First, non-hands on impression: I’ll pass.
I know that color e-paper is prohibitively expensive at this point, but that’s what would sway my opinion solidly into the WANT NOW corner of the gadget buying matrix. The “regular” Kindle is fine for what it is: a way to read bestsellers, some blogs and your books without lugging a hardcover or paperback around.
Kindle DX is basically a larger-screened version of the device meant to allow you to read newspapers, magazines and textbooks on a display with the surface area that better approximates those mediums. In short, less scrolling and stuffing content into squished formats. Taken at face value, it appears to be the perfect device for enjoying all that content on the go.
Except it doesn’t.
In my experience, nearly every newspaper I’ve picked up recently features color photography, oftentimes to stunning effect. Which is not to say that black and white photography can’t be stunning. Oftentimes, however, you just want to be reassured by those pristine blue skies after a devastating storm has passed; melt in the brown soulful eyes of a rescue dog; or relish in the red sands in a travel story.
The same with magazines, many of which extensively use images, graphs and illustrations to accompany an article to add flair or provide further context. Several magazines are all about products and rely heavily on the use of color photography (e.g. automotive, gadgets, and fashion). And textbooks? It goes without saying that color enhances diagrams and cutaways.
Although I’m excited that Amazon is advancing e-paper and e-ink, it’s still too early in the game to be the savior of newspapers and magazines facing a declining subscribership and the dip in revenues as a result. I’m looking forward to the day that the technology will let me download the latest issue of Wired, for instance, and enjoy as I would thumbing through a full color hard copy.