I wasn’t as excited about the imminent (and subsequent) arrival of my new Kindle as I should have been, mostly because I knew the file management system hadn’t changed and that meant that my use of the Sony 505 wouldn’t change either.

Initial impressions of the Amazon box are that it’s small, much smaller than the box the old Kindle came in. When I open the Amazon box, I realize that it’s packaging made especially for mailing the Kindle 2. It’s lined with the same type of paper that wraps the Kindle packaging. The Kindle packaging is not as fancy as the original Kindle 1 packaging, which was kind of nice and sturdy. This is very much a temporary-type of packaging. (nice pictures of unboxing the Kindle from Engadget here)

The Kindle itself is much sleeker and thinner. I think it’s ten times more attractive than the original Kindle, but still not as sleek and trim as the Sony. But definitely an improvement over its predecessor. I’m already glad of the smaller buttons, as I had a lot of problems with unintentional page turning before. The buttons on the bottom of the Kindle have lost some of that “chiclet gum” feel and are rounder and slightly more recessed into the device.

I’m not sure what to think about the “joystick” in my initial look. I’ll have to wait and see. I’m happy about the new design as far as the back goes, as well. As Smart Bitch Sarah said, on the Kindle 1, the back would come off “if you sneezed wrong”. They’ve removed the button for turning off the wireless and made it an option on the menu instead. I’m not sure how I feel about that yet either. The wireless does seem to be faster, which it was supposed to be, and it downloaded the content I had waiting (a free copy of Silent in the Sanctuary) immediately, along with my welcome message from Jeff Bezos and a guide about Upgrading Your Content to the new Kindle (which seems relatively easy). One thing I notice is that having the wireless be part of the system, if you try to do something that requires the wireless to be on, and you have it off, the device will ask you if you want to turn it on, then do so and continue with the task.

Several things I’m disappointed about: 1) the Kindle comes with no cover or protective sleeve. Which means an automatic outlay of more money if you have any interested in protecting it at all while in your purse/bag/pocket. 2) They switched from a micro USB to a mini USB, which is a less common USB. And this also means that the iGo tip I bought for the original Kindle is now obsolete and I’ll need to buy a new one. Bugger (on closer look there is no tip for the Kindle 2 at this time. Damnit). 3) No improved file management. And to this I say, WTF, Amazon? That was the ONE improvement I wanted in the Kindle 2. The one thing that might have enticed me over from the Sony and the one thing I point to as a serious drawback to people shopping for a dedicated reader. Well, also the fact that you don’t recognize any DRM formats, including the PRC format. WTF again?

Text-to-Speech. This isn’t really a function I think I’ll use, but I tried it out. One thing to know is that if you stop in the middle of a page, when you start again it will start reading from the top of the page, not from where you stopped. Also, it tends to run things together in an odd way.

The last thing that’s not immediately clear to me is whether the Kindle is charging while plugged into the computer via the USB cord. When plugged in, I see the “charge” symbol flash onto the battery indicator before the USB screen comes up. And the light on the bottom comes on, but a message on the screen states “USB Drive Mode: If you want to use your Kindle and continue charging, please eject your Kindle from the computer.” But the instructions say that if the yellow light is on, then it’s charging. So I’m not sure what the screen message indicates. Something to investigate.

Final first impressions: Being thinner and sleeker, it does fit in my smallish purse, though it’s about an inch longer than the Sony 505. However, that’s without a case, so it depends on whether I can find a case that doesn’t add a lot of extra bulk. If I were going to use this Kindle (I’m not except for demo purposes) I would invest in this M-edge case (along with the optional light) which I wish to the depths of my soul they would make for the Sony. And yes, I did say I won’t be using it. Why? No file management. I love Sony’s tagging system, which allows me to sort my books in a variety of ways, including personal and business use, and I hope that Amazon can fix their unusable (for me) system with a firmware upgrade, rather than waiting another couple years for a whole new device.

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