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back to article Amazon Kindle DX

It took Amazon's Kindle 2 a good while to escape from Uncle Sam's backyard but less than three months more for the international version of the Kindle DX to arrive. Before we even laid hands on the DX we knew it was both bigger and more expensive, but is it any better? The most obvious difference between the DX and Amazon's …

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Bigger, smaller, cheaper, prettier....

Perhaps it's the neo-tech luddite in me but no matter how they try to jazz these things up I still can't see the point. Maybe in trains and planes to save space - but other than that...

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For that money...

... you can *buy* a library of books in the open, "processed tree format" standard. And you can lend them to other people too.

E-ink is a one-trick pony: it can only do monochrome, static text and images. (They've talked about colour for so long, I'll believe it when I see it.) It needs to evolve substantially if it's going to compete with existing technologies. In the meantime, it needs to be *cheap*. If it can't even manage that, it's going to have a hard time competing.

Unless you have a day-job which requires reading books outside, in broad daylight, for hours on end, there really is no advantage to the Kindle and its ilk. It's likely to remain a very niche product. (I can see them being popular as replacements for bulky maintenance manuals and the like. Especially in fields where said maintenance tends to happen outdoors.)

A battery life measured in weeks is irrelevant: all it needed to do was last longer than a "worst-case" reading session—damned few people sit and read a book for more than 8-10 hours at a stretch. (Before you mention long flights, remember that it's a bad idea to sit still for so long unless you want to become terminally acquainted with the meaning of the term "Deep Vein Thrombosis". Even so, most airlines now have sockets for charging your devices.)

Chargers and cables are becoming less of an issue these days. Most manufacturers are standardising on the mini-USB socket. Similarly, people who've bought into the Apple "ecosystem" only need a standard iPod charger and cable to cover all their fruit-branded gadgets. This reduces the pressure on increasing battery life. For most markets, once you can get more than a full working day out of a single charge, there's little advantage in going further unless you can get it as a side-effect of other improvements.

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There might be niches

I move about outside all day. Carrying even one book is a chore. All this device needs is a reading light attachment, and I can read books in the winter. Battery life is severely shortened at low temperatures (like now), so this nearly convinces me to buy It would be nice to have something that didn't have to be on charge at every opportunity.

Also, I lend books to 'friends', who don't read them, or give them back...

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FAIL

360 degrees?

Incidentally, the accelerometer will flip the page layout through 360° if you feel the need to hold the DX upside down.

... a whole 360? Wow. *envisions gently spinning text*

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iPad?

I find the whole idea of the iPad being touted as an e-reader laughable. I thought the point of an e-reader is that it is easy on the eye (which neither OLED nor TFT are for any prolonged period), has an ultra-long battery life and can be read easily in outdoor lighting conditions.

Trying to force the iPad onto us as an e-reader just seems like a desperate attempt to find an application for an otherwise pointless device. I just hope tablet computers don't inadvertently destroy the market for proper e-ink based readers.

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WTF?

Hang on a minute

...you claim the TFT LCD isn't easy on he eye, but neglect the fact that millions of people spend pretty much all day every day gawking at them. Care to square that one? Frankly the iPad is so far beyond the capabilities of this Kindle that I feel slightly sorry for Amazon. They had a good crack at it, but the game's up, I'm afraid.

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Yes but...

The e-reader I really want to see reviewed is the entourage edge (I forget how they capitalise it, but you lads are clever enough to find it anyway). Same price as the Kindle DX, with a >9" e-Ink screen, but ALSO with a LCD on the other side, a WaCom touch pad built in, running Android, with decent sound support. What's not to like? But I'd like to hear what you've got to say before I lay down the cold, hard cash.

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9.7 inch screen? Wow!

It's almost as big as this one's:

http://www.irextechnologies.com/irexdr1000/specs

(10.2 @ 160ppi) (oh, and the whole unit's smaller)

And the Kindle has an on-screen tablet, eh? And an open development environment?

Sigh.

And it doesn't have a 'lowercase-i capital-someletter name'.

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Ok, but

I don't know how you found this. It looks spectacular, but what art all these requirements for windowsXP/Vista and usb port. It probably isn't a standalone phone'y thing. It does mention that you get a stylus with it. You'd think they would give you six stylii, since I keep losing mine.

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Kindle versus iRex

The iRex looks nice, but is also more expensive than the Kindle AND not (yet) available.

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Stu
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...Apple's iPad causes Amazon to re-think its pricing strategy.

Indeed, I was about to comment about that prior to reading that last sentence.

