Kindle DX 2 Review

The Kindle DX 2 is a very interesting eReader which occupies a very unique niche in the reading device market. Hopefully this Kindle DX 2 Review can paint you a good picture of the DX 2’s strengths, weaknesses, and unique status.

Kindle DX 2 Review – What makes it unique

Kindle DX 2 is the only large screen eReader (9.7″) available from the top 3 eReader brands (Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook). Since nearly every other eReader company is far behind the top 3 it’s perhaps your only choice if you want a top-notch large screen eReader.

The 9.7″ screen means you get 2.5 times the screen area you would from a 6″ Kindle 3 or 6″ Nook. It makes a pretty big difference with PDFs and newspapers and websites and is quite pleasurable even when reading. It also becomes your ideal eReader if you need or like rather large font size and still want lots of words on every page.

The other thing that makes it unique is the $379 price which is closer to the iPad than to eReaders. This balances out a lot of the positives and firmly cements it as an awkward caught-in-the-middle device. If the Kindle 3 and Nook are for people who love to read the Kindle DX 2 is for people who love to read and love it more than the next 5 things combined.

Kindle DX 2 Review – Top 3 Killer Features

The Kindle DX 2 really shines in some areas -

  1. eInk Pearl Screen – Electronic Ink is particularly suited to reading as it’s easy on the eyes, has great contrast, and only uses energy when refreshing the page. eInk Pearl is the latest generation eInk and it has 50% better screen contrast than the previous generation. It’s basically very close to print on paper and great for reading.
  2. Large Screen Size – The Kindle DX 2 has a large 9.7″ screen that makes it great if you want a lot of words per page or a larger font size or want to read newspapers and PDFs and magazines and websites that are all better suited to a larger screen. Plus you can put DX 2 in landscape mode for even better viewing of PDFs and websites. The screen size is 2.5 times the screen size of a 6″ eReader and a big plus. 
  3. Pairing with Amazon Kindle Store and Whispernet – Since the Kindle Store has a lot more newspapers and magazines and blogs than Sony’s Reader Store or the Nook Store it goes particularly well with the Kindle DX 2. Kindle DX 2’s large screen is great for reading websites so it’s fortuitous that Amazon has WhisperNet and offers free Internet browsing to US Kindle DX 2 owners and also to DX 2 owners in some other countries. The Kindle Store also has the best range of books and some of the lowest prices on non Agency Model books.

These are the 3 main super killer features that set DX 2 apart. There are a lot of opportunities for Amazon to add to this list – opportunities it hasn’t yet taken advantage of.

Killer Features Amazon could and should add to Kindle DX 2

There are 4 promising possibilities for the future and hopefully Amazon adds these so we can have a longer list of super killer Kindle DX 2 features -

  1. Potentially all of the Kindle 3 software improvements – Kindle DX 2 would add quite a few killer features if it got Kindle 3’s software improvements which include a new WebKit Browser (that would go superbly with the DX 2’s large screen), better PDF support, Voice Guide for full accessibility, tweaks for sharper fonts, 3 font choices, faster page turns, and lots of other smaller improvements.    
  2. Full-fledged PDF support – Kindle 3 added contrast settings and the ability to add notes and highlights to PDFs but it didn’t do a complete job. Kindle DX 2, due to its screen size, is particularly well suited for PDF reading and Amazon needs to add reflow support, proper highlighting, and various other features that would make DX 2 a full-fledged PDF reader.   
  3. $250 Price – Amazon could eat up the entire large screen eReader market if it can hit a lower price point. A price between $200 and $250 would be perfect.  
  4. Kindle Apps focused on (or suited for) Kindle DX 2 via Kindle App Store – The larger screen and wireless capability make RSS readers, Email Clients, and Read It Later type apps a big potential draw. The lack of WiFi is a handicap here but there are still a lot of possibilities.

Basically, the Kindle DX 2 is a very good eReader that has a lot of potential and room to grow. The Kindle 3 software improvements are quite likely to make it to DX 2. If the Kindle App Store takes off some valuable apps will make it to the DX 2. The other two will take more time – the PDF support might evolve to the point that the DX 2 can function as a full-fledged PDF reader but it might take 9 to 12 months, Kindle DX 2 pricing will probably hit $250 but not in the next 6 months.

There are also two potential killer features Amazon should consider for Kindle DX 3 -

  1. Writing Support – Sony 350 has shown that touch can be added to eReaders without compromising readability and it’s time the Kindle DX line added writing support.  
  2. WiFi Support – WiFi opens up a lot of possibilities and would also let Amazon cut down on price i.e. they could sell a cheaper Kindle DX WiFi.

There’s no way these could get added to Kindle DX 2 so please don’t factor these in when evaluating the DX 2.

