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Old 07-01-2009, 06:54 PM   #1
ny10522
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Kindle DX: 5 Reasons I May be Returning Mine

I have used my Kindle DX for a few weeks and a bit of reality is slowly sinking in. Here are my gripes in order of importance:

1. While I love the larger screen, I am finding the device TOO HEAVY. I keep shifting its position in my hands, propping it on my chest or armchair...all to no avail. Its just too heavy to be comfortable reading a book for over 5 minutes. I am using it without a cover. With a cover, the weight would be unbearably uncomfortable.
2. Internet surfing is IMPOSSIBLY SLOW! We are talking five minutes for a webpage at times. More often than not the cursor becomes unresponsive and it freezes. I hoped this would be the perfect device to take on a roadtrip, connect to yelp or tripadvisor, and find a good restaurant/motel wherever I was. Now I know the Kindle DX is virtually useless for websurfing. The Kindle-2 was much better in this regard. It was slow but usable. As a browser the DX is junk.
3. I have quite a few pages of books. Without folder support, its getting confusing.
4. PDF documents can be read, but the grey font is too light and too small for comfortable reading. I find myself converting all documents from PDF to prc via mobiconverter. Prc files read very well.
5. The device crashes way too often. To restart, you must hold the power switch for 30 seconds and often fiddle with it...again and again. WTF?

Overall, I really like the big screen but feel that this device was rushed to market. In another year or two, in comparison to other readers, the Kindle DX may seem like a VERY bad choice.
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:40 PM   #2
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I agree with a lot of what you wrote. I just returned my DX to pick up a second K2. Had to get the second one... my wife wasn't going to be happy letting go of the first K2 I passed to her when the DX arrived!

1. re: weight - I think it would have been more manageable to hold if it still had buttons on both sides. This would have more positions possible.
2. re: surf speed - You know, come to think of it, I do think it was slower than the K2. I wonder if they cut a corner on processor or RAM or something. Since it has a new slotted modem (presumably to allow GSM as well as CDMA), perhaps the throughput is slower.
3. re: folders - You'll still have organizational challenges on the K2... I do wish they'd cave and add folders.
4. re: PDF's - My biggest readability issue was that there was no way to zoom or change font sizes. I was disappointed that they did not support linked TOC's or notes, too. This could have been an ideal way to store and access user manuals with whatever hints and settings you end up using noted in the PDF.
5. re: Crashing - mine crashed a bit more than my K2 as well.

D.
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:49 PM   #3
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Well the weight and PDF reasons are pretty valid. But as for Internet, I don't think it's really suitable for that at all and isn't designed to do it as well as my laptop or iphone. I just treat it as an ebook reader.

Folders would also be handy, but I just keep < 50 books on it and it's fine. You might be better off with the Sony (does that have folders?). Maybe return it and wait for the next iteration, may be lighter and have better PDF/Internet
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Old 07-01-2009, 07:54 PM   #4
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As to #1, totally can see that the weight would be an issue for some readers. Am sitting here holding a textbook in one hand and the DX in the other and the DX wins out in lighter weight (and these are not legal or medical textbooks!). Again probably personal preference - I'm used to pretty hefty, solid hardback books!

#2 I didn't buy the DX for internet capability as such so can't say - I'm really happy with the Ipod touch for that purpose.

#3 Amazon really does need to get the organization thing worked out on all their models! I've gotten around some of this craziness with tagging, prefixing file names etc. This is a problem with all models in this line. They certainly need to fix it before the DX is useful in an academic setting.

#4 I use a whole range of PDFs in English and a number of other languages/fonts and have had great results (with some exceptions) If the source material is light, the PDF will show up really light . There are a number of ways to modify PDF's fairly quickly
- it's well worth learning about. Modifying PDFs (reducing file size using a tool like Acrobat Pro) also really helps with #5, crashing is reduced and loads are faster. All PDF's are not created equal! Especially when you get PDFs from all over the Web, you'll encounter a lot of different, funky formatting. I think it's pretty much the nature of the beast. You can dramatically improve a PDF's appearance using a few tools.

Anyway, good luck with your decision either way!
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:47 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ny10522 View Post
1. While I love the larger screen, I am finding the device TOO HEAVY. I keep shifting its position in my hands, propping it on my chest or armchair...all to no avail. Its just too heavy to be comfortable reading a book for over 5 minutes. I am using it without a cover. With a cover, the weight would be unbearably uncomfortable.
I always read my DX with it resting on a pillow. Most of the time, I read lying down, either on the couch or in bed, and I rest the DX on a pillow on my chest. I do this with pbooks and my K1 too, so it's not an adjustment. Most of the hardback books I read are heavier than the DX.

