In my initial review of the Kindle DX I rated it 3 stars, but am revising that upward to 4 stars as I have used it more. This is primarily due to the excellent readability of the screen and the sheer utility of the device. I had not bought a Kindle previously because of lack of true PDF support and returned a Sony Reader because of very poor PDF support. One of my key reasons for wanting the Kindle DX was the promised PDF support. My impressions so far:
1. The software puts Kindle format reading ahead of PDF, MP3, and browser support. I am fine with that to start, but hope Amazon will put the resources behind software updates to improve the Kindle DX for these other data types.
2. The PDF support is servicable, but has room for improvement. For PDF articles it does a great job. For PDF books downloaded from the web (Google books or Internet Archive), will occasionally get “Some elements on this page could not be displayed” messages. These pages take extra long time to render. Hopefully, Amazon will identify the sources of these “elements” and improve the PDF rendering. As stated in other reviews, the Kindle DX does not support PDF index and other features, which is not ideal for book-length PDFs. Also, in general loading and turning pages in PDF is somewhat slower than the book formats.
3. PDF cropping of white space is inconsistent. On clean PDF articles, it works great. On scanned books from the web in general will not work (I assume it is interpreting the noise lines near the edge as a real feature). A zoom would be helpful here with no loss of content.
4. It is nice and convenient to have audio capability built in, eliminating the need to carry a separate audio player. However, the experimental version included is so rudimentary it is barely usable. The MP3’s sound nice (thru headphones, marginal thru speakers). There are play, stop, and forward buttons, but they forgot the back button. One needs to let the last song play out before it will loop back to the beginning. Add to this you cannot view what MP3’s are on the machine (except by using your computer in USB mode) nor set the play order. Hopefully Amazon will create some kind of audio player to create at least basic functionality.
5. Keyboard buttons could have been a little bigger and more spread out in the same space on the bottom of the Kindle DX. That would have helped a lot. Typing into webpages is somewhat painful. I consider this a lesser sin for this generation of book reader, but would like to see something better in future generations.
6. Some kind of foldering system would be nice. At this point I have loaded ~100 files, which take 7 pages on the home screen to go thru. Again, I hope Amazon puts the resources behind improving the software.In the future, I can imagine a Kindle size device that is a great book reader that you can read in bed, on an airplane, or just generally traveling about. It will have an audio player. It will be in color, providing full support to color books and PDF. It will also likely include a web browser (though how web access is paid for is separate issue). Nothing like this exists on the market today (net books and tablets just are not there yet either). Hopefully someone will see this as a vision for a product that will displace all current book readers.
The Kindle DX is a step in that direction, and has some really nice characteristics-excellent screen rendering, very long battery life (4 days and still have half the initial charge), and portability. These are the reasons that justify to me purchasing the Kindle DX over a netbook or tablet for reading books and PDFs. I think the vision above is a few years away, and the Kindle DX can provide a lot of value now, so I am overall happy with my purchase. I hope Amazon will make me even happier over time by software improvements.
By Thomas Block