- Editor's Rating
- Excellent display, with crisp text and good contrast
- User friendly experience
- Notes, highlights, and collections work exceptionally well
- Usable keyboard
- Good battery life
- No replaceable battery
- No removable storage
- Keyboard on the bottom makes it top-heavy
- Noisy/rattling volume buttons
If you don't already have an iPad or other large tablet, and you're especially interested in viewing large, chart- and graphics-intensive PDFs, then Kindle DX is a great choice.
The Amazon Kindle DX is the larger version of the popular Kindle eReader device. It has a 9.7-inch eInk Pearl display, 4GB of storage (which is enough to hold 3,500 books) and includes native support for PDF documents. It also includes all of the typical Kindle features such as Wi-Fi and 3G wireless, text to speech for selected titles, MP3 playback, and a basic web browser. It sells for $379 and is currently available only in Graphite.
BUILD & DESIGN
The Kindle DX is 10.25-inches tall and 7.13-inches wide, with the large screen dominating the front of the device. The front is graphite plastic, with the home, page back and forward, menu, and back buttons only on the right side. That’s a disappointment for this lefty, but they are large and easy to use. After just a few minutes of reading I didn’t even have to look anymore when I was ready to advance the page.
The back of the Kindle DX looks like brushed metal and is somewhat slippery. You will probably want to purchase a silicone case or a decorative skin to improve your grip. Otherwise you’ll probably find yourself gripping the Kindle DX quite tightly, to prevent accidental drops, which can quickly become uncomfortable — especially if you tend to read for long stretches of time.
A size comparison with the iPad is warranted here, since consumers willing to spend almost $400 for an eBook and PDF reader are likely considering the iPad as well. The Kindle DX is significantly taller than the iPad, though slightly narrower. It is roughly the same thickness as the iPad’s bezel, though since the iPad bows out a bit and gets thicker towards the middle of the device, the Kindle DX is slightly slimmer overall.
Overall build quality on the Kindle DX is generally exceptional. The case feels tight and secure, with no loose edges or creaking. The only problem I noted on my device is that the volume keys on the top right side of the device are quite loose and tend to rattle noisily at the slightest movement of the unit. I strongly suspect that this is a defect of this particular unit, since other Kindles I’ve seen do not exhibit this problem.
The improved eInk display on the new Kindle DX is absolutely gorgeous. Text is razor sharp, and the familiar screensaver portraits of famous authors now look like true portraits rather than low quality drawings. I didn’t suffer any eyestrain at all, even during long reading sessions, and PDF documents look great.
Though the display is simply amazing most of the time, text can sometimes be very hard to read depending on the font used within each individual eBook title. The sample for Lavinia, by Ursula K. Le Guin, was much harder to read than a different book on my Barnes & Noble Nook, which has a less advanced screen with overall less contrast.
Also, while the Kindle is indeed readable outside in direct sunlight, due to the high contrast display, it is not immune from glare. This especially true indoors, such as in an office with fluorescent lighting. You may have to angle the device to avoid glare, otherwise you might find it hard to distinguish fine detail in illustrations and charts.
The keys on the keyboard are amazingly tiny, but it still works well because they are spaced far enough apart that you shouldn’t hit one key when you’re aiming for another. You won’t be writing the next great American novel using this keyboard, but you should be able to take notes easily.
If you want to search for something in particular, type in a key word and the Kindle starts searching immediately, which is a nice touch and works far better than the search function on other current generation electronic reading devices like the Nook and Sony Reader.
The keyboard also has several other functions, depending on the screen you’re on at the time. There are varieties of shortcuts that have been documented; many of them are discussed in the Kindle user’s guide, though some of them are listed only on various web sites and blogs. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with them, because they can certainly enhance the overall Kindle experience.
Othe r Buttons and Controls
The sliding power button and headphone jack are at the top of the device, and the charge/sync port and speakers are on the bottom. As mentioned above, the volume keys on the top right side of the device rattle at the slightest movement, which is a disappointment and a distraction.
The five way controller on the lower right side of the device is fast and precise — I could quickly move to where I wanted to be and really enjoy the fact that I can press it in to select a particular word without worrying about the cursor moving unexpectedly. That sort of behavior has been a problem with just about every five way I’ve ever used, from PDAs to smartphones, so I really appreciate the fact that it just works on the Kindle DX.