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Image Gallery: Amazon's Kindle 2 has several improvements to lead the ebook reader field

The Amazon Kindle 2 was recently announced and is now shipping to consumers with a sleek new form factor and some other hardware improvements to make it the most compelling ebook reader on the market. The Whispernet wireless service and on-device Amazon store front set the device apart from the rest of the pack, but there are even more subtle improvements that make this $359 device a must have for book fans and gadget geeks.
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1 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Amazon Kindle 2 was recently announced and is now shipping to consumers with a sleek new form factor and some other hardware improvements to make it the most compelling ebook reader on the market. The Whispernet wireless service and on-device Amazon store front set the device apart from the rest of the pack, but there are even more subtle improvements that make this $359 device a must have for book fans and gadget geeks.

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2 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The box is only just over an inch thick and Amazon did a good job of creating a pleasant boxed package.

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3 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

You simply tear the perforated tab down the Once upon a time... end of the device.

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4 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Amazon lined the cardboard box with black paper that has glossy letters.

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5 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Amazon Kindle logo appears on the right side of the black lined paper, also in glossy black finish.

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6 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

After tearing down along the black paper side the paper folds back to reveal a light cardboard inner box.

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7 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Under this second box the Kindle 2 lies in a bed of plastic with a screen cover in place.

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8 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

A Quick Start Guide, USB cable, and A/C dongle can be found below the Kindle 2 plastic casing.

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9 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Quick Start Guide is helpful if you haven't use a Kindle before and will give you all the essentials you need to get started with ebook reading.

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10 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

A USB cable, with a microUSB end, is included along with an A/C adapter dongle.

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11 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The USB cable plugs right into the small Amazon-labeled dongle. I found that I could also charge the Kindle 2 with my Nokia and Palm microUSB chargers.

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12 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The microUSB end fits into the Kindle for charging up the device.

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13 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Kindle 1 came in a rather unique container and the Kindle 2 takes that further with a much greener package.

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14 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

As you can see the Kindle 1 box thickness reflects how thick the Kindle 1 is compared to the Kindle 2.

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15 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Here is another view of these two retail packages standing on end.

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16 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Here you can see the Kindle 2 is slightly taller than the Kindle 1. The Kindle 1 does seem to have a bolder font on it though.

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The Kindle 2 is on top of the Kindle 1 to give you a chance to see the differences in the keyboards.

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The Kindle 2 5-way controller is placed over the Kindle 1 scroll wheel design.

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19 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Kindle 2 is on top of the Kindle 1 and has much more compact buttons that should prevent accidental pressing of buttons.

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The 5-way controller is surrounded by the Menu and Back buttons.

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The Symbol key and font key are found on the right side of the keyboard.

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22 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Shift button and ALT key are on the left side of the keyboard.

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The QWERTY keyboard keys are rounded and have good tactile feedback. They are well spaced too so it should be fairly easy to use the keyboard.

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The previous and next page buttons on the left allow you to easily read your Kindle 2 with one hand.

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The 3.5mm headset jack and power switch are found on the top of the Kindle 2. The power switch is spring loaded and is used to lock the device and power it up.

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26 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The volume controller is on the upper right side.

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27 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

There are two stereo speakers on the lower back of the Kindle 2.

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In this photo you can see the brushed metal back and plastic top.

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29 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Amazon Kindle logo appears at the top of the brushed metal piece centered on the back.

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30 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Here you can see a comparison of the backs of both of the Kindle models.

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31 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Kindle 1 and 2 are placed next to the Sony Reader 505.

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The Sony Reader is a very compact device and is even more apparent when placed on the new slim Kindle 2.

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The Kindle 1 on the Sony Reader on the Kindle 2.

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Another view of these three ebook readers. You can see how thick the Kindle 1 is in this shot.

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The indicator light and microUSB port are found on the bottom of the Kindle 2.

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36 of 39 Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The Kindle 1, Sony Reader, and Kindle 2 on their sides show how thin the Kindle 2 really is.

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The Kindle 2 fits well in my hand and is even a bit lighter to be able to be carried longer.

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