×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Is the Kindle DX Worth the Money?

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the wouldn't-turn-it-down-in-a-gift-basket dept.

Displays 263

An anonymous reader writes "Now that some little time has passed, and the hype has died down a bit, I'm wondering if anyone has taken the $500 plunge and gotten a Kindle DX. From the academic-paper-reading-geek perspective, is it worth the money? How well does it work with PDFs, and is it easy to get them on and off? I haven't been able to find any good reviews on the interweb that address its usability as I would like to use it."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

263 comments

Dumbfuck Mods (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572619)

Is it just me, or does nonsensical bullshit get modded up, while the truth gets modded down.

Slashdot is a circlejerk of bullshit, with retarded moderators modding up garbage, and modding down reality.

Re:Dumbfuck Mods (3, Funny)

Wicked Zen (1006745) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572671)

Is it just me, or does nonsensical bullshit get modded up, while the truth gets modded down.

Slashdot is a circlejerk of bullshit, with retarded moderators modding up garbage, and modding down reality.

Is it just me, or are random nonsensical first-posts getting more randomly nonsensical?

Re:Dumbfuck Mods (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572847)

Is it just me, or are responses to random nonsensical trolls getting more randomly nonsensical?

Skip until cheaper/better (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572643)

Not really - the screen is only a bit bigger than the regular Kindle, doesn't handle PDF's very well (i.e. keeps all of the white space around the edge of docs) and offers no ability to annotate. I am waiting for ePaper products to get considerably cheaper and get something with specs similar to the iRex Digital Reader 1000S. I also find that for just fiction reading, I tend to do better with a smaller, narrower screen rather than a large screen with small font.

Re:Skip until cheaper/better (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573435)

I assure you, when Pixel Qi is ready with a product that can be manufactured in sufficient quantities that Amazon will be shipping devices with it installed. But it is no where near ready. I work directly in this industry and the wait is going to be at least 2 years for them to work out all the issues with it and for someone to make it into a product (likely Amazon because they are working closely with them).

What eReader do you want to use while you wait 2 years for the new displays?

ps- the Kindle 2 is a better deal over the DX. the DX's display is larger, but takes longer to turn pages and is quiet expensive and the unit is a bit awkward to hold because of the size and weight. The display is gorgeous though.

Re:Skip until cheaper/better (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573735)

IWhat eReader do you want to use while you wait 2 years for the new displays?

How about the iNone? Until they figure out a way to KEEP the library of books that I apparently only "license" (for quite a pretty penny). For example, if I buy the Kindle now and "buy" some books - then in two years say Sony (OK, maybe not Sony, but someone) makes a better one and I want to upgrade - how do I transfer my books? Oh, that's right - they aren't "mine"; it's more like the VHS to DVD thing where you either stay on the old stuff (carry the Kindle as it slowly wears out AND your new reader) or buy everything again.

I guess this is a non-issue for the folks who read something once and then are done with it (for example those that read a physical book then take it to the used bookstore). However, I read things over and over and I don't want one of these devices until I can be assured of having my "purchased" material through vendor changes, vendor going out of business, format shits, etc.

See new screens from OLPC's Mary Lou (2, Informative)

dowdle (199162) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572665)

Have you seen the videos on oplc.tv [www.oplc.tv] of the new screen technology coming? Much cheaper and better... no special materials or new manufacturing facilities needed.

Re:See new screens from OLPC's Mary Lou (2, Informative)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572719)

I think you mean olpc.tv [olpc.tv].

I don't think that device is coming any time soon, unfortunately.

Portable PC with epaper screen? (0, Offtopic)

xaxa (988988) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573377)

At my workplace some staff work outside (in full sunlight) with various stuff -- currently tablet PCs and some handheld PCs. They're typically using Access databases on them. The problem is the screens aren't very good in bright sunlight (or even moderate sunlight).

I haven't seen one, but I think an OLPC would be perfect. Unfortunately, they aren't available in the UK.

Does anyone know of an alternative device with:
- A screen at least as big as a handheld PC
- That works fine in daylight
- Battery life of at least, say, 3 hours
- A standard OS (preferably Windows, much as I don't want to say that).
- A screen, preferably a touch screen
- Reasonable cost (say... £800 or less).

Maybe (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572691)

I got a kindle DX as a gift, and i absolutely love it. PDFs can be transferred to/from it extremely easy, just plug it in via usb and drag and drop. My biggest gripe about the PDF support is that you have no control over the font size, as you do with the books you purchase through Amazon, nor can you use the search function or the inline dictionary. But PDFs are still easy to read on the device, and I much prefer it to reading them on my computer screen.

I am a poor college student though, so if it weren't a gift I probably would have bought a netbook and saved myself some money.

Why not a laptop? (2, Interesting)

yog (19073) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572695)

Seriously, a wifi-equipped laptop can be had for less than $400, and with a 15" screen and decent storage, why would someone want a limited, single-purpose crippled laptop such as a Kindle?

The Kindle would make sense if it were under $100; it would fall into the nice Christmas gift or Father's Day gadget category for someone who has everything. But for $500? That's a lot of books.

You could buy a laptop and download thousands of free books from Gutenberg.org or wherever, and spend the rest on used books and have more than you can ever hope to read.

Alternatively, you can spend $350-$500 on one of these Amazon gadgets and then have to pay to read books on it.

I think Amazon should move to the inkjet approach of giving away the initial hardware and then making money on the refills. I wouldn't mind paying $5-$10 for a new bestseller (as long as it didn't crash/timeout and disappear on me) but the initial investment is rather daunting.

Plus, physical books are kinda cool; they don't need to be recharged, you can drop them from amazing heights and they still work, they're infinitely reusable and lendable, and they effortlessly multitask--leave one in the bathroom, one on the nightstand, one in the car, etc.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

xenolion (1371363) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572803)

See I would think this was to now. Over a year and half ago I bought a Sony E-Reader due to the fact I thought the netbooks where a joke, now netbooks are well worth it. I have to stay with yog, buy a netbook/laptop, don't get me wrong I love my e-reader due to the fact I can run what I want on it and not have to follow Amazons rules. The Kindles price is not worth the paper it was created on.

Re:Why not a laptop? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572837)

Laptops don't have e-ink displays and are cumbersome. Laptop batteries are measured in hours, the average being 2-3 hours for a brand new battery, whereas ebook readers have a battery life measured in weeks or even months (try reading a 500 or even 300 page book in 2 hours). Breaking out a small ebook reader while cozied up in a chair is much easier than breaking out the laptop and trying to hold it in one hand.

Books take a lot of physical space and the contents are not quickly accessible. You can fit the contents of an entire bookstore on an ebook reader and you can perform text searches upon those ebooks with results returned in seconds. If I want to lend someone an ebook I simply email it to them. This means I can lend any book to anyone I know, anywhere in the world within seconds.

