Friday, May 08, 2009

Kindle DX for Scientific Papers?

Just out of curiosity, I wondered what scientific papers look like on the Kindle DX's 1200 x 824 pixel resolution. The native PDF support is great, but exactly how readable are those tiny little subscripts in mathematical formula?

Although it will probably take some time until I can lay my hands on a real device, I did the test by scaling a page of one of my own papers to the Kindle's resolution. Check for yourself by clicking on the thumbnails below.

modeoriginal version
scanned version
(IEEE archive)
kindle portrait
(full page zoom: page fits within 824 x 1200 pixels)

kindle landscape
(width rescaled to 1200 pixels)

(The original PDFs can be found here and here.)

In portrait mode, some details might be difficult to distinguish, especially when the PDF is generated from a scanned image. Check for instance this formula, from the scanned version in portrait mode:
But in landscape mode everything looks perfectly readable (at least in this probably very unrealistic experiment). This is the same formula, as it appears in landscape mode:
So I might buy one when it's launched in Europe. But the price needs to be slightly lower. $300 (or its equivalent in €) would be fine. And it needs an SD slot. And Wifi. Apart from that it seems to be fine.