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Old 11-13-2008, 07:55 AM   #1
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PRS-700 - How bad is the screen contrast?

According to this review:
"Sony added a touch layer on top of the e-ink display and embedded LED side-lights into the frame that surrounds the display. Clever. But this comes at the expense of contrast and glare, and the Sony Reader PRS-700 looks more like a grayscale notebook screen than an eBook reader. The glare isn't nearly as bad as the average PDA or gloss notebook display-- it's on par with matte finish notebook displays."

500 vs 700 contrast comparison:


Now, i was all set on buying the 700. but this review has come as a big downer. Touchscreen goodness is fine, but i would assume that the most important element in an epaper-based reader would be the screen. and if the 700's screen is worse than the one of 500, it would be a dealbreaker for me. might as well live with the 500 till the next version comes out.

Would like to hear from folks who have seen both screen side-by-side.
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Old 11-13-2008, 01:06 PM   #2
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look at some of the other threads on the 700. Its mentioned by several people how bad it is. I bought one and thought I could live with it because other than that it is a well built device and I loved the other features. But after 2 days I decided to return it and I bought a 505 (again) last night. I found it simply impossible to read with out the light on. And after a day of that, I realized that's not how I want to read all the time. Its an unacceptable solution. And even with the light on, the glare is still there, just less so. But with the light off, I could completely see my reflection and anything that was behind me and the text was so dull looking without a light that it was impssobile to read it unless the reader was maybe under direct light. If you plan to just read at nite with the light on, then it would be fine!

Its too bad because touching the screen to turn the page is nice. Hopefully the next model will have the touch screen under the e-ink so there won't be that extra screen and I will gladly buy it.
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Old 11-13-2008, 10:35 PM   #3
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Unfortunately, the answer is really, REALLY bad. I really wanted to love the 700. I've been eagerly awaiting it's arrival for weeks now. I wanted to log in and tell people "don't listen to the others, it's wonderful". But I totally can't. The quality of the screen is just so sadly lacking that I totally CANNOT justify keeping it. My 505 is extremely crisp and clear, and readable in all but the lowest light situations. I thought the 700's light would be nice for dim restaurants, other really low-light situations, where you can't turn an external light on. But those situations are rare, and not how I usually use my eReader.

I find it hard to read the 700 in the dark using just the built-in light. The edges are nicely bright, but the middle of the page is hard to read, and it feels like a strain. With the built-in lights off, using my bedside lamp, I find I have to hold the 700 at an unnatural angle for the glare not to reflect myself back at me, which is very distracting, and makes the text harder to read. The 505 is crisp and clear in the light of my bedside lamp. No problems or strain.

The extra features of the 700 are extremely neat. I love the touch screen & the new menu navigation, and I was really looking forward to being able to search my books. If the screen resolution was the same, hands down the 700 would be infinitely superior. But the lack of screen clarity makes it, for me, a step below the 505, with a lot of wasted features. If you can't read it, all the bells and whistles don't mean much.

I suppose if I'd never seen the 505, I might think the 700 was the coolest thing ever. But having seen how amazing eInk can be, the 700 is just a big, disappointing misuse of the technology.

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Old 11-14-2008, 12:18 AM   #4
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I'm Lisa, the one who wrote the MobileTechReview.com review. Personally, I was so excited I could hardly stand waiting for the PRS-700. Once I had it in my hands, I decided to go with the 505. I really care about the screen quality, and the 505 is wonderful. The 700's features are fantastic, but it was no better than reading on a Tablet PC (perhaps worse in terms of contrast). *sigh* I read on planes, on exercise bikes-- places where light isn't always the best, wide viewing angles are important and glare can be a factor-- the 505 was just much easier to read.
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Old 11-14-2008, 10:05 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Unfortunately, the answer is really, REALLY bad. I really wanted to love the 700. I've been eagerly awaiting it's arrival for weeks now. I wanted to log in and tell people "don't listen to the others, it's wonderful". But I totally can't. The quality of the screen is just so sadly lacking that I totally CANNOT justify keeping it. My 505 is extremely crisp and clear, and readable in all but the lowest light situations. I thought the 700's light would be nice for dim restaurants, other really low-light situations, where you can't turn an external light on. But those situations are rare, and not how I usually use my eReader.
+1

