Kindle 2 Review

Amazon released the Kindle on February 24th, of which I received yesterday, the 24th. Not having the first Kindle I thought I’d go ahead and buy the second one to see what changes Amazon had made from the first version.

The Kindle 2 is an interesting device. The Kindle 2 is an e-book reader that is based on E-ink technology. The Kindle sports 16 shades of gray which provides some very crisp pictures and some very crisp text. The screen on the Kindle is a 600 by 800 pixel. Which, for those who might remember, used to be a standard screen resolution for many years, and is still used by some people. Its 167 pixels per inch, which is quite a bit.

The processor within the Kindle is a 532MHz ARM processor, which is faster than the iPhone 3G’s processor, which clocks in at 412MHz. Which is plenty fast for turning pages when reading or doing some basic web browser with the experimental browser.

The layout of the entire device is elegant. The navigation is done via a 5 way joystick; up, down, left, right and a center click. The entire device is quite simple to figure out, even without the user manual. All I had to do was turn it on, and it was just easy to navigate and determine how everything works.

The buttons on the device are placed quite well. The only complaint I’d have about it is that there are 2 next page buttons, and only one previous page button. I’d like to see a second previous page button. But again, I’m not sure exactly how useful this would be, since most people probably don’t go back a page.

The 3G Network called ‘Whispernet’, provided by Sprint, does a great job of having all of my content sent to me without any issues, thus far. I woke up this morning and had the New York Times, and Chicago Tribune waiting for me to read, if and when I wanted to. This is definitely a nice thing to have.

The ‘flash’ that everybody talks about when the page is turned doesn’t bother me. Yes, it’s noticeable but it’s definitely not something that gets annoying. If anything it’s a good indicator in case you notice something weird happening (so far, I haven’t noticed anything unusual).

One feature that I have noticed that nobody is talking about is the American Oxford Dictionary that is natively on the device. It allows you to search and look up words, or highlight a word in your book or article and look that word up automatically.

As of this writing, the selection of Magazines and newspapers isn’t that good. There’s less than three dozen newspapers and just under two dozen magazines. I expect this change as the cost of print mediums continues to skyrocket.

Overall the Kindle 2 is a great device for getting your content on the go, or just to sit and transfer it via USB from your computer. But there are definitely a few things I’d like to see with it.

The first of these is an API to allow additional applications, like a better web browser or a link to my Audible account so I can download Audible books straight to the Kindle. I do not see why this wouldn’t be possible since Amazon owns Audible.

The other thing I’d like to see is the ability to have custom ‘Screen savers’. I like the pictures of the authors that show up now, but it would be cool to be able to add your own photos, just by uploading them to your Kindle. I’ll be sure to keep everybody up to date on the progress of any updates and the like with the Kindle.

Westinghouse LN2610 Review

I purchased a 26″ (25.5″ viewable) Westinghouse, model L2610NW from Buy.com for $249.99 with free shipping. The monitor itself isn’t too bad, it works, but there are definitely some issues with it. The biggest issue I have with the monitor is that it seems as though it was very cheaply made.

When you turn the monitor on, with the speakers muted there is an audible sound emitted from the speakers. Can somebody please explain to me why the speakers should even be making ANY noise when they are muted. It just defies logic.

The next issue I have is that if you try and turn down the brightness via the monitor an audible hum comes out of the speakers. This just seems like it’s wrong. I mean how can turning down the brightness affect the speakers. Just doesn’t make any sense.

The final issue I have is that the native resolution is supposed to be 1920×1200. I cannot, for the life of me, get my computer to display this. When I attempt to adjust the settings via my display preference panel, I end up getting an ‘out of Sync’ message. Why you may ask. Because the monitor is incorrectly reporting the resolution as 1900×1200@62Hz, not 60Hz like it’s supposed to.

According to Westinghouse’s website:

“Since Westinghouse LCD TVs and Monitors are plug-and-play devices, they do not require any drivers. If your computer is unable to display at the recommended resolution, please check your graphics card to see if it supports the recommended resolution. You can periodically check the graphics card manufacturer’s website for any updates.”

Well, people wouldn’t have issues if your crap actually worked.

The monitor itself does work, and it looks good, even when only at 1080p. It is available at buy.com for $249.99. I would only recommend buying this monitor if you don’t plan on using it above 1080p, and you don’t need the internal speakers. The screen real estate provided by this monitor is quite nice though. I’d recommend that either Westinghouse improve their ‘monitor’ quality, or just stick to making televisions. If you can afford something else, get it. Otherwise, you get what you pay for.