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View Poll Results: Which electronic reading format is easiest on the eyes?
E-ink 295 76.62%
Color LCD 14 3.64%
Both are equally easy on my eyes 76 19.74%
Voters: 385. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 03-20-2012, 07:27 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
So for me, e-ink is the preferred medium particularly for sustained concentration. I can't imagine trying to read for hours on a transmitted light screen without lots of breaks or distractions.
...but you're still talking about screens about ten times brighter than an LCD tuned for reading, not to mention constantly flickering with video. Ascribing your discomfort to the fact that the light is transmitted rather than reflected, and not to the actual qualities and sheer abundance of that light, hardly follows.
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Old 03-20-2012, 09:16 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by taosaur View Post
...but you're still talking about screens about ten times brighter than an LCD tuned for reading, not to mention constantly flickering with video. Ascribing your discomfort to the fact that the light is transmitted rather than reflected, and not to the actual qualities and sheer abundance of that light, hardly follows.
Also, projected movies in theaters are reflected light. So there goes the "transmitted vs. reflected" theory.

I can buy flicker arguments, except that there's no flicker on LED-backlit LCD panels like Kindle Fires and Apple iPads rendering static text. I can buy sheer brightness level concerns, though that means you're not configuring your device properly. I can even buy issues when reading black-on-white (switch to night mode, already, even for daytime reading). But all of that just means you're not using your device properly. It'd be like complaining that you can't read a paper book because it's dark out and you didn't turn on a light. The problem is with the user, not the medium*.

* Note that there is one source of problem with the medium that can't be adjusted by the user, and that's ppi (pixels per inch). The only way to solve that is to buy a better device. Luckily, 150ppi is generally a good threshold above which reading is comfortable on an LCD device, and the Kindle Fire, Nook Color/Tablet, iPad 3, and most smartphones are well above that. iPad 1/2, other Android tablets, and pretty much every desktop or laptop monitor are well below that, often significantly (like 100ppi or less). That is why reading on a PC is uncomfortable

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Old 03-21-2012, 12:11 AM   #123
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Originally Posted by toddos View Post
Also, projected movies in theaters are reflected light. So there goes the "transmitted vs. reflected" theory.

I can buy flicker arguments, except that there's no flicker on LED-backlit LCD panels like Kindle Fires and Apple iPads rendering static text. I can buy sheer brightness level concerns, though that means you're not configuring your device properly. I can even buy issues when reading black-on-white (switch to night mode, already, even for daytime reading). But all of that just means you're not using your device properly. It'd be like complaining that you can't read a paper book because it's dark out and you didn't turn on a light. The problem is with the user, not the medium*.

* Note that there is one source of problem with the medium that can't be adjusted by the user, and that's ppi (pixels per inch). The only way to solve that is to buy a better device. Luckily, 150ppi is generally a good threshold above which reading is comfortable on an LCD device, and the Kindle Fire, Nook Color/Tablet, iPad 3, and most smartphones are well above that. iPad 1/2, other Android tablets, and pretty much every desktop or laptop monitor are well below that, often significantly (like 100ppi or less). That is why reading on a PC is uncomfortable
You can argue all day -- the point is, that is not the way a great majority of us (as this poll demonstrates) experience it. I personally tried everything with LCDs. There is no way they will be as comfortable as e-ink for MY eyes -- whatever the actual reason for it is. I don't see why you are always so zealous to convert people to LCD/LED reading?
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:27 AM   #124
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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
You can argue all day -- the point is, that is not the way a great majority of us (as this poll demonstrates) experience it. I personally tried everything with LCDs. There is no way they will be as comfortable as e-ink for MY eyes -- whatever the actual reason for it is. I don't see why you are always so zealous to convert people to LCD/LED reading?
Seconded.

I use CAD software a lot during the day (civil engineer) but the moment I start reading static text, my eyes tell me how much they hate it.