Kindle DX 2 Review – Top 5 Weaknesses

The DX 2 has some significant weaknesses -

  1. It’s too expensive. $379 is a lot to pay for an eReader – even one that has a huge 9.7″ screen.  
  2. It doesn’t have the software improvements that Kindle 3 has – There are lots and lots of great improvements missing including faster page turns, voice guide, additional PDF features, and the WebKit Browser. This is a particularly surprising omission given that Kindle DX 2 is ideally suited for PDFs and better suited for web browsing.
  3. It’s too big and a bit heavy. It’s hard to carry and pack and one-handed reading is out of the question. It’s 10.4″ by 7.2″ by 0.38″ and weighs 18.9 ounces.
  4. No support for ePub or library books.
  5. It doesn’t play to its strengths. PDF support isn’t good enough to make it a solid PDF reader. There’s no writing support to make it ideal for students. The browser isn’t very good and prevents it from being great for web browsing. Basically, it misses out on being great at some things it is particularly well suited for.

Those are the biggest reading specific weaknesses. The next section will look at big weaknesses unrelated to reading and smaller reading related weaknesses.

Additional Kindle DX 2 Weaknesses

  1. It’s only great for reading. If you want a do-everything device or even a do-10-things device the DX 2 isn’t right for you.
  2. It doesn’t have touch.
  3. It doesn’t have a color screen.
  4. The page turns/refreshes take a bit of time. Around 0.9 to 1.1 seconds though those are rough measurements.
  5. It gets tiring to hold it for longer than 5-10 minutes – Ideally you want to be using both hands and even that can get tiring after a while and then you need something to rest it against.
  6. Not having all the software improvements added in Kindle 3 means a whole host of small negatives – no WebKit browser, no Voice Guide, and so forth.
  7. It doesn’t have WiFi.
  8. It’s only available in Graphite. Some people find that a white case is easier to read on (personally, don’t find a difference) and some have mentioned the case getting hot when it’s very hot outside.
  9. You’re locked into the Kindle Store as DRMed books from other stores don’t work. So your only options are the Kindle Store and stores that sell DRM-free books.

The list might be missing some weaknesses but suffice to say Kindle DX 2 isn’t perfect.

Kindle DX 2 Review – Additional Strengths

Here are some more Kindle DX 2 benefits -

  1. It’s focused on reading. It doesn’t compromise on the reading experience and that’s a big win.  
  2. It’s very easy to use with close to zero learning curve plus you don’t need a computer to use it. 
  3. It’s readable in direct sunlight. The eInk Pearl screen is also pretty readable in early evening type lighting conditions. You definitely need a reading light in the late evening and at night. A Kindle Lighted Cover for DX 2 would be perfect – Hopefully, Amazon makes one.
  4. There are no distractions – You can use the slow browser and that’s pretty much it. This advantage might disappear once the Kindle App Store opens.  
  5. Kindle DX 2 has really good battery life – 2 weeks with the 3G off and 1 week with the 3G on.
  6. You can start reading your book on DX 2 and continue on your phone (if it’s Blackberry, Android, or iPhone), then continue on your PC at work, and come back home and finish on the DX 2. Your position in the book, your notes, and your highlights are all saved and carried over.
  7. Free Store Browsing and books in 60 seconds.
  8. Text to Speech feature that reads your documents and books to you. Publishers sometimes turn this off.
  9. Accelerometer for auto-rotation of the screen which is more annoying than useful. You can set orientation manually and lock it.
  10. Wireless coverage in 100+ countries. Browse the Kindle Store for free in all these countries. For US Kindle DX 2 owners free Internet in all these countries.  
  11. It has 4 GB memory which is quite good.
  12. The Graphite case helps bring out the screen contrast of the eInk Pearl Screen better.

Kindle DX 2 definitely delivers all the advantages of the Kindle ecosystem – a focus on reading, strong infrastructure, great store, free Internet, 60 second downloads, and constant evolution and improvement.

Kindle DX 2 Review – A very good, work-in-progress eReader

The Kindle DX 2 is a very good eReader with some killer features and also some significant weaknesses.

  1. If you want a large screen dedicated eReader it’s the only option and a very good one.
  2. If you want a device for textbooks or PDFs or newspapers or reading websites it’s a decent option but needs some solid work from Amazon to become a very good option.
  3. If you want a dedicated eReader primarily for reading books the Kindle 3 might be a better option.
  4. If you want a device that does more than just read or perhaps one whose specialization is something other than reading then DX 2 is definitely not the right choice.

Do take a look at the Kindle DX 2 Video page and the Kindle DX 2 Photo page to get a better feel of what you’d get for your money. The Kindle DX 2 videos and photos include size and screen comparisons with Kindle, Nook, and Sony Reader.