Quote:
2. Internet surfing is IMPOSSIBLY SLOW! We are talking five minutes for a webpage at times. More often than not the cursor becomes unresponsive and it freezes. I hoped this would be the perfect device to take on a roadtrip, connect to yelp or tripadvisor, and find a good restaurant/motel wherever I was. Now I know the Kindle DX is virtually useless for websurfing. The Kindle-2 was much better in this regard. It was slow but usable. As a browser the DX is junk.
Agreed, what's up with that? It's much slower than my K1 from the same location.

Quote:
5. The device crashes way too often. To restart, you must hold the power switch for 30 seconds and often fiddle with it...again and again. WTF?
Mine has never crashed, *except* when I'm browsing, where it happens quite often. It seems that whatever changed between the K1 and the DX (I don't have a K2) has made it slower and buggier.

Quote:
In another year or two, in comparison to other readers, the Kindle DX may seem like a VERY bad choice.
Very likely, but by then I'll be ready to buy something new anyway
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:24 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by rijker View Post
As to #1, totally can see that the weight would be an issue for some readers. Am sitting here holding a textbook in one hand and the DX in the other and the DX wins out in lighter weight (and these are not legal or medical textbooks!). Again probably personal preference - I'm used to pretty hefty, solid hardback books!

#2 I didn't buy the DX for internet capability as such so can't say - I'm really happy with the Ipod touch for that purpose.

#3 Amazon really does need to get the organization thing worked out on all their models! I've gotten around some of this craziness with tagging, prefixing file names etc. This is a problem with all models in this line. They certainly need to fix it before the DX is useful in an academic setting.

#4 I use a whole range of PDFs in English and a number of other languages/fonts and have had great results (with some exceptions) If the source material is light, the PDF will show up really light . There are a number of ways to modify PDF's fairly quickly
- it's well worth learning about. Modifying PDFs (reducing file size using a tool like Acrobat Pro) also really helps with #5, crashing is reduced and loads are faster. All PDF's are not created equal! Especially when you get PDFs from all over the Web, you'll encounter a lot of different, funky formatting. I think it's pretty much the nature of the beast. You can dramatically improve a PDF's appearance using a few tools.

Anyway, good luck with your decision either way!
What tools do you use to "dramatically improve a PDF's appearance" on the DX?

(not a minor task testing/reloading/testing these on the DX)
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Old 07-03-2009, 11:19 AM   #7
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Then I'm lucky I guess. Mine certainly crashes less often than my gf's K2. As for feeling it too heavy, put a pillow between your lap and the device. It works for me.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:18 PM   #8
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Mac, I use basically just three: Acrobat Pro, Microsoft Word 2007 (with Microsoft's Create PDF add-in) and Adobe Photoshop. (other programs for less $$ probably work too - if you are student or faculty you can often get academic discounts on the software). The PDF forum here in Mobileread has a ton great info about PDF processing btw.

for really tough cases it's fairly easy to set up an automated process in Photoshop (export jpgs from Acrobat Pro, dump into Photoshop, run the process to darken text, lighten background, remove speckling etc. and create PDF. Once you get things to your liking, you can apply to other documents with ease. Sounds like a lot of time but isn't - once you get going, just minutes. Btw, we do this kind of stuff at work for archival kinds of material - so if you just want to more easily read an e-book, photoshopping may be bigtime overkill!


You can do a lot of improvement (and quickly!) in Acrobat Pro, including my favorite - 'fit to width' which can really make some PDFs more readable in the DX. File size can often be nearly cut in half with no discernable loss in quality (makes things load faster)

Since the DX doesn't have PDF zoom, I've found that a surprising number of (non facimile) PDFs can be made a lot more legible simply using Word and Acrobat Pro:

1. Open PDF in Acrobat Pro and export it as HTML 3.2 (my machine takes forever if I try to export directly to MS Word format or fancier HTML - your luck may be better, play around). Time = less than 1 min.

2. Right-click and open html document in Word 2007. Marvel at how well it survived the transition! Increase font size (Times 18pt works best for my DX) Use search & replace to add space between paragraphs or etc. (tip: you can automate this entire process with a macro) Reflow text, align left, get rid of parts you don't want etc. time = less than 1 min - 4 min depending on skill level.

3. Use Microsoft's free "Create PDF" add-in to save as PDF. 30 seconds. Done.

Just the tip of the iceberg -there are too many tools, sites, tutorials, forums out there to list, since so many of us deal with PDFs every day. good luck - r.
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Old 07-03-2009, 12:20 PM   #9
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That's to bad it's not the device for you. But, may I make a single observation? I think any 9inch device at this point in time is going to be heavy. But, I wonder, is it heavier than a magazine? I don't know I don't have one.

