a simple MineSweeper game.

5 out of 10 stars. Perhaps less.

Background Music

Kindle has a useful background music feature. There are no controls other than play/pause and jump to next song.

5 out of 10 stars.

Device Lock, Lost and Found Options

Kindle 2 does not have a way to lock it and it doesn’t have the option to add on a ‘Return To’ screen.

0 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – Personalization

Kindle 2’s personalization is mostly via third-party products i.e. skins, covers, and cases.

You cannot add your own custom screensavers or themes.

5 out of 10 stars.

Kindle 2 Review – Overall 8.5 Stars Rating, Strongly Recommended 

The Kindle 2 does extremely well on the reading experience and the amount of content available. If you love to read you should buy a Kindle 2.

The addition of the free Internet access, the wireless delivery and wireless syncing, support for iPhone reading, and the ease of use make the Kindle 2 a very compelling product.

You should keep in mind that there are several downsides due to eInk being an evolving technology (no color, screen refreshes take .5 to 1 second, $299 price). These are on top of a few Amazon created downsides i.e. lack of openness (to protect its revenue stream from ebooks), no folders, relatively plain design.

However, most of the downsides don’t impact the reading experience. Kindle 2 is excellent at its core function of reading, its easy to get a lot of paid and free books, and you’ll get a lot of pleasure from reading on the Kindle 2.

This Kindle 2 review is based on the ‘What makes a good eReader’ review guide.

Kindle 2 Review – Impact on Reading

Now that I’ve had my Kindle 2 for 3 weeks, it’s interesting to do a quick review of its impact on my reading habits.

Books Read on Kindle 2

  1. Talent is Overrated (paid)
  2. Outliers (paid)
  3. Assassin’s Apprentice (free)
  4. Royal Assassin (paid)
  5. Assassin’s Quest (paid)
  6. His Majesty’s Dragon (free)

Books Currently Reading on Kindle 2

  1. Bit Literacy (nearly half done).
  2. Fool’s Errand 
  3. Throne of Jade 

After this, are 2 Personal MBA books – Indispensable and Ultimate Sales Machine.

Kindle 2 Purchase History

  1. Books Bought – 12. $108.61 worth of purchases.
  2. Paid Books Read – 4. 
  3. Free Books Downloaded – 6. Also, 1 for $1.
  4. Free Books Read – 2.
  5. Books currently Reading – 3 (all are paid books).
  6. Utilities etc. purchased – 8. However, these were to get an idea of what’s possible with calendars and planners and not a recurring purchase.

Periodicals don’t really apply since Canada doesn’t have access.

Kindle 2 Related Stuff

  1. Kindle Calendar – created, tested, and put up. 5 hrs or so. You can get it for free at the Kindle 3 Labs page.
  2. Weekly Kindle Planner  – created, tested, and put up. 5 hrs or so. Also free at the above link.
  3. Tried unsuccessfully to get a crossword and couldn’t come up with a good journal.

Other Types of Reading

The lack of periodicals access in Canada means this is  nothing. Normally it’d be 1 newspaper and 1-2 magazines.

Impact on Amazon’s Kindle Revenue Stream.

A lot of people have been wondering why something like Savory that opens up the Kindle 2 to other ebook sellers is a threat to Amazon. It’s because in 3 weeks Amazon has gotten $108.61 worth of purchases from 1 Kindle 2 owner. And me reading 2 books every week means at least $15-$20 every single week in revenue.  That’s $750 to $1040 of revenue every single year.

Every single projection model assumes 1 book purchased a month. However, people read much more when they own a Kindle/Kindle 2, and they buy most of their books from Amazon.

Based on my experience the actual model should be –

  1. 20% of readers buying 10 or more books a month. 
  2. 30% of readers buying 6 books a month.  
  3. 30% of readers buying 3 books a month.
  4. 20% of readers buying 1 book a month.

Averaging it out to 6 books a month, and an average price of $9, that’s $54 a month per Kindle owner. That’s $648 per year in revenue per Kindle owner. Even if you take the Steve Jobs ‘people don’t read books’ opinion and cut it in half that’s $324 per year.

Kindle edition books are becoming a huge revenue stream for Amazon. For me, deciding to do the Personal MBA program means at least 30 more Kindle Edition purchases this year – a minimum of $300 of revenue for Amazon. Add on reading for pleasure and other books and $700+ in Kindle Edition purchases isn’t far fetched.

Kindle 2, Kindle, and when it comes out, Kindle Textbook Edition, are gold mines for Amazon. Not the device itself – the books and content that people buy.

Review of Kindle 2 with Video

It’s been 2 weeks and 2 days since I got my Kindle 2 and after reading through 4 full books I absolutely LOVE IT!   Here’s a comprehensive Kindle 2 review and a kindle 2 video review. 

It’ll help you get a very good idea of whether you ought to buy a Kindle  2 and the videos show the screen very well.

Kindle 2 Review – What It Looks Like

The Kindle 2 is a good looking device –

  1. The white color looks a bit plain – however, it makes it easy for the Kindle 2 to fade into the background and the book you’re reading to take center-stage.
  2. Kindle 2 is very, very thin.
  3. The keyboard is tiny – tiny buttons, tiny lettering.
  4. The Next Page and Prev Page buttons have been modified so there are no longer accidental page-turns.
  5. The back is now polished metal – however, the battery is non-replaceable.

Here’s a video of what the Kindle 2 looks like – [wpvideo alwBbPmy].

Kindle 2 –  What the Screen Looks Like

A lot of discussions have focused on the Screen and my thoughts are –

  1. Its very readable.  
  2. The background is very light grey and not white, and the text is dark grey and not black.
  3. If you have eye problems and need high contrast black on white – it won’t work. If your eye-sight issues are related to font size it works very well. 
  4. The six font sizes make for a great feature and allow even people with low eye-sight to read.

