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Old 11-02-2008, 09:18 PM   #1
holden1
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Side by Side screen comparison: 505 & 700

Being a 505 reader for the past 6 months and interested in buying the new 700 next month, I took a trip to my local Sony store to compare them side by side.

I have been reading with interest the comments regarding poor screen contrast on the 700 - and wanted to see for myself if this was true or not. I was surprised not only by the screen contrast, but also by the clarity of the text. To my eyes the 700 screen is darker than the 505, and the text lacks clarity and appeared 'out of focus'. As such I have changed my mind, and will be holding off buying the 700 - with hope that the 700 demo is just that - a demo.

Whilst at the store I asked the sales assistant I could take a picture of the two units side by side. I think they show the differences between them:



[IMG][/IMG]

Other than the the above issues, I thought the 700 was a great improvement on the 505.
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:33 PM   #2
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thank you very much for these photos, i've also been following the reports of poorer contrast and resolution and been hoping someone would manage to do a comparison like this.

it occurs to me that perhaps the loss of quality in the display is a result of the front-lighting solution ; does anyone know whether this requires a supplemental layer of glass or plastic above the screen ? if i've understood correctly, the touchscreen used has sensors behind the screen, so this would normally not interfere with the display...

any other theories ?

i too really hope this problem can be resolved in the 700, until seeing these photos i thought i would get one, now i'm not so sure...
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:40 PM   #3
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I took a close look at the screen structure whilst I was there. It does appear that the touch screen is above the e-ink screen, with the LED lights between. This does appear to be the cause of the poor contrast and lack of clarity in the text. I am hoping these things have been - or will be - ironed out before they come on the market.
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:47 PM   #4
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i knew it ! those stupid lights... i wish those were optional. i don't want them. i'd rather have a good screen for text display. thanks for the reply.
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:51 PM   #5
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That sounds like a rather bad piece of design.

Zelda - get the 505 then
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Old 11-02-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
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heh, don't tempt me. i think i'll wait a little while and see whether they manage to improve the design though because there are other features on the 700 which i find compelling (touch screen, search function...). in any case, i still have my trusty eb1150 in the meantime. *sigh*

(hey, shouldn't you be in bed ? i'm going right now.)
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Old 11-02-2008, 10:44 PM   #7
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Wow, thanks for these photos. If these photos are true to reality, which they seem to be by your comments, then the difference is quite obvious. I'm glad I saw these. I had been thinking of maybe getting a 700 in the future.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:00 PM   #8
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One other thing I noticed was the very noticebale screen glare on the 700. It was not good. I wish i had taken a photo of that too - but I thought I was pushing my luck getting these.

I took these photos without flash using both 'automatic' (top photo) and 'best-shot' (below) settings. I was with a friend who knew very little about ebook readers - and they were surprised that the 700 is the latest version.

Anyway, glad you have found them usefull.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:23 PM   #9
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Wow!

I definitely have to make a pilgrimage to a store soon. I have a PRS-700 on order, since appears to have the most important (for me) features available.

But these photos make a pretty compelling argument against the PRS-700. The screen kind of looks like an early monochrome LCD (I am sure it's not that bad:-)

What puzzles me, though, is that NONE of the reviewers I've read, mention this issue. See, for instance, this: http://mikecane2008.wordpress.com/20...-700-part-two/

Is it possible, that what the reviewers saw, are better, "fixed" units? After all, the darker background and the fuzzier text on the PRS-700 are clearly noticeable in holden1's pictures.

One other question: Is the screen on the PRS-700 slightly larger? It looks that way, yet the specs I see say 6", just like the 505.

Last edited by Sonist; 11-02-2008 at 11:36 PM.
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Old 11-02-2008, 11:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonist View Post

One other question: Is the screen on the PRS-700 slightly larger? It looks that way, yet the specs I see say 6", just like the 505.
It's kind of an optical illusion. If you look at the top of both readers, you'll notice the top of the screen for the 700 starts lower than the 505. The silver band around the 700 makes it look like the top of the screen starts in the same place as the 505.

Now look at the bottom, the 700 screen ends lower than the 505 because it doesn't have the round navigation buttons. If you were able to line up the tops and bottoms of the screens of both readers while side-by-side, the screens would be the same but the physical top of the 700 would be higher and the physical bottom of the 505 would be lower.

