Rounding off the Kindle family is the daddy in the form of the Kindle DX. Measuring 9.7 inches diagonally it gives you more than 2.5 times the real estate of the standard Kindle. Unlike the previous model, this new one is only available in graphite, but it has a nice finish and looks smart. Weight wise it is around double the weight of the smaller Kindles coming in at around 19oz – about the same as a hardback.
The interface of the DX hasn’t changed much from the previous model. You have the Home button on the right hand side. Below this you have the page forward and backwards. Then comes the Back and Menu buttons and sandwiched between these 2 buttons is a pretty neat mini joystick. It would have been nice to have page turning buttons on the left hand side of the unit as well, like those found on the smaller Kindles. On the right of the unit you have your volume controls. On the top is the Power button as well as the headphone jack and on the bottom is the micro USB port.
One little niggle I had with the device was the keyboard. For a device of this size I would of preferred a larger keyboard. Holding the device in 2 hands and typing can be a little awkward as it feels as if it might slip out. Putting it onto a surface and typing was a little better. The keyboard on the smaller Kindles is actually better.
Although the screen on the Kindle DX is the same as on the Kindle 3 and new Kindle 2011, the big selling point is that it now measures almost 10 inches diagonally. This equates to an increase in viewing area of 2.5 times. It means that hardbacks, magazines and newspapers now appear on one page without the need to make the fonts smaller. You can read them how they are supposed to be read.
Another advantage of the larger screen is when reading PDFs. They fit exactly on the screen so no panning or zooming is required. This is useful as lots of documents, booklets and books appear on PDFs. The one thing that differentiates this from every other Kindle is the inclinometer. This automatically orients the screen horizontally or vertically depending on how you hold it. Not that useful for normal books, but great for textbooks or PDFs.
The features on the Kindle DX are the same as though found on the smaller latest Kindles. So you have the text-to-speech capabilities that can be used for audio books again giving you the choice of male and females voices. As well being used as a voice guide for all menu options.
There are rear-mounted stereo speakers for listening to MP3 tracks and a stereo jack to listen with your earphones. A USB 2.0 socket for connecting to your PC for downloads as well as charging and a power socket. It comes with both an USB cable and power supply as standard.
It also comes with what it calls an experimental web browser, which is fine for light browsing. The bigger screen does help here and doesn’t have the cluttered look that some websites have on the smaller Kindles. Again it comes with “Article Mode” for re-formatting pages.
You can find all the relevant controls when reading via the text menu. This is accessed by pressing the small “Aa” button to the right of the space bar on the keyboard. There you will find a choice of eight font sizes and three choices for the number of words on a line (less, default, or more).
The Document formats are the same as those found on all Kindles which means there is no support for the popular EPUB format. This isn’t really a deal killer as the Kindle store is one of the biggest and best around. Also quite a few books also appear on PDFs as well including many free ones which are a lot easier to read with the larger screen.
Battery & Memory
Due to the larger screen size the battery doesn’t last quite as long as the Kindle 3 or the new Kindle 2011. I was getting around 2 weeks using the device around 2 hours per day. It takes around 4 hours to fully charge via the USB cable or power supply. Again the battery as in all Kindles is sealed into the unit and is not removable.
The DX comes with 4GB of internal memory (3.3GB of which is accessible). That’s enough for about 3,500 books. The memory can’t be expanded.
The Kindle comes with 3G connectivity as standard (no hunting for Wi-Fi hot spots) with a fallback to EDGE/GPRS where there isn’t 3G coverage. This provides free coverage in the US and in over 100 countries. It works very well and allows for books to be downloaded in around a minute, sometimes even faster.
Unlike the previous model this only comes in Graphite (apparently the white one reflected the sun and made it harder to read). It is also only available in 3G. This latest model has also cut the price from $489.00 to $379.00. This makes it the most expensive eReader on the market, but it also has the largest screen. Whether the extra screen size is worth paying the premium is a personal choice.
This is a difficult choice. As much as I loved my time using the Kindle DX, I can’t really justify spending that much money on an eReader. It is getting to and is indeed in the range of tablets. While stand alone eReaders such as the Kindle DX are better than tablets for reading books etc, the added versatility of a tablet shouldn’t be underestimated. My view is if you have the money and want a device for reading books, as well as magazines/newspapers and textbooks then the Kindle DX is the best device for you. Otherwise if you are only going to use it to read paperbacks then I’d advise going for the smaller Kindles or one of the Nooks.