Amazon Kindle 2

Critical design changes make the Amazon Kindle 2 more appealing than the preceding model.

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Amazon Kindle 2

Pros

  • Improves on the original Amazon Kindle

Cons

  • Joystick feels stiff and is awkwardly placed

Bottom Line

A definite improvement on the original Amazon Kindle, Amazon Kindle 2 remains marginally short of being the definitive reading experience. At least that leaves Amazon room for improvement on the Kindle 3.

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NOTE: Pricing for this product is in US dollars

Critical design changes make the Amazon Kindle 2 more appealing than the preceding model - but while Amazon has succeeded in enhancing its e-book reader, it has done little to advance the device to the next stage.

Looking for the best eBook reader? Before you buy an Amazon Kindle, Apple iPad or Sony Reader check out our eBook reader comparison guide to find out the best features you should compare.

The first-generation Amazon Kindle weighed 0.29kg and offered a paperlike E-Ink display that keeps eyestrain at bay (as compared with the backlit displays of mobile phones and other mobile devices). The first Kindle was readable in sunlight; it also offered long battery life and allowed you to look up words on the fly, as well as to take notes and highlight passages at will.

The Amazon Kindle 2 retains all of those capabilities, in a slimmer form (it's 9mm thin). We like the thinner profile: the new device feels better in your hands, and we think it will be easier to pack. At just 0.28kg, the device's weight is virtually the same as before.

Amazon Kindle 2: enhanced E-Ink screen

The Amazon Kindle 2's 600-by-800-resolution screen is the same size, measuring 6in; but now, packing the latest E-Ink technology, it gives you 16 shades of gray versus the four shades available on the original Kindle.

The improved screen technology is somewhat noticeable on text - we found text on the Amazon Kindle 2 slightly crisper and clearly tighter, with less ink-like bleed-in to the virtual page behind it. But the real difference is evident in images, which have far greater gradations.

The background of the screen itself has changed, too: before, the screen appeared to have a slight texture, almost like newspaper, but now the surface is completely smooth. As for the purported speed boost (pages supposedly turn 20 percent faster), we can't say we noticed more than a subtle difference between Kindle 1 and Amazon Kindle 2 in turning pages. (We were not using identical content, though.)

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