The Kindle DX 2 is a few features and a price cut away from being the perfect large screen eReader. Given Amazon’s history it’s likely to reach there in 4-10 months and if you have a strong need for a large screen eReader you can get a Kindle DX 2 and be reasonably confident that Amazon will keep improving the DX 2 and the Kindle Store.

Kindle DX Review 2010

This Kindle DX Review is based on approximately 2 months of use of the International Kindle DX. This includes reading 3 to 6 books and a few short stories on it (Dragon Keeper, City at World’s End, Iron Council, perhaps Scar, perhaps 33 AD, perhaps Brood of the Witch Queen, Overtime) and also playing around a lot with it.

Using the Kindle DX alongside the Kindle 2, the iPad, the Nook, the iPhone, and (rarely) Sony Reader helped paint a very good picture of the Kindle DX’s strengths and weaknesses as an eReader. This Kindle DX review will use all this experience, use the What makes a good eReader? post as a skeleton, and try out some new things.

Well, let’s jump in.

Kindle DX Review – the indispensable eReader functions

Given that the Kindle DX comes with the screen technology, design philosophy (simple and easy), platform, and store of the Kindle 2 it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it does exceptionally well when it comes to the indispensable eReader functions.

Being able to get books on the Kindle DX

There’s a rich range of content courtesy the Kindle Store (over 500,000 books) and free book sources like Gutenberg and the Internet Archive. Combine that with -

  1. Free, quick wireless downloads anywhere in the world. Supposedly now available even if your home country isn’t USA (only confirmed for UK and some other countries – please check details for your country at the Kindle DX product page). 
  2. 3G access which means not having to search for a WiFi network – although you must get decent cell reception in your home/office for it to work. 
  3. The Kindle Store being open 24/7 with easy returns (in the Kindle DX there’s a return option on the purchase confirmation page).

And you have a winning formula.

The Kindle Store still has the largest number of new books and the Kindle DX’s larger 9.7″ screen makes browsing the Kindle Store easier.

A solid 9 stars out of 10.

The book reading experience on the Kindle DX

The Kindle DX shines when it comes to reading books -

  1. The eInk screen works marvellously for reading – the eInk is sharp, it works in sunlight, and there’s no eye-strain. 
  2. The larger screen makes it easier to read – you can choose between getting more text per page or reading in a larger font. 
  3. The battery life is very long. 1 week with wireless on and 2 weeks with wireless off. 
  4. Good solid features – changeable font sizes, accelerometer based screen rotation, and good reference features. 
  5. It’s completely focused on reading.

It was a lot of fun reading on the Kindle DX after a few weeks spent mostly with the iPad. Kindle DX vs iPad is one of those comparisons where you know what’s better for you and what’s more fun to read on – However, if you’re not careful you’re going to invent a non-reading related reason to pick the iPad. Which is perfectly OK if reading isn’t your top priority.

Another solid 9 stars out of 10.

It’s more fun to read on the Kindle DX

Perhaps it’s an individual thing – a combination of which books were read, having just switched from the iPad, and liking the larger screen more. However, the Kindle DX is a lot of fun to read on.

One of my favorite things is driving and in some ways reading on a Kindle DX (or for that matter on a good, dedicated reading device like Kindle or Nook) is like driving a very good car. There’s no substitute for a car that’s built with the sheer pleasure of driving in mind and that’s exactly what the Kindle DX is – it’s built for reading. There are things it could and should do to improve – However, it gets most of the features right.

Perhaps fun is the third indispensable eReader function – Is it fun to read on a particular eReader?

Well, it most definitely is fun to read on the DX – more fun than reading on the iPad. Also, while the Kindle 2 is more convenient and better value for money, the Kindle DX is a tiny bit more fun to read on. Makes you wonder whether the ideal screen size for eReaders is perhaps 8″ or 9″.

Yet another solid 9 stars out of 10.

Kindle DX Review – the hugely important eReader functions

Let’s start with a new criteria that is missing from previous eReader reviews.

Value for Money – Is the Kindle DX worth $489?

There’s an easy answer to this – If you compare it with the $259 Kindle 2 or the $499 iPad it doesn’t match up.

The Kindle 2’s only drawback (if you can call it that) is the smaller screen size. It compensates by being smaller, more portable, lighter, well suited to one-handed reading, and $230 cheaper.

The iPad is not meant for reading and its primary selling points are the excellent screen (though not optimal for reading) and variety of functionalities. It’s hard to compare something that can do 100 or more things well with a device that does one or two things exceptionally well.

Yet the Kindle DX provides a far better reading experience than the iPad and people who want that will pay the $489. Amazon would make things much easier if it dropped the price by $150 to $189.

The answer to the question is Yes and No. Yes, the Kindle DX is worth $489. No, it’s not because by now Amazon ought to have figured out a way to reduce its price drastically.   

A poor 5 stars out of 10.