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Old 07-03-2009, 01:59 PM   #10
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... But, I wonder, is it heavier than a magazine? I don't know I don't have one.

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Well, it's a bit lighter than a fat issue of Vogue, but a bit heavier than an issue of the Economist. Also, lighter than any of the Harry Potter hard-covers. And I am including the Amazon cover in there.

Maybe, if you are standing for an hour on the subway, holding the rail with one hand for dear life, while balancing the Kindle DX in the other, the K v.2 would be a better choice. But for me, the weight is not the issue (actually, my rather petite wife is the one who uses the K DX, and she doesn't seem to have a problem with the weight, either.)

The BIG issue for me is, the f****d up PDF implementation (or more precisely, the lack of it.)

Without support for hyperlinks, or zoom, or dictionary, the Kindle DX is unusable as a PDF device.
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:18 PM   #11
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Thanks rijker

that's just what I needed-great guide! .

Like you said, there are so many options trial and error would be time consuming.

note: To spend too much time trying to overcome the shortcomings that Amazon has left us with i'm afraid could sour me to the the device.

I certainly hope that they at least make an effort to address some of the issues discussed here.
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Old 07-04-2009, 06:36 AM   #12
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Then I'm lucky I guess. Mine certainly crashes less often than my gf's K2. As for feeling it too heavy, put a pillow between your lap and the device. It works for me.
She has a bad K2; I've had mine since Feb 26 and so far it has yet to crashed.
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Old 07-04-2009, 01:50 PM   #13
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It has been nearly a month with my DX and I'm still in love. I also use the "pillow propping" method and it works great.

With regards to the browser, I didn't buy it for that but it actually saved my butt one time when I needed to look up directions and google maps worked great. The response time was fine for me.

In terms of crashing -- I didn't use my K2 enough before I sold it but last night, I experienced my first "crash". I was just getting into the book that I wanted to read and hadn't actually started to read when it started its boot sequence. Overall, the boot sequence was faster than when Sony restarts and re-indexes all its books.

Even though I was a Sony chick before (still think my red sony is a work of art), my DX is here to stay. I just hope I don't need a new one anytime soon (still haven't had the courage to take it out in the sun yet -- especially with replacement times so long right now...)
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Old 07-04-2009, 07:53 PM   #14
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There are quite a few choices out there right now, so if you will be looking for another reader you won't have any problems switching.
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Old 07-04-2009, 10:25 PM   #15
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To me kindle is ok at the moment, it's not light, but for 9.7 inch screen, that's a cost to pay for E-Ink's benefits, and it seems it's one of the very few choices now for A4 size document reading. But also I agree Kindle is definitely not an ideal E-Ink device yet, Amazon is mainly sell it as a chanel for its own business, it's NOT purposed as an ideal reading device with much fun, most of the fun is coming from E-Ink, rather Kindle itself.

To me E-Ink is the only choice at the moment to easy eyes while I have many things to read, but Kindle or similiar E-Ink readers just provide a very partial solution to this, there must be much more features to provide to promote the pleasure and efficiency of reading on them, otherwise it is nothing more interesting than reading on a real book. On a paper book, there is no any problem of "content rendering", I can freely annotate with pen, and flip papers quickly, also I can open many books to compare or reference at the same time, these are part of fun of reading, but on Kindle I can't. To me, the worsest thing on Kindle DX is it even not allow user inputs text when make bookmark in PDF, so that in fact you can't even create an index to make quick jump between section (number of page is absolutely useless for this), this makes reading experience is even WORSE on the device that is dedicated for reading. What's more, now we are not only reading a pile of books each day, we are reading more on internet and there are many information is not composed as a book. So the awkward internet experience on Kindle also doesn't help much. It seems the struggles these devices are making are all about trying to reinvent programs that exist and are already so mature for long time on any laptop.

So to me, the ideal way of reading on E-Ink is not achived yet by these devices, and I believe there are still big space for a better device, and I do hope Kindle DX can update its software quickly. Also I hope vendors like Plastic Logic, Pixel Qi, and etc can really bring us some new choices in the coming year. Anyway, Kindle or similiar devices do boosted the usage of E-Ink and already liberate people from paper books reading to a degree, E-Ink is still at its early stage. But I always believe the best experience of e-reading is reading on a full fledged mobile computing device with particular display technology, so let's see if this can happen soon in the near future.

Last edited by whitepaper; 07-05-2009 at 11:08 PM.
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