Kindle DX: Bigger screen means higher expectations

Kindle DX: Bigger screen means higher expectations

Summary: Amazon's Kindle DX is an interesting study in user expectations. The limitations of the Kindle 2 aren't nearly as acceptable on a bigger screen.

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Amazon's Kindle DX is an interesting study in user expectations. The limitations of the Kindle 2 aren't nearly as acceptable on a bigger screen.

The Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch screen, which is larger than the Kindle 2's 6-inch version. The other big perk with the Kindle DX is that you can read in landscape mode.

It's pretty clear that the Kindle DX's target market is textbooks. I examined the Kindle DX ROI case previously, but would note that there's a huge convenience factor---assuming there's enough textbooks available for the device. Given the choice between lugging a heavy textbook or a Kindle DX, which is also heavy relative to its sibling, Amazon's device would be infinitely easier on the back.

Also see: E-reader devices: The fun is just starting

But what about the rest of us?

Overall, I thought my review copy of the Kindle DX was just swell. But the larger screen made me realize all of the advances it doesn't have. What's interesting is that I give these drawbacks a total pass on the Kindle 2. Clearly, a larger screen means bigger expectations on my part.

For the bigger price---$489 compared to the Kindle 2's $359---I'd want the following:

  • A touch display. Reading the New York Times I kept wanting to touch the screen for navigation. On the smaller version, I totally accept the menu and page navigation. With the larger screen I wanted to scroll with my hand. A touch display would also enable the Kindle DX to show an entire page of newspaper layout and allow you to scan the stories.
  • A better browser. A larger screen just makes you want to do more with the Kindle DX. The smaller Kindle's browser is clunky, but it's easier to forget about it (I usually buy into that Kindle is a book line). However, students are going to want a better browser to go along with their textbooks.
  • Less weight. Frankly, the Kindle DX is too heavy for the casual reader/traveler. The Kindle DX is sleek and thin, but is nearly twice as heavy than the Kindle 2 at 18.9 ounces. The Kindle DX isn't a burden to lug around, but there are drawbacks to its size. That said the extra weight is nothing to a student that has to lug around 20 pounds of textbooks.
  • And Wi-Fi. It is still surprising to me that there isn't a Wi-Fi option for the Kindle DX. First, Wi-Fi would bring down the cost. In addition, Wi-Fi would be better suited to the textbook market. After all, campuses have wireless everywhere.

Add it up and the Kindle 2 makes sense for most people.

Topics: Browser, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Wi-Fi

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5 comments
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  • My Kindle

    For everyone out there that reads voratiously. The Kindle DX is what you have been waiting for. Got mine Friday and already have over 100 books. If you buy the Kindle, check out the $0.00 priced books on the best seller's list. Amazon is selling them at no cost. Don't know how long that will last so if you want the classics for your College or High School child, get them while the getting is good.

    Another misnomer is that there is no WiFi. That is true on the device itself, but on the other hand, you can use the plus sign beside purchases and download to your PC which has the kindle plugged into a USB port and save the download to your Kindle's USB drive letter. It took me about two seconds to figure out how the storage system on the kindle works (just like every other USB drive).

    So if you PC has WiFi, your kindle can use it to get books when you are out of connection range. I'm a rural user, and I am frequently in places where the edge network is marginal at best. I had no problem connecting using both options.

    As for the interfaces, touch vs buttons. The device works well as a book, a little less well as a browser. Given the ability of Amazon to download updates automatically, and their published experimentation with the interface, changes will probably be made to both the interface and available content in the future.

    I may change my mind later, but for now, the kindle is not only worth the price, it is the best purchase I've made in a very long time.

    rclark@...
  • RE: Kindle DX: Bigger screen means higher expectations

    I'm a university professor and have been experimenting
    with the DX since Friday. This device really has the
    potential to be a powerful and ubiquitous academic
    tool- it really is possible to read academic PDFs on
    this device- the mainstay of academic work.

    But I must emphasize the word "potential"!

    While all of the issues highlighted in this review
    heavily degrade the academic utility of the DX (nice
    review!), there is an even bigger problem, at least
    for upper level undergraduates, graduate students,
    postdocs and professors:

    The Kindle offers no way to organize the thousands of
    journal article and book chapter PDFs that are the
    bread and butter of academic work. We are left with
    only a list of thousands of titles or authors, often
    incorrectly scanned from the pdfs. There is no way to
    use folders, pages of tags or any other efficient and
    effective way to manage the large numbers of academic
    pdfs that are required to make a "paperless" academic
    workplace.

    If no workaround becomes or will become available
    (I've emailed Amazon about this- still awaiting a
    reply), I will be forced to return the Kindle DX by
    the end of the week- it just can't do what it needs to
    do to justify owning it.

    Amazon- are you listening?
    Erle
  • $489.00 and STILL no color screen...Wi-Fi, etc.? What a rip off.

    I'd rather spend my money (and probably less money) on a netbook that has far superior features, and can still read ebooks.

    http://www.small-laptops.com/2009/03/05/the-netbook-as-an-e-book-reader-cnet/
    IT_Guy_z
  • Free Textbooks for Kindle!

    I know loads of Kindle and DX owners are a bit annoyed that it?s still hard to find many publishers that offer proper textbooks for student owners like me. I just found this site a few weeks ago though, www.bookboon.com and these guys publish a huge range of textbooks and every single textbook is made available to download free of charge in a compatible pdf e-book format with no registration. It?s a totally 100% free textbook solution perfect for new Kindle owners like me looking for good and free academic content!
    They actually just put up a new accounting series, really good used the ones on Liabilities and Equity and Balanced Scorecard this year as prep for my acca exams. Check it out guys?
    eddblake
  • Online books on my Blackberry

    I have subscribed to Informit's Safari online technology books for a few years. They finally came out with a mobile version a few months ago that lets me read books anytime on my Blackberry Curve. The screen is a lot smaller than the Kindle but it sure is a lot more portable! While I'm waiting for my wife to do her shopping I can just take out my Blackberry and start reading Cisco Press books, or books on photography, or whatever Informit has online, the choice is pretty extensive.
    JoeBeckner