I don't own either, but I was looking into getting a 700 so I went to the Sony Store to check it out. I had read reviews on this forum about people complaining but I really thought they were just begin e-book snobs. I had seen the 505 in Borders and was very impressed by the paper-like screen. The only think holding me back was the lack of a built-in light. So when I saw the 700, I figured it was the machine for me.

Once I got to the Sony Store however, I was severely disappointed. Some people have speculated that the drop in contrast and clarity is due to the plastic cover that houses the lights (and maybe the touch-sensors?), but to me it seemed like an entirely different screen. Like others have said, the 700's screen is reminiscent of old-school monochromatic pda screens that were almost impossible to see in low-light conditions.

I have no idea how Sony could have screwed up so badly but even my brother who has never even seen an e-reader before commented on how bad the screen of the 700 was compared to the 505. My guess is that an inferior screen was used with the belief that people would just use the built-in light, which does seem to help. The problem is, nobody wants to read with the light on all the time.

All in all, the 700 is great... Except the screen, which is awful. And to me, the screen is by far, the most important aspect of an e-reader. If you're not concerned about screen quality, then do yourself a favor and spend the $400 you would have spent on a 700 and buy a cheap laptop that will do a lot more than the 700.
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Old 11-14-2008, 06:41 PM   #6
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I got my 700 yesterday and I love it -- it's a different looking screen from the 505 but I can read it just fine and don't understand what all the fuss is over it.

I bet that if the touch-screen were peeled off, we'd see the 505 screen underneath.

Buy a laptop? To read in bed with? I doubt it. I really enjoyed lying in bed reading my 700 with the built-in light last night.

Different strokes for different folks -- I love the 700.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:30 PM   #7
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this downgrade was mentioned in amazon site too
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:45 PM   #8
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I purchased a 700 and decided to cancel the order. The screen contrast is a very important feature. I'm not into the touchscreen at all, in fact, I don't really like touching my screens. The many comparison pictures on this site spoke volumes to me. I did, however, really want the light that was built-in.

Instead of getting the 700, I ordered a 550 and the light wedge. I can't believe how good the screen quality is. The light is OK, good enough for reading in perfect darkness. I think each person will have their own opinion on the 700 vs the 550, but for me the screen made the most difference. The pictures posted on this forum show a clear difference in clarity and contrast. In my opinion, if you are going to buy an e-ink device, why settle for a screen that looks no better than an LCD screen? You can get a backlit ebookwise-1150 that has stylus for much less money. You could also buy several types of PDAs and Tablet PCs that actually look much better for reading in the dark and that are also touchscreen. Again, this is just my opinion, but the 700 just doesn't seem like a smart buy to me.
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ColdSun View Post
I purchased a 700 and decided to cancel the order. The screen contrast is a very important feature. I'm not into the touchscreen at all, in fact, I don't really like touching my screens. The many comparison pictures on this site spoke volumes to me. I did, however, really want the light that was built-in.

Instead of getting the 700, I ordered a 550 and the light wedge. I can't believe how good the screen quality is. The light is OK, good enough for reading in perfect darkness. I think each person will have their own opinion on the 700 vs the 550, but for me the screen made the most difference. The pictures posted on this forum show a clear difference in clarity and contrast. In my opinion, if you are going to buy an e-ink device, why settle for a screen that looks no better than an LCD screen? You can get a backlit ebookwise-1150 that has stylus for much less money. You could also buy several types of PDAs and Tablet PCs that actually look much better for reading in the dark and that are also touchscreen. Again, this is just my opinion, but the 700 just doesn't seem like a smart buy to me.
I'm with you on that. I was set to get a 700 but once I went to the Sony Store and saw it in person, I opted for the 505 w/ lightwedge cover. Although the idea of a built-in light is nice, I like the idea of it being removable so that you can take it off when not needed. IMO, it's the best of both worlds - a light for night-time reading, and a crisp, clear screen when other light is available. Personally, I think the 705 should incorporate the features of the 700 but instead of including a built-in screen, it should come with a lightwedge cover.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:25 PM   #10
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I'm really pissed off with the prs-700 contrast.

