Kindle DX first impressions: E-reader newbie vs. Kindle veteran

With the third generation of Kindle e-readers out, we decided to put the DX in the hands of a salty ol' Kindle veteran as well as an absolute newbie. How did the DX stack up against previous iterations of the e-reader? Vet Peter Pachal has the scoop. Does it pack enough "wow" factor to bring a newblood into the fold? Young buck Kevin Hall will wipe the dazzled tears from his eyes long enough to tell you.

E-pages will turn. Annotations will be made. The Kindle will rotate over and over. Click Continue to see just how much our opinions differ.

The Newbie: I've never laid my hands on a Kindle before. I hear the same buzz that you do, but the price has always been the biggest barrier to entry for me. It's not for lack of reading, either — most of the space in my tiny apartment is taken up by bookshelves.

Today I got play around with the Kindle DX and it's left me with a pretty good first impression. The "pages" turn fast enough, the interface is pretty intuitive, and — between newspapers and blogs (and hopefully some serious magazine support soon) — there's plenty of content I'd be reading on it.

I do have a few concerns. The DX did seem to lag a little bit behind me when I tried to do a lot at once, and an accidental button press could send me off in a direction I hadn't planned on. That said, the annotation and highlighting features were easy to use, and I like that you could pull that "My Clippings" file from the Kindle, essentially sharing your notes with other Kindle users. I didn't find many reasons to turn the Kindle on its side, but it's nice that it's there.

I graduated from college three years ago, but I think if I had the option to use a Kindle instead of lugging my books around, I would have. The black and white doesn't bother me so much as the screen is crisp, and a color version would jack the cost up far higher than the already steep $489.

Compared to any other Kindle in the family, I think the DX will finally lure me into the e-reading club. Going forward, I'd like to see more connectivity between two or more Kindles (swapping notes, for one, and other PDFs), but I think the DX is finally as usable and glossy as I'd want an e-reader to be.

The Veteran: The short version is that the Kindle DX is a biggie-size Kindle 2 with an accelerometer. Its viewing angle is good and it displays text and shades of gray very well. The page turns are reasonably quick but still a tad distracting, and it also has a slightly annoying latency at times, taking a second or two to respond to a button push.

The accelerometer is a cute addition, though I'm not sure how useful it is. When you flip a page, the DX doesn't increase the size of the text (unless you're viewing a PDF), kind of taking away the reason you'd want to use the landscape view.

Being able to change the margin size is a nice ability for a large-screen device, though I've always thought the key for adjusting the layout is in a non-intuitive place — right beside the space bar. Maybe it's more convenient for some, but I would like to see these moved, or at least added, to the settings section.

Despite any minor quibbles, having an XL e-reader is definitely a step in the right direction. I won't be fully satisfied until it's got a flexible screen and is in color, but hey, baby steps.