kindle 2: worth the upgrade?

February 10, 2009

I’ve been using an Amazon Kindle for over a year…most readers know that since I mentioned it as recently as last week. The announcement about Kindle 2 captured my attention, and like most current Kindle owners, I’m wondering if an upgrade would be worthwhile.

Here are my considerations, based on the feature difference between the two models:

  • Form factor – There have many gripes about the look and feel of the first Kindle. I think it’s easier to hold than a book, and I don’t mind the angular look, so I’ve not been one to gripe. (Okay, I will gripe about the indentation I get in my palm from the pointy corners when I’ve been holding the Kindle for, oh, 30 seconds or more.) Even as a non-griper, the rounded edges and thin form factor are the most appealing changes in Kindle 2.
  • Battery life – I don’t see much need to have an extra battery on my current Kindle, though it’s nice to know I could someday. As far as battery life goes, the added battery life in Kindle 2 isn’t much of a draw — I just don’t have problems with the battery life in my current Kindle. I rarely use the wireless, and don’t even charge once a week as it is.
  • Memory – My ideal Kindle is a reference device, but I think we are still a few years away from the resources being available that I might want. I haven’t even used half of the memory on my Kindle with the books that are on there, and can still use an SD card if I need to. So the memory really isn’t relevant for me at this point.
  • Miscellaneous upgrades – I’ll lump these together, because I have the same response to all of them: improved screen, improved navigation, faster page turns. None of these was a major complaint for me on my first Kindle. I’m guessing they do improve the usability, but until I can seem them firsthand, I won’t know what I’m missing, right?
  • Text to Speech – A new option in Kindle 2…don’t think I’d use it. I don’t listen to many audiobooks as it is…would rather listen to podcasts most of the time.

So, should I upgrade? In spite of my lukewarm response above, I’d love to upgrade. The form factor is appealing to me, and I think the faster page turns would be nice when scanning through a book. So, I’m still considering it, but the budget isn’t very friendly to an upgrade right now.

Maybe the question you care more about…if you are in the market for a Kindle, should you get a Kindle 2, or buy a used Kindle on ebay? If the Kindle 2 is out of your reach, and you can get a used Kindle at a price you can afford, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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