I would say its a dead certainty Amazon will reduce the price, sure its got the largest e-ink screen of any (nearly all?) e-ink device but the iPad is a direct competitor what with their iBookstore. Just don't go trying to read the iPad screen outside on a very sunny day, even with its IPS screen! You can with a Kindle.

Amazon have always been good at reducing prices of what they sell over time (or even starting out very cheap) lets hope they do it with their own kit too.

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Its just a shame both devices have proprietary shop tie-ins but its far worse on the Kindle - surely some kind of monopolies and exchange commission investigation is due? Oh wait, thats right, Governments don't give a flying monkeys, they just look out for the interests of business over the common man.

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They'll have to drop their price

Amazon and other e-ink devices will have to drop their prices. I don't see much reason they cost so much to begin with, especially not the Amazon device which is tied to their store.

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$450+?

Look, it's a black n white e-reader+ with a non standard keyboard layout, no touch screen, no color, no application support, no bluetooth, no TV connectivity, no camera support, no file system to speak of, no document editing capabilities, and it's still smaller than the iPad.

I hear a LOT of people, who have not actually bought either an IPS screen nor an e-reader, speaking to the point that e-Ink is superior to LCD in terms of eye strain. Let me tell you, as someone who works under florescents for 9-10 hours a day staring at a cheap ass Dell LCD, then goes home to a dark room and stares at a far superior Acer LCD panel for several more hours on my PC, and when I'm feeling like something other than gaming, i sit on the bed in complete darkness reading ebooks of my wife's MacBook pro, often in 3-4 hour sessions.

I borrowed a kindle from a friend, and a Nook from another, for a week each, to see if I felt investing in a formal ebook reader was worth the $300-400 in cash plus the cost of non-portable proprietary DRM books. I spent just shy of 16 reading the kindle, and although i found the e-Ink to be quite nice in normal light, it was somewhat tough to read in bright sunlight, and the backlight quality with e-ink in a dark room made my eyes hurt after only an hour or so trying to read it. The Nook was superior in almost every way to the Kindle, and did better in daylight, but equally poor in a dark room. On one night, I managed to read the kindle in the dark for just about 4 hours, i don't think I could do that again...

Apparently, the majority of people complaining about LCD in dimply lit rooms complain about not being able to dim the screen far enough, and complain about the harsh light. First off, who told you to read black text off a white screen as an e-reader!?!? Change the background color to a deep set near-black, and the text to a soft contrast color. With a computer, or software based e-reader on an iPhone or iPad, that is completely under your control! There are also a number of very cheap screen protectors that filter excess backlight that leaks through parts of the screens and that greatly reduces "wash" in the display if your LCD is particularly susceptible to that (most LED IPS panels are not), but cheap LCDs can be.

I'm glad I had the chance to try both competing e-readers for extended periods. It absolutely confirmed I will never own an e-Ink device, at least not until there's one that fully supports open, unenctypted books, or provides a book sharing mechanism for DRM books from multiple outlets, and at the same time, costs less than $150. Also, it really needs a screen larger than 6". That's fine for text-only content if you have good vision, but for anything including graphics of any kind, or layouts of text (periodicals), anything less than 9" is too small.

I'm not jumping on an iPad immediately. I have 6 other things in front of it in my budget plan, including a new iMac 27" to replace an aging gaming PC, a new washing machine, furniture for my 2 year olds room, shelving in my garrage, and new couches in the living room... However, by Christmas at the latest, I'm sure I'll get around to getting an iPad.

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Badgers

round and round

Pedantry time.... but all of my devices have 360 degree rotation. I think you might mean 180 there. :)

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Anonymous Coward

"the accelerometer will flip the page layout through 360°"

"if you feel the need to hold the DX upside down"

Useful! But 180° would be even more useful, if a little harder to implement ...

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Joke

I could defeat it

You would have to be upside down to start with. Carefully not shake the gadget, then cartwheel (or something). When you survive, and get your breath back. Hah! it's upside down.

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It looks like something Amstrad might have once made

The problem with this sort of thing is that - like an 8512 word processor, or an E-m@iler, it just does one thing very well (for the technology available to it, at least). But - as with the word processor or the Email tool - I suspect that these will fast be supplanted by fully-fledged slate computers sold at commodity prices: not because slates are a particularly sensible form-factor for a computer (any more than someone who wants to send an email needs an entire computer to do so) but because in the near future having something in this form factor - in ANY form factor - that isn't a computer, will probably seem equally daft.

