Which Kindle? Comparing Kindle 2 and Kindle DX

DX and K2 So you want a Kindle, but now you have the new problem of deciding which one.

The most important thing to understand is that the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX are very similar products that were undoubtedly developed in concert. They share almost all of the same advantages and disadvantages.

Kindle 2 weighs just about a pound including its leather cover. It is more convenient to carry than almost any book in your library, and it fits easily in a purse. Operation in a single hand is possible and even pleasant. Kindle 2 does not natively display PDF files, but Amazon’s free conversion service performs well in our experience for most narrative documents in PDF format, and the service couldn’t be more convenient to use (assuming you are willing to pay pocket change for wireless delivery).

However, the Kindle 2 and its available data formats are not suited to display of documents that require the geometrical richness of a printed page or that need to reference the original page numbers in printed documents. If research papers or technical manuals are an important part of your needs for Kindle, you would be well advised to wait for the DX.

The key distinctive features of the DX are its much larger display and its associated support for a much wider range of PDF documents, including bit-mapped PDFs. If you need to capture paper documents for e-reading, an inexpensive scanner will likely suffice without any requirement for optical character recognition and editing. Thus the DX could be especially useful in a range of applications that depend on scanning paper documents. It is in precisely such applications for complex and bit-mapped documents that the DX’s larger memory may be handy.

Kindle DX has almost twice the weight and surface area of the Kindle 2, so it will be a little less convenient to carry. In fact, the DX is large enough and heavy enough to be considered an exclusively two-handed device.

When both are packaged with the near-essential cover, Kindle DX is priced $150.00 higher than the Kindle 2. To paraphrase one of our team members, $150.00 is a lot of fajitas.

Our take: The Kindle 2 is for pleasure and the Kindle DX is for research, education, and business, but with lots of crossover for both devices at the boundaries. The Kindle DX earns extra credit for users with low vision, since the larger display is sure to be convenient for reading books at large font sizes.

In our experience, the Kindle is one of those rare products that grows on you as you use it. All of the minor issues that may be worrisome as you first experiment with the device rapidly fade into the background of reading. Then many features creep up on you as being much more useful than you originally anticipated. These include the paper-like display, the week-long battery life that largely eliminates any worry about power,  books that never loose your place, an always-available queue of reading material to suit your mood, and the convenience of simply emailing books and other documents for automatic conversion and wireless delivery to the device.

We are very pleased with the Kindle 2, and we look forward to testing and development for the Kindle DX. If you enjoy reading, we expect that you will be pleased with either product.