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Review round-up: Amazon Kindle 2

By Andrew Heining / February 10, 2009



Amazon unveiled an update to its game-changing e-book reader Monday, and the company's touting the usual new-product buzzwords: slimmer, sleeker, faster, better – with one notable exception: the price is staying the same. We covered the new Kindle's press conference yesterday. Now that reviewers have had a chance to get their hands on one (even if only for a brief time after the event), here's a look at what they're saying.

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The upgraded e-ink screen:

The new version displays more shades of grey than were previously possible, and Amazon has paired that with a set of updated fonts to make the text significantly crisper and easier to read. But it's the speed of the display that makes everything different. Amazon claims a 20 percent improvement in page flips, but it's clear that the operating system is very capable of redrawing only subsets of the screen – perhaps the software is smarter about that than it was previously, it's impossible to tell. In any case, the result is that anything done on the screen is very much faster—moving the cursor, selecting text, typing, menus, you name it. It's really hard to convey just how much more responsive the device feels. [via Ars Technica]

The new 'read to me' feature

Text-to-speech is a nice touch, but it's still hard to get over that computer voice. We can see using this to hear a recipe or short news article, but we're not convinced it'll be enjoyable for a full novel. [via Engadget]

'Whispersync'

With Whispersync, one Kindle can automatically sync with another; that's not particularly earth-shattering right now unless you use two Kindles or want to transfer content from an older model, but Amazon has said that it "will also sync with a range of mobile devices in the future." A Kindle app for the iPhone, perhaps? Now that could be quite a plot twist. [via CNET]

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