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Old 12-22-2011, 09:57 AM   #1
humandroid
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Which reader and settings are easiest on the eyes?

I have owned a Kindle DX for a long time but I am trying out a 10" Lenovo K1.

I have tried a few different readers and settings on the K1 but everything I try seems too harsh on my eyes for extended reading.

Which readers and settings have you found that cause less eye strain on the android tablets?
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Old 12-22-2011, 11:48 AM   #2
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Generally I turn down the back light as far as it will go and use a color on black setting. Kobo lets you turn the back light off entirely. I also like Fbreader, Aldiko, and Kindle. Repligo reader is good for PDF: it has a night time setting.
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Old 12-22-2011, 01:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humandroid View Post
I have owned a Kindle DX for a long time but I am trying out a 10" Lenovo K1.

I have tried a few different readers and settings on the K1 but everything I try seems too harsh on my eyes for extended reading.

Which readers and settings have you found that cause less eye strain on the android tablets?
I agree with the previous comments about turning the brightness down.

I don't usually even bother with night-mode (light text on a dark background) but that is another option if you still find that the brighter background bothers you, and you want to switch things up and try another option.

The trick is to turn the damn thing WAY down so that it matches how your favorite eInk device would look with a reasonable but not excessively bright non-glaring book-light.

Also hold the tablet at a distance appropriate for it's DPI size (fortunately your Lenovo K1 specs out at 149 DPI which is excellent, so anything between eighteen inches and about two feet should be nice and sharp)

The small 7 inch Android tablet I prefer as a reader (a Viewpad 7e) has really good backlight control, and a similar DPI resolution and I find it VERY comfortable as a reading device.

I hate to say it, but in my case, I had heard so much anti-LCD crapple-tunnel-vision BS about how LCDs were just HORRIBLE, that it helped do a little research and get the real facts - which are these:

The 7 inch screen on my Viewpad 7e reader has 800x600 resolution, the same as my eInk device, but due to the sub-pixel rendering possible on color LCD screens it is even SHARPER (this is really noticeable when viewing full-page PDFs). Your Lenovo is even higher in resolution than this, so the text you are reading should be literally razor sharp.

So, what 'hurts your eyes' is not the inferior nature of the LCD, but the fact that the contrast is so much BETTER than both eInk and printed media.

eInk Pearl is only spec'd for a 10:1 minimum contrast ratio (though most samples will hopefully do a little better) while real ink on a printed page maxes out at about 30:1 (the brightest areas reflect about 30 times more light than the ink).

An LCD screen can easily manage 200:1 up to about 500:1 contrast ratios, so the brightest brights vs. the darkest darks are much more extreme than what you see when viewing a printed page under normal room light.

Turning down the back-light until the screen background is only a little brighter than a printed page would look under natural light in the same setting (how the text would look on paper with a reasonable book-light) will pretty much eliminate the irritation caused the excessive brightness and contrast.

This is quite often a lower setting than you might expect, so if turning down the brightness hasn't worked for you, it may simply be that you didn't have it turned down far enough. Obviously, too low is also not going to be very comfortable due to legibility issues, and there is no officially 'correct' level (what YOU are comfortable with being highly subjective) but don't be afraid to experiment with a bit more moderate level if you find your eyes are still experiencing fatigue, as this works for most people.

After playing with font size on my Viewpad 7e, and setting the brightness to a reasonable level, I now find that I actually PREFER it to using my Sony PRS-650 eInk reader with a book light for late night reading sessions.

This is true even though my Viewpad 7e tablet is about twice as heavy (and that's a testament to how much better it looks, because I really do like my Sony because of it's light weight, but the sharp, evenly lit text on my 7e tablet just blows it away).

Last edited by delphin; 12-22-2011 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 12-22-2011, 07:07 PM   #4
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I remembered that back in the day Commodore had donesome research on which color combinations were easier on the eyes. Thats why the Commodore 64 had a dark blue background with light gray text.
So I downloaded Aldiko reader and changed the background to the darkest blue and the text to the lightest blue.
I also turned the brightness nearly all of the way down.
This is the best I have found so far.
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Old 12-22-2011, 10:50 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by humandroid View Post
I remembered that back in the day Commodore had donesome research on which color combinations were easier on the eyes. Thats why the Commodore 64 had a dark blue background with light gray text.
So I downloaded Aldiko reader and changed the background to the darkest blue and the text to the lightest blue.
I also turned the brightness nearly all of the way down.
This is the best I have found so far.
Remember, part of the assumptions for that research was the assumption that the text was going to be displayed on a crappy NTSC TV through the tuner.

