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View Poll Results: Has your screen aged well?
My device is less than 1 year old and the screen's still great. 31 44.93%
My device is less than 2 years old and the screen's still great. 26 37.68%
My device is less than 3 years old and the screen's still great. 6 8.70%
My device is 3+ years old and the screen is still going strong! 1 1.45%
My device started losing contrast in its 1st year. 2 2.90%
My device started losing contrast in its 2nd year. 2 2.90%
My device started losing contrast in its 3rd year. 1 1.45%
My device started losing contrast after 3 years. 0 0%
Voters: 69. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-09-2009, 05:02 PM   #1
301verbs
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E-ink screen lifespan?

I've read some comments saying that e-ink screens lose contrast over time and thus have relatively short lifespans. I'd like to get a sense of whether these are just isolated cases of bad luck or something more universal.

This question's about contrast declining with age -- not the issue where some screens fade in the sun.


(I hope this isn't the wrong forum to post in -- the question isn't model-specific so I wasn't sure where to post.)

Last edited by 301verbs; 05-09-2009 at 05:12 PM.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:22 PM   #2
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Scotty1024 was the only one I remember commenting on this, see for example I want my family back - not dead authors.... The point is that if contrast is lost, it is because the black/white capsules are no longer responding. So you would see fewer black sub-pixel dots under magnification. The fading would happen slowly over time, so it would be most apparent comparing a new and an old device. The problem with this is that there can be quite a bit of difference in the EInk among two copies of the same new device.
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Old 05-09-2009, 05:31 PM   #3
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Yeah, it's certainly not a complaint I've seen very often. While having another screen to compare to would be the best way of measuring things, that's not really practical, as you say. So I guess the question is whether you feel your screen has gotten worse over time.


By the way, do you know if E Ink has published any data on failure rates over time?
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Old 05-09-2009, 06:27 PM   #4
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I think some of the loss is do to the controller on the older devices. It was not nearly as precise and optimized as the newer ones. I would expect this to lead to longer life. It is also true that if you turn off the unit with the screen displayed like on the kindle the ink will drift a bit so the image will fade slightly over time.

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Old 05-10-2009, 08:37 AM   #5
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Very difficult to answer. I need a brand new 505 to compare.
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Old 05-10-2009, 08:42 AM   #6
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The screen is still great, but it might have lost contrast, I can't tell
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:00 PM   #7
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What I've usually seen talked about is that within the first couple of weeks of use the screen "fades" a little bit. After that it pretty much stays the same though. I haven't heard of an eInk screen that continues to fade over the course of several years until it becomes unusable.

I don't think it's really an issue regarding the lifespan. It's just that a used screen won't look quite as good as a brand new one.
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:47 PM   #8
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I got my wife a Sony PRS 505 2 months ago. Mine is older than a year. Their contrast look the same...
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Old 05-11-2009, 12:59 PM   #9
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I remember, back in the days of the Sony PRS-500 with its first generation eInk screen, there being considerable discussion of screen fading, and a consensus that it was a real effect. I've not seen the same with the 2nd gen screens used by all modern devices.
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Old 05-11-2009, 01:39 PM   #10
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But the 2nd gen screens are only about 2 years old, so...
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Old 05-11-2009, 02:26 PM   #11
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Sony 505. A little bit over a year. Quality's still great.
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Old 05-11-2009, 04:46 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
I remember, back in the days of the Sony PRS-500 with its first generation eInk screen, there being considerable discussion of screen fading, and a consensus that it was a real effect. I've not seen the same with the 2nd gen screens used by all modern devices.
It may be the controller, although I'm not sure why. I doubt vizplex has anything to do with it.
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:20 AM   #13
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Cool, it looks like bad luck is where it's at. Though I guess it would make more sense to ask this again once longer-lived readers are more common. Thanks!
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Old 05-15-2009, 11:23 AM   #14
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Ask again in 2 years; I think we'll have a much better idea.
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Old 05-15-2009, 01:26 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sirbruce View Post
Ask again in 2 years; I think we'll have a much better idea.
It doesn't take 2 years. The effect we're talking about usually happens over the first few weeks, and then stops.

It's not really noticeable unless you compare a used device side by side with a brand new one. Most consumers won't even notice the change.
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