Saturday, July 3, 2010

Refurbished Amazon Kindle DX's are Currently $250 and $290 UPDATE 9/7/10

UPDATED July 2, 2010 for pricing and info vs new Graphite-colored model
The Amazon Kindle forums recently had a thread about the possibility of a lower-cost 3G Kindle DX, which then became less expensive June 30 although still costing almost as much as a colorful iPad.  The new 3G Graphite DX is $379 as of June 30 with a 50% higher contrast display.

 NOTE - The current WHITE Kindle DX International was repriced by Amazon today to $359 (from $379) as it is NOT using the newer higher-contrast screen, although I find my older-DX screen more than fine (see way below).
  Be aware, as I said, that it's not the new screen even if it's a fine one.

 (Those buying it in the last couple of days for $379 would get a $20 credit.  Contact Amazon at 866-321-8851 if in the U.S. or go to the Amazon Kindle Support Page to use the gold-colored "Contact Us" button, choose the "Phone" TAB you see there and then enter your country and phone number for a fairly quick call-back.)

 So, the new Graphite DX still costs almost as much as an iPad that doesn't have the DX's 3G mobile-wireless capability nor the full-mobile-network-web access that the Kindle offers with its slow but now somewhat faster and totally-free experimental Basic Web browser, included at no added cost to Kindle users.

Remember that the Kindle's web-data access  is useable mainly for text-focused information or lookups at mobile-device-optimized websites of the kind used in any mobile smartphone and, of course, for Kindle books downloaded from Amazon from almost anywhere you are, and this is also doable with 30,000 free Project Gutenberg books
via "The Magic Catalog" and from such places as and

   An iPad of that type (WiFi only) cannot download books to the device when away from WiFi networks, but it offers great color, speed of web browsing, and video delights when accessing WiFi networks. 
   The iPad also offers reading problems in sunlight if reflections and glare bother you while reading. I found out that facing a window, indoors, I still had to tilt the unit a lot to avoid the mirror experience.  GREAT at night though or indoors away from windows and an amazing unit for those who want a personal web browser and good video.

The iPad with 3G mobile-wireless capability starts at  $629 plus either $15 or $25 monthly for getting web-data access, but that iPad's web browser is unusually fast and in full color, something the Kindle DX could not begin to compete with, if one wants a fast full-color web browser rather than just a dedicated e-reader.

What all the DX's have, however, with about the same sized screen as the iPad, is the ability to read PDF documents or PDF books in original layout, on a non-glare e-Ink screen (and in full sunlight) in either portrait or auto-rotated Landscape mode, the latter almost matching the width of letter-sized paper so that PDFs are very readable.  And the latest software offers Pan and Zoom of PDFs in 'actual size' or in zoomed-in segments of 150%, 200%, or 300%

The linked forum thread above came at a time when most did not know that Amazon was about to offer refurbished Kindle Dx's (U.S.) for now $249.99, with a year's warranty.  This is a large savings over a current, new Kindle DX that has international wireless capability.

But the $250 price is only for U.S. Sprint Kindles that cannot use wireless abroad.  An important point.  And only when they have any.
 The refurbished prices change frequently, so monitor this if you are considering a refurbished DX U.S. and planning to make a decision later.

  There is currently usually only one one price-offer (changing) under the Kindle DX U.S. Refurbished category.  These are factory refurbished and factory sealed packages which carry the usual Amazon customer service and the Kindle 30-day return policy if you don't want to keep the DX (return shipping is paid by Amazon).

UPDATE 6/25/10 - As mentioned, the refurbished units mentioned above are based on the older Sprint model (which some want in the U.S. because Sprint is all over the place here while AT&T has many uncovered areas).

 Amazon gives a choice of either version.  The International refurbished units were repriced  July 2, and are better priced than they were yesterday.

  The current pricing (these will change often, so monitor them) is $289.99 for the refurbished DX International.

  When the U.S. DX's were first offered last October (at $400 back then), I called the Amazon Kindle customer service dept about the warranty, and 'Gustavo' checked on it and relayed that the warranty on refurbished DX's is the same as for refurbished Kindle 2's.  It's the basic one-year Amazon warranty and covers any defects (the Kindle is replaced in that case) but, as usual, doesn't cover user-caused accidents in which the Kindle is damaged.

Here's a summary of warranty information:
    WARRANTY: 1 full year for defects. Doesn't include accidents.
      No extended-warranty from Amazon is available on these.
      Drops w/damage resulting can qualify for discounted new refurbs.
      Year 1, any unit defects are covered.
      Amazon offers the usual 30-day return policy on these.
      Above information from Customer Svc Reps Nitesh and Gustavo.

    SquareTrade offers an extended warranty for refurbished units.
    but they don't cover drops/accidents on refurbished units.
      (Drop coverage is the reason many of us get an extra warranty.)
      If wanting a SquareTrade extra-years warranty,
        google for a SquareTrade coupon you can use with your order.

I am partial to the DX myself (more info on the basic unit if you scroll down the product page at Amazon's product page).  Mine is the older U.S. version, which I don't plan to upgrade as the display is vivid, for my eyes.

  Here are photos I took of my own U.S.-only DX showing how it looks with web-pages, PDFs, and with normal book text.

  I added a photo of plain text on the screen, taken at a local ice cream shop (here's a smaller shot that includes the keyboard also).
  We can change "Words per Line" if we decide we want a narrower column to read and then change back, at any time.

  The old DXs and Kindle2's both can use the new Kindle software update that has the Collections filing system, Pan and Zoom for PDFs, ability to forward - to Facebook or Twitter - any passage you're reading, instantaneously from almost anywhere you might be (due to the 3G mobile access that has no charges for web use).

  Reminder: the Kindles have 24/7 free, albeit slow, web access via cellular wireless network, with no monthly or annual web-data charges currently and for the last two years.  With the latest software update, the web access is faster than it used to be, with no more false-error popups when using gmail.  Amazon actively markets the "free 3G" wireless feature now, so they won't likely be changing it in the near future.

  No other e-reader comes with this feature, which has been useful for me when away from my computers and needing to look up info.  Google and Wikipedia are built-in options for searches on words or phrases while you're reading a book.  About 60 countries around the globe have had the free Experimental Basic Web browser made available to them on both the Kindle 2 Int'l (since Oct 2009) and the Kindle DX International (since Jan 2010) and about 100 countries have free wireless access for downloading books and accessing Wikipedia from one's Kindle book.

So, if reading is your main reason to buy a larger-screened e-Ink e-reader, the refurbished DX's are large enough for diagrams with illustrations (including google map directions) while bringing you on-the-street mobile web-access 24/7 at no added cost and without having to hunt for a WiFi hotspot when away from your WiFi networks.

This includes the usual text-to-speech; mp3-listening (limited, in that these are heard in the order placed on the unit); Audible Books for your ears; reading in sunlight, and as mentioned, slow but totally-free web-lookups from almost anywhere you are w/o hotspot-hunts.

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.

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(Older posts have older Kindle model info. For latest models, see CURRENT KINDLES page. )
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