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Old 01-09-2013, 07:25 AM   #1
HappyNihil
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Glo or Paperwhite? Few questions regarding the display.

Hello,
Iím currently in the process of buying my first ebook reader and could use some advice.

My GF has Kindle Keyboard which I have used extensively, so thatís the baseline for me to compare to.

Iím currently considering either Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Glo. Iíve tried the Paperwhite in store but sadly have no local retailer where I could get my hands on the Kobo. And Iíve decided to post in this forum since my questions are kind of Kobo-centric and from what Iíve read so far it seems there is a higher percentage of people who use or used devices from both manufacturers.

What Iím most interested is the performance of the display itself without the light on (or on minimal settings in Paperwhites case) during daytime.

AFAIK the display is supposed to be almost the same or same, manufactured by one company, but Paperwhite has one more layer (capacitive touchscreen) and obviously things may differ greatly on the software side.

Basically my questions are these:

1) Which device has the better contrast?
The best technical review of both I could get my hands on seems to suggest that would be the Paperwhite:
http://cme.at/ebook-reader-vergleich...le-paperwhite/

2) Iím aware you can adjust your fonts greatly on the Kobo making the default font bolder and possibly sharper than that of Paperwhite. If I find that I prefer such font, could I prepare it on my PC and embed it via Calibre to a book so that I can get it on Paperwhite as well?

3) Multiple reviews stated that there is a difference in how Kobo and Paperwhite handle paragraph breaks. Namely that the Kobo inserts blank lines instead of indenting the paragraph which I would prefer. Some suggested this is a software setting, some that it depends solely on what formatting the publisher of the book decided to use. Iím aware I can get rid of it via Calibre to some degree. Does doing so have some negative side effects?

4) For those of you who have had or at least t had the opportunity to try both devices, which display do you prefer with no light on and during normal indoors daylight?


Thank you for any help.
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Old 01-09-2013, 08:23 AM   #2
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Re: #3, I'm pretty sure paragraph break style is coded into the book: they will display however the book is set for them to display.
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Old 01-09-2013, 09:35 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyNihil View Post
1) Which device has the better contrast?
The best technical review of both I could get my hands on seems to suggest that would be the Paperwhite:
http://cme.at/ebook-reader-vergleich...le-paperwhite/
No wonder the contrast ratio "is" lower on the Glo when the Kindle has a much lower minimum setting on the light. They should have meassured them on equal terms, they should have adjusted the light on the Kindle to match the Kobo's higher minimum setting but no, the cheated... oh, yes they did, see animated gif below.



So, I don't trust the reviewer or the review because of this, oh, and there's also no info on the tools used to measure the alleged contrast ratio, no info on font weight etc... etc.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:11 AM   #4
HappyNihil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duke View Post
No wonder the contrast ratio "is" lower on the Glo when the Kindle has a much lower minimum setting on the light. They should have meassured them on equal terms, they should have adjusted the light on the Kindle to match the Kobo's higher minimum setting but no, the cheated... oh, yes they did, see animated gif below.



So, I don't trust the reviewer or the review because of this, oh, and there's also no info on the tools used to measure the alleged contrast ratio, no info on font weight etc... etc.
I was talking more about the situation with the light turned off (or as low as possible for the Paperwhite) which is what the microscope pictures show. The reviewer states that the contrast in that case is about 11.5:1 for PW and 10:1 for Glo. The numbers are not really important but both pictures seem to be with the same lighting level as stated and and to the naked eye the results seem to indeed show PW as having darker blacks at least.

The numbers for the case in which both devices are lit up are further in the text (stated as 15:1 and 12:1 respectively) but that is of little concern to me and as you said is different to judge without more details on the methodology of the tests.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyNihil View Post
Hello,
I’m currently in the process of buying my first ebook reader and could use some advice.
Basically my questions are these:

1) Which device has the better contrast?
The best technical review of both I could get my hands on seems to suggest that would be the Paperwhite:
http://cme.at/ebook-reader-vergleich...le-paperwhite/

2) I’m aware you can adjust your fonts greatly on the Kobo making the default font bolder and possibly sharper than that of Paperwhite. If I find that I prefer such font, could I prepare it on my PC and embed it via Calibre to a book so that I can get it on Paperwhite as well?

