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Old 06-23-2007, 10:53 PM   #1
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Not backlit? Not interested.

I do a lot of reading in the dark at night in bed. My wife doesn't want a light on and I find that many people I recommended to buy an REB-1100 or Ebookwise-1150 had the same issue and loved those devices for that reason.

Why is it that none of the new e-reading devices coming out support a backlit screen? I don't really understand technically what e-Ink is, and perhaps it can't support it, but if that is the case then in my mind the e-Ink technology just isn't what I would be interested in. I read quite a bit and would love to buy a Sony E-Reader or something like that due to the amount of titles available in the library. What is it with technology like this? They always leave an important feature out.

Does anyone know of any future devices that do support a backlight or am I stuck with my Ebookwise-1150 and that is it until they close their doors? Do I have to buy one of these Ultra Mobile PCs instead, even though all I want is to read ebooks (I purchased my Nokia 770 for reading ebooks on because my ebookwise broke and I sent it in for repairs and used the 770 for reading until it came back).

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Old 06-24-2007, 12:04 AM   #2
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Welcome to MobileRead, ColdSun!

The reason that e-ink isn't back-lit is basically that it's opaque. You can't pass light through it at all.

That being said, I'd suggest that you arrange to have a look at an e-ink screen for yourself. It really does have to be seen to really be understood.

You may also want to take a look at the various reading lights that folks have come up with for reading from an e-ink display in the dark. There are several, and they work fairly well, and a don't necessarily give off more light than a back-lit screen would.

Of course, if that doesn't work for you, and if the back-light is a deal breaker for you, then I'm glad you found out about it ahead of time -- far better that, than learning about it after you bought one.

I don't think that any of the forthcoming e-ink will support backlighting, but there are a number of other bi-stable displays in the works that may support it, and I figure it's only a matter of time before someone works out a lightwedge type of light for these devices.

Of course, you may be waiting a while.
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Old 06-24-2007, 12:49 AM   #3
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I do a lot of reading in the dark at night in bed.
So how do you read in the dark? Doesn't the lack of light cause a problem?
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:22 AM   #4
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Why is it that none of the new e-reading devices coming out support a backlit screen?
Because eInk screens are opaque.

Quote:
What is it with technology like this? They always leave an important feature out.
That's why printed books have been such a miserable failure, I guess - no backlighting.

Seriously - think of eInk as you would a paper book; it needs similar lighting conditions to use it. You can either use a reading lamp, or one of the many "clip on" lights available for paper books. If you've never seen an eInk screen for real, do try and take a look. Photographs just don't convey how tremendously good they are. Don't dismiss the technology just because it can't be backlit.
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Old 06-24-2007, 08:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
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I do a lot of reading in the dark at night in bed.
So how do you read in the dark?
Heh, heh. He uses a back-lit Ebookwise, JSWolf.
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:12 PM   #6
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So how do you read in the dark? Doesn't the lack of light cause a problem?
Like the fellow above stated, I use my ebookwise-1150 or my Nokia 770.

I will look into the e-Ink stuff - but I did say I wasn't familiar with the technology. Now that I understand the why of not having a backlight, I just have to consider if I'm interested in one. I really don't mind charging my ebook devices more often. I guess I'll have a look at the Sony E-Reader this week and see how I feel then.

I found a deal on some tablet PCs for $155 each. Maybe that is another route I can take.
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Old 06-24-2007, 01:59 PM   #7
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Okay. One thing to consider is that mini-LED booklites are cheaper, last longer and much lighter than older incandescent booklites. Thus, using an LED booklite isn't that much of an 'inconvenience'. Further, one could modify a Lightwedge, using velcro, to fit onto the average eInk reader - sure, it's much more expensive than a typical booklite, but it gives nice, even illumination across the surface.

And then there's the larger screen size and the longer battery life of the average eInk reader - we're talking days and *weeks* of battery life here!

For that kind of mobility convenience, I'd be willing to have to add an LED or Lightwedge booklite to the package.

Derek

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Originally Posted by ColdSun View Post
Like the fellow above stated, I use my ebookwise-1150 or my Nokia 770.

I will look into the e-Ink stuff - but I did say I wasn't familiar with the technology. Now that I understand the why of not having a backlight, I just have to consider if I'm interested in one. I really don't mind charging my ebook devices more often. I guess I'll have a look at the Sony E-Reader this week and see how I feel then.

I found a deal on some tablet PCs for $155 each. Maybe that is another route I can take.
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Old 06-24-2007, 02:23 PM   #8
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Can you give me a link to one of these LED lights you are speaking of? That sounds very interesting and I don't mind that inconvienence at all.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:02 PM   #9
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Can you give me a link to one of these LED lights you are speaking of?
Certainly! Though I'll first add that several of us (myself included) prefer some of the CCFL lights to the LED ones -- they're battery hogs, but they also use standard sized batteries so rechargeables are an option, and the full-spectrum nature of the light from them can make a big difference on the display.

Those are discussed in these threads too:

http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9362
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=9756
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10022
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=11460

Hopefully something will jump out at you.
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Old 06-24-2007, 03:55 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by ColdSun View Post
Like the fellow above stated, I use my ebookwise-1150 or my Nokia 770.

I will look into the e-Ink stuff - but I did say I wasn't familiar with the technology. Now that I understand the why of not having a backlight, I just have to consider if I'm interested in one. I really don't mind charging my ebook devices more often. I guess I'll have a look at the Sony E-Reader this week and see how I feel then.

I found a deal on some tablet PCs for $155 each. Maybe that is another route I can take.
The Sony Reader has (currently) the best battery life of most portable devices. It can last weeks (about 2-3) without needing to be recharged.
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Old 06-25-2007, 11:01 AM   #11
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at my age the backlight hurts the eyes, too harsh
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:23 PM   #12
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The Sony Reader has (currently) the best battery life of most portable devices. It can last weeks (about 2-3) without needing to be recharged.
Yes, I'm glad someone mentioned this. To me, the advantage of having such a long battery life definitely outweighs the disadvantage of not having a backlight. Backlights use up a significant amount power on devices with regular screens. I think the e-ink technology is brilliant precisely because it does not need to use power except for page-turns.

If I have to read in the dark, a regular LED book light works great for me with the Sony Reader.
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Old 08-27-2007, 09:55 PM   #13
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By the way, I use this LED book light:



A lot of people on this forum are very particular about their book lights, but my husband and I find this light works perfectly well.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:40 AM   #14
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I am new to the forums having received my Sony PRS-500 just 2 weeks ago, and stumbling upon this forum recently.

I was wondering if there are any thoughts of introducing a "front-lit" solution in new e-book readers.

For example, even if e-ink is opaque, why can't there be a layer in front of the e-ink that allows for the display to be lit?

BTW great forum, and love the resources on this site.
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Old 09-18-2007, 01:23 AM   #15
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Some people have modified a Lightwedge Paperback to fit onto a Sony. Right now, that's just about it. It would be nice to have a more permanent solution - one that is commercial.

Derek

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Originally Posted by ng12345 View Post
I am new to the forums having received my Sony PRS-500 just 2 weeks ago, and stumbling upon this forum recently.

I was wondering if there are any thoughts of introducing a "front-lit" solution in new e-book readers.

For example, even if e-ink is opaque, why can't there be a layer in front of the e-ink that allows for the display to be lit?

BTW great forum, and love the resources on this site.
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