The fact that Amazon appears to have used the Microsoft approach, of "nailing-as-many-words-together-as-possible (TM)", when coming up with a product name, won't help... Marketing must have run out of space on the Powerpoint slide - otherwise I'm sure the words 'Platinum' or 'Professional' would have found their way in there!

My guess is that Kindles will come to reside in that same dusty old drawer, as the Cassio LED calculator, the spare lens for the film SLR, the inexplicable collection of microcassettes, and that digital watch you bought, shortly after seeing Star Wars, for the first time - and which you simply cannot bring yourself to chuck out.

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Megaphone

picture on page 2...

Wake me up when these devices can fix the mistakes of lazy editors: it's "different from", not "different than"!!!!!!

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Dead on arrival

That's the phrase that best describes the $489 Kindle DX. A nice piece of kit it was, until last Wednesday's announcement of the $499 iPad. Let's see... on the one hand we have a device with a glacially slow b&w display and no applications--the original one-trick pony--while on the other hand we have a device with brilliant color display, eminently suitable for games and video, with a blazing-fast processor that runs 140,000 useful and entertaining applications, including a fairly robust business suite (iWork Mobile)... at the same price. The result is a foregone conclusion: even with price cuts (and you can bet they're coming), it's hard to see the DX surviving for long.

The standard small-screen Kindle has a better chance, if Amazon can get the price down quickly enough. At $99, even a one-trick pony would be marketable; Apple is unlikely to enter that market segment anytime soon. And I'm betting that we'll see low-end ebook readers at the $99 price point by next Christmas--if not from Amazon, then from the dozens of others now jumping on the bandwagon.

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Um?

It's a book reader.

You might as well say that a calculator doesn't have apps. If you want a device to just display stuff, without going wrong, then you aren't going to be interested in a general purpose computing gadget.

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Sure, it's a book reader

...so why does it have an mp3 player and www browser built in?

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Ah, but

... would you really want to walk around carrying something the size of a pollsters clipboard? As someone who's eyesight is not what it used to be, the larger screen is a plus, but part of the success story of the paperback novel was that it was of a size you could stuff into a jacket pocket. I find that most of the difficulty in reading the small print on an e-reader is the deplorable lack of contrast due to the grey background. Lighten up the background and small print size ceases to be so much of a problem.

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Nice but ...

Until the cost of an e-book is less than the cost of a paper-back (instead of more), I won't be wasting my money on one of these.

Given the other advantage of paper books (for example, I can lend them to a friend or family and they can lend them to be) I would want compensating for what I have lost.

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International readers should also note

The books cost more outside of the US. Even free public domain books cost money outside of the US for "delivery". Get used to getting a second class expensive service.

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Anonymous Coward

international?

This would be the same meaning as the previous kindle, ie American, but using the same phone technology as the rest of the world so it can be used outside the country, if you buy a non-american charger etc.

Until you can actually buy the things in the UK, and be covered by UK consumer protection laws, rather than having to have one imported. I'm not even going to consider one.

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Degrees

Nope, the reviewer does mean 360 degrees. Keep turning the DX by 90 degrees to the left or right and the screen keeps re-orientating itself. OK, when you have it upside down it has only turned though 180 degrees but the point is you can keep on turning it through 270 and 360 until you are back where you started.

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Brill

U is/R really clever. I thought that it might be possible to cheat it into displaying upside down... just because. You have solved this ignorance, and I will now go and lie at zero degrees.

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Price is all

When these things are down to $99 ask me again. And I think ebooks also won't really take off as long as they cost as much as paper books.

I currently use an iPod touch for reading and while I think the screen could be a bit larger I have no problems with the screen being no e-ink. And the thing is (relatively) dirt-cheap AND it can do so much more. I have no doubt that the iPad will hit the ebook-market like nothing before.

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International my A*se

Amazon seem to use the word "International" to refer to US owners who happen to travel internationally, rather than those of us who actually live outside the USA (gasp!).

I just wished Amazon would sell a truly International Kindle, e.g. one I can buy from amazon.co.uk that comes with a UK plug and a data plan unlike the current "free" one where either everything that uses it is disabled, or paid for with a premium on the download price.

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A couple of corrections

The Kindle web browser does work globally from any book being read to Wikipedia, and it's not bad for text-focused sites or mobile-unit optimized ones for free, 24/7.

TXT files never have to go to Amazon for conversion. I just move them over to the Kindle.

It's directly supported.

WORD doc files, yes, would need the mailed conversion.

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WTF?

Are you sure?

My browser certainly doesn't work - says something about not being supported in my area. I think it worked the first time I tried it, but then it must have analysed my DNA and discovered I wasn't a US citizen :(

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