Friday, June 12, 2009

How Kindle DX differs from Kindle 2 in hands-on review. Updated

UPDATED 6/12/09 - I've added links or brief intros to a few stories on 6/11 that were of more than usual interest to me:

1.  A terrific photo-text report by Stanford student "Sri Lankan," as he calls himself.   His pictures are large original sized ones. To fit them on the screen in Firefox, press Ctrl-minus.

2.  Engadget's photos of the DX, many of them and very clear.  Review due soon.

3.  Washington Post's PaidContent blog - the newer item in this piece by Staci D. Kramer was her report that when text-to-read is enabled, the rotation doesn’t work.  

4.  Amazon DX Repair Guide" - These are step by step instructions, with photos, for disassembling the DX and one simple instruction to reverse the steps for reassembling it.
  Just what I would want to do, on a $500 item bought for reading and webbing.
  But, since they've done it for us, here's what they found inside:
Memory chips and processor
  *Samsung 916, K4X1G323PC-8GC3, EMA188A5
  *Samsung 907, KMBLG0000M-B998
  *MC13783VK5, AM86D, CTRE083B
  *Samsung 840, K4M28323PH-HG75, AAH055BE
  *Epson D135211B1, F09090125. E-INK

Their diagnosis:
  "The Kindle DX has many replaceable parts inside.  In many ways this product is user serviceable."

That IS news, in a way, as Amazon, a company that doesn't manufacture goods, doesn't repair malfunctioning units but replaces them with a refurbished unit and has no repair facilities in the U.S. for customers.  If the unit is damaged through user error in the first year, the customer returns it and pays $200 for a new $359 Kindle 2 and $180 for a new $359 Kindle 1.

5.  Gizmodo's full review by Wilson Rothman.

6.  DMP's first Manga offering on Kindle
  "Digital Manga Publishing (DMP) has announced on Wednesday that it is offering the first volume of Hideyuki Kikuchi and Saiko Takaki's Vampire Hunter D manga on Amazon's Kindle Store for electronic books. Kindle Books can be read on Amazon's own Kindle devices (in three different versions) and Apple's iPhone and iPod touch mobile devices...  currently, most of the offerings in the Kindle Store's manga category are works wholly or partially created outside Japan."

7.  Kindle DX PDF FAQ by abhi/switch11.  Top 10 Things to Know, The Good and the Bad, the Features and the Missing. Excellent presentation.

UPDATED 6/11/09 - There are many stories about the Kindle DX now, but not much that's new or substantial (two writers for large news entities open their DX boxes, say not much we don't already know and then try out the Kindle in bed to end their columns).

One exception is Businessweek's Stephen H. Wildstrom whose headline is that the "Kindle DX Means Business."  He at least explores the effectiveness of the PDF display.  (I've corrected his link to the math textbook, which led to an empty page that had held an older version.)   The textbook he chooses is an impressive test of the DX's capabilities.
' I experimented with a variety of PDF documents and was very pleased with the results.  In the toughest test, I loaded a PDF version of a mathematics textbook, and everything, including formulas, drawings, footnotes, and margin notes, rendered beautifully.  The only real drawback is that links, such as listings in a table of contents in a PDF, won't work in the Kindle—a limitation of the underlying Adobe software.  But you can work around this by using search to jump to the section you want.
. . .
Amazon doesn't have the large-format reader field to itself.  A company called iRex sells a 10.2-in. reader for a stiff $859 [with no wireless].  And startup Plastic Logic plans to bring a very lightweight 14-in. reader to the market early next year. '
The PDF's non-working links, normally used for jump areas like the table of contents, are a puzzlement.  It's probably not the software but the limitations of the feature-set that Amazon licensed, since we are usually able to make active links in PDFs -- or the original PDF just didn't have that feature activated.

NOTE:  Amazon's Kindle DX page tells us on the evening of June 10th that DX's will be "in stock June 17."]