Screen Quality and Size

The Kindle DX has an excellent eInk screen – it’s very readable and has good, solid contrast. It’s 9.7″ with 1200 by 824 pixels at 150 pixels per inch and has 16 shades of grey.

We’ll handle the negative impact of the Kindle DX’s screen size on portability in the Portability section. As far as reading goes the 9.7″ screen is great – it lets you get a lot on every page, go with very large fonts without making the number of words per page a joke, and has about as much space for words per page as a hardcover.

Kindle DX reviews very well on screen quality and size – 8 stars out of 10.

Kindle DX – Review of Ease of Use

The Kindle DX is very, very easy to use. It would get a very high score if it weren’t for the tiny keyboard with the qwerty keys doubling up to serve as number keys. The other pain point is the lack of page turns buttons on the left side.

7 stars out of 10.

Kindle DX Portability

This is almost a trick question – Compare it with the iPad and it’s lighter and around the same size. Compare it with the Kindle 2 and it’s hardly portable at all.

Here are the upsides – It’s quite thin at 0.38″, the weight is a low 18.9 ounces (given the size), you can hold it in one hand for short stretches, you can fit it into larger bags and it doesn’t add much weight, and it’s easy to hold and carry in your hand. There’s also the great battery life and the large memory (3.3 GB of available memory).

Here are the downsides – At 10.4″ by 7.2″ it’s quite big, you can’t hold it for long using one hand, left-handed reading is ruled out due to the lack of buttons on the left side, and it won’t fit in smaller purses.

6 stars out of 10. Harsh but you’re comparing against some really portable options like Kindle and Nook.

Reference features on the Kindle DX

Kindle DX shines here as not only does it have the built-in dictionary, a good search function, Wikipedia access, and free Internet browsing, it has a large screen which makes everything easier – see more of the website or Wikipedia page on the screen, see more text corresponding to search results on the screen, and so forth.

9 out of 10 stars. At times the Kindle DX misses out because handing out 9.5 or 10 would indicate things are close to perfect and they’re not. A lot of the 9s are more like 9.2s and 9.3s.

Search

The Kindle DX displays as many search results per page as the Kindle – However, it displays much more text which makes it much easier to figure out which search result you want. It’s quite an important change.

Some readers (like Sony Reader) highlight the results in the book itself which means that you can see much more of the text and figure out if it’s the result you want. However, it means that usually only 1 result is shown per page. The Kindle, on the other hand, shows you 6 results per page with 2 lines of text (not sentences, lines) so you have more results per page but less context. The iPad uses a similar model with 6 search results with 2 or so lines per result.

The Kindle DX combines the best things about each to show you 6 results per page with 5 lines per search result. It makes the Kindle DX’s search function arguably the best.

9 stars out of 10.

Kindle DX Review – Content Rights and Content Portability

A lot has changed with this over the last year – The Kindle is not ‘open’ and yet you can access your Kindle books on other devices thanks to various Kindle Apps.

  1. You have Kindle for PC, Kindle for Mac, Kindle for iPhone, Kindle for iPad, Kindle for Blackberry, and soon Kindle for Android. That means your content is readable on a lot of devices.
  2. You can download a book as many times as you like and now for free all over the world (please check details for your country on the Kindle DX product page).
  3. You can share the same book across 5 to 6 devices (Publishers set the number and it’s almost always 5 or 6).
  4. There is still no support for ePub.
  5. Kindle books still don’t work on other dedicated reading devices – not on the Nook, not on the Sony Reader.

PDF support has always been present on the Kindle DX and its larger screen size and landscape orientation both help make reading PDFs much easier. Kindle 2.5 update promises to add support for zooming and panning PDFs.

Kindle DX gets 7 out of 10 on content rights and portability. 9 if you are OK with using Kindle Apps, 5 if you’re anti-DRM.

Kindle DX Review – Annotations

Kindle DX doesn’t have touch, has a Lilliputian keyboard, and has one row of keys serving two purposes (qwerty and numbers) – It makes for a rather unpleasant note-taking experience.

Adding highlights and bookmarks is easy. It’s easy to look at all your highlights and notes in the My Clippings File, transfer them to your PC, or to look at them on kindle.amazon.com. You will also be able to see Most Popular Highlights once Kindle 2.5 is released.

All the great features are limited by the terrible keyboard.

5 out of 10 stars.

Kindle DX Review – Changeable Font Sizes

There are currently 6 font sizes on the Kindle DX and the Kindle 2.5 update promises two more, super sized fonts. Given the larger screen size of the Kindle DX and the accelerometer (which means automatic switching to landscape mode) the variety in font sizes really shines on the Kindle DX.

9 out of 10 stars. This assumes Kindle 2.5 is factored in.

