Please note, since publishing this post the 6″ Kindle 3 has arrived. Improvements to design, memory and battery and a choice of wifi or wifi + 3G. Check out the Kindle 3 Compare article for more details about the new Kindle 6″ Wireless Reading Device or click below to order online.

Order the Kindle 3rd Generation

Back to our original Kindle article:

The Kindle 2 vs Kindle DX debate will rage on till one or other is superseded by a new Handheld Ebook Reader I am sure.  Both have their advantages and situations to which they are most suited.  of course for some the significant price difference is likely to be the deciding factor when choosing which Kindle Reader to buy.  But, if the option of either is available, which is better, Kindle Wireless or Kindle DX?

Here at the Handheld Ebook Reader Reviews site we really do not see one as ‘better’ than the other.  The thing is they are different enough that each will suit particular people better.  It is not just size that matters.  How much you use eNewspapers, need to work on PDF files or graphics, whether you need the facility to wirelessly download new material and so on will all help the decision of which Kindle is Best for You be made.

Which Kindle Reader?

Let’s start with the basics.  There is a lot that is very similar between the two readers.  But the difference will make one or other your preferred portable reading device.

Kindle Screens

The technology behind the screens for both readers is E Ink® electronic paper display. This means both offer the same paper like reading experience.  It is this that keeps the new generation of handheld electronic reading devices in a different league to other multi use devices such as iPhones or Blackberries.  If you want to read electronically for pleasure you really need something to look as similar to paper and ink as possible.  This is how to forget you are reading a screen and relax as though reading a favorite paperback.

Both Kindle Readers offer six font size options for most text and use sixteen shades of gray to build up their image.  This provides greater clarity and detail than with lower resolution screens.

The Kindle 2 has a 6″ screen, perfect for reading ordinary eBook content.  The reader is designed to give the feel of reading an ordinary paperback and that is what it is most perfect for replicating.  Though you can view newspapers, PDF files and so on with it, the small screen might make long periods of such work less than enjoyable.  That being said eNewspapers are widely subscribed to by owners of the smaller Kindle reading device!  Ads and certain sections are removed to make the format work better with the portable reader.

The Kindle DX has a much larger 9.7″ screen making it a far more comfortable reading experience when looking at newspapers, maps and large images.  In addition, the DX Reader has an auto rotating screen.  So if you simply turn the reader around the picture will change from portrait to landscape.  This is hardly a necessity for many. But if your work happens to involve lots of graphics, maps or you simply enjoying reading electronic newspapers the facility will make your experience more pleasant.

Kindle Ease of Use

Both readers have a full QWERTY keyboard that allows you to make full annotations against your reading material.  The keyboard is small and unobtrusive.  Small 5-way controllers make highlighting and navigation simple, both offer a huge improvement over the original Kindles navigation system.

Controls are simple to use with both gadgets utilising a simple 5-way controller.  But the Kindle 2 offers dual controls for page navigation.  It is only a small thing, but allowing you to turn the page with either your left or right hand makes the reading experience feel more natural.  Looking at Kindle 2 Customer Reviews this simple feature really makes a difference.  Allowing you to pass the reading device from hand to hand and still turn pages means you read just as you would read a paperback.  The DX has controls for the right hand only.  But with its larger format it was never going to feel like reading an ordinary paperback anyway.

Kindle Memory

Both these readers have outstanding storage capacity that is unlikely to run out too quickly.  But of course if you need to store more you will need the larger reader.

The Kindle DX has enough memory to store around 3500 books whilst the Kindle 2 will happily cope with around 1500 titles.

Kindle Wireless Connectivity

This is the feature that really got gadget lovers excited when the Kindle Wireless products were first introduced.  The concept is really simple, rather than needing to go online with your computer to buy a new ebook, you can simply connect to the Kindle Store wirelessly from the Kindle Readers.  Where the signal is strong you can download an entire new ebook in around one minute.  Both Kindles have this function but the key difference is where you can use it.

With the Kindle DX this wireless connectivity only works in the United States.  Whereas if you take the Kindle 2 Global Edition overseas you are likely to still be able to use this wireless capability.  Around 100 countries so far are covered by the Kindle wireless signal.

Updated 7th Jan 2010 – the issue of wireless connectivity has now been corrected and Kindle DX Global Edition is now available for pre-order (shipments begin on 19th January).

Kindle Multi-Function Devices

The Kindle (whichever you chose) is first and foremost a Handheld Ebook Reading Device.  But as with most gadgets nowadays they do like to offer a little more too.  Both can play music and deal with a huge range of file types including PDF.

A Read to Me feature is currently supplied in basic format allowing most text to be read aloud to the reader.   This is a new feature that amazon say is still undergoing further development, but one that is useful for some customers.

Access to Wikipedia is supplied from both the Kindle 2 and Kindle DX in the United States.  Additional basic web browsing is also supported but again is a feature still undergoing development.

With both Kindles you can read your electronic content on a variety of devices and then synchronise it using the Whispernet technology.  So read a chapter on your laptop, then the next on your Ebook reader without losing your place.

Kindle Pricing

At the moment there is a significant price difference between the two readers.  The Kindle 2 is retailing at $259 and the DX Kindle at $489.  But with the larger display, auto rotating and better clarity for PDF files the DX is perhaps more focused towards business users happy to pay the extra.

Kindle 2 vs Kindle DX

If simply reading books is your primary concern you should find the cheaper Kindle 2 perfectly adequate as it offers an experience much closer to reading a real life hard copy book!  The Kindle DX has great reviews by customers that want a larger display and more traditional formatting for newspapers and PDFs.  If these are important to you then the DX is a good bet.  If not, the Kindle 2 has all you need.

So, which is better – Kindle 2 or Kindle DX? It is a tough one really.  If you will be using the additional features of the DX and need the large screen then you are going for probably the highest specification of Ebook Reading Device today.  But, if you want a portable device to read books electronically the Kindle 2 has it all, and with $200 less spent.

  2 Responses to “Kindle 2 vs Kindle DX”

  1. This still doesn’t explain to me why Kindle 2 has both 3G wireless and WIFI capabilities and the DX doesn’t have WIFI, yet costs so much more. Why is it one would need both?

    • @ Carol – the DX is more expensive due to its larger size. I imagine most people would either want a small or a large Kindle, probably not both.

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