Re:Why not a laptop? (2, Informative)

Tuidjy (321055) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573233)

For years now I have been reading Gutenberg/Baen Library/what-have-you books
on my Samsung I730 (PPC/phone), and while the screen is small, landscape mode
is perfectly usable. Now this requires both a tiny bit of technical knowledge
(converting files, installing Cyrilics) and it may be a strain for some people's
eyes, but on the other hand, the phone's with me everywhere, and the battery has
easily lasted through a dozen of trans-Atlantic flights. And when I fail to
properly prepare for a trip, I can still seek&download a .txt file from the Internet.

If I were to look for a more user-friendly alternative, or seek to impress those
around me with a polished device, I would splurge for the Kindle. A laptop, as far
as I concerned, is too middle of the road. Almost as uncool as my Samsung , and
almost as expensive as the Kindle (the phone is more expensive, but I carry it anyway)

By the way my sister recently bought some Sony/Ericson phone/PocketPC with a much nicer
screen, and on that one, even .pdf look damn good. What can I say, I believe in
multifunctional devices and in keeping DRM off them.

Re:Why not a laptop? (3, Funny)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573319)

The RIAA do not approve your use of the word lend in that sentence. Clearly you meant aiding and abetting first degree piracy against the crown in an act of sedition.

Seriously though. Is 'lending' as easy as you say while using legit sources? I'm sure with torrented books it will be wonderful. However, it does sound like a great way to store all books ever written in your living room.

Re:Why not a laptop? (0, Offtopic)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573439)

(try reading a 500 or even 300 page book in 2 hours).

Over 2 hours to read a 300 page book? Only if I keep getting interrupted. Actually, it has been a while since I timed how long it takes me to read a book, but I generally figure about 2 hours to read a standard novel.

Re:Why not a laptop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573551)

Wow, you are really special.

Re:Why not a laptop? (2, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573611)

Books are quickly accessible - you can flick to any page instantly and browse through at speed. You can't do that on a Kindle because a page turn takes 2 seconds.

You can't just email books to your friends if you buy them from Amazon, thanks to DRM.

The Kindle is pretty good for reading novels. It's almost useless for technical books and PDFs due to the slow screen update.

Re:Why not a laptop? (3, Interesting)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573673)

If the Kindle were actually like that, it would be wonderful, but I'm pretty sure you can't email your books around. E-ink is great, but the Kindle is too expensive, its books are too expensive, and I'm not going to deal with a company that puts limits on what I purchase.

I am waiting to see what Google does. I think that they are the only possible company that has the inclination and sheer might to give us an e-book reader and content that is reader friendly.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572933)

Plus, physical books are kinda cool; they don't need to be recharged, you can drop them from amazing heights and they still work, they're infinitely reusable and lendable, and they effortlessly multitask--leave one in the bathroom, one on the nightstand, one in the car, etc.

responses:
- This thing uses very little power. You have to worry more about charging your body with food than charging this thing with power.

- Dunno about you, but I don't like dropping my books either.

- Digital books are EXTREMELY "lendable".

- If you like being a slob you'll find you can leave books (and other things) just about anywhere! Compare looking all over for a book you left somewhere to pushing a few buttons on the kindle.

- and try carrying all your favorite books with you on a plane.

- or reading a backlit laptop display in bright sunlight.

Re:Why not a laptop? (2, Informative)

JamesTheBoilermaker (822315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572991)

You could buy a laptop and download thousands of free books from Gutenberg.org or wherever, and spend the rest on used books and have more than you can ever hope to read.

Alternatively, you can spend $350-$500 on one of these Amazon gadgets and then have to pay to read books on it.

Or, you can buy a Kindle and download thousands of free books from Gutenberg.org or wherever. The Kindle doesn't lock you in to only reading Amazon books. I've probably read about as many project Gutenberg books on my Kindle as I have books I bought from Amazon.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

timpdx (1473923) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572993)

I disagree, in terms of Amazon following the inkjet model. You would not see $5-10 best sellers, they would be full price, Amazon would have to make the $500 cost of the Kindle up somehow. Then everyone would gripe about e-books being the same cost as a hardback bestseller ($30 and up). Thank God someone ISN'T following the inkjet model. As for me, I would rather have the Kindle over a laptop, those $400 laptops don't have batteries to last even a couple of hours. I can't stand reading on a screen, but my friend's Sony is very easy on the eyes.

Re:Why not a laptop? (2, Insightful)

Naturalis Philosopho (1160697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573661)

Mark my words; as soon as ebooks are the norm, they will cost "full price" no matter what the reader costs. The cost savings are never passsed on to the consumer, it will be taken as profit once they can. eBook readers are case of "oooh, it's digital" "coolness" more than anything else for the user, for the publishers it's a way of delivering less so that they can increase their profit margins.

Re:Why not a laptop? (5, Insightful)

MBoffin (259181) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572999)

Why not a laptop, you ask?

Because a laptop battery doesn't last for two weeks.
Because a laptop screen can't be read from any angle.
Because a laptop is much heavier than a Kindle.
Because a laptop doesn't have always-on, free Internet access.

Because a laptop is not a book reader.

Re:Why not a laptop? (2, Insightful)

nitroamos (261075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573615)

on the other hand.... perhaps a better question is whether it's a good idea to get a kindle, ASSUMING you already have a laptop. which is, i think, a quite likely scenario.

so are the conveniences of a kindle worth 500$ to me? my answer is no.

1) I have my own way of sorting & storing .pdf of academic papers on my laptop.
2) My laptop already does everything i need, including markup, searching, cross-linking to the internet, VPN to my school so I can access more papers.
3) All the tools I like to have (like energy unit converters) are easy access on my laptop, so if I'm reading a paper, I can quickly convert to my preferred units.
4) It doesn't bother me to read on a laptop screen (macbook bought last year), although i don't typically read the entire thing.
5) I don't need to read in random places or from random angles. Any places I might go, e.g. coffee shops, my laptop is not an inconvenience. They'll have an outlet for me to plug in, + wifi + coffee.
6) I spend just about as much time searching for more papers online as I do actually reading them...

so a kindle feels like a step down in terms of capability, that it doesn't make up for in convenience.

at some price point, or in some possible life circumstances, maybe the balance would change, but for me right now, I'm not going to buy one.

Re:Why not a laptop? (5, Informative)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573033)

Disclaimer: I own a KindleDX and am incredibly happy with it.

you have a lot of good points, but there are some things that you fail to recognize:

For one, the size and weight of books. For a casual reader, the KindleDX is overkill. It's large, expensive and the benefits don't outweigh the hassles (recharging, fragility, etc). For those of us that have large libraries of tech books, the KindleDX allows us to store our entire bookshelf on a single device that takes up less room and weighs significantly less than a single book.