Audiobooks

There are a good set of controls, Amazon owns Audible and supports Audible audiobooks, there are sources for free audiobooks (Librivox), and the stereo speakers work well. You’ll probably have to find someone who listens to audiobooks more (which shouldn’t be difficult) for a better opinion.

Perhaps 7 out of 10 stars.

Kindle DX Review – Does it have an Easy to Use Store? 

Yes, very much so.

You get all the benefits of the Kindle Store – wide range, easy navigation, good recommendation engine, lots of reviews from Amazon customers and Kindle owners, nice categorization of books, a good search function. You get all of this on a larger, 9.7″ screen.

It’s a very solid 9 stars out of 10.

One Handed Use

The Kindle DX stumbles here since it is heavier and holding it in one hand for longer than 5-10 minutes is very tiring. It’s also not possible to read using your left hand as there are no page turn buttons on the left side and the reverse the screen suggestion is asinine – Who wants to read with a keyboard above the screen?  

Very un-Amazon like to make things complicated for readers and hopefully they change the design back to buttons on both sides for Kindle DX 2.

5 stars for One Handed Reading.

Time and Date on the Kindle DX

Press the Menu button on any screen to see the time. The Kindle’s ‘type in @t on the home screen’ secret doesn’t work here to figure out the date.

6 out of 10 stars since having the time handy is useful.

Language Support

There has been some progress with the Kindle Store now allowing books in French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese in addition to English. There still isn’t support for languages not based on the English alphabet. There are font hacks – However, they aren’t official and they prevent you from updating the Kindle until you uninstall them.

2 stars out of 10.

Kindle DX Review – Folders and Book Organization

This is a big, big feature arriving in the Kindle 2.5 update. All signs (and the help text) indicate it is done intelligently and in a way that isn’t confusing or overwhelming.

The addition of Folders/Collections will make at least 50% of Kindle owners happier with their Kindles. It’ll also give the Kindle DX and Kindle 2 an advantage over the Nook and negate the Sony Reader’s advantage (it’s had collections for a while). iPhone and iPad get Folders of their own in iOS4 although they are a bit limited and apply to apps and not books.

9 out of 10 stars. This factors in the Kindle 2.5 update.

Kindle DX Review – the nice to have eReader features

The Kindle DX has had some very good scores and only a few poor ones so far. Now we start running into some of the Kindle DX’s obvious disadvantages.

Kindle DX Review – Looks

The Kindle DX shares some of the Kindle 2’s design (white border around an eInk screen, brushed aluminium back, 5-way and similar buttons on the right side) and yet is decidedly different looking. The screen takes up much more space, the keyboard and lower panel take up much less space, and it makes the side and upper panel seem smaller (though they’re not) and gives the screen a lot more prominence.

It’s surprising how much of an effect having a larger screen has on looks.

6 stars out of 10.

Free Internet Access

This is a big feature despite the slow speed of the Internet connection. Combine it with the recently added worldwide free wireless downloads and Amazon are really getting mileage out of WhisperNet and AT&T.

The best way to think of the Free Internet Access is -

  1. There’s no wireless plan. You pay absolutely nothing.
  2. Browsing the store is reasonably OK.
  3. Kindle Store Books download in just 60 seconds.
  4. You can check some basic sites and nearly all mobile versions of sites. Not bad for what you pay.
  5. Speeds are slow – However, lots of mobile sites are optimized so they work fine. Expect to wait 10 or more seconds for mobile versions of sites and 30 or more seconds for non-mobile versions. A lot of the latter will not work – even in the Advanced Mode of the browser.

The browser works pretty well for reading sites that are mostly text and for sites that have good mobile versions. The larger screen of the Kindle DX also helps make using the Internet more enjoyable.

8 stars out of 10.

Color

eInk doesn’t support color and according to Mr. Bezos we shouldn’t be expecting this anytime soon.

Incomplete.

Kindle DX Review – Text to Speech Feature

While some Publishers disable this feature a lot don’t. For the books that have this enabled it’s an extremely valuable feature – despie the fact that the voice doesn’t sound very human and it mispronounces some words. Valuable enough that Apple are pretending their accessibility feature is a Text to Speech feature.

You also have it available on all public domain books and all your personal documents. It’s not available on PDFs.

8 out of 10 stars.

Journal

Kindle DX does not have a journal feature. You do have to think that when the Kindle App Store arrives someone will add one. Having a device with a keyboard and a crisp paper like screen just begs for the addition of a Diary or Journal App.

Incomplete.

Extensions and Utilities

This is another area that the Kindle App Store ought to serve – daily planners, weekly planners, vocabulary games, word games, and other apps that would go well with an eReader.

0 out of 10 stars.

Kindle DX Review – Games & Diversions

There’s minesweeper – Press Alt+Shift+M on the home page. There’s also GoMoKu which is sort of like Tic Tac Toe crossed with a chessboard.

