Thursday, July 8, 2010

Arrival and Debut of the Kindle Graphite DX

Yesterday, July 7, was D-day
, or DX Graphite day, when those who ordered the new, brighter Kindle, via one-day delivery, received it and went to the forums and to YouTube to provide details on the new arrival.

The Promise
  EnterpriseMobileToday's Andy Patrizio had reported that E Ink had introduced an update to its electronic paper display technology called Pearl, which builds on the Vizplex designs used in the Kindle, the Nook, and the Sony.

  The first device to use the new display is the Graphite Kindle and, according to the article:
'The background has been improved from the relative flatness of a newspaper to a brightness more akin to a paperback book, according to E Ink, making it easier to read outdoors. '

  Of interest also is the word from E Ink that the Pearl range already includes models with sizes of 5 inches to 9.7 inches, all with resolutions between 800 x 600 and 1,200 x 825 (200 to 150 DPI).
  This is of course leading some to hope that along with the middle of the night sale, by Woot!, of 4,968 Kindle-2's last week (sold out by 8:20 AM the next morning), they may soon see the Pearl screen in the more portable 6" Kindle.

  And then there is that Shasta rumor also.

The Videos - the first one is by Len Edgerly (Who else?)
This videoclip begins with Federal Express about to go past Len Edgerly's house.  That wouldn't do.  Len unboxes the Kindle and although the screen is almost 9.7" it doesn't look that big.

  At about minute 2:00, we get to see a close-up of the screen, shown on the porch, and what is probably a better idea of the relative brightness of the background and darkness of the font on it, more easily done with video than with stills, I think.  As labelled, that clear image at top left is from Len Edgerly's video.

Here is the official DX Graphite videoclip that has been all over YouTube.

The Forums
I got back late yesterday and went to see the Amazon Kindle forum reports and here's a sampling:
' David Shory says:
Just got my new graphite DX. First one on the discussion boards to get it? WOOHOO! :)
It's quite nice out of the box. The colour is exactly as described - graphite (like lead in a pencil). I'm just starting it up now, but the difference in contrast is noticeable.

  [ A side-by-side photo comparison by David Shory, at Flicker. ]

  [ The first DX on the left looks very low in contrast but normally wouldn't be.
     See my older-DX pics ]
Page turns (and general responsiveness) is faster. The non-letter buttons (i.e., ALT, SYM, MENU, etc.) are mixed case now and the previous/next page buttons just have arrows.
The buttons on the side also seem to feel more secure (the side buttons rattled if I shook the old Kindle DX). The screen itself is a few shades whiter (bright gray - like light newsprint) and the test looks bold and much clearer. The images (so far just the screen savers) are quite clear and much brighter. There seems to be less wash out in the sunlight.
The screen savers are the same and the font doesn't seem to me to be different.

Pamela Harris-byrd says:
...The higher contrast is much better and the text is much clearer. I am so glad I pre-ordered.

Claudia M. Adams says:
Mine came! It's beautiful, and I am NOT sending it back. I thought I might if I didn't like it.
 I don't like it. I love it.

Jain Daire says:
It came loaded with 2.5.5.... didn't even know there WAS a 2.5.5
... The screen! OMG the screen! When they said 50% better contrast, they meant it. On the e-ink manufacturers website for the new screen, PEarl, they compared the last generation Viziplex to a newspaper, and Pearl to a book, and they were very right. I've seen a cople pictures of peoples who got theirs before me and I have to say that the pictures really don't do them justice. the screen isn't light grey, it's WHITE.

Nobody says:
My screen is NOT white. It's in the gray family but much nicer, in my opinion, than my K2's screen. But putting white next to the screen would not be a match by a long shot.

Jain Daire says:
Well the contrast is really amazing in the sun, but I'm in the shade right now (and I've looked while indoors as well)

mishkee says:
The text is very blackish and screen is much lighter gray. I'm reading where I would usually need to use my LED reading light. Quite a difference! Much more like reading from newsprint. Very pleased with the upgrade over previous DX.

An unexpected turn of events
Nobody says:
... I just put up a post explaining why I'm returning my graphite DX:
[ New message thread by Nobody ]

[ At the new thread, Nobody explains: ]
Imagine reading for long spells from a bold-face font. That's what the graphite display is like. I know, I know -- after all the complaints we've all made about low contrast and how great it'd be to finally get darker, sharper text, I should be rejoicing.  But it's giving me a headache.  Literally.  The font is too thick for reading long-term in comfort, too.

