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First Look: Amazon Kindle DX
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First Look: Amazon Kindle DX

3:05 /

The pricey Kindle DX offers improvements over the Kindle 2, but its larger chassis has its pluses and minuses.

[ background music ] >> I'm David Karnoy [assumed spelling], executive editor for CNET.com. And I'm here with the Kindle DX, Amazon's new larger form factor e-reader. As you can see, the DX looks very similar to the smaller Kindle 2, but it's got a 9.7 inch screen instead of a six inch screen. That equates to 2.5 times the overall screen real estate. While the 3.8 inch deep DX is just a tad thicker than the Kindle 2, the DX does weigh almost twice as much as its little brother, and costs 130 dollars more. That said, while the DX is significantly larger and heavier, when you pick it up it doesn't feel too burdensome to carry or hold, though you should expect to handle it with two hands instead of one, and you'll need a larger bag to carry it in. You should also invest in a protective case, which unfortunately pushes the overall cost of the package to well over 500 dollars. The DX comes with four gigabytes of internal memory, 3.3 of which is useable, compared to the two gigabytes that come with the Kindle 2. Neither the DX nor the Kindle 2 has an expansion slot for more memory, like the original Kindle had. That 3.3 gigabytes is enough memory to store about thirty five hundred books, according to Amazon. DX also features a built-in QWERTY keyboard for taking notes, entering search terms when wirelessly accessing the Kindle store, and typing out URLs in the rudimentary Web browser. Like the Kindle 2, the DX's rechargeable battery is sealed into the unit, and delivers about two weeks of battery life if you use the built-in 3G wireless data connection sparingly. Aside from the expanded memory, the two most important feature additions to the new Kindle are native PDF support, and the capability to go from portrait to landscape mode by simply rotating the device. Additionally you can now adjust not only the font size, but how many words you want to see in a line of text. As advertised, the larger screen lends itself to displaying newspaper and magazine content, especially when you throw some graphics and images in the mix. About those PDF documents. There's no explicit zoom feature, but switching into landscape mode crops the PDF and essentially enlarges a portion of it. Now that you have a choice between two different Kindle models, the big question is whether you should spend the extra dough on the Kindle DX or opt for the Kindle 2. In our humble assessment, the majority of buyers will, and probably should favor the smaller device. Why? Well because the Kindle 2 is just easier to hold for longer periods of time with just one hand. When it comes to reading newspapers and magazines, the advantage of having more text and images on the screen is a nice perk, but the reading experience isn't as enhanced as much as you might think. For textbook reading we can see how the Kindle DX would have a distinct advantage over the Kindle 2. Also for seniors, or other sight challenged folks who want to jack up the font size to the maximum level, reading on the DX is a better experience because you can get a reasonable amount of text on the page, and the maximum font size is even bigger on the DX than the Kindle 2. In the final analysis, the Kindle DX's bigger size has its pluses and minuses. A certain segment of buyers out there won't mind spending this kind of money on a large format e-reader that offers the core user-friendly Kindle experience, plus a couple of new features. Personally I prefer to carry around the smaller, and less expensive Kindle 2. [ background music ] I'm David Karnoy, and that's the Amazon Kindle DX.

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