Kindle 3 PDF Photos, Video

Now that the Kindle 3 is shipping it’s worth looking at Kindle 3’s PDF capabilities.

First, we’ll go over Kindle 3’s PDF capabilities in detail. Next, we’ll look at a lot of Kindle 3 PDF photos and at one Kindle 3 PDF video.

Kindle 3 PDF – New PDF Features in Kindle 3

There are lots of new Kindle 3 PDF features –

  1. Notes and Highlights – You can now add notes and highlights to a PDF. This is a huge addition.
  2. ‘Nudge’ added to PDF pan and zoom. Now when you are zoomed into a PDF not only can you pan using the 5-way you can also ‘nudge’ by holding the Shift key and pressing the 5-way – a nudge is a slight pan (a tiny incremental shift).
  3. Adjust contrast of PDFs. Kindle 3 gives you the choice of 6 contrast options – lightest, lighter, default, darker, and darkest. This is very helpful for PDFs that are too light or have been scanned without enough contrast.
  4. Support for reading Password protected PDFs.
  5. The Dictionary now works in PDFs. A nice addition though it didn’t work for one of my PDF files.

These are all good additions with Notes and Highlights being a super useful addition. Kindle 3 PDF support is very solid and, at the moment, it’s the best PDF support you can find on an eReader.

Kindle 3 PDF – Existing PDF Support in Kindle 2 and Kindle DX 2

All these features were present in Kindle 2 and are carried over to Kindle 3 –

  1. Adding bookmarks.
  2. Landscape Mode – Flip a PDF’s orientation to see it in larger font size.
  3. Pan and Zoom. You can zoom into PDFs with zoom options of Fit to Screen, Original Size, 150%, 200%, and 300%. Zoom level stays the same as you flip through the PDF’s pages. Once you are zoomed in you can pan around using the 5-way.
  4. Search – You can search through PDFs. The search term is highlighted wherever it is found. You can circle through each search result – the page the result is on is shown with the actual search result highlighted.
  5. Go to a particular page – You can jump to a page by choosing ‘Go To’ from the menu and entering a page number.
  6. Automatic cropping of white space.

These are a good set of features and the additional PDF features added in Kindle 3 combine with these to make the overall Kindle 3 PDF feature-set very compelling.

Kindle 3 PDF – Things to Know

Here are things that the Kindle 3 handles well –

  1. Academic PDFs – Tables, diagrams, special formatting, formulae, and two column PDFs all show up well. 
  2. PDFs in general.  
  3. Images and illustrations – These look very good on Kindle 3’s eInk Pearl screen (check out the photos further on in this post).
  4. Password protected PDFs – Haven’t tested these myself as don’t know exactly where to find such PDFs. However, Amazon says they are supported.
  5. Embedded Fonts. PDFs that have embedded Chinese characters or other language characters or use any sort of embedded fonts work well. Have tested this on Kindle 2 and there’s no reason it won’t work on Kindle 3.

Add a link to a PDF if you want it tested.

Here are things that the Kindle 3 can’t handle or can’t handle well –

  1. You can’t edit PDFs.
  2. You can’t create PDFs.
  3. You can zoom in but you can’t change Font Size. That means you can’t break a 5 page PDF into 12 pages to fit it better to your Kindle 3’s screen. If it isn’t formatted with the right font size then you have to use Zoom. To work around this format PDFs using your PC or Mac so that they have a larger default font size.
  4. You cannot use the Text to Speech feature in PDFs. You can get around this limitation by converting PDFs to Kindle format.
  5. Highlighting is spotty with two column PDFs. Often text in both columns is highlighted instead of the text you select in one column. 
  6. PDFs that are poor quality scans. Kindle can’t improve the scan quality.  
  7. PDFs that have very small text. The text will show up very small and you’ll have to use the zoom option.  
  8. PDFs with DRM Protection – Don’t even know if this exists but Kindle 3 can only handle password protected PDFs.

Perhaps the biggest limitation of Kindle 3 is the 6″ screen. Most PDFs are built/created to be read on A4 size paper or on large computer screens. The Kindle 3’s 6″ screen just isn’t big enough.

If you are buying Kindle 3 primarily for reading PDFs do take a look at the Kindle DX 2 PDF post. Kindle 3 is much better value for money but the 6″ screen is pretty limiting. The DX 2’s 9.7″ screen is far more suited to reading PDFs though it doesn’t have some of the Kindle 3’s PDF capabilities (all the features listed in the top section, New PDF Features in Kindle 3, are missing from DX 2).

More Kindle 3 PDF …

After the jump – lots of Kindle 3 PDF photos.

Continue reading Kindle 3 PDF Photos, Video

Kindle PDF feature, Kindle Vs Sony PDF

Amazon has added native Kindle PDF support. This Kindle PDF Feature Guide walks you through what you can and cannot do with your Kindle and PDF files. 

After that it adds on a Kindle Vs Sony PDF support comparison.

Here’s a video discussing the PDF capabilities of the Kindle (it misses out Search which is pretty cool) –

[wpvideo FF9mSQrX]

Kindle PDF Capabilities added to Kindle 2.

