Unboxing the Amazon Kindle 2

I was starting to feel like I was one of the last people to get theirs, especially after enviously reading Dan’s emails and Doug‘s post about their Kindle 2s, but today my Amazon Kindle 2 finally showed up.

I also got the Cole Haan Brown pebbly leather cover to go with it, since Amazon neglected to include even a cheap plastic one.

The big box is the leather cover, and the smaller box is the Kindle 2; go figure.

I opened everything with an expectant, yet slightly wary eye; I had dropped serious coin on this gear, and if it wasn’t going to meet my expectations, then it needed to go right back.

I’ve only really had time to take the pictures, load some books, and tinker around a bit. So for now, I only have a few things to mention about the device before serious testing begins…

The Kindle 2 appears to blow away the original Kindle in nearly every build regard. Lest we forget, let’s first take a peek at the Kindle 1.

Unboxing the Amazon Kindle 2

Yeah; okay.

The Kindle 2 is thinner, lighter, much better looking, and much more inviting. The Kindle 2 looks like something you would be proud to carry, and not something you would keep hidden in a bag. As butt ugly as the original Kindle was? This one is not.


And look how tiny it is next to a fat paperback!


Or next to a not so fat hardback!


The way that the screen shows various shots of “library art” when the Kindle 2 is turned off was unexpected, and it is very nice eye candy.


I don’t mind the new keyboard at all; the old one was too Chiclet-y and oddly angled. This keyboard seems to blend right in, and the keys aren’t as easy to press as the first version’s.

new kindle

Unboxing the Amazon Kindle 2
old kindle

There is still way too much bezel around the screen; I would like to see more screen and less frame!


I love that the weird and annoying rolling slider from the Kindle 1 is gone now; the new joystick is much more intuitive and easier to operate. However, I keep catching myself trying to go forward to the next page by angling the joystick to the right; it just doesn’t work that way.


I like how the new Next Page button has to be pushed inward instead of on its outer edge. I repeatedly advanced whatever book’s pages I happened to be reading a accidentally on the Kindle 1; I haven’t yet done it on the Kindle 2. Yay!

The Kindle 2’s shiny metal back is very iKindle-ish. I like it. Not that I’ll ever see it again after today, mind you. I bought a $100 case and the Kindle 2 isn’t coming out of it. Hey, I saw what happened to Rob’s Kindle 2, and I don’t want to go through a similar experience. :-/


Pictures seem much sharper and deeper on the Kindle 2…and did I mention how much I like the art that shows when the device is turned off?

Purchasing and downloading eBooks from the Amazon store is wayyyy easy, which is both good and bad news. The problem is that since you have to enable one-click to purchase things, even when you are purchasing books from your computer, each book purchased will ring up separately. This meant that I had some ‘splainin’ to do to American Express – about how my card had not been stolen, and why they got 10+ charges in a row this afternoon ranging in price from $2.99 to $11.99. Gah!

I may never buy that many books in a row ever again, but it was a bit of a FAIL as far as first day experiences go.

Mmmmmm – the Cole Haan case is freaking luxurious. I am not sure why it has a business card slot in the front cover, but whatever. It smells yummy, feels sumptuous, and it makes my Kindle 2 feel much more like a book than a reading tablet.


I have loaded up a plethora of books – both free and purchased, and all that remains is to see if the Kindle 2 keeps giving me positive vibes.

Doug, Dan and I have a three-way review planned, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, enjoy the unboxing slide show…

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About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
Judie is the co-owner and Editor-in-Chief of Gear Diary, which she founded in September 2006. She started in 1999 writing software reviews at the now-defunct smaller.com; from mid-2000 through 2006, she wrote hardware reviews for and co-edited at The Gadgeteer. A recipient of the Sigma Kappa Colby Award for Technology, Judie is best known for her device-agnostic approach, deep-dive reviews, and enjoyment of exploring the latest tech, gadgets, and gear.

17 Comments on "Unboxing the Amazon Kindle 2"

  1. Wow – I'm loving that case. The first generation has such an awful case it's embarrassing. This one actually seems like something you might take out in public!

  2. Oh and I still think that BIG bezel around Kindle 2 is some type of inside joke Amazon is playing.

  3. The price is nutty, but the case is really amazing. I do wish it used the built in clips on the Kindle 2, though. After seeing how sleek Dan's looks in the Amazon case, I am jealous.

    At lease I get a tiny bit of extra coverage on the corners…yeah, that's what I will keep telling myself. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. That is a nice looking case. ๐Ÿ™‚ Wayne, I think the bezels are not as big in person as they appear to you in the photos. While I agree that this space could have been better utilized with a larger screen, I found my hand fit quite nicely on it as designed.

    I do think, however, that Amazon cheaped out by not including any kind of a cheap case. My case has not arrived yet. ๐Ÿ™ I hope it comes soon. I need the Kindle on the train and I seriously feel like I am tempting fate every time I look at it.

  5. Great review! The pictures are really helpful too.

  6. I'm officially jealous.

  7. I think what is most bothersome to me is that the Kindle is substantially larger than the Ectaco jetBook reader (look for the pics of it next to the burgundy eReader), but the screen is only a little bit larger.

    I suspect that in another generation or two, the screen will mysteriously grow another inch wider and another inch taller – which will be just fine with me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Thanks Caroline; this is only a preliminary, though. When we do the full review, it will have full testing as far as battery life goes, real world usage, and a whole new list of likes and dislikes. Lot's more pictures, too. :-))

  9. What are you waiting for, Dana? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  10. Off topic: Wow – you get some ugly formatting issues when you respond to an Intense Debate comment via email. I think that's the first time i have noticed it. ๐Ÿ˜›

  11. Wow. That is really weird. I had never noticed that before. I am actually starting to get kind of annoyed with Intense Debate. It has some nice features, but it is really slow sometimes. Like the comments sidebar on JAMM will often be a few hours behind the actual comments.

  12. Unofficially, battery life is a disappointment. I have not tested it thoroughly, but it is not even close to the sony reader. I think the fact that an image is always displayed on the screen, and the fact that Whispernet is always connected make a huge difference for the battery.

  13. I found the same thing with the Sony as well. It is much taller than the Sony Reader, but the screen is narrower. I was a bit disappointed by that. Still, the Kindle beats the Sony Reader hands down for three reasons: first the controls are efficient and streamlined. The Sony has an awful lot of redundancy in the controls. Second, the Amazon store. Sony's store is difficult to use and poorly stocked (not to mention way too expensive). Third, the software is excellent and full of features, like the web browser and Whispernet).

    Douglas S. Goldring

  14. Doug, try turning off the radio when you don't actively need it. As I recall, that made a huge difference on the first one, and I am doing that with this one with great battery life results. The image showing when it is turned off draws no power (to the best of my knowledge), but the radio being on definitely will.

  15. Oh I so want one now!!! I'd put the Chicago Tribune on here, Dracula and some other classics!! Oh jealousy is a very ugly thing, but that's how I'm feeling right now!!

  16. Great review. The pictures are so helpful. The leather on that case looks really sweet. The only thing that worries me about a case like is that it's not that protective (and that I would get the leather all scratched up). Know of any more protective options?

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