I went back to my K2 just now and it was such a welcome relief.

I also prefer the way the K2 feels in my hands and having the buttons on two sides.  I even prefer the way page turns look.  And the black surround that seemed so spiffy at first now feels claustrophobic as I read for more than a few minutes.

Claudia M. Adams says:
... On the other hand, I read mine for about a half hour this evening and I'm even happier with it than I was initially ...
I'm still able to appreciate how much the new DX improves my ability to read without eye strain. Like my K1, my graphite rapidly fades into the background and I was able to get lost in the story, which I think is the nature of reading, when it works properly. I suspect there will be others who feel as I do, and others whose reaction will mirror that of Nobody's. '

Amazon's Customer Images of Kindle DX Graphite
These photos are limited in size.  The first one is the one taken by David Shory.
The other 8 there today were taken by Nobody, who returned hers.

You can bookmark this slideshow if you'd like to see pictures as people add them.

30-day Return Policy on Kindles
Nobody told us that Kindle customer service told her she had to pay a restocking fee and part of the shipment.  Forum members told her this is not according to the policy on the site nor in Kindle-purchase history.

 Being urged by one and all to call Kindle support again, she did, and another representative told Nobody she had been misinformed by the previous customer rep.  I hope they get them all on the same page on this.

From Kindleboards, a few interesting, scattered quotes
' The contrast is great but I have a K1 so that should not be a surprise. I am highly impressed with how light the DX is. It is very easy to carry and hold. I love the graphite frame, it is pretty nice looking.
I got mine a few hours ago and fired it up. I have had all of the majors, K1, K2, DXi, Sony PRS-505, Sony 900 (Daily Edition), and the iRex800SG. My current ones are my trusty Sony 505 and the k1.

Undoubtedly this is the most gorgeous screen to date. IMO, the screen isn't white, but it's definitely not as gray. The blacks are BLACK and the text really does pop out at you.
I sold my previous KDX because I really prefer the 6" readers. When I look at this beauty, all I can think of is how PERFECT it would be in a 6" model.
I would post pictures but I don't think any photos can do it justice. If you are looking for the best screen, this is it.
I agree, the screen is amazing. I took (and posted) some pictures but they really don't do it justice. Has to be seen in person...
 honestly, the K1 text starts to look blurry compared to the KDX. It is REALLY a significant difference.
I think it's faster, definitely faster than my old Sprint KDX. '

AND that is it for the Debut of the new Kindle DX Graphite :-)   Won't be doing more like that.  But I wanted to give others a taste of the reactions on the first day.  We even had a dramatic moment with a change of direction!  That should give enough to go on though for any who were wondering.

Check often:  Temporarily-free late-listed non-classics or recently published ones
  Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources.  Top 100 free bestsellers. Below are ways to Share this post if you'd like others to see it.
-- The Send to Kindle button works well only on Firefox currently.

Send to Kindle

(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
If interested, you can also follow my add'l blog-related news at Facebook and Twitter
Questions & feedback are welcome in the Comment areas (tho' spam is deleted). Thanks!


  1. I got the GDX yesterday (July 7) and in an apples to apples comparison to my old DX the difference is really obvious. The background is much lighter and the text much darker and also seems sharper. What really caught my attention is that the difference in low light conditions. I've been reading in my increasingly darkening living room at a light level which I never would have been able to before. The old DX would have required my reading lamp by this time, the GDX is still easy to read. I'm extremely pleased and can't wait for the K3 with this screen. IMO a significant improvement.

  2. PaulGuy
    Thanks for this report!

    I'm curious about one thing. I've now seen many pictures of older DX's that look as if they had faded print. I wonder if there was a defect in some because mine doesn't look like those, although the difference in background is that the new one is definitely lighter than mine.

    Could you check out my and let me know if your older DX matches my photos?


    The first thing I noticed about it when I got it was that I could read it by the light of my computer practically.

    But in photos of the old and new together it is always obvious that whatever people have, the new one is always clearly better.

  3. One has to think a K3(G?) debut is just around the corner. While the new K2i $189 price point is attractive, who would not wait for a higher contrast screen?

    And it will be interesting to see how quickly 'the competition' incorporates the 'pearl' screen into their devices, and in particular whether we'll see another large-format device coming out with better PDF support (now that iRex is apparently dead).