has anyone had experience with the prs-900? is the contrast better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by krumbs View Post
According to this review:
"Sony added a touch layer on top of the e-ink display and embedded LED side-lights into the frame that surrounds the display. Clever. But this comes at the expense of contrast and glare, and the Sony Reader PRS-700 looks more like a grayscale notebook screen than an eBook reader. The glare isn't nearly as bad as the average PDA or gloss notebook display-- it's on par with matte finish notebook displays."

500 vs 700 contrast comparison:


Now, i was all set on buying the 700. but this review has come as a big downer. Touchscreen goodness is fine, but i would assume that the most important element in an epaper-based reader would be the screen. and if the 700's screen is worse than the one of 500, it would be a dealbreaker for me. might as well live with the 500 till the next version comes out.

Would like to hear from folks who have seen both screen side-by-side.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:38 PM   #11
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I had the prs-505 and bought on-line the prs-700. The disappointment was huge when i placed both side by side. i'm still using my old prs-505. whereas the prs-700 was never used and still brand new in its box. i'll probably chuck it in the garbage sooner or later.

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has anyone had experience with the prs-900? is the contrast better?
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Old 10-28-2009, 02:36 PM   #12
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Why don't you sell it? Many people regard the display as perfectly acceptable, and you'd have no problem at all selling it at a reasonable price. Post an ad in our "Flea Market" forum!
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Old 10-28-2009, 03:30 PM   #13
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I must admit to liking my 700, but having never owned a 500 I have nothing to compare it with.

For me it's great in the sun and as I love to read in bed it suits me to have it's light on. I then don't need the overhead light, which somehow used to catch in my eyes, very distracting.

The battery lasts about 3 nights, but I only read for about an hour at a time max.
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Old 10-28-2009, 06:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
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has anyone had experience with the prs-900? is the contrast better?
Karin--Sony hasn't released the prs-900 yet, I don't believe they even have a working model of it yet. But, I would suspect that the constrast will be comparable to the prs-600. From all the reviews I've read here, and personal observation at the Sony store the prs-600 falls somewhere between the 505 and the 700. My husband has a 700 and I have a 505, so we did a three way comparison last time we were in a Sony Style store.

By my observation, the 505 has better contrast than the 600, but if I had to replace my device I'd do so with the 600. The contrast of the 600 is definitely better than the 700, and it adds some very nice features that the 505 doesn't have--dictionary; true PDF zoom; touch screen.

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Old 10-30-2009, 10:12 AM   #15
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Thanks for the tip and look for the prs-600. Either i'll just buy a 600 or stick it out until the 900 arrives and then buy the 900, should the visibility be better. of course the extra features are great, i.e. touch screen, xl, etc. but i don't read in the sun, but in bed and then it's a drag.
Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dordale View Post
Karin--Sony hasn't released the prs-900 yet, I don't believe they even have a working model of it yet. But, I would suspect that the constrast will be comparable to the prs-600. From all the reviews I've read here, and personal observation at the Sony store the prs-600 falls somewhere between the 505 and the 700. My husband has a 700 and I have a 505, so we did a three way comparison last time we were in a Sony Style store.

By my observation, the 505 has better contrast than the 600, but if I had to replace my device I'd do so with the 600. The contrast of the 600 is definitely better than the 700, and it adds some very nice features that the 505 doesn't have--dictionary; true PDF zoom; touch screen.

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