Kindle 1, Still a Great Choice. Here's Why.
Whispernet. Font sizes, Amazon.
Sony looks better. Pricey.
The Bottom Line:
Buy it, save a tree and carry your 4000 book collection with you
I have a Kindle 1, and I had the option to get Kindle 2. I actually think Kindle 1 is better. Kindle 2 has 16 shades of gray which is nicer if you’re going to read a lot of magazines or newspapers, which I don't so I didn't need it.
The text is darker on Kindle 1 making it easier on the eyes. Kindle 1 has the SD card which is the main reason I don't want to give it up. An SD card of 4 gigs will hold a library. Also neither of Kindles has a file system. You could end up with 50 pages of books and have to scroll through al 50 pages one by one to find the book you’re looking for. Audio files are bigger and if you like audio books then the SD card is far easier to keep them separated from your regular books.
Kindle 2 is thinner, and has better button placement. I don't think I'd use text to speech. My mind tends to wander unless I'm doing the reading myself. I'm sure others will find it useful though. The dictionary feature on Kindle 2 is far better. But the text being darker on kindle 1 and the SD card slot were to major changes I couldn't give up.
Books tend to vary in price. Amazon actually has quite a few free books for Kindle. And these are decent books that are fairly new. Right before I bought my kindle, I bought a hard cover book for 18 dollars, on my kindle it was 9.99. So yes the kindle can save you money.
The Kindle doesn't have a backlight. It would be impossible to make it for E-ink. It is not that kind of technology and can’t be back lighted. Back lighting is what you have on LCD's and it is harsher on the eyes. E-ink gives you a paper book reading experience. You can't back light a paperback book, same with this.
When you get kindle in your hands you will not miss the feel of a book. You can blow up the text on the fly. Do quick dictionary look up of words, book mark pages, make notes on a page and refer back to it later. And I haven't even touched Whispernet yet.
Whispernet is Amazons free internet connection. I had my kindle at the doctor's office. I used it to surf Amazon's book store for a book to buy. If any interested me, I'd get the sample chapters right there in the Dr. office. Plus there is nothing like discovering there is a book you want to read at 1am because your bored and can't sleep, only to have it on your Kindle 60 seconds later. It's a wonderful little device and i'm sure you'll be happy with either Kindle 1 or 2.
I covered mine with a Squaretrade service contract for 3 years for about 30 dollars. If you buy it on Ebay, you can cover it for 2 years with them. This is what I would do if buying from Ebay. If it breaks and they can't fix it, they refund you what you paid for it within 5 days.
Just to give you another example, I have about 18 pages worth of books. A lot of them are series and with no filing system it can be a pain to thumb through 18 pages to find your book. Using the SD card I load all the books I want on that. I load 5 or 6 books into Kindles memory. I pull the SD card out (I leave it in the slot under the back panel so it doesn't fall out.) to where its not connecting but its still sitting in the slot. This way I still have access to them if I need them, but now I only have to see a screen with the main set of books I plain to read without going through 18 pages.
As I’ve already said, Kindle does plays audio books. Particularly Audible.com books are the best. They are tailored to work on Kindle best. The biggest problem I have is that with no file system, my audio books were mixed in among my eBooks. Now I just dump Audio books onto their own SD card. I also have a few audio books that are in mp3 format. One of them is nearly 700mb so you can imagine how quickly 2 of these would eat up Kindle 2's internal memory. If I’m on vacation and I want to take a few audio books along in the car as well as my eBook library, then I know I’m singing but that SD card really comes in handy.
Kindle also plays mp3s but it doesn't do it very well. Meaning you can set it to play whatever mp3 music files you have, but you can't control which ones it plays, or skip to go to the next one. It's a bit primitive as far as music playing goes.
Where Kindle shines most is books. I really love I can make standard size text much larger for these now older eyes.
I have EBooks from Ellora's Cave and a bunch of other places. There is a program Mobipocket Creator that will convert Word/Html/PDF files to a format the Kindle can read. ABC Amber Lit will convert Microsoft Lit files to a format that you can then use to convert on Mobipocket. It takes 3 minutes at most to convert a book over.
There is a misconception Amazon charges to convert books to its format for Kindle. When you buy your kindle you register it under whatever user name you give it. You then attach the file and send it to mailto:Username@free.kindle.com and kindle will convert the book for you and send it back to your email address for free. That process takes maybe 2 to 4 minutes to get the book back. I haven’t used the pay service. I have no idea how that works or what the point of it is since the free email above works just fine.
My best friend has the older Sony 500 Reader. As far as Design, I love the way the Sony looks over either Kindle. I think she picked her's up for 190 on Amazon. If you’re on a budget it’s a good way to go. The Sony 505 is better than the 500 because the screen is a little shaper, but you won't notice unless you have both models side by side. Sony has a better file type system, better looks but that’s about it. The Sony store is clunky, more expensive and Amazon's list of books for sale just can't be touched. However if you get your books from sources other than Amazon, it’s not a bad route to go either. The Sony also doesn't have built in internet, so you have to tether it to a pc to do updates and file transfers. It also has a card slot for storage.
I tell you one of my favorite things about using Kindle over a book, is with a book I had to use two hands to hold the book open or one hand if I managed to prop it up while laying in bed. With kindle, I lean it against a hump I make out of the blankets, my husband’s back, the side of my night stand, all hands free. All I have to do is click a button to turn the page. It is sooooo nice to read without fighting to hold a book open. I can lie on my stomach and just really get comfortable while I'm reading. :)
That’s my run down of the Kindle1 vs 2 and Sony Reader. I don’t think any of them are a bad choice. I just think Kindle 1 has a little more to offer. I’m hoping Kindle 3 will finally come out with a filing system for my books so I can sort them by series or author. For me that was the one features that was worth upgrading for and the most requested by most Kindle users. Still it did not make it to Kindle 2, so I’m still holding out.