Kindle 2 DX (My Review)

After using the Kindle 2 DX for a few months now, I thought I would give my thoughts on it.  So far I love the small form factor (definitely thinner and lighter than a 3-inch software development textbook.)  The Kindle has two versions one is the standard Kindle 2 which has a 6-inch display (about the size of a paperback book.  The second is the Kindle DX which has a 9.7-inch screen (approaching the size of a piece of paper.)

I wanted the DX over the standard for two reasons.  First it has native support for PDF documents.  I live in a world of PDF most of the time, and having native support would save me time from trying to convert the document to be able to read it on the standard Kindle.  Secondly, I plan to use this for software development reference texts that involve code, graphs, and unique page layouts.  A larger screen will allow more code to be visible at one time.

Reviews of the Kindle are a dime a dozen on the internet, so I will just be brief on my overall thoughts, my likes, and my dislikes.

Overall thoughts

So far I love my Kindle.  I am the type of person that always carries a book with me.  And I must admit, some of the books I carry are large.  A book on my desk as I am writing this is almost 3-inches thick!  The Kindle allows me to carry as many 3-inch thick books with me as I wish.  Plus its sleek design allows it to be more socially acceptable than a large, out-of-place software development text.

The ability to lookup, download a sample for free, or purchase a book from anywhere with the Whispernet wireless connection is simply awesome.  Because it is a cell-network connection (same as a cell phone) it is available just about everywhere.

The screen is very nice to read for long periods of time since it uses the e-ink display technology.  But since it is NOT backlit (like a laptop) you will need to provide a light source to view the screen just as any book.

Until I started being careful, I was accidentally buying books with this device.  There were two distinct causes.  First, the joystick that you use to navigate stands out from the device.  To select an item on the screen (or to click the “buy” button in the store) you pushed the joystick down.  If I was in the store and closed the cover of the leather case I had on my Kindle it would push the button and buy a book.  Secondly, the screen is not very quick to refresh or respond to clicks.  If I click on a book to read more about it, it might take a few seconds to open the page.  I would get impatient and click again only for the page to load and register my second click on the “buy” button.

The Kindle software and store is byfar the strongest feature.  Amazon has created Kindle ebook software for the PC, Mac, Blackberry, iPod touch/iPhone, and iPad (Android phones will have software soon.)  You can buy a book and download and read from any device.  You reading location and notes will be synced between all devices.  The prices on the Kindle store will be lower than any physical book you can buy.  I often take my Kindle to the bookstore to compare prices and almost never find a book for less than what Amazon sells through the Kindle.

My Likes…

  • Large screen
  • Native PDF support
  • Whispernet wireless connection to Amazon Store
  • Amazon digital book return policy (when you accidentally buy a book)

My Dislikes…

  • Accidentally buying books
  • Slow screen refresh on PDF documents (not as fast as native books)
  • Accelerometer issues, fast to turn a direction you do not want, slow to go back the direction want

Now the obvious question is Kindle vs iPad.  Well my my wife has an iPad and I have the Kindle.  Simple answer… iPad.  The Kindle has a great screen for reading text.  And that is about it.  No apps (not that any app would be that great on a Kindle.)  The Kindle software on the iPad is pretty good also.  So I can still read the same books on the iPad (in color!)  This past Christmas, the Kindle was the best device for reading ebooks.  But since the iPad has come out, not anymore.

If all you want to do is read books, the Kindle is a great gadget (it was the only gadget 6 months ago.)  But today, with the iPad providing many more features for around the same price point, the Kindle does not make as much since.

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