This is yet another category that would be well served by apps. You do have to wonder how much of a distraction it will be – just figured out that GoMoKu isn’t half bad and there may very well be games and apps that are quite a diversion from reading.

3 out of 10 stars. Not sure whether a high rating here would be good for eReaders (and reading) or bad.

Background Music

Kindle DX has pretty much the same background music support as a Kindle 2. It allows playing music, pausing the current song, and jumping to the next track.

5 stars out of 10.

Device Lock, Lost and Found options

The addition of a password lock feature in the Kindle 2.5 update (detect a theme ;) ) will be a valuable addition. There is still no option to lock purchases (as opposed to the whole Kindle).

4 out of 10 stars. Yet again we’re factoring in the Kindle 2.5 update.

Personalization

Kindle DX, like the Kindle 2, does not provide any customization options – not even custom screensavers. Your only option is to get 3rd party skins, covers, and cases, or to add-on your own stickers or whatever else you might like – glitter, unicorn horns, shrunken heads.

5 out of 10 stars.

Kindle DX Review – Overall 7.75 Stars Rating, Recommended with reservations

The Kindle DX gets straight 9s on ease of getting books, the book reading experience, and being fun to own and read on. There’s little doubt it’s an excellent eReader and it aces the indispensable eReader functions.

The first downsides begin to appear when we look at hugely important eReader functions. It only scores 7 out of 10 despite a bunch of 9s (screen quality and size, search, reference, folders, easy to use store) because it does badly on Value for Money and really badly in areas like annotations, one-handed use, and language support.

It scores only 5 stars out of 10 in the ‘Nice to Have eReader features’ category though an eventual Kindle App Store would improve that to a 7 or perhaps even higher.

We end up with an overall rating of approximately 7.75 since the first two categories of features hold a lot more weight than the nice to have category. It’s hard not to think of the crucial importance of three factors -

  1. The Kindle 2.5 Update. This is arriving soon and is already factored in – without it the Kindle DX wouldn’t remain competitive. 
  2. The price Amazon decides to sell Kindle DX and Kindle DX 2 at. Value for Money is perhaps the biggest weakness of the Kindle DX at the moment.
  3. When the Kindle App Store will open and what apps it will provide. This could be a game changer – at best it could add a couple of killer features that other dedicated eReaders don’t have and at worst it would give the Kindle DX a better score in the ‘Nice to Have eReader features’ category.

The Reservations have to do almost entirely with these three things. If Amazon addresses two out of these three well the Kindle DX is a strong buy. If it addresses all three then the decision is a no-brainer.

The final caveat is that this entire Kindle DX review supposes that reading books and reading are your main priorities. If you are looking for something that ‘also can be used to read books’ you would be better served with a netbook or an iPad.

Kindle DX Review – Kindle DX Owner Reviews

June 11th 11:25 am update: The first people to get their kindle dx are putting up their kindle dx review. So far we have 4 people put up 5 star kindle dx reviews and one person put up a 3 star.

First, a Kindle DX video from GearLog

Next, kindle dx review data from Amazon -

Kindle DX Review Statistics

So far (June 11th 11:27 am) -

  1. Total reviews: 5. 
  2. Positive Kindle DX Reviews: 4. All give it 5 out of 5 stars. 
  3. Negative Kindle DX Reviews: 1. Well, it’s sort of negative since he says he prefers the Kindle 2.

Kindle DX Review from owners

So far four 5 star reviews, and one 3 star review (who returned it as the Kindle 2 suits him better).

David Edmiston has a very positive review -

 the DX takes Kindle reading to the next level. The amount of content that fits onto the screen is a vast improvement … even better than the *quantity* of content is the *quality* of the content. 

I write technical documents for a living. The product documentation that I write is full of images, diagrams, and rich formatting.  I couldn’t believe my eyes when I loaded my PDFs onto the Kindle DX. The formatting of the page displayed perfectly!!! Zooming and rotating was simple.

A very positive review from Art Sedighi -

Overall, a good buy … One of the key features that I was looking for was the ability for the reader to read and process PDF documents …
With the DX, problem is solved! The large screen is great for documents that cannot be “reformatted” – i.e. pdf. Carrying it is a little difficult, but it is a price you pay for features you want.

What I don’t like about the kindle is as follows:
– Color screen is a must – I heard that this will be the next version
– Wireless is great, but it is not a general web browser. This can be a benefit if you are on the road.
– Memory expansion to sizes of 16G+ is needed
– Price is little too much
I am happy with the DX – it was a good buy and I highly recommend.

T. Tom is a Top 500 Reviewer on Amazon, the first actual owner to put up a review, and his review is really interesting (it’s 3 stars) –  

This Kindle version is a bit too expensive however if you primarily read newspapers, magazines or text books, the larger screen is probably worth it over the Kindle 2.

