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Old 01-18-2011, 12:57 PM   #1
Puddleglum
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Kobo Wireless - PRS350 - PRS60 - Kindle 3 (screens only)

For my first ereader purchase I went with a PRS350. It's mostly for my wife but I've been using it to try to get a feel on whether or not I'd maintain being a book-man or make the switch. I'll make the switch.

With a $40 off coupon for the Kobo Wireless I went last night to Borders and picked one up. The screen is beautiful. It easily trounces the 350's. The "page" is much brighter, making the 350's screen look grey and almost making me want to simply stay with the Kobo. However, the touchscreen, dictionary, speed and overall interface of the Sony are items I've grown accustomed to and don't really want to give up. As a note, the darkness of the 350 was something I observed even before seeing the Kobo.

Can you comment on the screen (just the screen please) on the varied ereaders listed in the title? I have no access to view either a 650 or a Kindle 3.

PRS-350 - Looks great in the sunlight. Low-level light (night reading - the majority of the time in which I read) makes the screen appear grey-ish.

Kobo Wireless - Stunning. The font is mediocre but the pageview is simply fantastic.

PRS-650 - ? Does it look the same as the 350 or is it more on par with the Kobo?

Kindle3 - ? Same question...same as the 350? More like the Kobo? In between?

Last edited by Puddleglum; 01-18-2011 at 12:59 PM.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #2
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With respect, you are the first person I have seen who preferred the Kobo screen to the Sony Screens. Sony and Amazon both are sourcing the latest generation e-ink screens for their readers. The general consensus is that they represent a noticeable improvement in contrast and in how black the text appears. This is not to say that the previous generation, which is used by most other non-LCD readers is not good, just, that the newer ones are better.

Now that being said, the Kobo's might now be using the latest generation screens (I don't know). If so, it is possible that with better firmware, or just a particularly good batch of the screens, that they could look better than the Sony.

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Old 01-18-2011, 01:29 PM   #3
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Strange that you should experience that. koland from this forum says here on her site in the second comment that the Kobo wireless's screen is about as good as a Kindle 2 or Nook.

The common wisdom on mobileread seems to rank screens in this order:
1. Pearl screens, i.e., K3, PRS-950/650/350, with 350 slightly above the others because of greater ppi.
2. K2-era Vizplex, like Nook, Kobo, etc.
3. Earlier era Vizplex

Somewhere in the above are the Ectaco LCDs.
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Old 01-18-2011, 01:47 PM   #4
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The Kindle 3 and Sony 350 have the same screen.

This is not the first time I have heard people say that they prefer the older screen to the Pearl Screen. Several Nook owners have said that they prefer the whiter background on the Nook to the grey background on the Kindle.

I don't know if the shading on the screens is something controlled by the specific companies or if it is simply the shade available for the type of screen.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
With respect, you are the first person I have seen who preferred the Kobo screen to the Sony Screens. Sony and Amazon both are sourcing the latest generation e-ink screens for their readers. The general consensus is that they represent a noticeable improvement in contrast and in how black the text appears. This is not to say that the previous generation, which is used by most other non-LCD readers is not good, just, that the newer ones are better.

Now that being said, the Kobo's might now be using the latest generation screens (I don't know). If so, it is possible that with better firmware, or just a particularly good batch of the screens, that they could look better than the Sony.

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Noticeable improvement in how black the text looks. Quite possibly, the text is more visually appealing on the 350 (I thought it was more font related) but the brighter (whiter?) screen on the Kobo offsets that IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jj2me View Post
Strange that you should experience that. koland from this forum says here on her site in the second comment that the Kobo wireless's screen is about as good as a Kindle 2 or Nook.

The common wisdom on mobileread seems to rank screens in this order:
1. Pearl screens, i.e., K3, PRS-950/650/350, with 350 slightly above the others because of greater ppi.
2. K2-era Vizplex, like Nook, Kobo, etc.
3. Earlier era Vizplex

Somewhere in the above are the Ectaco LCDs.
Yeah, I've been lurking here trying to find out what the general consensus was for screens. I know the majority of people prefer the Pearl. Maybe I'm one of the few that doesn't. From the bit of research I've done the text's appearance has as much to do with font choice as it does contrast.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ProfCrash View Post
The Kindle 3 and Sony 350 have the same screen.