3) Multiple reviews stated that there is a difference in how Kobo and Paperwhite handle paragraph breaks. Namely that the Kobo inserts blank lines instead of indenting the paragraph which I would prefer. Some suggested this is a software setting, some that it depends solely on what formatting the publisher of the book decided to use. I’m aware I can get rid of it via Calibre to some degree. Does doing so have some negative side effects?

4) For those of you who have had or at least t had the opportunity to try both devices, which display do you prefer with no light on and during normal indoors daylight?


Thank you for any help.
1. I've played with a Paperwhite and own a Glo. I find very little difference between the two displays either with the lighting off or at the same lighting level. The Glo offers the ability to modify more font settings for personal reading preferences and the ability to easily add more fonts.

2. You could embed fonts in a book but that can result in a very large book. One book I have is over 22MB with it's embedded OTF font. Stripping the font resulted in a 479KB file. I've never tried embedding a font in an epub and then converting it for Kindle use so can't speak to the capability of Calibre for handling that task. Also, the adjustable fonts embedded in the Glo's firmware are not going to be usable for embedding into an epub.

3. Any reviewer who made such a comment about the Glo and paragraph breaks should turn in his keyboard. The Glo displays paragraph breaks as the epub file specifies. Want an indented paragraph? Add the text-indent element to the paragraph style? Want to modify the spacing between paragraphs? Apply the appropriate margin style element. Want to display the first paragraph of a chapter with no indent and a larger/bold/stylized first letter? Add the appropriate style elements. I can't speak to Calibre's capabilities here since I prefer to use Sigil to edit epubs. Another reason for preferring the Kobo devices in my case since I am not aware of an equivalent editor for Amazon's various formats.

4. I've only had limited experience with the Paperwhite but in that limited experience and reading with the light off, I preferred the Glo's display. Both devices did a good job of displaying text but I found the Glo's display be slightly easier to read. With the light on for the PW and Glo I was looking at, the Glo appeared to have more even lighting while the PW had a whiter looking light. Comparing another Paperwhite to another Glo could easily result in the opposite conclusion -- as you mentioned, the base eInk displays are the same.

Hope this is some help to you.

Regards,
David
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:29 AM   #6
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Pretty sure you're right about the contrast only suffering when the screen is 'overbright' / contrast being the same at the same level. They should be after all considering they seem to use an identical eink panel! Unfortunately at least the upper half of the Kobo's brightness range is unuseably bright under any scenario, while it doesn't go 'dim' enough for even moderately dark settings IMO.

I suspect this was to counter the flip-side trade-off which is unevenness at low levels, which the Glo may well also suffer from if only the light would go that low.

OTOH the Kobo's far superior font/layout settings and epub support make it the clear choice IMO. My favourite fonts are all side-loaded.

edit -- Actually, poped over to the Kindle forum and it seems a lot of people are complaining about COLOURED 'blobs' on their screen. Never heard of anything like that on the Kobo forum. Sounds like there's something really off with Amazon's quality control or how they put their screens together. I strongly suspect it has to do with the capacitive layer, since it's something else between the screen and your eyes to mess up...

Last edited by stewacide; 01-09-2013 at 10:57 AM.
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Old 01-09-2013, 11:58 AM   #7
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I have just been trying to choose as well, I purchased the paperwhite and left it unopened in the box for 3 days as I could not decide if I should swap for the glo or not, plus there is loads of comments on the screen quality of the kindle. In the end I opened the kindle, the backlight could go really low and it looked really white, but the bottom was barley readable in low light due to the shadows and mine had these annoying bright dots on the screen. Took it back and got a refund.

