Home' LAPTOP Magazine : October 2010 Contents eREADERS
Amazon's refresh of its large-screen Kindle DX
isn't just limited to the new skins. The latest DX
features a crisper high-contrast screen, faster page
turn times, updated Kindle software, and a lower
price ($379). But, its middling keyboard and lack
of robust note export options may limit its appeal
to the core education crowd.
The 10.4 x 7.2 x 0.4-inch DX weighs 18.9
ounces. There is no removable battery or memory
card slot, but the eReader can hold more than
3,500 books. The Next and Previous buttons are
comfortable and easy to press. Home, Menu and
Back buttons also line the right side of the device,
and a five-way controller sits between the last
two. The joystick is less stiff this time and much
easier to use when moving through documents
and web pages.
The QWERTY keyboard on the DX remains the
same, which means slow typing on small oval keys.
We miss the dedicated number row from the Kindle
2, especially when entering passwords. Users must
hold down the Alt key to access them.
A new, high-contrast 9.7-inch eInk screen offers
clearer text and images. Letters looked somewhat
darker and bolder. The 1200 x 824-pixel screen
continues to look great in the sun.
The built-in accelerometer took about 1 second
to switch screen orientation. You can manually
adjust it by clicking the Aa button, which is also
used to change the size of the text.
AT&T's 3G network, branded Whispernet, means
you don't need a PC to load the DX with content,
and it now works globally. Amazon promises 60-
second downloads, and on our tests we found that
to be mostly true.
Users can manage the Kindle DX remotely by
logging in to kindle.amazon.com, where you can
add subscriptions, resend books to your device,
and access your notes and highlights. Amazon's
Whispersync automatically synchronizes
content between multiple Kindles and phone/
tablet apps, including bookmarks and the last
Unlike most other new eReaders, the Kindle
DX can't read EPUB files. Users are mostly
limited to the books in Amazon's (admittedly
large)catalog with the exception of some eBook
stores that sell non-DRM .MOBI files.
The Kindle DX's larger display has been
optimized to make reading newspapers and
magazines more enjoyable. Currently, 65
magazines are available; you can purchase
single issues or pay for subscriptions, which
cost anywhere from $1.25 to $10.49 per month.
There are currently 134 newspapers available,
and, as with magazines, you can choose to buy
a single issue or a subscription. Prices generally
range from $1.75 to $14.99 per month. New
editions are sent automatically overnight, or
whenever you activate Whispernet, and you
have 14 days to cancel. Blog subscriptions
start at 99 cents, and there are currently 9,604
blogs to choose from.
When we downloaded The New York Times,
the list of sections, which included Arts, Interna-
tional, and National, was convenient; it let us skip
around the paper efficiently. However, clicking
the Next Page button each time we wanted to
read farther down felt a bit disorienting at first.
Page turn times on the DX are faster than
before---now the eReader flips pages in just 1
second, identical to the Kindle 2. The screen still
flashes during the action, but it's not as noticeable
as before and lasts less than a second, minimizing
If you hover over a word while you're reading,
the Kindle DX automatically searches for it in The
New Oxford American Dictionary and displays the
definition almost instantly.
Making highlights and taking notes is simple
on the DX, but the shape of the keys hindered us
from typing notes quickly. You can access and edit
notes at kindle.amazon.com in context of the book
text surrounding them. You can also share them on
Facebook and Twitter.
Text-to-Speech is included. You can choose
between a robotic male or female voice, and three
speed options; default sounds the most normal.
Transferring songs requires plugging the DX into
your PC; audio sounded better than we expected
through the two speakers.
Amazon assigns each Kindle DX a dedicated
e-mail address, so you can send HTML, PDF, TXT,
or Word files to it. Amazon charges 15 cents per
megabyte for documents sent to the Kindle DX over
Whispernet, but there's no charge if you drag and
drop files onto the device from your computer. The
built-in PDF reader let us open our PDF files right
from the main menu.
With a full charge, Amazon claims the DX will
last 7 days with wireless on. With 3G off, it should
last more than 2 weeks.
While $110 less than the original price, the
$379 Kindle DX still doesn't address the needs of
its education audience; the limited access to notes
and mediocre typing experience make it hard to
recommend on that front. It's a good choice for
consumers who enjoy books and devour maga-
zine and newspaper content, but may be overkill
for those who stick to mainstream bestsellers.
Amazon Kindle DX (2010)
This large-screen eReader features an improved display and a lower price.
LAPTOP | October 2010
We wish the DX had Next/Previ-
ous buttons on both sides so
that users could turn pages with
their dominant hand.
Crisper eInk screen
Faster page turns
Accelerometer automatically adjusts screen
Fast wireless downloads
No left-side page turn buttons
Keyboard shape is difficult
Unable to create notes on documents
Can't export notes
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