Here’s a video showing the contrast and comparing it with a paperback and a hardcover book – [wpvideo yJmdUa7v]. There’s a video showing font sizes below.

What Reading a Book on the Kindle 2 is like

Reading a book on Kindle 2 is –

  1. Very enjoyable. I find it a bit faster than reading an actual book.  
  2. Much, much more enjoyable than reading on a computer screen.  
  3. Does not tire your eyes.
  4. The 6″ screen size is a little smaller than ideal – 8″ or 9″ would work much better. One out of Kindle 3 and KindleText is going to have a 9.7′ screen.
  5. The ability to change font sizes makes things very enjoyable.
  6. Read To Me is a good feature. Do note that now its up to publishers on whether to allow the feature or not. 
  7. Kindle 2 fades into the background.
  8. Page refreshes are relatively quick.

Kindle 2 Review – My 10 Favorite Features 

  1. Ability to buy books instantly.
  2. Light weight and thin Kindle 2 is convenient to carry around and hold in your hand. Also, reading with one hand is easy.  
  3. Changeable Font Sizes.  
  4. Using Read To Me Text To Speech feature to let the Kindle 2 read to me.  
  5. Battery life – it goes on forever, especially if you turn off the wireless. 
  6. Free Internet Access and Free Wikipedia Access (not in Canada though so I’m missing this).
  7. It fades into the background.  
  8. I’m reading much more – In 2 weeks I’ve read 4 full books and snippets of a  lot of other books.  
  9. Most books’ Kindle Editions are cheaper than print editions. I don’t buy any Kindle books over $9.99.
  10. 16 levels of grey-scale makes for much clearer pictures.

Here’s a video of changeable Font Sizes – [wpvideo dXyaxN0G].

Kindle 2 – Good Features

  1. 86% of Kindle 2 owners love it – check my post on Kindle 2 Reviews from actual owners.
  2. Whispernet coverage is extended to more areas, and you can buy books instantly over WhisperNet.  
  3. WhisperSync which lets you read across different devices.  
  4. Kindle for iPhone App to let you read on your iPhone or iTouch.
  5. 2 GB Internal storage. 
  6. Saves Trees.
  7. MP3 songs can be played in the background.
  8. Powers from USB cable in addition to charger. So you can charge it from your PC or laptop.

Kindle 2 – Things I Wish Get Improved in Kindle 3.

This is not a wish-list for Kindle 3. Its just things that need to be improved based on my Kindle 2 review experience –

  1. A better keyboard – the keys are tiny and difficult to read and press.
  2. Improved navigation – the 5 way controller is useful. However, its slow and a touchscreen or better navigation is desperately needed.
  3. Folders – The ability to organize content into folders.
  4. SD Card slot to let you add more storage.
  5. Ability to work well with non-linear content i.e. newspapers, web pages, etc.

Kindle 2 – Software/Firmware Updates that ought to be done.

  1. Improve screen contrast by letting people choose ‘Read in Bold’ option, and also turn off anti-aliasing for the 2 smallest sized fonts.  
  2. Allow 3rd party applications.  
  3. Put in support for Folders.

Should You Buy a Kindle 2?

Based on the 2 weeks of owning and using a Kindle 2, you should definitely buy a Kindle 2 if you fall into one of these categories –

  1. Love to read books.  
  2. Travel a lot.  
  3. Commute to work everyday with a longer than 30 minutes trip.
  4. Want to read more books than you currently do.  BTW, it makes a great gift if you want to encourage kids to read more.  
  5. Are running out of space for books or are tired of moving with lots of books.

The Read To Me feature also makes it great for when you’re driving. However, it’s now up to Publishers to enable or disable this feature for their books and they might turn it off.

You can see a whole bunch of Kindle 2 Videos and video reviews of features at the Kindle 2 Video Page. Since Kindle 2 isn’t available at any store this is a good way to figure out what you’ll be getting.

You can find a longer list of Pros and Cons, and additional data like Comparisons with Kindle 1 at my detailed Kindle 2 Review post.

Kindle 2 Technical Specifications

And finally, the technical specifications –

Display: 6″ diagonal E-Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale.

Size (in inches): 8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″.

Weight: 10.2 ounces.

System requirements: None, because it doesn’t require a computer.

Storage: 2GB internal (approximately 1.4GB available for user content).

Battery Life: Read on a single charge for up to 4 days with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to two weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store and downloading content. In low coverage areas or in 1xRTT only coverage, wireless usage will consume battery power more quickly.

Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 4 hours and supports charging from your computer via the included USB 2.0 cable.

Connectivity: EVDOmodem with fallback to 1xRTT; utilizes Amazon Whispernet to provide U.S wireless coverage via Sprint’s 3G high-speed data network (check wireless coverage). See Wireless Terms and Conditions.

USB Port: USB 2.0 (micro-B connector) for connection to the Kindle power adapter or optionally to connect to a PC or Macintosh computer.

Audio: 3.5mm stereo audio jack, rear-mounted stereo speakers.

Content Formats Supported: Kindle (AZW), TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.

Included Accessories: Power adapter, USB 2.0 cable, rechargeable battery. Book cover sold separately.

Documentation: Quick Start Guide(included in box) [PDF]; Kindle 2 User’s Guide(pre-installed on device) [PDF].

Warranty and Service: 1 year limited warranty and service included. Optional 2 year Extended Warrantysold separately.

I hope the Kindle 2 Review helped you and congrats on reaching the end 😉 .