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e-ink vs LCD

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Initial post: 26 Nov 2012 12:58:13 GMT
G. Heywood says:
I know most on here will not want to see this but a recent study shows no difference in terms of eye strain.

So are you just limiting you reading choice (as well as device functionality) for no tangible benefit (unless you read outside a lot)?

It seems like it.

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 13:09:26 GMT
A lot of people like myself like to read outside while on holiday etc. So e-ink is by far the best option for me.
Maybe they will develop a colour e-ink tablet one day...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:30:53 GMT
Marc Wilson says:
Last year, we went to Spain on holiday. While we were out there, my (almost new) Kindle developed a faulty screen. Amazon were quite happy to replace it, but not to send it out to Spain, so for a fortnight, I had to read my Kindle content on the iPad (which fortunately we'd also taken with us).

I found reading on the iPad *much* more fatiguing than on the Kindle- whatever the study above might say, I can read 2-3 hours at a time on Kindle, after about 45 minutes on the iPad, I need 30 minutes rest before I can read any more.

You can mitigate the effect somewhat by changing the colours and turning the brightness down, but there's still no comparison. And it's pants in direct sunlight, where the Kindle is fine.

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 13:31:44 GMT
ChrisJ says:
And other medical studies (sorry - cant find the links just when I need them) have shown that reading on a back-lit screen can reduce the ability to fall asleep, while reading on an e-ink screen makes the on-set of sleep easier...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:33:28 GMT
Marc Wilson says:
They *have* a colour e-ink screen, at least in prototype. More interestingly, perhaps, is that they have a composite screen that includes both e-ink and OLED screens (e-ink is slow to change state, so won't be suitable for fast-moving images like video any time soon) - which could make for a *very* interesting device.

I'd guess 18-24 months before we see any products based on these technologies, though- and they won't be cheap.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:34:48 GMT
BeeJayTee says:
Surely that depends on how boring the book is.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:35:14 GMT
Marc Wilson says:
I'm looking forward to trying the Paperwhite with lighting- it's apparently "front-lit" so should still be read by reflected and not transmitted light. We'll see.

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 13:36:26 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Nov 2012 14:59:07 GMT
G. Heywood says:
Marc, I don't see the validity of anecdotal remarks compared to a scientific study.

Chris, when was they study done, who buy, what were the details?

It just seems like the real winners here are the people who make e-ink screens, the company behind e-ink. Personally I think people will see that the emperor has no clothes eventually, which isn't meant to insult those who like their e-ink devices, as placebo works on everyone, but from a technology point of view, there doesn't seem to be any advantage (apart from in direct sunlight add mentioned).

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:37:46 GMT
This one might do it

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:37:51 GMT
BeeJayTee says:
I have both and I love the iPad.
I know when it's time to take a break though, my eyes tell me.
Same with a PC.
The kindle doesn't have the same effect.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:38:01 GMT
G. Heywood says:
Are light photons different if they are reflected, or are the light photons from reflected light actually exactly the same?

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:41:45 GMT
Google "reflected light photons " All the answers are there.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:42:09 GMT
BeeJayTee says:
There's definitely a difference for me.
Maybe a persons eyesight is a major factor.
I wear varifocals.
if just reading my iPad will tire my eyes far sooner than my kindle

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:42:19 GMT
JMW says:
G Heywood, the advantage for many is exactly that, reading in sunlight, I spend more time reading than watching videos etc, I like to be outside as much as possible so it is a no brainer for me to have one. It is a handy sized book replacement for me , exactly what I need.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:43:16 GMT
BeeJayTee says:
Either that or go for a walk in the park.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:47:20 GMT
G. Heywood says:
Thanks JMW, as I said, there is no doubt that it is better in direct sunlight, but the claims of eyestrain are nowhere near as clear cut when you look at recent studies.

Add I said though, in direct sunlight is different.

Posted on 26 Nov 2012 13:48:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 26 Nov 2012 13:49:40 GMT
For me the distinction in a real world scenario is straightforward.

My glossy screen backlit tablets cause my eyes to continually refocus to try to compensate for screen reflections, both indoors and out ... result: I get a headache after half an hour and have to give up.

All my Kindle e-readers are almost reflection free, again both indoors and out ... result: I can read for hours in total comfort.

I know which I'd rather have for reading a book.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 13:57:44 GMT
Damaskcat says:
I think it is still down to personal preference and what suits the individual. I don't like reading large sections of text on a computer monitor though I do find that the Kindle for PC app is comfortable to read with the colour set to sepia.

My preference for reading text is still an e-ink e-reader or a paper book though some paper books have a font size which I find too small to read comfortably and that's where an e-reader comes into its own.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 16:19:40 GMT
Marc Wilson says:
Please yourself. It's a very *short* "scientific study" and the conclusion is:
"Results suggested that reading on the two display types is very similar in terms of both subjective and objective measures."

Suggested? Very similar? And it only says that the research was not supported by the US Govt; it doesn't say who it *is* supported by. Given that and the vagueness, I suspect support from the LCD industry.

Is it a peer-reviewed paper? What is the methodology? I don't subscribe to pubmed and so I don't have the whole article- but papers I've seen cited in New Scientist have come to the opposite conclusion, and also chime with my personal experience.

What we need, I suspect, is a proper meta-analysis of multiple studies - it will be difficult to come up with a good methodology, though- you can scarcely have a double-blind randomised trial here, as no-one will be in any doubt as to the type of device they are viewing.

Part of the difference, I suspect, lies not so much in the actual screens but in the difference between them and the surroundings. When you have a book, or a book-like surface, illuminated by a light-source, when you glance away from the page, you will see something with a similar level of illumination. With a backlit source, it's likely that the surroundings will be considerably less bright, and so the eye has to work harder to accommodate the difference (and yes- you do look away from the page you're reading; much more often than you'd guess).
As I said in my previous posting, reducing the screen brightness of the iPad and changing the colours to reduce the light output still further made some improvement.

I *do* understand that "the plural of anecdote is not data", but nevertheless my experience is that the two media are quite distinct in terms of readability.

A second factor is that backlit screens emit a component of blue light not present in reflected light from a page, and this has been found to be a contributory factor in finding it difficult to drop off to sleep.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 16:24:00 GMT
Marc Wilson says:
They will be different, if only in (a) the level of brightness (turning brightness down helps with the iPad) and the spectrum of light emitted. I'm not sure about polarisation- because of the way LCDs work, there will be some polarisation of the light emitted, but I'm not up on the details enough to know how much (my physics degree was a long time ago, and optics was never my best subject).

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 16:56:46 GMT
essercizi says:
" no tangible benefit "
Err, perhaps I've missed it, but noone here seems to have mentioned the power consumption difference, which is probably one of the main reasons for the success of e-ink devices. Backlit LCD e-readers have battery life measured in hours or days at most, while for e-ink we're talking weeks or months.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 17:02:40 GMT
Yes. This makes a huge difference if you are travelling light and so don't have to carry chargers around with you, as with the e-ink devices...

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 17:03:41 GMT
Excellent point.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 17:32:14 GMT
In my own personal experience I find an e-ink display more comfortable to read on for long periods. However I do see the benefits of a tablet, hence why I have both. If I could only have one I'd have my kindle and make do with my laptop and smart phone.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2012 17:38:37 GMT
That's why I have the Touch and the Fire. But give me my Kindle Touch for reading every time....
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Discussion in:  kindle discussion forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  42
Initial post:  26 Nov 2012
Latest post:  27 Nov 2012

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