This brings me to my second point: The Kindles (an ebook readers in general) have better displays for reading large quantities of text. It's easier on the eyes than a laptop. Also, for those of us that use mass transit to commute and don't always have a seat, a laptop is not an option. Have you ever tried to stand up in a crowded subway and use a laptop? Even sitting down and using the laptop is a pain. Laptop battery life is also significantly worse than the Kindle's--my kindle hasn't needed to be charged a single time since I got it nearly 3 weeks ago. It also beats out the laptop because you can travel light with it; you don't need to carry a laptop bag. All you need is the device, and since it doesn't require frequent charging, you don't even need to bring the charger (USB cable) with it.

Third point: When using ebooks for reference (or following a tutorial in the book) while you're doing work on the laptop, it's nice to have a separate device. This was one reason why I stuck to buying physical books rather than purchasing PDFs exclusively.

So, while $700 (KindleDX + tax + shipping + 2 year warranty + sleeve) is quite a steep price to pay, for those of us that will use it a lot, it's worth the price. If I wasn't in such need for the solution, I would have held off a year or so and waited for it to come down in price or for a cheaper solution to be released.

My coworker picked up the Sony PRS-700 a couple months ago and he's mostly very satisfied. It was around $375 + tax, but has a significantly smaller screen. Although it's got a touchscreen, the touchiness is kinda flakey and it's got some weird glare because of the touch surface. Also, PDF support in the thing is mediocre--the zoom sucks and it really needs a larger screen.

I was going to hold out for the PlasticLogic (http://www.plasticlogic.com/) but I was hoping for something that I could get real books on, too. Since I really liked the Kindle (my dad picked one up last year) and the features that come with it (cellular websurfing/wikipedia/wireless book delivery and books that you can buy FROM the device), I opted for the DX.

Like I said, the DX isn't for everyone. It's pretty big and it's expensive, but I feel that I'm definitely getting my money's worth.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573299)

For those of us that have large libraries of tech books, the KindleDX allows us to store our entire bookshelf on a single device that takes up less room and weighs significantly less than a single book.

I have a large library of tech books, how can I store them on the Kindle? By buying them again? No way. I'm not paying a hefty sum for an empty device and then buy my library again. Not gonna happen.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573489)

erm, oh yeah... the internet has dark corners. dark corners indeed.

All future book purchases, I'm buying the PDF if it's available. I do occasionally re-buy older books when new editions come out.

I've purchased at least 2 versions of the O'Reilly MySQL, Javascript, and Python books. I've purchased 2 versions of the Pragmatic Agile Development with Rails book, too. So now, no more taking up extra space, no more waiting for books to ship and no more wishing I took the book(s) with me.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

berend botje (1401731) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573563)

I'm not saying that I don't see the use of having a small device containing every book you own. I even understand that you have to start sometime to build a useful collection of e-books.

Say I get the Kindle and get twenty books to start of my collection. That's useful in itself. But it has no hope of competing with my 2000+ book collection on old dead tree.

The first publisher that solves this conundrum gets my money. I'd love to have my collection portable, it just isn't feasible yet.

Isn't the point that you can get published works? (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573093)

With the kindle?

whereas the only way to do that on the others is to illegally copy published works.

Re:Isn't the point that you can get published work (1)

Nakor BlueRider (1504491) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573423)

Not entirely true. It is possible to find legally purchasable published works elsewhere, including DRM-free versions (from some publishers anyway) that will work on any device.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

richmaine (128733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573103)

I've got a laptop computer. I also have a Kindle. No way is the laptop even close to an adequate substitute. I plan to bring both on a cruise I'm going on starting next week. My Kindle is not the DX, and I'm not at all sure whether I'd prefer the DX or not, but your comments have nothing in particular to do with the DX either. I'm not going to just repeat all the sales blub stuff in detail. That is all readily available. I don't know whether you never read it, or perhaps the Kindle just isn't for you. I'm sure it isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean it is for nobody. In very short...

The Kindle (non-DX) is sized and shaped about like a paperback (particularly if you get the leather cover - recommended). This is clearly intentional, and it works well. You can tote it around just like a paperback; my wife throws it in her purse just like one. It is a whole lot more handy than my laptop. It is also a *LOT* easier on the eyes than a laptop screen. And yes, I can indeed read it outside in the desert sun here in lighting conditions where it would be hard to even tell whether my laptop was on. Since the epaper screen is a large chunk of the cost of the thing, its properties are important to consider. Yes, if you don't value those properties, you aren't going to value the Kindle.

Its battery life is measured in days instead of hours (caveat: that's with the wireless off, which makes a huge difference; keep the wireless off if you aren't using it). And my aging eyes appreciate that I can select the font size instead of being stuck with whatever tiny font a book printer used.

Most of the books I have on it so far are free ones, though my wife has bought a few, and we'll probably skim Amazon and buy a few more today.

One negative. I don't think the interface for things like newspapers is very convenient. I tried the free trial subscriptions to a few papers, but then I dropped them. The material is there, but it just isn't presented in a way that I find very handy. With either a physical paper or the web, you immediately see what the "big" stories are. Sometimes that's all you want. You don't get that with the Kindle.

Yes, I could carry a dozen books or so on my upcoming cruise. Well, I could carry them until all the extra weight got to me, which it would. Or I could carry my one KIndle. I'm bringing the Kindle.

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

ucblockhead (63650) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573341)

Because the Kindle isn't a laptop.

It's like saying that an iPod is stupid because your laptop can hold the same number of songs.

(You can also transfer Gutenberg books to the Kindle just fine.)

Re:Why not a laptop? (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573541)

Laptops:

  1. don't last weeks on a charge. (something like 3000 page turns on a charge with these eReaders)
  2. backlit displays cause eye strain for for reading.
  3. are barely readable in direct sunlight. reflective e-ink is simple to read on a park bench.
  4. LCDs matrix causes some people eye strain compared to the print-like blobs in electrophoretic displays(e-ink).
  5. are cumbersome to read while on a bus/train. Unless perhaps your laptop is a netbook that can fold into a tablet.
  6. the reader apps for PCs kind of suck, but that could change quickly.
  7. people like to have more than one hot new gadget. (the main reason people drop the money on the Kindle 2 and DX)

You can get the Kindle iPhone/Touch app for free. It is a good reader, and setup in a way that is familiar to Kindle 2/DX's reader software. The display on the iPhone/Touch are a bit small, and reading the bright backlight in the dark for long hours is noticeably tiring. But it is superior to reading on a laptop.

Math PDFs (5, Informative)

Elote (649512) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572709)

It worked beautifully for the 2-3 higher mathematics PDFs I tried it with. All ot the little set theory symbols were displayed crystal clear. I don't think the screen is as readable as the PRS505's, however it's still good.

Re:Math PDFs (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572767)

The PRS505 is god's gift to readers. Nuf said.

Re:Math PDFs (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572859)

The PRS-505 is apparently a version of the Sony Reader [wikipedia.org]. The latest version is the PRS-700, which looks to be about $350 right now.