FURTHER UPDATE, 6/11/09 - 5:26 AM
Wall Street Journal's Personal Technology writer, Walter S. Mossberg, has some interesting pro's and con's on his DX.  He prefers the Kindle 2 for its lightness, as he tends to read only books on it, not liking the magazine layout that he finds harder to browse articles with.  I left him a post on that, as I did for a NY Times reviewer who had not discovered the article-browsing feature within Sections.  Maybe Mossberg already knew this though.

Points he makes:
1.  Size & weight made it more awkward for him to hold for extended reading
2.  Controls are confusing when reading in landscape mode
3.  He points out that Excel and Powerpoint can be converted to PDF and thus readable on the Kindle DX.
4.  Reading standard books, he sometimes saw text that varied in shade from light gray to black.  (This can be due to the original being in color.)
5.  "I tried a variety of documents, and in many cases the results were great"
6.  There is no zoom when the PDF text is too small to read.
7.  Reading in landscape mode makes the text larger though but splits the page.
8.  " can adjust the margins on the DX, to obtain a line length that's comfortable for your eyes and optimal for reading speed."
9.  College textbooks could be the 'killer app' for the DX

UPDATED 6/10/09 - Original posting: 6/3/09, 3:25 PM
WIRED's Steven Levy has the first review up on shipping day, though it doesn't differ much from early reviews that were based on a short time with the Kindle DX.  The pictures are familiar but -- head on -- the difference between the screen sizes of the Kindle DX and the Kindle 2 is striking.  A couple of the images are more in sepia tone than black and white, which is sort of interesting.  They say it's comfortable to hold (despite being 8 oz. heavier).  I'm waiting for someone to review the differences in web browsing between the DX and K2 though.

Earlier (June 3)
Now that the Kindle DX has started shipping and it's a reality sooner than some had expected, many are wondering what it is really like, and some are interested in the size relative to the Kindle 2 and the clarity of the screen.

Here are some more hands-on articles and galleries that may help.

Laptop Mobile Solutions' Gallery: Hands-On with the Amazon Kindle DX has some very clear pictures from several angles.   The article by Joanna Stern is pretty brief.

Slashgear has a good video and excellent large photos - some of the more useful images I've seen.  To get to the next or previous larger photo easily, use your mouse to 'hover' over the middle of the left or right edges.

  They also have a small page for the Kindle DX specs in a nutshell, more or less, along with more slick official Amazon photos.

  The article, by Vincent Nguyen, makes some good points.  Examples:
" feels a very different device to the Kindle 2.  Where that e-reader prioritizes the hand-feel and portability of a paperback, the Kindle DX feels decidedly more work-oriented.  The bigger screen - which refreshes a little slower than that of the Kindle 2, but not frustratingly so - is 1,200 x 824 resolution and 150ppi, and while still grayscale feels far more useful than that of its smaller sibling...

... noticeably heavier, and might make bedtime reading less comfortable.

... While it’s now particularly small, we’re pleased with how the keyboard has been reduced: it’s still usable for entering search terms and the like, but the front panel of the Kindle now feels as screen-focused as it should be...

  Unlike on a cellphone like the iPhone, where the rotation is completed in seconds, the E Ink display on the Kindle DX is a lot slower:  perhaps 3-4 seconds before it flips.  Still, we’d happily sacrifice some speed for landscape reading;  this really is a huge stretch of E Ink panel, and it’s in this orientation when you really recognize that the display is 2.5 times that of the Kindle 2."
The article doesn't mention trying out PDFs with the Kindle DX, now that a Kindle model has native PDF support.
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  1. error, Kindle DX graphite, lastes generation HAVE NOT native PDF support... only Kindle 3 on 6" can read protect password files pdf, notes, ans search diccionary

  2. Anonymous,
    That's not an error at all. First, this was written before the Kindle 3 release in August, and "native support of PDF" means one can read a PDF file without converting it. "FULL support of Adobe's PDF" means buying from Adobe all the extra features.

    Both DX's can read PDFs natively. I do want DX Graphite at least to get an update to most of the features that are in the software for the far less expensive Kindle 3.


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