Amazon has taken a big step forward by adding significant features –

  1. PDFs work on the Kindle.  
  2. PDFs in different languages work on the Kindle. 
  3. You can search through a PDF. You can also circle through the results easily.
  4. Tables, Formulae, Charts – everything just displays well. 
  5. The default font setting of the PDF is used which means very small text size – imagine a sheet of paper scrunched to the Kindle screen.
  6. The rotation feature lets you view PDFs slightly better – the text is bigger.
  7. You can add bookmarks and quickly go to a page or a bookmark.

The update has also made loading files and searching through a book (or PDF) noticeably faster.

It’s only half the battle though.

Kindle PDF limitations – Kindle’s PDF support is still a work in progress

There’s a significant part of the Kindle PDF feature missing.

The Kindle Vs Sony PDF comparison (next section) will show that re-flowing PDFs is tough so it’s not like Amazon is being lazy.

However, here’s what’s missing –

  1. No changeable font sizes. 
  2. No zooming or panning. 
  3. No highlights.
  4. No notes.  

There are two workarounds –

  1. To get over the font size problem, re-format PDFs to have larger font sizes. PDFs that have larger font sizes work well on Kindle 2, especially in landscape mode. 
  2. Alternately, convert PDFs to Kindle format. Check my Kindle PDF conversion post.

Once the converted PDFs are in Kindle format you can change font sizes and add highlights and notes.

Which brings us to odious comparisons.

Kindle Vs Sony – PDF Capabilities

Sony wins. Here’s a video showing exactly what each can do – [wpvideo mmYLDNdi]

There’s a lot of misinformation so it’s worth noting a few things –

  1. Sony has changeable font sizes. However, anything other than the smallest size does not preserve formulas, tables and pictures consistently (70% of the time formatting and tables and pictures disappear or the PDF resets to the smallest font size).
  2. That means for technical documents you’re always switching between views.
  3. You can add notes and highlights and that’s a good feature.
  4. You can also zoom in to any part of the PDF and pan around and that’s a good feature too.
  5. The default font size for PDFs is better on Kindle in both portrait  and landscape mode by a bit – However, 30-40% of PDFs are still going to be unreadable on Kindle as they’re formatted for A4 size paper.

Sony supports PDF better. Hopefully Amazon keep improving the PDF feature on the Kindle and catch up.

Amazon do deserve kudos for adding in PDF support and screen rotation and for continuing to improve the Kindle.

Kindle adds PDF support, screen rotation, boosts battery life

Amazon took a major step in making the Kindle more compelling than the Nook (more on whether it’s still a tie later) by adding some really cool features –

  1. In-built PDF Support. You get this on Kindle 2 Global and Kindle 2.  
  2. 75% longer battery life – Use the Kindle for up to a week with wireless on. 
  3. Screen Rotation – You can manually rotate the screen. Note that Kindle 2 does NOT have an accelerometer so you must select the screen rotation from the Fonts menu. 

These are big, big changes – In particular the in-built support for PDF documents.

The Kindle DX gets only two changes –

  1. Automatic cropping of whitespace in PDF files. It’s an important change as it’ll greatly increase readability of lots of PDF files.
  2. Longer Screensaver TimeOut Wait – You now have 20 minutes (instead of just 5 minutes) before the Kindle DX’s screensaver gets activated.  

You can read up on all the changes at Amazon. Here’s a snippet –

  • Built-in PDF reader: Your Kindle can now display PDF documents without losing the formatting of the original file. Send PDF documents directly to your Kindle (via your @Kindle address) or drag and drop PDF files from your computer to your Kindle (when connected via USB). 
  • Longer battery life for Kindle (Global Wireless): You can now read for up to 1 week on a single charge with wireless on. Turn wireless off and read for up to 2 weeks.
  • Manual screen rotation: The Kindle screen can now manually rotate between portrait and landscape views so you can see the entire width of a web page or magnify the page of a PDF file. The page-turn buttons work the same in either orientation, and the 5-way controller movements are switched to match the orientation.
  • The Kindle keeps getting better 😉 .

    What are people saying about Kindle PDF Support and enhancements?

    1. ZDNet and Welt broke the news. They don’t really dig into the updates – However, kudos for catching it.
    2. Paid Content are saying that only Kindle Global gets extended battery life.
    3. TeleRead shines once again as a user comment points out update details for the Kindle DX –

      PDF Change: Margins are cropped only in Landscape Mode.  Subscription items no longer have ‘progress dots’.

    At MobileRead people are now finding new things to complain about.

    1. While they’re happy about being able to read PDFs and landscape mode and screen rotation and searching documents for words.
    2. They are upset about no highlights or notes in PDFs, no built-in dictionary. 
    3. Also, some PDFs (obviously, it’s a 6″ screen) can’t be read properly as their text is too small – There’s no Zoom for PDFs.

    However, it’s a HUGE upgrade to have in-built PDF support. The 75% increase in battery life is very impressive too and a commenter at MobileRead suggests its a standby mode that shuts off whispernet wireless when not in use – makes sense.

    The Kindle is now a much better value proposition.