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Kindle 2

by: Romany Howes (10 February 2009)

The fact that there is a Kindle 2 means that the concept of reading an ebook on a reader is catching on! This time, the product is thinner - 0.36 inches at its thickest point - it has 25 per cent improved battery life and is about 20 per cent faster.

The text also appears to stand out more because it now has 16 shades of gray instead of four. Amazon has clearly addressed one of the major issues, the page-advance button. On the original Kindle, that button was easy to depress, which meant you could accidentally turn pages. Kindle 2 page-turn buttons are smaller, and take a bit more effort.

The amount of onboard memory has been increased to 2GB (from 256MB), so you can store up to 1,500 books or assorted newspaper and blog subscriptions, as well as JPEG images. It can play back MP3 files, but sadly doesn't have the capacity for your entire music collection.

Designwise, the on/off button and headphone jack have been placed at the top of the device. This is easier to access. There is also a USB port at the bottom of the device of the micro-USB variety, similar to the ones on Bluetooth headsets. This allows you to charge the unit and manually transfer files from your computer.

Amazon's Whispernet technology allows you to make wireless book purchases in the Kindle Store, surf the Web, or have things delivered to your device over the air.

The Kindle 2 moves to a five-way rocker button for easier navigation. Amazon has made the right choice with its nontouch display and there are two new features. The first is Whispersync, which "allows you to seamlessly switch back and forth between your Kindle devices while keeping your reading location synchronized" picking up where you left off reading. The second is called "Read-to-me," a new "experimental" feature that allows you to have text read to you. This is useful although it's not to the standard of an audio book.

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