Went to argos and got the glo, opened it and bright spots, but when I pulled back the screen protector they went :-) ( the kindle never had a screen protector) so just read too much into if you see comments on bright dots on the kobo.
The light is a little bright on min, especially when your trying to get a baby alseep, but I think this will be handled in a firmware update, but thats just me hoping.
The kobo also has a SD card, I liked the idea of this as I have been given disks with loads of free books on.
The font can go so small on the kobo, its amazing, but I do miss how simple the kindle was.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:23 PM   #8
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I was also torn between the two and got a Glo for Christmas on advice in the forum (and the fact that I was annoyed by Amazon's original 'No plans to launch paperwhite in the UK before Christmas' stance. Yeah they changed it later, but I was still annoyed & by then I'd had my mind made up).
I have also seen a paperwhite (family bought someone else one as a present) and prefer my Glo. I've also noticed the spots on the paperwhite, and it had a blueish glow with the light on. My Kobo Glo has more even light, no spots and is a more natural colour.
Some people moan the Glo's lowest light setting is too bright. I don't think it is. I came from a Kindle 3 with a lighted cover -- now that was bright, sometimes in your face light. I always read with my light on, so I can't comment on what its like without. For me it makes the screen stand out more and I've not noticed a massive battery drain.
I preferred the Glo's touchscreen. It's the type that doesn't require a finger to trigger the screen -- huge for me as I suffer with eczma and often read in bed while wearing gloves. Paperwhite needs a finger like a smartphone.
With a Glo, you get an SD card slot. As someone who tends to carry loads of books on her ereader (I almost filled a K3, which slowed a lot with lots of books and collections) this is a big deal. It also has really good integration with Calibre for shelf management -- I have no idea what Calibre support the Paperwhite has (collections?). For me this was a huge issue, as I already had a big library managed through Calibre.
I also don't tend to buy books from one place, and have found .epub natively offered on more sites. While this isn't a huge deal with Calibre, it means I have to worry about conversion bugs less. Kindle books have to be in .mobi format.

Good luck with your choice. I've had my Glo since Christmas and not regretted it yet. My only negative with Kobo is the rather poor firmware support. It has a couple of bugs - check the threads on here. None of them are disastrous, they are just annoying. Amazon's Kindle customer service is also legendary, Kobo's can be frustrating. I made sure mine came from WHSmith - a nice big store who wouldn't quibble at a return in case of problems. Amazon's bookstore is better than Kobo's but if you read some threads on here, can use a search engine and Calibre you can use Amazon-bought books on your Kobo.

Last edited by Liesse; 01-09-2013 at 03:28 PM.
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Old 01-10-2013, 05:15 AM   #9
HappyNihil
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Thank you all for your responses so far.
As for the accuracy of the contrast question in the review I linked I think the actual measurements are from the microscope image which is unlit, the ones in the gif are only general images of the device. Measurements of contrast while both devices are lit are further down in the text. But that's not that important. Ive found some other somewhat technical reviews that basically state the same - slight contrast advantage to Paperwhite which might or might not be important for normal viewing.

Either way thanks again and Ill update the post when I either found some retailer that lets me get my hands on both devices or when I finally purchase one.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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My mother has the Paperwhite and I would definitely say it has better contrast, but I personally find it slightly more comfortable to read the Glo. A personal comparison is a good idea, because we all have different ideas on what looks good.

I also think the Paperwhite has a slightly lighter page colour and a better rendering system for complex images. Highly illustrative covers on the Glo can look slightly muddy. The Kobo UI/graphics are very sharp and the fonts more softer/aliased than on the Paperwhite, which I think is a deliberate design choice. I'd describe the Paperwhite as appearing closer to a brand new modern print edition, the Glo as a slightly aged looking older edition. Screenwise, they're both beautiful - I think they differ in software rendering more than anything. The Paperwhite edges it in illustrations for me, and the Glo in fonts.

Overall, the Glo light wins for me - it's more evenly distributed and softer to my eyes, even thought the Paperwhite has a dimmer lowest brightness. I don't particularly like the lighting at high levels on either device, but I'd say the Kobo edges it. They both have shadowing (just found out that about the Kobo a few moments ago, they hide it cleverly), but the Paperwhite's looks hideous.

Have a look for these differences when you test.

As far as philosophy goes, the Kobo has the advantage of making it easy to sideload content from elsewhere and the store offers downloads in ePub format, which is an open standard. Amazon will try to lock you into future purchases from both their store and with regard to their hardware, but they do have the better shop. But, without being explicit (probably against the rules), the Amazon store being better isn't a problem for most Kobo users.

As mentioned above, there is the SD card slot on the Kobo. And finally, at least in my part of the world, the Kobo is also approximately 20% cheaper.
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Old 01-10-2013, 08:38 PM   #11
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I already made a post here, but it is in the moderator queue for some reason. Anyway, I said the Paperwhite generally had better contrast and rendering of illustrations. Well, I just bunged up the font-weight and sharpness on my Glo and had a look at some front pages - the difference from before is apparent. I'd say the Glo can easily match the Paperwhite in both those regards, although why illustrations' sharpness and contrast should be linked to font sharpness and contrast, I have no idea. I still prefer the lighter, softer font, but damn, the pictures look so pretty when upping those sliders.
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