Amazon Kindle 2 review

Barry de la Rosa
15 Dec 2009
Amazon Kindle 2
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
inc VAT

Kindle ties you into Amazon's proprietary format, but the hardware is good and you can buy books from practically anywhere.



Amazon's Kindle, which has proved popular in the US, is finally available in the UK.

It doesn't look like other eBook readers, with a keyboard below the display, but more importantly it has a built-in 3G modem that hooks straight into Amazon's Kindle Store.

The mobile connection enables you to buy books, newspapers and magazines. These come in Amazon's own proprietary eBook format (AZW), so can't be read on other eBook readers, although PC software is available and there's an iPhone app, too. If you know what you're after, you can simply search the store, but the long lists of books aren't ideal for browsing.

Prices, which are all in US dollars, are roughly equivalent to those from other online bookshops, although Amazon offers some good deals on current US bestsellers. You can subscribe to newspapers or magazines, which are automatically downloaded, with one month of The Times costing $23 (around £14). However, UK users will not get photos or images in newspapers or magazines. The 1.4GB of storage will store more than 1,000 eBooks, but a memory card slot would have been a useful addition.

The Kindle 2 is an international product, so you can use it pretty much anywhere in the world. It works on US mobile giant AT&T's roaming network, but the exact UK mobile partner has not been disclosed, although coverage maps are available on Amazon's Kindle page. It will fall back to GPRS when 3G coverage isn't available. Even with 3G coverage, navigating the store is rather sluggish, taking up to five seconds to load each page.

You can also connect the Kindle to your PC via USB, but format support is limited compared to other readers. It will recognise standard text files, so you can get free classics from the vast collection at Project Gutenburg. Sadly, there's no support for the popular Epub format, so it's not suitable for those with an existing eBook collection. As we went to press, a firmware update added support for PDF documents, but there's no zoom function to let you read small text.