I hope that makes a little bit of sense.
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Old 11-03-2008, 07:23 AM   #11
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(hey, shouldn't you be in bed ? i'm going right now.)
(I went not long after posting that )
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Old 11-03-2008, 10:33 AM   #12
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the 700 defintely looks darker in the pictures... id be going for a 505 based on those shots.. hopefully when the 700 comes available in the next week or so we'll see some more comparisions.. id still like a 700 but only if the screen is as good as the 505s
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Old 11-03-2008, 11:33 AM   #13
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My wife had ordered me a 700 just the other day for my BDay. After seeing this post, I cancelled my order. There were a few deciding factors I had, so it wasn't just the contrast I see in the pictures. I was actually thinking of cancelling the order before I read this post, based on other things I've researched. Instead, I have ordered the 505, the lightwedge light for it and the extra AC adapter, as well as the 2 year warranty - with the special bundle pricing I saved $40 and the price of all this was about the same as just ordering the 700 alone. It made more sense for me.

My reasons for choosing the 505 instead:

1. Contrast of screen - not just from the pictures in this post, but verified by others who have posted elsewhere. I really want the best screen I can get. Since I've never owned an e-ink reader before, I might not have noticed this much, but this leads to my other reasons...
2. Touchscreen - I don't really want this feature, and I know its popular with some of the folks here. I'm one of those that are kind of anal about my screen being clean.
3. 505 Design vs 700 Design - I kind of like the page turning buttons and all the buttons on the 505.
4. The Red 505 - I think the red ebook reader is so cool looking.
5. More accessories due to price - I was able to get the AC adapter, the lightwedge w/cover and a 2 year with accidental damage support plan for pretty much the same price as the 700 all on its own.

There are a few things I'm sad about losing on the 700. Number one would be the page-turn performance they say is so fast in the 700 compared to the 550. The extra built-in memory is also sad to lose. Last but not least, the built-in light. I do alot of reading in bed. I'm hoping the lightwedge with cover is almost as good.

So I've got a few questions about the 505. Will I have to get the latest firmware for it or will it come with the new device? I see some cool hacks to add features to the 505 on the site here, are they safe to use? Will they void warranty or anything? I'm so excited about my first e-ink reader.
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:17 PM   #14
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I visited the SonyStyle store in Phoenix, AZ on Saturday so I could get some hands-on time with the PRS-700. I've owned a PRS-500 since the first few weeks they were available from Sony, and it has traveled everywhere with me for the past two years.

The Reader Revolution guy was there, and we got to chat for about 30 minutes. Unfortunately, he didn't have much nice to say about the PRS-700, which surprised me.

On first look/touch, I remember thinking, "Ooh, pretty". It seemed responsive to initial touch, albeit, pretty fingerprinted up. Then I pulled out my PRS-500 and he brought over his PRS-505 and we compared screens. That's where the big difference came in from what I could see.

The screen on the 700 is nowhere near as sharp as the one on the 505, I'm guessing that's due to the lights and the touchscreen. The 505 had MUCH better contrast than both my 500 and the 700 that was on display.

Then he started playing with the 700 by flexing it slightly on diagonal corners. This triggered the screen to start flipping pages randomly, changing font size, highlighting certain regions -- he wasn't flexing it too hard from what I could tell, either. He tried to highlight a passage with the stylus and the response time was sluggish and several times ended up turning the page instead of highlighting the text. He said the battery time was nowhere near what the 505 gets, he said five hours, but that *has* to be with full lights on all the time...that seems awfully short.

The front-light LED's in typical store lighting were uneven in lighting the screen. You could see where the eight or so front lights illuminated the page, and the gaps in illumination. Who knows though, that could look great with all the lights off.

In the end, after getting to play with the 505 and the 700, I left my well-loved, trusty old PRS-500 Reader in their care and traded up to the PRS-505 with the Sony trade-in plan. I have tons of booklights from the past two years of using my Sony Reader in the dark, I don't really need a front-light. The touchscreen response was a bit disappointing. Really, I couldn't justify paying $400 for that particular model.

I really wanted to like it too... had it met expectations, I'd have immediately pre-ordered from Sony and waited with anticipation. Oh well, I'm now the proud owner of a gorgeous silver PRS-505
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Old 11-03-2008, 03:31 PM   #15
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Hi Holden1,

I cannot thank you enough for your photos and for tekchic's confirmation what can be seen in your photos. I had a 500 and now I use the 505 and that meant display improvement. I was really looking for to the 700, but now I certainly will not buy the thing with such a miserable display.

I do not know if this coming device is discussed somewhere in the forum. But I think I will wait for that. What do you think?

http://www.plasticlogic.com/news.html

Friedhelm
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