Kindle DX: Higher Expectations from the Bigger Screen

| About: Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN)

Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle DX is an interesting study in user expectations. The limitations of the Kindle 2 aren’t nearly as acceptable on a bigger screen.

The Kindle DX has a 9.7-inch screen, which is larger than the Kindle 2’s 6-inch version. The other big perk with the Kindle DX is that you can read in landscape mode.

It’s pretty clear that the Kindle DX’s target market is textbooks. I examined the Kindle DX ROI case previously, but would note that there’s a huge convenience factor—assuming there’s enough textbooks available for the device. Given the choice between lugging a heavy textbook or a Kindle DX, which is also heavy relative to its sibling, Amazon’s device would be infinitely easier on the back.

Also see: E-reader devices: The fun is just starting

But what about the rest of us?

Overall, I thought my review copy of the Kindle DX was just swell. But the larger screen made me realize all of the advances it doesn’t have. What’s interesting is that I give these drawbacks a total pass on the Kindle 2. Clearly, a larger screen means bigger expectations on my part.

For the bigger price—$489 compared to the Kindle 2’s $359—I’d want the following:

  • A touch display. Reading the New York Times I kept wanting to touch the screen for navigation. On the smaller version, I totally accept the menu and page navigation. With the larger screen I wanted to scroll with my hand. A touch display would also enable the Kindle DX to show an entire page of newspaper layout and allow you to scan the stories.
  • A better browser. A larger screen just makes you want to do more with the Kindle DX. The smaller Kindle’s browser is clunky, but it’s easier to forget about it (I usually buy into that Kindle is a book line). However, students are going to want a better browser to go along with their textbooks.
  • Less weight. Frankly, the Kindle DX is too heavy for the casual reader/traveler. The Kindle DX is sleek and thin, but is nearly twice as heavy than the Kindle 2 at 18.9 ounces. The Kindle DX isn’t a burden to lug around, but there are drawbacks to its size. That said the extra weight is nothing to a student that has to lug around 20 pounds of textbooks.
  • And Wi-Fi. It is still surprising to me that there isn’t a Wi-Fi option for the Kindle DX. First, Wi-Fi would bring down the cost. In addition, Wi-Fi would be better suited to the textbook market. After all, campuses have wireless everywhere.
Add it up and the Kindle 2 makes sense for most people.