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Old 06-19-2008, 06:06 AM   #1
SpiderMatt
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Another messed up screen. Oh joy.

My Sony Reader screen has gone all garbled and is seemingly unfixable. I searched around and found this Kindle Screen Woes blog post and this Mysterious Broken Screen thread on these forums. It can be confirmed now that this is not an isolated incident. Interestingly enough, this problem is not exclusive to any single reader. Including my Sony, there are now at least three accounts of this screen problem on three different e-ink devices. This seems to be a current shortcoming of e-ink devices and I will be a bit upset if Sony does nothing to help me out. Before I go on, here's a photo of my Sony Reader:



I had seen it do this before, but it was always fine after being recharged and turned back on. Recharging didn't work this time. I had left it alone for well over a month while I was out to sea with the US Navy. It's not that I couldn't recharge it but I didn't want to bother with it because I was enjoying some good paperbacks and there are few outlets on the ship. So I left my Reader alone and when we pulled back into port I charged it up at the barracks. No luck.

I'm flustered and I'm jaded with e-ink technology. I've only had the Reader since October, so it hasn't even lasted me a year. That $280 is a big investment for me to not have the device last even one full year. If Sony does nothing to help me, I want to get a Kindle. I've been looking for an excuse to get one for some time but have my device break was not what I had in mind. I'm really hoping I can work something out with Sony. But if I have to drop money on a new Reader, it will be a Kindle. I hear Amazon is pretty helpful with these types of situations. Unfortunately, I don't even know if I really want to stick with e-ink this early in its development. It seems pretty unstable right now.

So how about you guys? If any of you have run into this problem and actually found some kind of fix it would be great for you to share! I'm not holding my breath but, as I said, I'm pretty upset.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:18 AM   #2
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This is unquestionably a broken substrate. Did you drop your Reader, or bang it, or put it in a bag with other heavy objects, or anything like that? Not a warranty repair, I'm afraid!

Sony offer a repair service - Amazon don't. If it's not a warranty repair, a Kindle is good for nothing except throwing in the garbage. The Kindle uses exactly the same screen as the PRS-505.
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Old 06-19-2008, 05:38 PM   #3
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My Reader was in my backpack for a while but it couldn't have gone through that much wear and tear in there. If the screens are that fragile, it makes me question the value of staying with eink. How much does Sony charge for this little repair service of theirs?

Last edited by SpiderMatt; 06-19-2008 at 05:41 PM.
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:20 PM   #4
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Bummer, I think a new screen is close to $190
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Old 06-20-2008, 12:44 AM   #5
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Might be better off looking for a used PRS-500.
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Old 06-20-2008, 02:21 PM   #6
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If I get a new eink device it will probably be a Kindle. I want something with a dictionary and I'm kind of eager to try out all the other features bundled with the Kindle. Unfortunately, I'm still jaded by the delicacy of the screens. So a new eink device might not be the best route. I don't know yet. I was thinking of an iPod Touch (as much as I dislike regular iPods) but the battery life for LCD screens is poor if it's on all the time. I don't even know if people have gotten iPod Touches to work well with ebooks yet. :-\ Any suggestions?
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Old 06-21-2008, 12:52 AM   #7
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I have both a Gen3 and a Rocket Pro. I get about the same effective READING TIME from both. So far, I've found that the number of page turns ends up costing about the same time reading as the display power limit on the Rocket. In other words, if I put the same books on both, I get about the same amount read before needing to charge. The difference is the Rocket uses the same power all the time it's on, while the gen3 uses most of it's power on pageturns - but every menu choice is a page turn, and every scroll down the library list is a page turn, etc. At my reading speed, it ends up about the same.

The Ebookwise is mostly the same as my older Rocket, you might look at that (and I've used my Rocket for more than 10 years with no screen problems, but like you have broken the eInk screen once (just got it back from Bookeen).)

I very much like the display on the gen3, but now I'm going to be a bit paranoid about damage....
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:19 AM   #8
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So a new eink device might not be the best route. I don't know yet. I was thinking of an iPod Touch (as much as I dislike regular iPods) but the battery life for LCD screens is poor if it's on all the time. I don't even know if people have gotten iPod Touches to work well with ebooks yet. :-\ Any suggestions?
I think personally (as the owner of one) that an iPod touch would make a truly awful book reader. The touch interface works great with things like the Safari web browser, but I think it would be terrible for a book reader. The screen is too small, and with the backlight on all the time, the battery life would be very poor.
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:32 AM   #9
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If you don't want to take care of the screen like a fragile little baby, then don't get another e-ink reader.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:14 AM   #10
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If you don't want to take care of the screen like a fragile little baby, then don't get another e-ink reader.
It's not that I don't appreciate taking care of my electronic devices. I try as best I can. But I do a lot of travel and things happen when you're packing up or moving around a lot. This is why companies try to make their products less fragile over timer rather than simply disregard that aspect.
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Old 06-27-2008, 02:44 AM   #11
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It's not that I don't appreciate taking care of my electronic devices. I try as best I can. But I do a lot of travel and things happen when you're packing up or moving around a lot. This is why companies try to make their products less fragile over timer rather than simply disregard that aspect.
Spidermatt, I feel for you. I had my PRS-505 last all _33_ days before having the same problem with the screen. I turned up at work one day (while reading on the way in) left it to charge on my pc via USB and at the end of the day before I left for home, picked it up and the screen was garbled. And no, I don't recall ever dropping it or having put the screen through any extreme pressure.

The only good thing that came out of it was that Sony replaced it without any hassle - but the whole affair has made me really suspicious (and paranoid) about e-ink technology. What I don't understand is if the e-ink screens are so sensitive, why don't they just put a piece of plastic/glass over the screen like what you have on mobile phones to give it a bit of protection from point pressure.
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Old 06-27-2008, 03:10 AM   #12
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What I don't understand is if the e-ink screens are so sensitive, why don't they just put a piece of plastic/glass over the screen like what you have on mobile phones to give it a bit of protection from point pressure.
There is a thick plastic "outer screen" on top of the delicate glass substrate. What tends to break screens is torsion (ie twisting motions) or pressure on a particular point of the screen. They are relatively immune to bangs and knocks.
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Old 06-29-2008, 03:49 PM   #13
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My PRS500's screen was crash today, I feel as bad as you....
I probably won't buy a sony one again, maybe stick with my Treo for reading those txt novels for a while, since I use the EINK reader read most novel anyway.
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