The arrival of the $189 Kindle 3 and the $139 Kindle WiFi creates an interesting situation. We now have to choose one of three new Kindle models (Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2) when in many ways they are very similar (Kindle ecosystem, Kindle Store, eInk Pearl screen).
This post will look at Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 and compare and contrast them. Please note that it’s based on just an hour with the new Kindle 3 and a month of owning the Kindle DX 2.
Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Value for Money
Here’s how they stack up –
- Kindle WiFi for $139 is incredible value for money. It’s really a steal. You get access to Kindle Store, you get the new eInk Peal screen, you get a month of battery life with wireless off, the memory is double, and there are a lot of other benefits. It’s basically the Kindle 3 without the 3G.
- Kindle 3 for $189 is very good value for money. If you don’t need 3G then the WiFi is $50 cheaper and the obvious better option. Note that apart from 3G support and the WiFi being 0.2 ounces lighter there are no differences.
- Kindle DX 2 for $379 is a difficult choice. It definitely isn’t anywhere near Kindle WiFi in terms of value for money and it isn’t ‘do more than one thing’ like the iPad WiFi at $499. So it comes down to whether the Kindle DX 2 is a fit for you. The following sections should clear that up.
If your major concern is getting value for money then the Kindle WiFi is it. You aren’t going to be upset with Kindle 3 either. If your inclination is to always want the best value for money and to feel bad if you buy something that isn’t then the Kindle DX 2 is going to make you wonder whether it’s worth 2.7 Kindle WiFis (it’s not).
Kindle DX 2 or Kindle 3 or Kindle WiFi – Large Screen, Readability and PDFs, Newspapers, and Magazines
The reading experience on all 3 devices is very good. They all have the same eInk Pearl screen with excellent contrast.
The Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi have some additional tweaks which Kindle DX 2 doesn’t. However, the screen contrast on Kindle DX 2 is good enough that an additional 5% or 10% improvement isn’t going to be missed.
Far more important is the Kindle DX 2’s large size screen. The 9.7″ screen is 2.5 times as big as the 6″ Kindle 3 screen and adds in some ways –
- The Kindle DX 2 is really good if you like large screens to read on – there are a lot of words per page, you have to turn the page less often.
- There are larger font sizes on Kindle DX 2. The largest font size on the Kindle DX 2 is larger than the largest font size on the Kindle 2 and is almost certainly going to be larger than the largest font size on the Kindle 3.
- The Kindle DX 2 is also much better for PDFs because it’s closer to the size of an A4 sheet of paper. You can read most PDFs a page at a time though some PDFs need landscape mode or magnification even on the DX 2. Check out this post on Kindle DX 2 PDF support for photos and video.
- The large screen of the Kindle DX 2 also makes it great for newspapers and magazines. Lots of Magazines are available online in PDF format so that’s a factor. For newspapers and magazines in the Kindle Store you can have more of the article on the screen.
- If you’re low vision or like the really big font sizes then the Kindle DX 2 allows that and also allows lots of words per screen even with the largest fonts. That’s invaluable.
The large screen is probably the biggest (and only?) advantage of the Kindle DX 2 – 2.5 times the screen size of the 6″ Kindle.
Kindle DX 2 vs iPad
It comes down to what’s important to you –
- If you want the best large screen reading device get the Kindle DX 2.
- If you want the best device that does more than just read then perhaps the iPad fits the bill.
- If you want some ethereal concept of higher value for money even though you want a device primarily for reading then don’t really know what to say. Basically, if you’re looking for a device for reading then it doesn’t make much sense to think – I can also do 50 other things on iPad in addition to reading so even though I want a device that’s great for reading I’ll get one that isn’t great for reading because it does something else.
Kindle DX 2 beats iPad thoroughly on reading and iPad beats Kindle DX 2 thoroughly on the perception of value for money and being able to do more than read.
Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Portability and Weight
A big disadvantage of the Kindle DX 2 is that it weighs a lot and is quite large. Here are the specifics –
- Kindle DX 2 – 18.9 ounces. 10.4″ by 7.2″ by 0.38″.
- Kindle 3 – 8.7 ounces. 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″.
- Kindle WiFi – 8.5 ounces. 7.5″ by 4.8″ by 0.335″.
Since its heavier the Kindle DX 2 is very unsuited to one-handed reading and even holding it with both hands can get tiring after a while. If you have weak hands you will have to read it while resting it on something (there’s a Jacket Case that can be propped up). Even with strong hands you’ll find that you prefer resting DX 2 on a table or on its side.
The larger size means the Kindle DX 2 won’t fit in your jacket pocket (like Kindle 3 will for larger jacket pockets) and it won’t fit in small bugs and purses. Carrying it in your hand is a bit awkward and also a little tiring. DX 2 is just not that portable.
Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – new Kindle 3 features
Since the Kindle 3 is a newer release it has some features the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t.
This post on Kindle 3 improvements has details on which of the Kindle 3 additions are software based and which are hardware based. However, its reference point is Kindle 2.
Here’s how Kindle 3 and Kindle DX 2 stack up –
They both have the new eInk Pearl screen. They both have the new graphite casing.
Kindle 3 has lots of software improvements Kindle DX 2 doesn’t. DX 2 may get these down the line or it may not.
- 3 Font Choices – Serif (Caecilia), Sans-Serif, and Condensed.
- Support for CJK and Cyrillic fonts.
- Improved PDF support with ability to add highlights and notes and support for password protected PDFs.
- WebKit Browser and Article Mode – The Kindle 3’s WebKit browser can support more sites. Kindle DX 2’s browser primarily supports mobile versions of sites. Also WiFi means Kindle 3’s browser can use WiFi which is much faster than 3G.
- Voice Guide – Kindle DX 2 doesn’t have the Voice Guide so it isn’t really accessible.
These will, hopefully, all arrive for the Kindle DX 2 – However, at the moment they’re missing.
Kindle 3 has lots of hardware improvements the Kindle DX 2 doesn’t and there’s no way it can get them –
- New quieter page turn buttons and re-arranged keys.
- The improved battery life might be hardware based. The improved screen contrast (over DX 2) involves tuning that may be hardware tuning or software tuning. The 20% faster page turns might be hardware based.
On the Kindle 3 product page there’s a chart comparing Kindle 3, Kindle WiFi, and Kindle DX 2 – it’s worth a look.
Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 – Conclusion
The Kindle DX 2 is the right choice if you’re looking for a large screen eReader. It’s the best large screen eReader and the only one with the new eInk Pearl screen. If the value for money aspect is a concern then consider getting a $249 refurbished Kindle DX US – they are available sporadically. Keep in mind that you will miss out on the new eInk Pearl screen and on international 3G with the refurbished Kindle DX US.
The Kindle 3 and the Kindle WiFi are much better choices in nearly every other case. Amazon has made a ton of improvements and introduced them at really low prices. Combine that with the portability and light weight and they’re a great choice if you don’t need a large screen.
Kindle WiFi or Kindle 3 or Kindle DX 2 is not really much of a comparison because Kindle DX 2 trails in value for money and it hasn’t yet gotten the software improvements introduced in Kindle 3. Amazon probably needs to sell more DX 2s before it can hit economies of scale and bring the price down to $250.