Personally, on a nice sharp monochrome screen, I used to like amber text on a dark background.

. . . But for e-reading for pleasure, black text on a white page is fine.
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:16 AM   #6
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I can't stand black text on a white page, not even on my Flyer. I always have a more yellowish colour (for webpages, I prefer Ivory, for instance)

I do use a night-time theme: black background, gray letters (not white, that's too high contrast, the letters will burn into your eyes...) I also turn down my screen as much as I can and I use "Screen Filter", an app that will put a filter over your screen, dimming the screen even further (for night time reading, it's at 14%, where 0% is a complete black screen, when I turn on my device in a normally lit room, I can't see a thing then!)

For daytime reading, I use a yellowish background, with black letters. My screen light is always turned down to the lowest, it's more than bright enough for most occasions. When it's getting darker, or the light in the room is not bright, I sometimes turn on my Screen Filter, but to around 30%.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:24 AM   #7
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LCD screens don't bother me as far as eye strain goes but I find it most comfortable to read with a "day" theme (black text on a cream background) in brightly lit areas and a "night" theme (cream text on a dark chocolate brown background) in the dark. I switch back and forth a lot. And for some odd reason, I just love Cool Reader's default paper-like background.

I agree with everyone that says to turn down the brightness settings especially when reading in the dark. Use a reading app that can control brightness settings with a flick on the side of the screen (most of the third party ones do). Also consider using screen filter to get your brightness settings even lower.

Lastly, get a reading app that lets you play around with different font styles and line spacing. I find that line spacing can make a huge difference in readability.

Last edited by Eskarina; 12-23-2011 at 03:40 AM.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweetpea View Post
. . . I do use a night-time theme: black background, gray letters (not white, that's too high contrast, the letters will burn into your eyes...) I also turn down my screen as much as I can and I use "Screen Filter", an app that will put a filter over your screen, dimming the screen even further (for night time reading, it's at 14%, where 0% is a complete black screen, when I turn on my device in a normally lit room, I can't see a thing then!)
Interesting idea, using an app to tone down the whole screen.

I was lucky enough that on my Viewpad 7e, the lowest screen setting is really low. Low enough in fact for reading even in a completely darkened room.

Even if this were not the case, my preferred reader app, FBReader, lets you set absolute color and brightness for both the text and background using three RGB 0-255 sliders (you can also use a custom tinted paper texture background and set it that way if you want).

One advantage of having a nice low low setting on the backlight though (instead of relying on a filter app or the RGB settings in your reader app) is that really cutting back electrically on the backlight also helps out quite a bit on battery run time on my tablet. At anything above half brightness, I am lucky to get 5 hours out of my tablet, but at minimum brightness I can easily get up to 7 or 8 hours.
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Old 12-23-2011, 03:41 AM   #9
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Interesting idea, using an app to tone down the whole screen.

I was lucky enough that on my Viewpad 7e, the lowest screen setting is really low. Low enough in fact for reading even in a completely darkened room.

Even if this were not the case, my preferred reader app, FBReader, lets you set absolute color and brightness for both the text and background using three RGB 0-255 sliders (you can also use a custom tinted paper texture background and set it that way if you want).

One advantage of having a nice low low setting on the backlight though (instead of relying on a filter app or the RGB settings in your reader app) is that really cutting back electrically on the backlight also helps out quite a bit on battery run time on my tablet. At anything above half brightness, I am lucky to get 5 hours out of my tablet, but at minimum brightness I can easily get up to 7 or 8 hours.
My previous 7" tablet also had a very nice and low lowest brightness level... but I get the impression that the better the screen, the brighter the lowest brightness level! I have my default backlight setting at 11%... And that still is too bright for night time reading (lower than 10% will turn off the screen...)
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Old 12-23-2011, 02:12 PM   #10
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I found some interesting information:
http://www.writer2001.com/colwebcontrast.htm
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Old 12-26-2011, 08:18 PM   #11
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I returned the Lenovo K1 today.
It was a lot of fun to play around with but my main purpose is for reading and I could not find any settings that did not cause eye strain over extended reading periods.
I am sticking with my Kindle DX Graphite.
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Old 12-27-2011, 02:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
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I returned the Lenovo K1 today.
It was a lot of fun to play around with but my main purpose is for reading and I could not find any settings that did not cause eye strain over extended reading periods.
I am sticking with my Kindle DX Graphite.
The obvious choice! I just bought a new one lately.
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