Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2

Now that I’ve had the chance to use both devices it’s time for a small comparative review.
Let’s compare their specifications side-by-side:

Specification Kindle DX Kindle 2

Kindle DX Landscape
Kindle DX

Kindle 2
Kindle 2
Size 10.4″ x 7.2″ x 0.38″ (+86%) 8″ x 5.3″ x 0.36″
Weight 18.9 oz (+85%) 10.2 oz
Display Size 8″ x 5.5″ (+164%), 9.7″ diagonal 4.75″ x 3.5″, 6″ diagonal
Display Size Percentage
59% (+20)
Display Resolution 824 x 1200 (+106%) 600 x 800
PPI 150 (-11%) 167
Usable storage 3.3Gb (+136%)
Connectivity EVDO 3G, USB, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack EVDO 3G, USB, 3.5mm stereo mini-jack
Price $489.00 (+36%) $359.00

So for 36% more money you get double amount of display pixels, more than double storage and display area, less than double size and weight to carry around and native PDF support to boot. Sounds like sleek deal? Actually this depends on your lifestyle and usage patterns.

I mostly use Amazon Kindle for reading books and periodicals. Often I do it on the go. So for me Kindle 2 is ideal. It fits perfectly into my jacket pocket so I can always have it with me. So far I’ve had trouble filling 1.4Gb of K2 storage with books. In fact given average Kindle eBook size of 1.5Mb and price of $9.99 you need to spend $8,500+ on books to completely fill up flash memory on Kindle 2 before you’ll need to archive books away. If you plan to stuff Kindle DX with books prepare to spend $20,000+

Screen size. Large screen looks nice. That’s for sure. However 6″ screen of Kindle 2 is quite enough to read most of the content you would want. Kindle DX’s screen is so large that if I got a little distracted while reading a book it would go into sleep mode before I can finish the page. Although DX is quite heavy it’s still comfortable to hold and use, at least of a right-handled person that I am. However when I go out and want to have something to read between several appointments K2 wins hands down. If you are into comics or manga, large screen can come in handy as well. Ability to go to landscape mode can be useful with small fraction of books as well. It should also be noted that screen on Kindle DX seems to have better slightly better contrast and fonts seem to be heavier and darker.

Non-English books support. In Kindle 2 you can use my Unicode Font Hack to install international fonts. This way you can adjust the font size as you like while you read. The down-side is that it’s a hack and although Droid fonts that I used contain a lot of characters, they don’t contain them all. You can also browse international websites. With Kindle DX you can use one of the many options available for converting your book to PDF with embedded fonts and read it on your Kindle DX. You can’t change the font size on the go but you can pick the right one to begin with when you convert the book. This doesn’t solve the problem of international characters in websites however. (See update below) Technically the same solution was available for Kindle 2 as well – you could either convert books into batches of JPEG files or use Savory hack. However these solutions would not work too well because of the small screen size.

Update: Unicode Font Hack is now fully supported by Kindle DX. So on DX you can either go PDF way or replace default fonts and have non-English characters in .mobi, .txt files as well as converted documents and web-pages.

If you need to work with literature in PDF format especially the kind that has a lot of illustrations and math formulas – then you definitely need Kindle DX. There is no way any converter would produce decent results that will look good on K2 screen. Either the text will be too small or graphical contents will be messed up. You can take a look at side by side comparison of Kindle DX native PDF rendering and Amazon document converter processed document on Kindle 2.

Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2 PDF Support
Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2 PDF Support

In this usage scenario Kindle DX absolutely rules. Perhaps Amazon should introduce configurable idle timeout option on the settings page as comprehending large page full of formulas can take a long time and the device will go into sleep mode.

Bottom line

If you like to read on the go and portability is important to you – go with Kindle 2. If you need to work with PDF files or graphically intensive content that K2 can’t display properly because of lack of support or small screen size – go with Kindle DX.

In the perfect world we would have Kindle Touch that would be the same size as Kindle 2 but with 100% area used by eInk touchscreen with multi-touch pan and zoom that would support PDF and have WiFi connectivity on top of 3G for unrestricted browsing but then we would also have pocket-sized fusion, world peace and the answer to life the universe and everything…

Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2
Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2

8 thoughts on “Kindle DX vs. Kindle 2”

  1. A couple of comments. (1) You omit the .azw1/.tan format which, while I detest it, is readable on both machines.
    (2) The resolution advantage of the DX assumes that the document displayed can take advantage of that higher resolution. I bought the DX in part because some of my eBooks have maps that weren’t legible on the K2. It turns out that they’re not legible on the DX either because Amazon and/or the publisher did not provide them at a useable resolution. I hope that with higher resolutions now available some of the poor materials will be rescanned, republished, and made available to the original buyers at no additional cost.

  2. I agree that the Kindle touch would be great to have and no more keyboard. Maybe once e-ink comes out with the technology to have touch screen along with the e-ink the price of the Kindle would also come down. That would really be he perfect world.

  3. On Kindle 2, ALT-Next page would jump forward by 5% of the document. This does not seem to work on my Kindle DX. Neither does shift-Next page.

    Has anyone found a quick way to jump forward in a document on the Kindle DX? Using the go to location menu item is just klunky and slow.

  4. re: “but then we would also have pocket-sized fusion, world peace and the answer to life the universe and everything‚Ķ”

    Um, isn’t that “42”?

    Great blog —


  5. Really glad to see this comparison and the info you provide on Kindle in general. Sounds to me like with a few more technological advances the Kindle is going to be a rip-roaring machine.

    I like the ability to read PDF and larger fonts (sometimes have trouble with my eyes.)

    Thanks again for the thorough review.


  6. I read something about “plan to stuff your Kindle DX” to plan on spending “$20,000”.

    That’s actually a very interesting point.

    So.. what if I have an Amazon account, and I have a Kindle, and I purchase a lot of books. And further, what if I wanted to sell my Kindle…. why wouldn’t I also (after removing my credit card number of course) sell my Amazon account that I used to purchase books, along with my Kindle and all my books?

    I mean, I understand if you get rid of your Kindle your book purchases are no long “valid” too, right?

    (Still trying to ascertain this…)

  7. So, is the Kindle 2 the one with the querty plus the row of #s at the top – and the Kindle 3 loses the row of #s? Wonder why they did that. I’m shopping on line and want to be sure I get the # buttons. But I want the wifi + 3g. .Thanks for clarifying.

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