Re:Math PDFs (2, Insightful)

bwalling (195998) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572975)

The PRS-505 and the PRS-700 are both current models. The 700 has a touchscreen, which increases usability at the expense of screen clarity. The touchscreen is an overlay to the e-Ink screen, so you're viewing it through another material. The 505 is a nice device and handles PDF just fine. I picked one up a few weeks ago when Borders had it on sale for $199.

You said "interweb," which means you're a twat. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572717)

You don't deserve any helpful answers.

Nokia n810? (1)

green1 (322787) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572741)

It's cheaper, smaller, and it's pretty much a full Linux based computer... oh and it has a colour screen too!

I'm sorry, but at $500 you can buy any of a number of laptops, netbooks or PDAs that all do much more than the Kindle does. Their price point is definitely in the wrong place for such a limited device.

Re:Nokia n810? (2, Interesting)

Albanach (527650) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572843)

It's cheaper, smaller, and it's pretty much a full Linux based computer... oh and it has a colour screen too!

Given he is asking about the larger Kindle, the DX, I hardly think a smaller screen would be considered a plus. The point of the DX is that you can view an entire page, just like having a textbook in front of you. For that the N810 - while an awesome tool is hardly a substitute.

The N810 also misses the mark, because it has a standard screen, not an e-ink one. That's great for reading a web page, but really strains your eyes if you want to read extensively.

My own thoughts are that the DX still lacks decent annotating and that's a big flaw. There are several schools trialing them at the moment as a substitute for 1st year text books, and I'm sure this will be pointed out. Either Amazon will release a new model with decent annotating (either make a decent keyboard or get very good at handwriting recognition) or Sony will beat them to it in an attempt to recapture the market.

Re:Nokia n810? (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572881)

Really? Which cheaper devices let you read books on a 9" screen and automatically synch free and paid content over 3G without any recurring service costs? One link to any device that does all that and more and costs less will be sufficient. I will even give you a freebie, your device can include the long term eye strain from reading on a backlit device..Still nothing..That is kind of what I thought...

I think the n810 is a great device, the comparison is like comparing apples and monkeys.

Re:Nokia n810? (1)

Daswolfen (1277224) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573173)

the comparison is like comparing apples and monkeys.

mmmm... Monkeys... err.. Apples... I meant apples...

Re:Nokia n810? (3, Interesting)

JohnBailey (1092697) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573087)

It's cheaper, smaller, and it's pretty much a full Linux based computer... oh and it has a colour screen too!

I'm sorry, but at $500 you can buy any of a number of laptops, netbooks or PDAs that all do much more than the Kindle does. Their price point is definitely in the wrong place for such a limited device.

And it fails on the second property you mentioned. For PDF, a netbook is about the smallest practical display. Not to mention the fairly short battery life of the N series web tablets. I have an N800, and I agree. they are great for the proper tasks. But reading PDFs is not one of them. I know. I tried with my N800, and the screen size was only one of the drawbacks. Loading time was the worst.

I'm a keen e-book reader. Got myself an e-ink based reader last year, and I love it. For it's intended task, it's fantastic. That task being reading fiction. NOTHING ELSE

But I have a grand total of zero PDF files on it. Because when it comes to using PDF files, the current range of readers are all basically crap. Including the Kindle DX. The screen updates far too slowly. so paging back and forth is irritating. Search if it works, is slow. looking up the index is also slow, and usually set over several pages if it even has links..

If you want to read fiction, great. You will get onto the habit of pressing the next page button mid way in the last sentence of the current page, so you don't even notice the page refresh blink after a few chapters. And as fiction is read one page after the other, it is perfectly suited to this. Graphic novels may be ok. A bit small on a 6 inch screen, but the bigger Kindle screen might work out ok. These too are page by page, not random access.

But if you need to read a few paragraphs here, look in the index, and read a few pages somewhere else.. All common tasks with manuals.. Forget it. Get a netbook for portability or a tablet for functionality. Both great choices for manuals and text books. Do yourself a favour. Avoid e-ink displays unless the primary function is fiction reading. No matter how big the screen. You will either be disappointed, or worse.. end up justifying the extra cost of a 9 inch book reader that only works for manuals in the same way an iPhone works as a camera.

There are supposed to be a few new displays coming out that are better suited to fast access, but you are realistically looking at several years before they are on sale anywhere. The current generation are a dead loss for PDF files.

Re:Nokia n810? (1)

abigor (540274) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573301)

True, but you can't read any of those things outside in full sunlight. I like to read out on my balcony, and using a laptop out there is impossible. Same with on the ferry to work, when I sit by a window. For reading, backlit displays are fundamentally terrible devices.

What people don't understand is that the Kindle is NOT a laptop replacement - it's an e-Ink display device, an electronic book that reads in the same way as the printed page. Either this is meaningful to you as someone who reads a lot, or it isn't, particularly if your "reading" consists of browsing the web and jumping from site to site to get the news or look at Slashdot or whatever.

Depends (2, Informative)

Spy Handler (822350) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572751)

If the textbooks you require are available at Amazon, you can save money (ebooks cost less than paper)... if you need to buy lots of them then you might even save enough to offset the Kindle purchase price.

If not, there are other readers that handle PDF better (*ony makes one)

Re:Depends (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573705)

If the textbooks you require are available at Amazon, you can save money (ebooks cost less than paper)...

Basic economics failure. You can't sell your amazon purchased and thus reduce the actual costs of material. Heck, you can't lend them out or give them away. e-books need to be 99cents or less before DRM wankfests like the kindle will ever stand a chance of success.

What is the Kindle like? (2, Funny)

kawabago (551139) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572759)

What is the Kindle like? It's like a book with ink that can vanish permanently at any moment.

Not an anti-DRM Nazi.... (5, Insightful)

Rick Zeman (15628) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572783)

...by any means here, but I'd never buy a Kindle unless I can borrow or lend a Kindle book like a dead tree book. Serialize it to the purchaser, and have the mothership ensure it's only on one device at any one time. To me, that's a reasonable compromise. The way it is now SUCKS and should be avoided at all costs (pun intended....)

Re:Not an anti-DRM Nazi.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572981)

The question wasn't whether *YOU* would buy a Kindle. The world doesn't revolve around you -- even with your 5 digit uid.

Re:Not an anti-DRM Nazi.... (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573171)

The device supports a wide range of formats (Tools for Mobipocket are pretty easy to come by, and it is basically the format Amazon uses, with some minor differences: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobipocket [wikipedia.org] ).

So really, you aren't interested in buying the media, the device passes your sniff test just fine, and you could put books from Project Gutenburg or whatever on it (the ebook production available on free versions of these books is somewhat lacking, but it is pretty much only going to get better).

Re:Not an anti-DRM Nazi.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573219)

...by any means here, but I'd never buy a Kindle unless I can borrow or lend a Kindle book like a dead tree book. Serialize it to the purchaser, and have the mothership ensure it's only on one device at any one time. To me, that's a reasonable compromise. The way it is now SUCKS and should be avoided at all costs (pun intended....)