If I do not take note of my eyestrain, I suffer the consequences big time. E-ink ereaders never cause this issue.
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Old 03-21-2012, 02:56 AM   #125
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Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
You can argue all day -- the point is, that is not the way a great majority of us (as this poll demonstrates) experience it. I personally tried everything with LCDs. There is no way they will be as comfortable as e-ink for MY eyes -- whatever the actual reason for it is. I don't see why you are always so zealous to convert people to LCD/LED reading?
Don't think of it as me converting people to LCD reading, but correcting misconceptions. I'm not saying that you don't experience eyestrain, I'm just saying that the causes put forth for it are often and obviously wrong.

Read eink if you like. I do, sometimes. But telling people to avoid LCDs because of misinformation is wrong.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:22 AM   #126
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Read eink if you like. I do, sometimes. But telling people to avoid LCDs because of misinformation is wrong.
Of course, everybody has to try before they really know. I guess most people have LCD/LED screens with different resolutions all around them, including the ubiquitous iPhone 4+, so they can get a pretty good idea if they can adjust to reading on a backlit device.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:32 AM   #127
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Of course, everybody has to try before they really know. I guess most people have LCD/LED screens with different resolutions all around them, including the ubiquitous iPhone 4+, so they can get a pretty good idea if they can adjust to reading on a backlit device.
But that's just it. People extrapolate their experience with flickery CRT monitors and low-resolution LCD monitors playing videos with high-resolution (the ppi kind of resolution) flicker-free reader devices displaying static text. "Oh man, I stare at a computer screen all day and my eyes hurt. I won't do that for reading." Except that experience is completely unrelated to reading on an LCD device designed for reading (aka, not the iPad 1 or 2).

It doesn't help that the default configurations for LCD readers are optimized for store displays and fancy demos, where white-on-black text and high brightness helps sell the unit. If someone pulled out their iPad while in bed with the lights off and got blinded by default iBooks, I wouldn't blame them for not wanting to read on an LCD. But if they took the time to reduce the brightness (below what the auto-dimming does) and switch to a night reading mode, more often than not they'll find that they can read quite comfortably for a long time. Or at least until they fall asleep
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:37 AM   #128
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But that's just it. People extrapolate their experience with flickery CRT monitors and low-resolution LCD monitors playing videos with high-resolution (the ppi kind of resolution) flicker-free reader devices displaying static text. "Oh man, I stare at a computer screen all day and my eyes hurt. I won't do that for reading." Except that experience is completely unrelated to reading on an LCD device designed for reading (aka, not the iPad 1 or 2).

It doesn't help that the default configurations for LCD readers are optimized for store displays and fancy demos, where white-on-black text and high brightness helps sell the unit. If someone pulled out their iPad while in bed with the lights off and got blinded by default iBooks, I wouldn't blame them for not wanting to read on an LCD. But if they took the time to reduce the brightness (below what the auto-dimming does) and switch to a night reading mode, more often than not they'll find that they can read quite comfortably for a long time. Or at least until they fall asleep
Doesn't the iPhone 4's retina screen confirm to your standards for the best LCD/LED screens to read on in every way? So do a number of Android devices.
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Old 03-21-2012, 03:50 AM   #129
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Doesn't the iPhone 4's retina screen confirm to your standards for the best LCD/LED screens to read on in every way? So do a number of Android devices.
Only resolution-wise. If you leave the reader in black-on-white mode with brightness cranked up it's obviously not going to be a great experience.

I love reading on my phone (480x800 4.3" device, so equivalent to many Android devices), yet I hate reading on my Touchpad or my wife's iPad 1. But then I was perfectly comfortable reading on my old iPhone 3GS, so obviously I have magic eyes.

But I always read white-on-black, with the brightness adjusted correctly for the ambient lighting (dim when it's dark, brighter when it's not). If I thought my only option was to read black-on-white with high brightness, I'd hate LCD readers myself.
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Old 03-21-2012, 07:12 AM   #130
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I d not care how high or sharp the resolution of a backlit LCD device is. I get headaches caused by eye strain when using them to read lots of static text.

I only care about what backlit LCD does to me, thus the solution is e-ink for lengthy reading.

