Friday, February 27, 2009

kindle 2 review

I've posted a fair amount -- and quite positively -- about my current Kindle, so it should come as no surprise that I was quick to order Kindle 2. It arrived Wednesday and I broke it in with Daemon, Daniel Suarez's impressive debut novel (more on that in a moment).

If you've seen a picture you know that the Kindle 2 is much thinner and sleeker than the original. This translates to a much more solid feel out of the box, although I've found it to be slightly less comfortable to hold, perhaps due to Kindle 1 muscle memory. To first order, it operates the same as Kindle 1. The boot time is much faster, the inward clicking buttons superior and less prone to accidental clicks, and the page flips enough quicker to be noticeable. The new screen's 16-gray levels make photos look surprisingly good, and being able to charge via USB helps me on the road. Finally, while I miss the sparkle, the multi-way stick does make highlighting a lot easier.

Downsides? Moving content over from my first Kindle was a pain, mostly because Whispernet and/or Amazon were clearly slammed Wednesday night. The leather binder doesn't have the original's elastic to hold it closed.

All-in-all, a great set of incremental improvements and an even better device for my needs.

As for Daemon, I really enjoyed it. It has all of the trappings of a first book -- uneven pacing, limited character development, some typos -- but, wow! I've never seen a book that mixes action; this level of understanding of the god complex all game developers have; the technology around robotics, virtual worlds, and the net; and, wraps it all up in book that is speculative while only leveraging real tech. Very cool and quite recommended.