However, note that the Kindle DX is not nearly as easy to travel with …

Also, cuddling up with a novel on the Kindle DX may not be as comfortable …

After using and comparing both models, I prefer the 6″ Kindle for the lower price, and better convenience in almost every way but I read mostly books and few newspapers, magazines or textbooks. I can still read those on my 6″ Kindle with no problem however I would have a problem using and carrying around the larger Kindle. I am therefore returning the Kindle DX.

Alexander Scherr & N. Jenkins have also each put up their Kindle DX review and both are 5 stars.

Kindle DX Review from non-owners at Amazon

Amazon started letting people add a kindle dx review today, and some people haven’t let the lack of actually having a kindle dx stop them ;) .  

  1. First we have a somewhat reasonable complaint on lack of an SD card -

    Reading the fine print, and offering only a 4gb internal storage.. I canceled my pre-order.

      Amazon has said that the focus on making Kindle 2 thin led to the removal of the SD card.

  2. Next we have a rather amusing complaint centered around lack of color -

    I write and illustrate books, vanity press…amazon… When Kindle DX includes colour…I will run not walk to buy one! … WELL…what are you waiting for….get on it and let me know when my COLOUR KINDLE DX is ready!

Its interesting to see only a few people putting up negative reviews so far.

Kindle DX Review from Wired Magazine – 7/10

Wired Magazine’s Steven Levy gives the Kindle DX a 7/10. Here are his thoughts -

Kindle DX Review – the Pros

  1.  2.5 times the screen size.
  2. Nearly as thin as the Kindle 2. 
  3. Still light-weight.
  4. Built-In PDF Reader.
  5. He actually had time to test the DXs battery – yes, that really is ‘exclusive’ access.

Kindle DX Review – the Cons

  1. Price – His suggestions of a $300 price for the Kindle 2 and $400 for the Kindle DX do make sense.
  2. Key board is smaller than the Kindle 2. 
  3. He points out that it’s only 4 months since the Kindle 2 was released, and to be quite frank that is a con in a lot of people’s minds. 
  4. Lack of page turn buttons on the Left Side. This is a major disadvantage in my mind.
  5. Landscape Mode gets triggered too easily.
  6. Newspapers are still unwieldy.

Steven Levy has written a good review. A few general thoughts -

  1. There are no videos, no video comparison with the Kindle 2, and only one side by side picture. An image gallery would have been a nice touch too.
  2. It provides, in my opinion, a very balanced perspective.
  3. It does answer two of my questions i.e. newspapers are still unwieldy, and the lack of page turn buttons on the left side is an inconvenience.
  4. Can’t belive he doesn’t discuss folders.

Steven Levy is the journalist who wrote the award winning ‘The Future of Reading’ article introducing the Amazon Kindle to begin with. No wonder he gets an exclusive.

Closing Thoughts

The first journalist kindle dx review gives it just a 7/10. The first kindle dx owner review was poor, however the next two have been 5 stars. 

The Kindle DX is definitely a different line and price and lack of color seem to be the two big drawbacks. Its itneresting that 2 of 3 owners gave it 5 stars so far. After 100 or so owner reviews we’ll have a better picture.

Here’s to hoping the Kindle 3 release and the Kindle DX 2 release are revolutionary instead of evolutionary.

Kindle DX Review

Over 250 people have put up their Kindle DX review at Amazon and the opinions are generally favorable. Here’s my Kindle DX review -

Kindle DX Review – Who is the Kindle DX suited for?

The Kindle DX is great for –   

  1. Textbooks – PDF support, low weight (no more heavy textbooks), low priced Kindle textbooks make it ideal for students. PDFs don’t allow notetaking.
  2. Business and Professional Use – You’ll love that kindle dx lets you carry around all your business and technical documents and PDFs.
  3. Anyone with low vision – Changeable fonts, eInk and landscape mode means great readability. 

The DX is good for reading newspapers, magazines though keep in mind that it lacks color and the navigation is awkward.

The Kindle 2 is a better choice -

  1. If you want portability. Kindle 2 is more compact, lighter, easier to carry around.
  2. If you mostly read books books – Kindle 2 is $130 less and size wise Kindle 2 -> Paperback; Kindle DX -> Hardcover.

Kindle DX Review – Photos

  1. Kindle DX from the front –

    Kindle DX front view

    Kindle DX front view

  2. Size comparison of the Kindle DX with the Kindle 1 – 

    Kindle DX Screen almost as big as Kindle 1 (which is same size as Kindle 2)

    Kindle DX Screen almost as big as Kindle 1 (which is same size as Kindle 2)

Kindle DX Review – Top 5 Features

  1. Large, Readable eInk Screen – The 9.7″ Kindle DX Screen is great for reading textbooks. A customer kindle dx review states -

    the screen is also sharper and crisper than my Kindle 2 in a side-by-side comparison: the text is darker, and the contrast is much better, making for better visibility overall.

