The Kindle DX - One of My Favorite Christmas Gifts for 2009
I think I've mentioned here a few times just how much I like to read. In fact, if you were to visit our home and look around, you might be struck by the sheer number of books that we have here. My wife is also a reader, as are our kids. I have no idea how many books we have, but it's definitely thousands.
The only reason I give you this bit of background info is to illustrate why I was so stoked to get my latest gadget for Christmas - the Kindle DX by Amazon. If you haven't heard of this latest iteration of the popular e-reader, it comes with a 9.7" screen, and it can hold up to 3,500 books! Additionally, it has a basic web browser (not sure if I'll actually use it or not), and you can subscribe to newspapers and magazines as well, although the magazine selection is relatively slim right now. You can also pay a small fee to subscribe to some popular blogs (99 cents to $2.99 per month), but I would have a tough time justifying the extra expense for something I know I could find for free online, unless I were going for extended periods without computer access.
It's only 1/3" thick and it weighs a mere 18 ounces, but for the relatively steep price tag ($489), it seems like it should have come with some type of case or cover. Since it didn't, I have to be very careful not to leave it where our smaller kids can reach it, at least until I get this rectified soon.
I researched the other options on the market, but the ultimate deciding factor for me was the screen itself. It uses a technology called "electronic ink", which makes the screen very easy on the eyes, and more like an actual book page. Frankly, I have no idea how it really works, but it seems like magic. It actually appears as though the text is printed on the inside of the display. I guess it's a little tough to describe without seeing it first-hand. The screen is essentially glare-free, which was another big factor for me.
The menu and navigation are super-easy and intuitive, and books are downloaded within 60 seconds. The pricing for books is $9.99 or under, from what I've seen so far. Obviously, this is terrific for any "first run" books, but I will probably continue to use eBay and/or Half-Price Books for stuff that's older. The buttons are simple to understand and they are perfectly placed. It also offers a "text to speech" function, which makes it possible to convert any book to audio, but without emotion, since you must choose from the male or female robot voice that is the default.
Here's a video I found that gives a nice overview, although it was posted in May 2009, before the available catalog expanded dramatically:
Overall, I would highly recommend this device for anyone who reads...a lot. If you're a more casual reader, this one is probably overkill for you. Just my opinion.
Thanks for reading this review!