That is until the mothership leaves orbit and all you are left with is a bunch of inaccessable bytes that you can never use again.. nothing reasonable at all about that compromise - give me dead trees or give me DRM FREE!!

Oops (1)

rm_-fr_* (107567) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572799)

That's the old one. Just woke up. The latest kindle IS reviewed by LJ, but it is for subscribers only (for now)...

This is why I love slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572807)

"Now that some little time has passed, and the hype has died down a bit, I'm wondering if anyone has taken the $500 plunge and gotten a Kindle DX. From the academic-paper-reading-geek perspective, is it worth the money? How well does it work with PDFs, and is it easy to get them on and off? I haven't been able to find any good reviews on the interweb that address its usability as I would like to use it."

This is why I love this place. Slashdot: Where interweb can and will be used in a serious manner.

No (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572809)

No. Books are available for free from your local public library, and you've already got a computer capable of downloading online content, or you wouldn't be posting to slashdot. In short, there is nothing you can do with a kindle that you can't do without one. And trust me, it WILL NOT get you laid more often!

Re:No (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573255)

I don't know about your library, but the ones around here provide e-books through the website. You've got to install a DRMed Win program to use them, but I don't think you can use it with the kindle, which is going to cost you opportunities. I'm sure that's not a big deal to the Kindle audience, but it may be to some people.

Service for that is through http://www.netlibrary.com/ [netlibrary.com] if anybody's interested, it may or may not be available in any given library system.

Kindle DX and PDFs (5, Informative)

proxima (165692) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572829)

I seriously considered getting a Kindle DX, but after a little digging I found that it's not quite there yet for my use. So while I don't have personal experience with one, I did spend some time looking into it.

I'd love to eliminate the need to print PDF documents (like journal articles) for comfortable reading away from my computer. Once I heard that the Kindle DX supports PDF natively and has a large screen, I thought it might be perfect. Before prices were announced, I actually expected it to launch for $600 (comparable to the iRex Iliad). To my surprise, the price was cheaper.

As an added bonus, the free Whispernet (Sprint network) Wikipedia access has been expanded to include a rudimentary web browser. It would be unwise to buy a Kindle expecting this feature to remain free, though.

What's not made clear is that the PDF support has drawbacks. It cannot zoom, except to turn the device into landscape mode, which provides a small magnification. Fortunately, the software does automatically eliminate margins, making the screen about the right size for most documents. What's worse is that all of the annotation features available for ebooks and other documents do not work with PDFs; no highlighting, no note-taking, etc. I think it supports bookmarking, but that's it. For me, this is a deal breaker (at least until the price drops much further). I'm hoping that since this is a software limitation, it might be fixed with an update. I've learned not to count on feature additions in firmware until I see them, though, so I'm holding off on the purchase. Hopefully the price will drop before the end of the year anyway.

More strange is the method of firmware update. Apparently the Kindle 2 gets an update automatically if you leave Whispernet on long enough (usually overnight). I realize Amazon is doing this because they don't want users to need a computer and want to make things as simple as possible, but I would still strongly prefer user pull to Amazon push of content like software updates. Perhaps this behavior is configurable, I'm not sure.

I found it interesting that (at least some) newspaper subscriptions were made cheaper with the DX. If you save $4/mo on two subscriptions each, in about 18 months that will pay for the price difference between the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX. Since neither unit is sold retail, I don't have a very good sense of how comfortable they are to read from, or how annoying I would find the screen wipes (as the eink screens refresh the content). The good news is that the return policy from Amazon seems pretty reasonable, and you can return an opened unit within a few weeks for a full refund. If it supported annotations (and zooming might be important on some documents), that's how I would try it out. Until that's supported, or the price drops substantially, I'll just wait.

Kindle DX (4, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572905)

...after a little digging I found that it's not quite there yet for my use. Yeah, greyscale sucks for porn, doesn't it...

Re:Kindle DX and PDFs (2, Interesting)

MyDixieWrecked (548719) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573069)

It cannot zoom, except to turn the device into landscape mode, which provides a small magnification. Fortunately, the software does automatically eliminate margins, making the screen about the right size for most documents. What's worse is that all of the annotation features available for ebooks and other documents do not work with PDFs; no highlighting, no note-taking, etc. I think it supports bookmarking, but that's it.

Yeah, those are my only issues with it so far (I've had it for almost 3 weeks).

I haven't had a need to zoom on any PDF yet, but the feature would be welcome. It supports bookmarks, but all you can do is 'dog-ear' the page. You can't leave a note about the bookmark.

hopefully they'll remedy this with an update in the near future.

Re:Kindle DX and PDFs (2, Informative)

Doofus (43075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573631)

A couple of comments, from a "pleased DX owner" -

1) Amazon indicates that the Whispernet service is free. You make a good point that Amazon or Sprint may at some time in the future choose to charge for web browsing, but using the service to buy/sync/transfer documents will remain free. Nothing I've seen from Amazon indicates that they *will* charge for browsing, though.

2) In reading other posters' comments, it appears that PDFs - even those of the technical genus - render quite nicely. There are PDF capabilities missing from the DX that are standard on a computer - as you and others have pointed out, a software update may enhance these.

3) The DX is comfortable for *me* to read with. The screen "wipes" are no more disorienting than turning a page in a dead-tree book or changing pages in a web-based document, and in my experience take less than half a second. Reading e-ink is far more pleasant an experience than reading text on an LCD screen, and the bulk of one's time is spent reading, not refreshing, the screen.

If you know anyone with a Kindle (2 or DX), ask them if you can play with it for a short while. You may be surprised at how thoroughly you enjoy the reading experience.

Definitely pricey, but enjoying it so far (2, Informative)

esw (247639) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572831)

I'm not sure if it's worth the money for most, but I've been really enjoying mine so far.

The PDF reader works great for things like academic papers as long as moderately small fonts aren't a problem. Large PDF books don't work quite as well because links don't work on PDF in the current version. Some PDF slide decks work well, depending on the formatting - colored text on black background doesn't render well.

The built-in browser is OK. It's a nice novelty to be able to read wikipedia on this form factor of device.

wait. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28572835)

It will be selling for $100 or less in the near future.

I won't even think of getting one until I can get one in Target for much less. It'll happen. It has happened to every electronic gadget that has ever been produced.

I let the first adopters get soaked and deal with the bugs.

My captcha is "suckers" ...

Pleased DX Owner (5, Informative)

Doofus (43075) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572949)

I own a DX - my mom and wife went in together on a Kindle 2 for my birthday, several days later Amazon announced the DX. Returned the K2 and got the DX a couple of weeks back. I have used it every day since receiving it, and have thoroughly enjoyed using it. Excellent reading device and experience. The DX simply allows me to read, without getting in the way.