Choice of LCD or e-ink is a purely personal choice. No one is right or wrong in this matter.
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Old 03-21-2012, 09:29 AM   #131
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Toddos:

I've posted here more than once stating that the iPhone 4's resolution was comparatively easy to read but that the original iPad's resolution hurt my eyes after an hour of reading. It isn't merely a question of setting the brightness and contrast correctly.

Friends who use other LCD screens have made the same exact complaint I did about the original iPad, which is why I've been saying for the past year that I'd consider buying an iPad the day it had a retinal display (and now it does). The original iPad was noticeably more difficult to read than the screen of my main laptop, which also uses an IPS panel.

You'd think that the dpi you've mentioned would be optimal for any device, and yet there are variables.

With all due respect, you remind me a little of the objectivity fanatic on Head-fi who kept repeating that double-blind testing was the only reliable determiner of quality. They did this until they were banned from the forums and the subject ruled forbidden.

You can insist that people who report an improved reading experience with e-ink are incapable of understanding how to set an LCD for optimal reading, but a user's experience is their own. It would be truly misinformed for e-ink users to take your word for it, shrug and get rid of the readers they'd used comfortably, only to squint at LCDs because they believed there had to be no perceptible difference.

And as often as I agree with Taosaur, I was disappointed to find him doling out the same computer eyestrain advice we've all read and heard before. Of course you tune the brightness and contrast of the screen; of course you focus on a distant object periodically when reading anything in any medium save a billboard or traffic sign. That doesn't change the fact that e-ink is easier for me to read than nearly every LCD screen I've used with the possible exception of the iPhone 4. If I do break down and buy the new iPad a year or so from now, then I'll have the chance to compare the reading experience between devices over time.

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Old 03-21-2012, 09:54 AM   #132
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HansTWN View Post
You can argue all day -- the point is, that is not the way a great majority of us (as this poll demonstrates) experience it. I personally tried everything with LCDs. There is no way they will be as comfortable as e-ink for MY eyes -- whatever the actual reason for it is. I don't see why you are always so zealous to convert people to LCD/LED reading?
Some people are just unable to understand that just because a problem doesn't affect *them* doesn't mean it doesn't affect others. Especially if they've found materials that seem to support their stance (in the case of this thread, materials that claim there is no significant flicker for LCD screens).

And I'm in the camp of those who get eyestrain and need, be it CRT or LCD, at least 70Hz vertical refresh to be at all comfortable reading high-contrast text - which is the vast majority of it on computers, especially on the Web where bright white backgrounds are the norm. Even then I need to take frequent breaks from reading and go watch a video or play a game to rest my eyes.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:10 AM   #133
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Preference is preference, but I suspect a lot of the complaints people have w/ LCDs don't stem from the fact that they're using backlit screens, but from how they're using them. Specifically, if people focused on the ergonomics long enough to adjust brightness, color contrast, and screen position, they might have a better experience.
You are probably right, but I have spent hours trying to find a setup on the Nook Color that allows me to read for more than 30 minutes without eyestrain. I'm not saying there isn't a setting that will work for me, but after trying different reading apps, different light/contrast settings, different fonts/sizes, line spacings, backgrounds, light on dark and amd whatever else, I have given up. After all, I do have a fantastic eInk reader that I can just pick up and read and sort of shrug my shoulders in a "OK, so this isn't for me".

But, as Prestidigitweeze pointed out, this might very well be because I do have eyes bad enough to stop me from reading many paper books, and that probably makes me more sensitive.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:16 AM   #134
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I'm not saying people who find eink more comfortable are 'fooling themselves,' just that scapegoating backlights may not be warranted, and other factors in your reading experience (and/or in the display technologies) may be at work.
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Old 03-21-2012, 10:26 AM   #135
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I used to prefer e-ink, then I got a Kindle Fire. Now when I read on my Kindle 3 the e-ink screen annoys me...not enough contrast in anything but very bright light.

I suspect it's all what you're used to. And there's nothing wrong with that...fortunately, there are both kinds of screens out there, and we all have choice. Win-win.
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