Friday, July 9, 2010

Photo comparison of new Graphite DX vs a good older DX

New Graphite DX alongside Older White DX
This photo is from the Amazon's Customer Images area and is taken by D. Meador. Here's a link to the specific image which is 130k in size.  I had to make it smaller for the blog and for the loading time of the Kindle Edition of this blog.

  It's a good illustration of the subtle differences in background lightness being more evident when you can see where the lighter aspects come through in a much more intense way, as in the white that you can see within the dark area of the very lowest bird's wing as it appears in the graphite DX.

  Also see the back of the head of the 4th bird down, facing to the right. With the older DX, it's grayer.

  In the smaller background spaces that are defined by branches as in the triangle that is made between the bottom part of the 3rd bird from the end and the branch it is on that turns up a bit, the difference in whiteness isn't evident until you look at them one after another.

  Then, if you step back a bit, and look at it overall, the the definition of the full picture by contrast is evident.   The intensity of the black you see there is also seen in the text of documents on the display.

  My DX seems somewhere between the two, but if given a choice of the first or 2nd one, as seen here, my eyes definitely like the one on the left better.

D. Meador has also done a customer review of the Graphite model at Amazon.  Included in it:
' Comparison of Kindle DX (White) to DX (Graphite). The black images are sharper, and you can immediately see the difference.  The ink looks richer, darker and more like an actual book.  The graphite body color does make the "page" background appear whiter, along with the improved contrast.

  Comparing the Kindle DX to the iPad: I stopped by the Apple store and compared the DX to the iPad.  The iPad had too much glare and harsh contrast when compared to the Kindle.  Also, the fonts were crisper and easier to read on the Kindle. '

Clayton Morris, for FoxNews, does a video preview of it and also a brief review, and writes: '
'... The biggest complaint I have with the iPad is not being able to read it in direct sunlight.  In fact it’s virtually impossible.  By the pool, beach or park, that’s where my Kindle gets its biggest workout.

  ... The screen on the new Kindle DX is nice and sharp and makes reading in the sunlight a no-brainer.  If Amazon were smart, this little factoid would be plastered all over its marketing material.

  Certain features on the Kindle DX have left the iPad in the dust, such as a very thin third-inch width compared to the iPad's half-inch size. A much longer battery life -- iPad gets about 10 hours while the Kindle boasts a week on a single charge. The Kindle DX is also noticeably lighter than the iPad. But remember, the Kindle is just an ebook reader and the iPad is almost a laptop replacement, hardly the same kind of device.'

He wouldn't personally shell out another $190 for the larger Kindle, but many have, and the continuing new reviews of recently received Graphite DX's at the Amazon thread I linked to yesterday and at other Kindle forums are indicating that this is the reference e-Ink reader-screen for now and we hope it'll someday also be put on a smaller Kindle.  I did get the larger DX earlier because I'd rather read on a larger screen but many prize the easier portability of the smaller one.

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  1. Looks great and everything, but the price is way too much for me. If it was sub $300, I would get it in a heartbeat.

  2. Anonymous, I imagine many feel as you do. I think the size of the screen is probably somewhat expensive for now and, also, the free (faster) web browsing globally is probably another factor.

    Eventually, as the world goes, it'll come down...

  3. The screen size is the main cost factor, and is unlikely to come down much further, at least quickly.
    The problem is that the number of failed pixels is a given per square inch for any production process (on average of course).
    By increasing the size of the screen, you thus increase by a similar amount the number of screens you have to discard during the production process for having more than the allowed number of dead pixels (usually 1-2 I think) on the entire unit.
    This increase is more than linear, so a screen with 50% larger size has more than twice the failures to compensate, making it over 4 times more expensive to produce rather than 50% more expensive.

    As to the higher contrast, how much of it is real and how much is an optical illusion caused by the dark border projected by the graphite's exterior casing?
    Would be interesting to see a comparison where the casing of both Kindles is covered by identically coloured material, say a sheet of paper with a 9.5" hole cut in it.

  4. jwenting,
    Good points on the higher costs of producing a reliable larger screen.

    As to the border, BOTH images are surrounded by black borders. The white Kindle's black border is thinner, but all you have to do is look at a specific black area in the middle vs one in the middle of the other to see that the difference in intensity of the black portions are in no way the result of an optical illusion.

    I think it's been popular to point to surrounding background since everyone's learning how very important that is to perception of the inside color, as photoshop users learn right away, but in this case each one has a black border directly adjacent to the gray screen, even if one is slimmer than the other.

    A correspondent, Guven Witteveen, wondered as you did and put the following image together:

    See Guven's results.

    There is black bordering in the photo IDs at the bottom and in the fringe bit at the top of the left one (from the white DX), but I think Guven made it clear that the differences perceived are not due to the models' bezel colors.

  5. My white Kindle DX looks more crisp than that image, but that might of course be due to scaling and JPEG compression.
    As is, I'm happy enough with it. Just a few PDFs that render greyish, but they do so on a PC as well because of the colour choices made by the creators (for some reason they used 70% grey for the text instead of black, maybe to save on ink when printing).

    As to the DX being worth the extra money, to me it certainly is.
    My eyes aren't what they used to be (mildly put) and the larger screen helps there.
    It's also pretty much essential to read PDF documents well, and that's at the moment the bulk of my content for the device (and unless and until Amazon gets around to getting distribution deals for Kindle for Europe for a lot more publishers (especially for IT related technical books, could be tough as most of those publishers have their own eBook stores) that might well remain the case.

  6. Does anyone know if the "new" DX also uses the webkit browser? The new web browser is something that is listed as a feature on the smaller K3, but the comment is conspicuously absent from the details for the DX. I've never owned or seen a DX in person, but it seems that the only difference from the previous gen DX is the new higher contrast screen and the case color. Is there more to it than that?

  7. Anonymous,
    Yes, the latest DX is the graphite model and the only difference from the other DX's is that it uses the Pearl Screen.

    It has a 3G web browser but it's not the one that's based on the WebKit, which is more capable.

    You can see my older (white) DX and its olde web browser at


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