When to covet thy neighbor’s Kindle DX

By now, you all know the Kindle DX was announced. Much of the same Kindle goodness, with bigger screen. What’s surprising is all the negative comments about it that I’ve heard.

Here’s the thing. The “old” Kindle 2 works great. For me, it’s the perfect size – it fits in my laptop bag, roughly the size of a paperback. It’s got paging buttons on both sides, which is great if you’re like me and you keep shifting around and switching hands when you read. For plain old text, like a novel, it’s just the ticket.

I also read the Wall Street Journal on it; it actually works better than I expected. It takes a little getting used to how the navigation works – but once you get it, it’s pretty easy to work through the paper pretty quickly.

Where it breaks down in my experience is reading technical books which have charts and figures that you want to refer to when reading the text. If the chart fills a half page, say, then there’s not much text left on the page…and if you need to continue to refer back to that chart when reading the text, it’s pretty inconvenient. I never noticed this until the past few weeks, when I’ve been working through a book on stock trading, and there are of course lots of charts the text refers to.

This would be the same situation for textbooks, I would imagine. Lots of pictures and charts, and lots of text referring to them. Keep it all on the same screen – just like a book tries to keep it all on the same page. If the Kindle DX can do that effectively (and I have no reason to doubt that it can), it will be a great device for these use cases.

Will I buy one? Well, not right away…I like the form factor of the Kindle 2. But when I’m reading technical books, I’ll undoubtedly quietly covet a DX.

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