  4. Andrys, your DX looks like it has a better screen than the one I own. The text looks darker. My DX required the font hack to look as good as yours does in the photos.

  5. Paul, that's interesting. I used to wonder why DX owners wanted the font hacks... the pictures gave me the answer, I guess.

    Thanks much for taking the time to check that out.

  6. I couldn't stop myself... I sold my DX and will have the DXG tomorrow. I'll do some side-by-side pics for ya.

  7. Elmo,
    LOL! I imagine "Nobody"'s reason for returning her DX2 may have been an incentive?

    I look forward to your pics !

    Whoa, can't wait.

  8. Tom,
    Almost missed yours.

    Yah, I think the Pearl version has to be in the works for the smaller Kindle.

    Not sure about "Shasta" but it'd be nice if they could work in little bonuses. I'd prefer an SD slot to WiFi capability but I don't think it's great for Collections and backup with a move-in/move-out SD card and all the backup and syncing that Amazon does.

    Nice that they apparently had first dibs on that screen, but having the large one, would be a higher cost and probably a reason (and maybe a quiet agreement for 2 devices in a similar period).

    They do have to hop on it before the others do, good point.

    As for another large format device with better PDF support? from Amazon or another company. The others couldn't give us what we wanted and do it at current expected pricing on a 'mere' and 'one-trick' e-reader (sad world).

    But businesses (and academia) could really use something like that and one could think it would work as long as they have the menu audio coordinated.

  9. An SD slot sounds nice but has drawbacks of its own.
    For starters it adds both bulk and weight (a WiFi antenna is just a thin wire that can be embedded in the plastic frame even).
    It's also an extra opening on the device, a potential source of dirt and water getting in and causing trouble (I'd have liked a cover on the USB port on the DX for that reason, like there is on most cellphones).

    As is, neither WiFi nor an SD slot is to me a requirement.
    The way I operate is I purchase or download content using my PC and have it either delivered over Whispernet or upload using the USB cable.
    WiFi might be handy for when I don't have a USB cable with me, but in my line of work that's a rare occasion (I currently have 4 sitting on my desk, including the one that came with my DX).

    The main thing I'd like to see is an option to use password protected PDFs. The annotation capability could be integrated in that to store the passwords so you don't have to enter them every time you want to read the document.
    This option would mean the Kindle can completely replace my netbook (which at current is used solely to read those password protected PDF eBooks, most from publishers that don't offer Kindle versions and most of a nature that isn't easily replaced by other material).

    After using the DX (white) for like 12 hours, my initial impression is that I'm more than pleased with it.
    Weight is a bit higher than expected, but no problem (especially when used in a cover for more convenient carry).
    Screen is crisp, if anything the font is sometimes a tad more crisp and larger than I'd think ideal but reducing the font size takes care of that (I may be one of the few people who think higher contrast isn't necessarilly always a good thing, I can see where "nodobby" is coming from if she returned the GDX because the contrast was too high for her).

  10. I was listening to the live stream at and Steve Gibson mentioned that he received his Kindle DX Graphite yesterday and he really wanted for it to look better than the old one, but when he put them side by side he couldn't tell any difference. He suggested that the screen may appear lighter to some people because it is in a dark frame. I hope he posts more about it on his blog (

  11. Stan,
    Thanks for the headup. I'm an old Spinrite user!
    The screen is the new 'Pearl' one -- the people at Mobileread Forums are a highly technical bunch, and a few of them (some normally skepical about the Amazon Kindle) are saying they can't believe the difference they're seeing between their past reference model (Sony PRS-505) and the new Graphit.

    There are images now up of DX1/DX2 text side by side magnified that show great differences in the black-fill of the font if not any vast differences in the white -- except that a guy who did a reflectivity analysis of it said it showed about 42% improvement overall, with a bit more intensity of absolute white areas and much more intensity of black.

    I saw images of full DX1 and DX2 side by side, and while the text on the DX1 was very good the contrast between text and background was considerably higher.

    Will try to find more. In the meantime, if you have a way of contacting him, ask him to call Kindle customer service, who are at 1-866-321-8851 and ask them to send another one as he sees no difference and his may be defective.

    Also, ask him to go into dimmer light and try them both.

    MobileRead forum folks say they can now read in lighting they used to have to use their clip-ons for.