Loading PDFs using USB is trivially easy; once, too rushed to plug the DX into my work laptop, I emailed a work-related PDF document to my kindle email address; $0.15 saved me a few minutes. Amazon will convert some documents to Kindle format via email if you cannot convert to PDF on your own. One downside on PDFs: have not figured out how to magnify other than rotating the DX. I cannot testify to complicated graphics, as I have not loaded any technical PDFs on my DX.

A few technical reviews I've found that you may find helpful:

http://www.matthewdavidwilliams.com/2009/06/12/technical-document-pdfs-on-the-kindle-dx/ [matthewdavidwilliams.com]

CNET Review [cnet.com]

Gizmodo Review [gizmodo.com]

Hope this helps. There are other reviews out there.

$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (4, Insightful)

DrXym (126579) | more than 4 years ago | (#28572977)

If I'm paying full whack for an e-reader I expect it to support all of the common book formats without prejudice. If the firmware integrates a store or a proprietary format as an extra then fine. This after all is how the iPod sold so well. Apple wisely ensured it played unencrypted MP3s and AACs first and foremost, complete with ripping software. The result was iPods sold through the roof and Apple coined it from integrated iTMS support.

I just don't understand who is stupid enough to buy a Kindle at full price considering how crippled it is. The device should be subsidized to reflect its proprietary nature or the software should be opened up to make it more useful. FFS even Sony (a company not exactly known for embracing standards) has a more open reader that costs less.

Even less fathomable is why publishers are letting the ebook market degenerate into competing formats, proprietary readers and possible market dominance by Amazon. One would think it is in their interest to come up with and dictate a single book format, one which all readers can implement, one which all stores can sell books with. It sounds obvious but a single format would level the playing field and catapult ebooks into the mainstream.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573193)

You sir, are an idiot troll.
Apparently there are 1000s and 1000s of people who are "stupid enough to buy a Kindle at full price".
I do believe you when you say "less fathomable", as it is clear your are too dull to understand the business concepts as they relate to book publishers. I'm sure someone could try and explain it to you, but you have demonstrated your mental capacity and feelings on the matter.

The original poster asked for a review of the DX, not your blathering idiocy. Next time, try turning off your network connection before typing up your comment. That would save us all some time.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573273)

The publishing industry wants one-book one-device, something Amazon is currently going along with. Custom formats that can be derived from an EPUB formatted version of the book aren't going to significantly increase costs, mitigating the issues that come from fragmentation.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573309)

It's worth noting that Apple refuses to license out their AAC DRM and never used WMA DRM, meaning that if you wanted the ITMS support back when it was DRMed, you had to have an iPod or be happy only playing via the computer. And no burning to CD to rerip really doesn't cut it. I'm still curious as to why the DoJ never looked into the obvious antitrust violations that represents.

Amazon is just a couple of steps worse than that.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (2, Informative)

N7DR (536428) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573357)

Even less fathomable is why publishers are letting the ebook market degenerate into competing formats, proprietary readers and possible market dominance by Amazon. One would think it is in their interest to come up with and dictate a single book format, one which all readers can implement, one which all stores can sell books with. It sounds obvious but a single format would level the playing field and catapult ebooks into the mainstream.

While one hears a lot about the Kindle (most US people who are even aware of the existence of e-book readers generally believe that the Kindle is the only one on the market), but once one digs through the hype to try to see what's actually happening in the industry, the situation is very different.

All the entities with interests in the classical publishing industry (meaning, mostly, authors, agents, and "classical" publishers) are thoroughly unsure how best to prepare for the tidal wave that is now in its early stages. There are lots of ways it could go, and most of the players are trying to cover as many possible outcomes as possible; no one that I know of is betting the farm on any particular outcome. So you'll see entities supporting the Kindle (if they're willing to agree to Amazon's (draconian, IMHO) contract) but they are generally aware of the dangers of turning Amazon into a monopoly; so you'll also see support for other readers (personally, I'm a fan of the Sony so far, but if they implement some kind of "publishers must pay to list a book on our store" policy, they will struggle to be more than a bit player eventually).

There are plenty of other possibilities too. Maybe we'll see more publishers creating their own online stores. Maybe more authors will do the same thing (depending on what contracts the authors are willing to sign anent digital rights). Maybe e-books will simply not take off (unlikely, I suspect, at least for some kinds of books). The whole "how does the author get paid if the marginal cost to generate a copy is zero" issue is the elephant in the room. Again, there are several possible answers, but which one(s) will prevail is anyone's guess at the moment.

In short, it's all in huge flux, and everyone right now is just trying to survive until things begin to be a bit clearer.

Just my opinion, of course. But I am a writer and publisher. On the other hand, I inhabit slashdot, so you know how much that means my opinion is worth.

Sorry I wandered a bit off topic.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (2, Interesting)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573469)

The Kindle 2 supports a large number of e-book formats and it is possible to convert some more to the pretty common .mobi format. I have run a .LIT (Sony) to .mobi format conversion myself (free program) and the results were very good. The DX supports the same formats, plus PDF in a limited way.

The problem wtih PDF is that it is a page description langauge where the page layout has already been determined. OK, so how do you transform a generic PDF to a different page format? Short answer is, you do not. If the PDF consists of nothing but text, you might be able to extract the text and throw everything else away, but this works for such a limited number of PDFs that the Kindle developers chose not to even try.

So, the common on the DX is that if the PDF page fits on the screen and is readable like that, wonderful. Otherwise, it isn't going to be very pretty. A significantly better approach for the Kindle 2 is to convert the PDF to .mobi form and allow the device to display the text and illustrations as best it can, with text scaling and full reformatting. Does this work for all PDFs? No. PDF was designed as a page description language, not a e-book format and it does a very poor job of being an e-book format.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (1)

Huntred (198920) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573475)

I just don't understand who is stupid enough to buy a Kindle at full price considering how crippled it is.

The first step towards your understanding, if you are really interested, should be to consider the idea that other people have different priorities than you instead of just writing them off as stupid.

To start, you may want to read some of the comments around yours to see some of the clear, well-reasoned and easy to understand points posted by authors as to why the Kindle works well for them.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573479)

I have an iRex DR1000S. Nice big eink screen. Very open - yes it runs LINUX. Stylus annotations. PDF etc. A few software quirks but I am very happy.

Re:$500 is way too much no matter how good it is (1)

brteag00 (987351) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573595)

If there was a "standard" eBook format, then I would agree with you. As much as there is one, though, it seems to be the .mobi / mobipocket format - which the DX reads as well. Actually, the Amazon .azw format is just the the mobipocket format with a different extension and a single bit flipped in the header. And then there's PDF support for full-page formatted documents, which works well (if subject to a few limitations as noted further up in the thread.) Frankly, I love my DX - it was expensive but I fully intend to get $500 of use out of it.

Everyone here is a Liar! The DX is NOT SHIPPING (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573003)

The DX hasn't shipped yet, except for a few units for reviewers.

