Kindle DX 2 PDF Review

Given the large 9.7-inch screen and the improved contrast of the new Pearl display, the Kindle DX 2 is one of the top choices for viewing PDF files. The original layout of the file is preserved and sized to fit the screen.

The bolder letters of the new Pearl display really makes the text stand out and helps define smaller text to make it more readable.

Turn the DX on its side and the accelerometer automatically switches to landscape mode, making the text larger and easier to read.

There's zooming and panning for PDF files too, to increase the size of the text and images even more. But there is no re-flow mode for PDFs, and no notes, highlights, no hyperlinks, table of contents, or access to the dictionary. Text-to-speech does not work either.

If you want any of those features you have to let Amazon convert the PDF file into their AZW format, or convert the files yourself with Calibre, MobiPocket Creator, or some other PDF converting or modifying software.

Kindle DX 2 PDF Video Review

Kindle DX PDF Default View

In addition to landscape and portrait modes, the Kindle DX 2 displays PDF files in 5 different ways. In portrait mode, the original formatting of a PDF is preserved and sized to fit the screen. It depends on the type of PDF and your eyesight, but the text is generally quite readable in the default layout (shown in the picture below).

Note: Make sure to click the images below for close-ups. Also, the pictures make the screen appear slightly grayer/greener and the text less defined than in person.

Kindle DX PDF View

Default PDF Layout - Portrait

Here's a look at a typical two-column PDF document. The text is a lot smaller but is still readable; the smaller text under the graphs is pretty tough to read unless you have really good eyesight.


2 Column PDF

Another way to view PDFs file is to flip the screen to landscape orientation. This fits the PDF to the width of the screen. In this mode the font size is much larger than in portrait mode, but requires a lot more page turning because it breaks the page down into multiple sections—typically 3.

Kindle DX 2 Landscape

Default PDF Layout - Landscape

PDF Zoom

The picture below shows the options for zoom. All PDFs start out with the "fit-to-screen" setting.

Each percentage of zoom brings up a box the size of the zoom level that you can move around the screen to choose where to zoom in.

The "actual size" setting adjusts the document to its originally created size. Then you use the nav controller to scroll around the page—the same goes for zoom mode.

Kindle DX Zoom Dial

Zoom Options

This is a look at the 150% zoom level of this PDF. The level it zooms in depends on the original size of the PDF and text.

One thing to note, the zoom level doesn't reset when turning pages; it automatically starts at the top-left of each page.

Kindle DX 2 Landscape

PDF Zoom - 150%

Comics and Graphic Novels

Amazon has a number of graphic novels, comics, and mangas available in the Kindle store. The DX's large screen makes reading them a lot easier versus a smaller 6-inch device like the Kindle 2.

The comic shown in the pictures below can be downloaded for free at DC Comics, along with several others.

Kindle DX Comic Landscape

Default Comic Layout - Portrait

Images are particularly detailed with the improved contrast. Landscape mode breaks the page down into 3 sections. Each section is a new page.

Kindle DX Comic Landscape

Default Comic Layout - Landscape

Kindle DX PDF Review Conclusion

The thing with the Kindle DX is that it's really good for displaying PDF files in their original layout and for zooming in, but that's where it ends. Aside from running searches and adding bookmarks, there's no way to interact with a PDF file.

Some of these features have been added to the new Kindle 3, such as adding notes and highlights, but Amazon has yet to add those features to the DX. It stands to reason that they'd soon update the firmware to add these new features, but that remains to be seen.

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