What’s really important about this iteration of the Kindle DX is what’s going on inside: or, more specifically, its new Pearl E Ink display that’s purported to boast a 50 percent improved contrast ratio than its predecessor. While we don’t have the previous generation DX, we do have the Kindle 2 to compare (in addition to the Nook and a first gen Kindle). The new DX has — by a good margin — the best contrast ratio of all those devices. This screen is downright crisp; in fact, it might be a bit too crisp for our tastes, mostly because we’re so used to looking at cheaply printed books and less attractive E Ink displays. In that way, the DX is a big step forward: it achieves exactly what it claims.
The refresh rate on this big boy is improved, too — but then, where could it have gone but up? E Ink refresh rates simply cannot compete with LCDs or physical books. Our own experience also found that the refresh rate of the Nook (with its latest software update) is now about on par with this new Kindle refresh rate, so it’s fair to say that some of the competition is catching up. Regardless, with this unit, we felt enough latency in the refresh rate to be bothered by it, but e-reader enthusiasts or people who really need to travel with an arsenal or reading material are probably more than willing to let that slide in the face of the other advantages.