A dumb kind of product (1)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573039)

I fail to see the logic in a book reader.

A book reader is a computer. Why not make it full-featured?

I would love to have a computer that had an e-ink (persistent) display, internet access, and could also read books, with the battery life of an e-book (with internet turned off).

Why purposely limit the machine to only being able to read books? It makes no sense.

Re:A dumb kind of product (0, Redundant)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573183)

Clearly you haven't used a Kindle...

The Kindle2 and Kindle DX have Internet access. In fact, I'm using mine to correct your inaccurate statements right now. Oh, and my Internet access over Kindle is free. How much did you pay for yours? :P

As for that "purposely limiting" BS, would you wipe your arse with your mobile phone? No? Then why would you want the Kindle to become a full-fledged computer? Most netbooks have battery lives measured in hours. Kindle's battery life is measured in weeks. Most netbooks have to sit on something. The Kindle fits in your hand and is light enough to be carried all day long without strain.

The Kindle is an e-book reader with some helpful Internet features. It does its job well. Trying to turn it into something just so you can "see the logic" is silly.

Re:A dumb kind of product (1)

cjonslashdot (904508) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573413)

No need to be rude here.

Thanks for correcting me that Kindle has Internet access. I did not know that, and you are right that I don't have one.

My point is still valid I think though. It is that the Kindle is a computer on the inside, so why not provide basic apps on it, and allow one to install more apps, just as an iPhone allows one to install more apps? I don't think that Apple thought, "the iPhone is a phone - no need to do other things on it." I would bet that if the Kindle allowed one to install more apps, just as the iPhone does, it would quickly become a more general purpose computer - with battery life of weeks. Now that is something I would buy.

Re:A dumb kind of product (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573323)

Part of it probably has to do with the fact that Amazon is picking up the tab on the wireless connection. I'm also not sure that the display is really designed to handle much more than just e-books.

Re:A dumb kind of product (1)

Provocateur (133110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573703)

At the risk of sounding redundant, check the form factor out (I've seen the Sony). If you don't have a computer, this would be secondary, especially at the wrong price point. But if you love to read, and value your eyesight, and already gotten a notebook/laptop, this is worth checking out. Battery goes for weeks and it's instant on--those are pros for me.

academic not on amazon (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573059)

I was looking at the Kindle to read journals. By and large the journals are not available through Amazon, but are available through the web, as text or PDF. I currently read these on laptop, but, to answer another question, the clamshell form factor does not always work when reading. I think I will buy a Kindle when the web browser is no longer beta, as that is my preferred method of getting my reading material.

Unless something better comes along. That is a device that does not waste real estate with a tiny useless keyboard. I would rather have a smaller device and have to use a touchscreen. After all, I won't be writing novels on it. I can almost read a book on my iPhone. An e-book reader with the area of three iphones would be perfect.

For Me It's Not Worth The Money (1)

Randwulf (997659) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573097)

I do not own a Kindle DX and I never plan to buy one, either. I have pre-ordered an Always Innovating Touch Book: http://www.alwaysinnovating.com/touchbook/ [alwaysinnovating.com] Based on what I've read on their site it can do a whole bunch more of what I'm personally looking for. Philosophically, it appeals to me more because the software and hardware are open source. Technologically, it appeals to me because I plan to tinker with it. Also, I've downloaded a bunch of free books from the net to see how it works as an ebook reader. This is my opinion. YMMV.

I like mine (1)

Brian Stretch (5304) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573111)

Loading PDFs is trivial. The DX shows up as a standard USB flash drive, allowing you to drag and drop files into its Documents directory from any modern OS.

PDFs display well, though you'll want to turn the DX on its side to more closely approximate the width of a printed page. The DX can't reflow PDF text like it can with standard Kindle books. It became very obvious why Amazon didn't bother with PDF support on their smaller Kindles. Pragmatic Programmers [pragprog.com] offers their eBooks in .mobi format, so I redownloaded my existing library and copied the files over USB. Serious props to Pragmatic for being so... pragmatic. Manning's [manning.com] PDF books display well. O'Reilly, OTOH, adds huge and extremely obnoxious copyright headers and footers to their Safari PDF downloads that results in the actual book page being shrunk to a small illegible island in the middle of the screen. I've complained to O'Reilly about this, no word back yet. Outside of that inexplicable piece of design dysfunction every PDF I've thrown at the DX has worked well.

If you have trouble with eye strain like I do (Convergence Insufficiency [convergenc...ciency.org], use the website to direct you to a clueful optometrist if you have trouble staying focused while reading or have vaguely ADD-like symptoms), the non-backlit Kindle screen is VERY nice. It's at least as easy on my eyes as paper, if not moreso due to the font flexibility.

You will want the Mighty Bright LED reading light Amazon recommends (requires 3 AAA batteries, not included), as well as the protective leather cover that Amazon should have included and you'll feel like a schmuck paying $50 for.

The Sprint-driven Whispernet wireless service is excellent. Being able to receive free book samples, read them, then purchase the full book from wherever I am (so long as I don't stray too far from civilization) is dangerously convenient.

I've very glad I waited for the DX over the smaller Kindle 2. If you have the cash, or have simply given up on paying off your credit card, I highly recommend it.

Re:I like mine (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573503)

"or have simply given up on paying off your credit card"

OH~ Say can you seeeeee. by the dawn's early light~... land of the freeeee~ and the home of the braaaaave.

Sorry, your sentiment moved me to a patriotic outburst.

Not Just No (1)

DynaSoar (714234) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573153)

"From the academic-paper-reading-geek perspective, is it worth the money?"

HeeYELL no. IMO, papers are best read on paper. But with electronic journals coming to fore, you have to adapt. Those get sent as PDF to an email or similar account. Kindle doesn't do email and isn't paper. For $500 I can buy a laptop to do these things if needed, and still have enough for a major party.

three words: flat file system (4, Informative)

stevenj (9583) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573213)

As pointed out in this review [computatio...lexity.org]:

You can move whole directories but the Kindle flattens them out listing every file (by file name) separately on the main home page.

You can't organize PDFs into directories on the Kindle, which makes accessing a large number of PDFs a serious problem. It's like 1984.

(The lack of PDF annotation capability is also a headache.)

Engadget's Review (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573317)

Engadget has a nice review. [engadget.com] I was considering selling my Kindle 2 to get a DX -- I'm an academic who reads many multi-column PDFs -- but apparently the DX doesn't do this well :

Another puzzling design choice involves PDF support. For the most part it works well with standard size pages, but there's no zoom, so you're stuck with however the DX decides to display your file -- the only way to get things bigger is to switch to landscape. Since not all PDF pages fit on the screen, that means you often end up with a weird jumble of page breaks and cut-off content -- it's easy to totally lose the structure of a document or slide deck after a while.

It sounds like reading multi-columnar PDFs would be aggravating.If your PDF isn't multicolumnar, it's better suited for reformatting using Amazon's free PDF conversion service -- and these work on the Kindle 2.

