going nearly paperless: Kindle DX vs iPad?

As a PhD student, I find myself doing a nontrivial amount of reading. Printing every article and book is prohibitively expensive, not just monetarily but also temporally (wrestling with printers) and spatially (where do I put them?). This latter is exacerbated by my struggle with organization. So I find myself reading PDFs on my iPhone 4, which is … fine … but the text is very small and I can only see a small portion of the page.

So I’m thinking of buying a dedicated document reader. The obvious choices seem to be the Kindle DX and the iPad: I’ve really wanted an iPad for a while [I’m an Apple guy] but it seems that the Kindle may be much easier to read for significant lengths of time.

Opinions expressed on a recent thread seem to prefer the iPad, but I’m afraid that spending hours each day reading the iPad would irritate my eyes. On the other hand, economists have an infatuation with graphs/charts/equations, which I suppose may be not be optimal for an e-ink screen.

Any suggestions? If it makes any difference, I never highlight or take notes in margins, because I’m weird.

When you read articles and books, do you usually do it with a pen, pencil or highlighter in hand?

If the answer is yes, I don’t think you’ll be happy with either option. Instead, get a real tablet PC, one with an active digitizer (i.e. Wacom style stylus).

I’ve tried both the Kindle-DX and iPad for reading/reviewing papers and proposals, and they are frustrating. I switched to a Lenovo tablet PC and I’m much happier; now I never print out any papers or proposals. I can highlight and annotate as much as I like, as easily as I can with a paper copy. (I recommend PDF Annotator for annotations, though Acrobat Pro is sufficient for highlighting.) I’m on my third tablet PC now - first one was a Lenovo X61t, then a Fujitsu T2020, then a Lenovo X201t. (Actually I have mixed feelings with my X201t which has the optional “multitouch” screen, i.e. active + capacitive. But this results in poor viewing angle. I’d recommend a version with just the active digitizer)

Sorry, I guess I skipped over the last line in the OP…

One other problem I had with the Kindle-DX and iPad is that most journal articles are hard to read when displayed as full page. The font is just too small. And the Kindle isn’t very good for scrolling or zooming, mainly because of the refresh rate limitations of the eInk display. The iPad has slightly lower resolution than the Kindle DX, but I think the ease of scroll/zoom more than makes up for it.

No opinion on Kindle DX versus iPad for reading PDFs (I think they both have issues) but I stumbled across this a few minutes ago and thought I’d post it over here - software that allows you to trim PDFs so they read better on e-Readers.

I have both (Kindle DX and iPad). For PDFs, and any other document with variable fonts, fine detail, important layout, or that you don’t read from front to back, the iPad wins hands-down, because adjustments/searches/etc. are instantaneous, rather than taking seconds.

For front-to-back reading, where layout is unimportant (novels, etc.) the Kindle is a nicer experience. It’s a little lighter, and while it’s not as “non-glare” as they claim (it’s still a smooth surface), it’s not nearly as bad as the iPad in uncontrolled bright light, and the e-ink is a little easier to read. Of course, you need external light for the Kindle, so when I read in bed, I tend to use the iPad with the brightness spun down rather than the Kindle.

Most folks don’t seem to have a problem with eye strain from the iPad (although a few folks do) – usually it’s the weight (for holding) or the rounded back (for laying on a flat surface) that are the usual complaints.

Last, although the Kindle has an integrated “web browser,” it’s such a horrifically inefficient experience that you won’t be tempted to use it all the time. One issue with the iPad is that it provides a huge variety of distractions.

I have a latest generation Kindle DX and love it. But the PDF display is still not quite there. Most PDFs do fine, and on the 10" screen most are quite readable. I do have a couple of PDFs that just overwhelmed it though. Those were RPG books, around 100MB with a background and a framing graphic on every page, along with several other graphics per page, and hot linking on every 10th word to the glossary. On that the Kindle just chokes and takes 15-30 seconds to turn a page.

Still for carrying dozens reference manuals it is still well worth the minor inconveniences.

I have a Kindle DX and reading PDFs on it is a bit of a pain in the arse. The Kindle doesn’t recognise bookmarks associated with a PDF so for reference material it can difficult to find what you’re looking for. This is made worse with scanned documents that can’t be searched for text. If you are reading documents front to back or you have a master contents page with the actual page number next to each heading then it’s ok, but otherwise I’d go for the iPad which will give you the same experience s your iPhone but with a bigger screen.