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Old 03-09-2009, 04:20 PM   #1
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Kindle 2 flaw: Lighter text causing headaches?

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Whenever a next-generation version of a product is launched, inevitably you get comparisons to the previous model--and what the older model did better. Well, in the case of the Kindle 2, the nitpicking is in full swing as several blogs have taken up the debate over whether the Kindle 2's text is lighter than the original Kindle's.
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10191483-1.html
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:41 PM   #2
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Interesting read. It's sad to think that the Kindle 2 is causing headaches for some people. Amazon should just give the end-user the option to choose text and background lightness/darkness.

That ghosting thing sounds irritating. Is it as bad as the article makes it seem? I'd like to know before I get a Kindle 2. D:
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:56 PM   #3
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With mine that the ghosting is not very common. I rarely have any ghosting on my screen. It happens occasionally, more often than not when I have the screen saver on then switch the system back on, yet nothing so serious to send mine back at least. I don't remember seeing any ghosting on anything aside from the turning back on from screen saver mode.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:24 PM   #4
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I read on the 2nd smallest font and have no probs at all.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabet55 View Post
Interesting read. It's sad to think that the Kindle 2 is causing headaches for some people. Amazon should just give the end-user the option to choose text and background lightness/darkness.

That ghosting thing sounds irritating. Is it as bad as the article makes it seem? I'd like to know before I get a Kindle 2. D:
The ghosting issue exists, but it's *mostly* just a problem in the status bars at the top and bottom of the page. When you come out of sleep mode, those don't fully refresh, and when you hit the next page button, only the text of the book is refreshed, not the status bars. It's *not* a problem for reading at all, nor does it make the status bars hard to read either. But if you're obsessive-compulsive about anything looking 'off', then yeah, it might bug you and require you to Alt-G to refresh the screen.

The only other time I've seen ghosting is after viewing some particular images but not others. Again, Alt-G fixes the issue.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:36 PM   #6
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Sweet, MR is quoted in that article
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragoro View Post
I read on the 2nd smallest font and have no probs at all.
Ditto.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:45 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alphabet55 View Post
Amazon should just give the end-user the option to choose text and background lightness/darkness.
:
This may very well be something that is not adjustable. It may depend on variations in the manufacturing process.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:52 PM   #9
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Wonder if the lighter text has something to do with the increase in battery life, does it take less juice to produce a lighter text each screen refresh?
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:55 PM   #10
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Oh well. I hope that isn't the case, but if there really is some connection, then it'll be one more reason that I'm happy I'm sticking with my K1.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:58 PM   #11
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The text on my K2 is no lighter than the text on my Sony 505. We loaded them up the other day and did a side by side. The Sony's font is heavier making the K2's something to get used to, but after a few books, no problems here.
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Old 03-09-2009, 10:31 PM   #12
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It's a guess, but I think I know why the K2 font looks lighter. I think its due to the increased levels of gray scale.

Over the years, I've noticed this on graphics I've worked on. Turn a graphic from black to grayscale or turn on anti-aliasing. It makes the edges look smoother. However, when you have a really thin line you can have problems.

Say the line is narrower than one pixel. With black and white only you can only show the line through a black pixel. With gray scale you can use a gray pixel to indicate that the entire pixel is not black.

As a result thin lines, like the lines of small fonts, are gray instead of black and they are not as visible on the grayish e-ink background.

Michael
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Old 03-10-2009, 11:52 PM   #13
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Thanks for posting that article -- it makes me feel SO much better. I'm a first-time e-reader owner with a Kindle 2, and it was hard for me to figure out if my Kindle was hard to read because of the screen or because of the lighting in my house. (I'm thinking it's a bit of both, but mostly the lighting in my house.) I also started noticing ghosting after using it for about a week. At first I thought it was because my screen is degrading (oh noes!!!) .... but now I'm thinking that I only just started noticing it after seeing complaints about it online. It also helps knowing that ALL of these problems could likely be fixed by a future firmware upgrade.
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Old 03-11-2009, 12:57 AM   #14
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I currently have 2 k2's side by side and I feel there's a difference in contrast. One is going back due to the sunlight fading issue and that's the lighter one. I've always felt the faulty screen's contrast was a bit less, but I also have a K1.

So perhaps not all k2 screens are equal? I need to test the new one out in full sunlight tomorrow.
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Old 03-11-2009, 05:28 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emellaich View Post
It's a guess, but I think I know why the K2 font looks lighter. I think its due to the increased levels of gray scale.

Over the years, I've noticed this on graphics I've worked on. Turn a graphic from black to grayscale or turn on anti-aliasing. It makes the edges look smoother. However, when you have a really thin line you can have problems.

Say the line is narrower than one pixel. With black and white only you can only show the line through a black pixel. With gray scale you can use a gray pixel to indicate that the entire pixel is not black.

As a result thin lines, like the lines of small fonts, are gray instead of black and they are not as visible on the grayish e-ink background.

Michael
Bingo! I looked very closely at the fonts and it is the anti-aliasing, used to "round" the turns on the letters that reduces contrast. They use a lighter shade to do this. Letters like lower case "l" are just as dark on the K2 as the K1. Oh the dangers of unintended consequences - to "pretty up" the fonts, they lost contrast, a side effect I do not like at all.

Last edited by Slow_hand; 03-11-2009 at 05:30 AM.
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