They also complain about a hyper-sensitive orientation sensor, and an awkward keyboard.

I am happy with the DX, but it isn't for everyone (5, Informative)

volsung (378) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573491)

I picked up the Kindle DX on release day (much to my amazement, as I figured the initial stock would go entirely to preorders) and then took it on a 2 week trip. I'm quite pleased with it, although I definitely believe that it will only appeal to a narrow market.

Pros:

  • The e-ink display really needs to be seen to understand the benefit. Over time, more and more of my reading material has become electronic, and I had not appreciated how much reading long documents on my backlit laptop LCD was leading to eye-fatigue. The result was that I tended to read on my laptop in short bursts, taking frequent breaks and losing focus. With a passive display like this, I find that I naturally read for longer intervals. Contrast is not as good as paper, but being able to read in direct light really changes your reading behavior.
  • The form factor is perfect for full page document reading. A netbook or small laptop, while useful for other things, is a horrible document reader. The clamshell form factor is the wrong orientation for reading pages, and if you try to turn it to read in portrait mode, you have a keyboard sticking out the side for no reason. I tried reading with a sideways 12" laptop on the bus as a graduate student, and it was pretty annoying. Anyone suggesting a real computer as an alternative to the Kindle DX should at least begin with a tablet PC.
  • As a reader, the software mostly gets out of your way. The power switch just puts the system to sleep, so you can pick up the DX and be reading where you were last in about 4 seconds. Your last location is remembered in all documents, as you would expect. More sophisticated controls would be nice, but aren't a deal-breaker.
  • The built-in cellular data link is not spectacular, but gets the job done. I really enjoy being able to read something, then if I encounter an unfamiliar concept, I can just start typing a phrase and hit "wikipedia". xkcd's comment about the Kindle being our manifestation of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is very true.
  • The browser is definitely limited, but very convenient when you are traveling. I don't have a fancy phone, so this is the only device I own which provides nearly universal Internet access. (Yeah, I'm late to the party.) Not having a stupid cell contract to use the web browser is a huge plus.
  • Battery life and weight are good. I tend to leave the wireless radio on, but even with that extra drain, I normally have to recharge every few days. At 1 lb., it is the weight of a thin hardback. You won't read it for long periods by holding it out in front of your face (see "gorilla arms"), but it doesn't take much support to a corner or an elbow to comfortably hold it.
  • Being able to read the first chapter of books free is kind of neat. I don't usually buy books for the Kindle with the store, because I consider DRM-crippled data to be disposable. It is a great way to find new books to buy in dead-tree format, though.
  • PDF rendering works fine. I have encountered one image in one PDF that rendered strange, but otherwise viewing PDFs has met my expectations.

Cons:

  • Some people say other readers have a better e-ink display. This is my first e-ink device, so I can't comment on that.
  • If you are used to reading on an LCD, it will take you a little bit to adjust. The first thing I noticed when I got the DX is that I have very poor lighting in my apartment for reading. With a backlit display, I never noticed. However, the DX needs external light, just like paper. :)
  • This is not a speedy device, nor a speedy internet connection. The browser is very slow, especially on complex websites.
  • The economics of the cellular link are worrying. Since it is effectively pre-paid in the cost of the device itself, Amazon does not have a strong financial incentive to improve the built-in browser. More web use means more money they have to pay to Sprint on your behalf. You see the effects of this in other device features as well. Downloading books and magazines from the Kindle store is free, but you cannot download PDFs via the web browser because of the cost to Amazon. To put PDFs on the device, you have to transfer them over USB (as you might expect) or email them to a special address you setup on the Kindle website. However, emailing files to your Kindle costs 0.15 cents per MB because it is using the cellular network. Also note that the cost for email files is computed per file, not per email. If you send four 100 kB PDFs to your Kindle in one email, you are charged 60 cents, not 15 cents. Still, it's cheap enough that I will sometimes email PDFs to myself from work for later reading as long as they are less than 1 MB in size.
  • The web browser is a little crashy on complex sites. When you encounter a problem, it will lock for a few seconds, then some kind of watchdog kicks in and the Kindle will reboot automatically. The reboot sequence takes about 30 seconds with a progress bar, and I didn't realize what was going on the first time it happened.
  • The target audience for the DX is definitely someone who reads PDFs, where full-page rendering is important. If you like to read books from the Amazon store, the smaller Kindle is probably a better fit. (I've seen a lot of Kindle 2 owners bash the DX for being too big, but that's really the point.) There is less overlap between the target audience for a Kindle 2 and the Kindle DX than you might think. If you have one, you probably don't want the other.
  • The keyboard is like typing on Tic-Tacs. However, if you are using the keyboard a lot, you probably want a netbook because you are either taking copious notes, or using the web in a very interactive fashion.
  • Although running a Linux distribution (and possibly Java) under the hood, there is no way to load your own programs. Given the cost to Amazon for using the data link, I doubt it will ever open up, which is too bad. The Kindle DX is a decent ARM system-on-a-chip crammed into a light tablet form factor with a cellular radio and an ultra low power usage display on it. I'd bet that 3rd party developers could come up with creative uses for such a device.

In summary, the DX is a very competent PDF viewer with a good display. Amazon got the core features mostly right, and the extra features (like the web browser) are technology demos, showing where things might go in the future. Despite the price, I'm excited by the existence of a full-page reader with some marketing force behind it. Hopefully we will see more devices like this, and dropping prices as the technology is refined. After seeing the datapad props in Star Trek: TNG as a kid, I've been searching for more than a decade for something that would live up to my imagination about how those devices would work. The DX is the first thing I've used that gets the core idea right, and just needs about 300 more years of polish before it ends up on Jean-Luc's coffee table. :)

Works great for commercial catalogs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28573643)

I bought a Kindle DX for reading and searching a large collection of commercial catalogs in PDF format.

It's just a bit slow with lots of graphics but otherwise clearly the future for commercial catalog and technical documents.

What catalog publishers need is software that puts out their existing catalogs in a Kindle optimized format.

Is anyone using the DX to read technical books? (1)

Giometrix (932993) | more than 4 years ago | (#28573687)

I bought a Sony PRS-500 a couple of years back. The display is kind of small, which sucks because I tend to use it to read a lot of technical books which tend to be a lot bigger (e.g.the Apress Programming books) than the novels I think the device was meant to be used on. My work around right now is to use CutePDF to crop the books as much as I can... then I use Rasterfarian to split all of the pages in half (the program essentially takes a screenshot of each page) and convert to the reader's format. This process is a little annoying, and makes the reading experience sub-optimal (but still an OK experience). Because page turning is a little slow, with this technique it gets a little tedious having to turn 2x the pages. The DX look like it can streamline the entire experience for me... but since I can't go to the store and try one out I'm little hesitant (especially since I already have a reader). Does anyone with a DX use the device to read larger PDF books? How is the experience?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...