This is not the first time I have heard people say that they prefer the older screen to the Pearl Screen. Several Nook owners have said that they prefer the whiter background on the Nook to the grey background on the Kindle.

I don't know if the shading on the screens is something controlled by the specific companies or if it is simply the shade available for the type of screen.
This! This is the reason I asked. I know the new Sony and Kindle generation are using the same screen but do they have any control over the brightness/whitness/reflectivity of it? Does the screen on the 350 look exactly the same as on the 650 (just 1" larger)? Does it look the same as on the Kindle 3 (albeit with a different font)?

If it is indeed the case that all the Pearls look relatively the same then I might simply prefer the previous gen tech. The page really is (to my eyes) quite a bit brighter. It looks more "book-like" as opposed to looking at a screen which IMO has as much to do with readability as the text.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:42 PM   #6
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Your info does not give an indication of where you live. If there is a Best Buy near you I would go there and compare the screens.

My understanding is that the Pearl screens all look the same so that the Sonys and Kindle look the same.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:45 PM   #7
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There is a BestBuy in my area, I wasn't aware they had the Kindle in the store. I will swing by and see what I can see.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:47 PM   #8
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They have the Kindle, Sony, and Nook. Make sure the Sony on display is on of the n50's, those are the ones with the Pearl Screens and better touchscreen technology.
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Old 01-18-2011, 07:48 PM   #9
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Kobo reader in tow, I swung by Best Buy after work. I held up the Kobo next to the 350 (yep, looks exactly like the one at home), the 950 (yep, looks exactly like the 350 - just larger) and finally the Kindle 3 (yep, still grey).

It would appear that while the Pearl screen does indeed have better contrast (there is no denying the text is darker on Pearl screened readers) it is somewhat discounted by the less white screen. To what degree it's noticeable appears to be a matter of interpretation from what I have gathered here at mobileread (my but there are a few of you who stand by that 50% better! mantra )but to my eyes it is significant. You know how some people can see 60hz flicker on a CRT and others cannot? Maybe it's akin to that.

Kobo might be my reader. I suppose at a minimum I have 28 more days to live with it and see if I can become accustomed to it's comparatively limited featureset. Maybe within that timeframe someone will come up with a way to load user fonts (a-la the Sony lineup) as I think at the moment that is its greatest display issue.

Thanks everyone for your input.
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Old 01-19-2011, 04:47 AM   #10
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With respect, you are the first person I have seen who preferred the Kobo screen to the Sony Screens.
I've actually heard several people express their liking for Kobo's screens as compared to the Sony. Here's one such thread.

Having both the original Kobo (the newer Kobo has 16 shades of grey) and the 350, the Pearl screen is preferable to me, and I honestly don't see the greyness in the Pearl screens more than the non-Pearl screens. I prefer the 350 for the darker blacks, but the Kobo interface and book presentation has a prettiness that the Sonys sometimes lack. Then again, I actually prefer Kobo's 'mediocre' font. From my side-by-side comparisons, I do think that with ample lighting, the advantages of Pearl screens are largely negated.

Quote:
Does the screen on the 350 look exactly the same as on the 650 (just 1" larger)?
Both the 350 and the 650 have the same screen resolution yet different screen dimensions, so the 350 has more DPI. Text is sharper on the 350, though I don't think it's a big or even noticeable difference for most people.

RE: user fonts on the Sony. There are several different ways to do it. This thread is long, but details some of these ways.

Last edited by viviena; 01-19-2011 at 04:49 AM.
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Old 01-19-2011, 08:04 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by viviena View Post
Both the 350 and the 650 have the same screen resolution yet different screen dimensions, so the 350 has more DPI. Text is sharper on the 350, though I don't think it's a big or even noticeable difference for most people.

RE: user fonts on the Sony. There are several different ways to do it. This thread is long, but details some of these ways.
The resolution gap was a HUGE factor for me returning my Kindle and getting the Sony. I am definitely in the minority though, as most people don't seem to even notice the resolution difference. It is possible they've never looked at a 350 next to a nook or kindle, but I noticed how bad the kindle resolution was right out of the box. I can't stand to look at any screen at that 167 DPI, which includes pretty much every 6" reader out now.
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