    - Andrys

  12. jwenting,
    I was speculating - I'm fine without WiFi or an SD slot and I mentioned why the latter would be a prob for Amazon's server interactivity with the Kindle files -- but the Kindle-1 had the slot on the inside of the back, so that you had to -- or have to -- lift the back cover off to get at it. Some wondered why and you just gave a good reason.

    2 things - most Kindle users won't work with USB cables aways around them and there are many AT&T users who don't get reception in their home, so WiFi would be helpful for those people.

    No biggie for me, either, personally.

    Glad your white DX is doing well by you. I love mine and don't plan to upgrade although the graphite looks great.
    In more dimly-lit rooms, more contrast will always be useful, in my case.

    The perceived darkness of my DX font depends on the lighting. You've seen mine at and generally, it's vivid but there is some lighting when I wouldn't mind if it were even blacker (the text).

    Many thanks for getting back to us with your feedback about your white DX. I think I prefer that color bezel, by the way...

  13. Dear Andrys,

    First off, LOVE the blog, very helpful in confirming my choice in ereader.

    I have a question, with the release of DX graphite, is the graphite the fruition of rumors going around of a new Kindle to be released in August (obviously a month early). If so is now a good time to buy a Kindle 2 to minimize kindle envy of a newer model or is there going to be a newer release of kindle2 with the pearl e ink screen?

    Just wondering your opinion on the best time to buy because I'm getting sooooo antsy in terms of finally buying my kindle!

    Peace and Love!!!

  14. Anonymous,
    I wish I knew but I don't. This is an evolutionary rather than revolutionary change, with the new display (which is said to be also somewhat faster) replacing the older screen.

    I know nothing about what Amazon is planning but I did read that the 'Pearl' technology used in the Graphite model has been ready in the smaller sizes too, so it would make sense that Amazon will use it sooner or later.
    I also know they sold almost 5,000 K2's through Woot! a couple of weeks ago -- Amazon just bought Woot!, which tends to act as a clearing house.

    Bear in mind that Amazon has a 30-day return policy on Kindles, with a full refund. Most sell their used Kindles, but the price has to be attractive to buyers of course.

    Good luck in your decision :-)

  15. I am a College Professor and would use the Kindle DX Graphite as a source of my in-class notes and as an adjunct to view blackboard occasionally. Does anyone have experience using it this way?
    All of my notes are in word, but I can make them PDF.
    Plus can I get my textbooks for a Kindle?
    Please email me at

  16. To College Professor,
    You might get more people with experience in classroom-use, at a real discussion forum -- and the best type of forum for that, for the DXG, would probably be the one with the more technically-inclined members of the Mobileread Forums.

    Here's a DXG thread of reactions when some of them first received this newer model. Since it is DXG focused you might get responses there. That's at

    However, since you work with WORD, it'll be easy for you.

    Assuming you have WiFi at home, so that the following sends to Kindle are free:

    All you have to do is send the document to [you] and Amazon will automatically convert the file to Kindle format and download it to your Kindle when you next turn your Wireless On. That's free.

    Sending it by 3G cellular wireless instead costs 15 cents per megabyte but there's little reason to do that unless you need it on the Kindle and there is no WiFi network around.

    See for an explanation of how this is done.

    Converting WORD to PDF results in documents with tiny, barely readable fonts. You can get around that by putting your Word document in huge fonts but it's better to just send the WORD file to your Kindle via Amazon's conversion process.

    You can get textbooks for a Kindle if the publisher has made a Kindle edition.

    Hope that helps.


NOTE: TO AVOID SPAM being posted instantly, this blog uses the "DELAY" feature.

Am often away much of the day, and postings won't show up right away. Posts done to use referrer-links may never show up.

Usually, am online enough to release comments within a day though, so the hard-to-read match-text tests for commenting won't be needed this way.

Feedback and questions are welcome. Thanks for participating.

Technical Problems?
If you're having problems leaving a Comment, Google's blogger-help asks that you clear the '' cookies on your browser's Tools or Options menu bar and that will fix the Comment-box problems (until they have a permanent fix).

IF that doesn't work either, then UNcheck the "keep me signed in" box -- Google-help says that should allow your comment to post (it's a workaround to a current bug).
Apologies for the problems.

TIP: There's a size limit. If longer than 3500 characters or so, in a text editor, make two posts out of it.

[Valid RSS]