  2. PDF Support – Kindle DX has official Adobe PDF support. PDFs look great and have page numbers. 
  3. Free Wireless Internet – Free Internet Access and Free Wikipedia so you can use it for reference. Do note that the browser has limited functionality. 
  4. Cheap Textbooks Delivered Wirelessly in 60 seconds – There’ll be good prices (Amazon Kindle Editions of books usually are $9.99 instead of $24.99). Amazon is claiming 60% of textbooks will be covered initially.
  5. Convenience – Carry 3,500 books and textbooks. Buy books and textbooks instantly, anytime. Change Font Sizes, number of words per line, and spacing between lines.

Kindle DX Review – DX Video

Look at my Kindle 2 Video page to see the eInk screen in detail. The DX screen is 2.5 times larger than Kindle 2’s, and kindle dx reviews confirm that it has better contrast than Kindle 2.

Kindle DX Review – Pros  

Top Kindle DX Pros 

  1. PDF Support – Official Adobe PDF support, reviewers note that PDF documents look great. Also, searching a PDF highlights the found terms. Plus page numbers for PDFs.
  2. Cheaper Textbooks. Cheap Books ($9.99 for new releases and bestsellers).
  3. Kindle for iPhone and WhisperSync – You can read a document or textbook across your Kindle DX, iPhone and iTouch. Your annotations, bookmarks and the page you’re on are synchronized wirelessly.
  4. Large Screen – The 9.7″ screen is a great size.
  5. eInk Screen – Close to zero eye strain. Much, much closer to reading a book than a computer screen.
  6. Auto-rotate – looks to be a good, solid feature.
  7. Read To Me – Provided publishers don’t turn it off for their books, books can be read out to you by the Kindle DX while you drive, cook, etc.
  8. You can change the font size, the number of words per line and the spacing between lines. 
  9. Really big largest Font Size making it great for low vision people.

    At the largest font size, a capital letter is 3/16″ tall (just under 1/4″). Full character height–from the bottom of a “g” to the top of a “d”–is 1/4″.

  10. Long Battery Life – Kindle DX lasts 4 days with wireless on, and 2 weeks with wireless off.
  11. Large Storage – The 3.3GB of available storage (out of 4 GB overall) gives you a lot of space (3,500 books).
  12. Free Wireless Internet – WhisperNet (in Sprint coverage areas). Free is much better than a $40 a month wireless data plan. Also, browsing the web in landscape mode is great.
  13. Kindle Store has 7,000+ free public domain books.

More Kindle DX Pros

  1. In-Built Dictionary and Wikipedia access.
  2. Free Cloud Storage – Any books you buy are stored in the Amazon cloud and you can download them anytime.
  3. Good Screen Resolution – 1200 by 824 with 16 shades of grey.
  4. Normal books are much cheaper in their Kindle Edition. Books usually retail for $9.99.
  5. More than 300,000 books.
  6. Good coverage of textbooks as 3 of the big textbook publishers are on-board. Addison Wiley, Pearson, Prentice Hall, Longman and many more.
  7. Light and Thin – The Kindle DX is just 0.38″ thick. Its also light at 18.9 ounces.

The thinness of the Kindle DX is a nice contrast to the large 9.7″ screen -

Kindle DX with 9.7" screen and PDF Support Kindle DX with 9.7″ screen and PDF Support

Kindle DX Review – Cons

  1. Price – The $489 price is definitely high (eInk technology is still evolving). Consider the Kindle 2 which is $359 (compare them at Kindle 2 VS Kindle DX).  
  2. No Color – eInk will not have color technology till 2011. There are other technologies (like Pixel Qi) that will have color ePaper before that.
  3. No Folders. There’s no way to organize your books and documents.
  4. No TouchScreen.
  5. For PDFs, text to speech, dictionary and 5 way controller don’t work. There are also no annotations or highlighting for PDFs. And there is no Table of Contents.
  6. Lack of extra storage – no SD card slot.
  7. Note-taking is painful. It’s nothing like just jotting down notes.
  8. The keyboard sucks.
  9. Screen Refresh Speed – Screen takes a fraction of a second to refresh. Do look at the Kindle 2 videos – screen technology is going to be the same i.e. how it looks, how it refreshes.
  10. No support for video.
  11. Only available in white.

Kindle DX Review – Recommendation

The Kindle DX is a very good choice if you are looking for a textbook reader or a reader for business documents – get a Kindle DX if you can live with the higher price. Its also an excellent choice if you have low vision.

Kindle DX is a reasonable choice for reading newspapers and magazines. 

For reading books or if you’d like a portable reader you can take everywhere with you, the Kindle 2 is the better choice.

Hope this kindle dx review helped you.

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