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Old 06-10-2007, 05:28 AM   #1
jlc
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Question Why is it so slow?

I've been using my new PRS-500 for a few days now and one thing thats been slightly bothering me is the speed at which the display refreshes. I wouldn't say it's unbearable but it's definitely annoying and noticeable when I use the joystick to go through menu selections or when I need to quickly look something up. In a paper book, I'd simply flip one or a few pages at a time while skimming each page to see if it contains the info I'm searching for.

My question is: What makes the refresh speed slow? Is it the technology inherent in the display (e-ink) or is it the fault of the processor/circuits running it? Also, do you think the upcoming readers (NAEB, Kindle, etc.) will be any faster?
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:59 AM   #2
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My question is: What makes the refresh speed slow? Is it the technology inherent in the display (e-ink) or is it the fault of the processor/circuits running it?
It's the refresh speed of the eInk display. Nothing to do with the CPU speed of the Reader except, perhaps, in the case of extremely complex PDF pages.

Quote:
Also, do you think the upcoming readers (NAEB, Kindle, etc.) will be any faster?
Vapourware products can be as fast as you want them to be, of course!

Any physical device that's built with the same screen technology is going to have the same refresh speed.

You know, by the way, that if you press and hold the page forward/back buttons it'll jump 10 pages at a time?
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Old 06-10-2007, 06:59 AM   #3
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Harry's right, but that doesn't work in the lists of books (or songs or pictures) -- on those screens, pressing and holding simply moves to the end of the list or back to the start.
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Old 06-10-2007, 08:33 AM   #4
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My question is: What makes the refresh speed slow? Is it the technology inherent in the display (e-ink)
Yes it is.
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Old 06-10-2007, 09:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by jlc View Post
...when I use the joystick to go through menu selections....
Forgive me if you already know this, but you can select entries in those menus with the numbered buttons along the bottom of the screen. That'll take care of one thing for you.
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Old 06-10-2007, 05:47 PM   #6
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Is your memory full to the hilt? Are you reading from a flash card ? What format is the culprit document in ?

I press the next page button when I'm halfway through the last line. And use the turn to blink my eyes. After a while it's as automatic as a manual transmission shift.
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Old 06-11-2007, 12:52 AM   #7
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Thanks for the tips. However, I wasn't really looking for a workaround. I suppose I was expecting a device that would behave more like today's computers/monitors in terms of responsiveness and speed (especially when it's costing as much as a computer).

Before the prs-500, I was reading documents on a laptop and sometimes on paper. Both of these modes of reading did not require any wait time. With the Sony, I feel like reading and extracting information is taking much longer.

But, in the end, I'm not sure if I just need to get used to it. Aside from this issue, I'm totally in love with this thing. It has excellent features and good looks to boot


With regard to memory, I probably have about 15MB free. I have two books in the reader memory and 1 book on an SD card.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:12 AM   #8
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When I first bought mine, I had the same concerns about the refresh delay. After only a few days, I stopped even noticing it was there.

The tech will likely improve over time and reduce it, but the mechanical nature of eInk likely precludes anything even approaching the 60-80 Hz you see in a typical display.

My advice is to try to ignore the delay until you realize that you don't even need to try anymore. : )
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:31 AM   #9
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I started thinking of it as analogous to the turning of a physical page (takes about the same time, and they never stick together!), and that did it for me. I don't even notice anymore, haven't for months.
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Old 06-11-2007, 01:44 AM   #10
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Priorities of design

eReader devices are designed with a set of criteria in mind. Some of these are speed and battery life. It is common in portable devices to give battery life a priority. My Palm devices all seem to go a month before they devour another set of AAA batteries. I am happy about that.

Sony selected the eInk screen and slow processor speed to optimize battery life. I really enjoy the fact that I can charge my Reader and go on a long trip without carrying a charger. I think Sony made good design choices.

I do not envision a really fast eReader in the future. Reading is not a compute-intensive application. It only needs to be fast enough. I think it is.

There are multipurpose devices that are faster. Among them are the MIDs, the newer PDAs, the UMPCs and the Tablet devices. One might expect more snap from the Asus Eee, which, at $200 would make an inexpensive reader.

But if I had something else that was faster, I would still use my Sony Reader. I just would.
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Old 06-11-2007, 08:47 AM   #11
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Reading is not a compute-intensive application. It only needs to be fast enough. I think it is.

But if I had something else that was faster, I would still use my Sony Reader. I just would.

Well said
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:30 AM   #12
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Well said, indeed. About this time last year, I was wondering why they were using so fast a processor, I mean, it's just to display text, right? wouldn't a nice 286 processor do that job just fine? But displaying text isn't the only job it's doing.

I'd also say that they balanced the processor about right, for speed vs. power consumption.
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:37 AM   #13
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Agreed. Given the choice between a Tablet PC with a battery life of 4h and the Reader with a battery life of a month (or even two weeks ) I know which one I'd choose as a book reader.
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Old 06-11-2007, 10:50 AM   #14
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Here here!
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