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Old 12-14-2009, 10:57 PM   #1
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Puzzled by contrast variations in e-ink

I saw 2 Sony 300s that were sharp and had good black letters.. then tonight I saw one that was washed out.

Likewise my device is a touch on the washed out side as well.

You'd think the manufacturer could use a laser or something to tell what the contrast is on the screen when adjusting it.

There seems to be a lot of variability.
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Old 12-14-2009, 11:08 PM   #2
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ooh. i noticed that one too.

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Old 12-14-2009, 11:19 PM   #3
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I saw a demo of the first Sony LIBRIé in Japan-the text was black, and the background was actually white, not grey/offwhite like the current e-Ink screens I've seen since. Very high contrast!

Didn't know that variances in contrast were an issue with the new e-Ink screens.

Last edited by kjk; 12-14-2009 at 11:40 PM.
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Old 12-15-2009, 03:53 AM   #4
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Well variation is not that big actually. There's some variability in black density, and some variation in the amount of residual black on general pageturns, but the base white is pretty consistent across Vizplex, and the black never really gets dark (I don't have any real numbers to cite a variation range, but probably less than +/-10%). On some readers, the black density can be tuned a little, which I believe is sometimes done for static display models, but usually comes with serious side-effects (more extreme ghosting for example) and still never reaches anything close to "black".

What most people actually see are lighting effects and reflections. If the device is reflecting a dark surface, it'll show both a darker black and a darker white, but the overall contrast will appear higher. If a white surface is being reflected, the white will appear whiter but the text will seem grayer and more washed out.

Another thing is that oblique point lighting combines with the silver reader's surface in particular to create an interesting optical effect. When held at certain angles, the sandblasted metal casing will scatter or reflect light away from the eyes (thus appearing darker), while the Vizplex will retain its reflectivity. Since the brain "knows" the case is a silverlike metallic material, it interprets the white state of the e-ink to be much brighter.

No e-ink device really has high contrast, a white white, or a black black. The eyes can be cheated into thinking so under some conditions, but the screens never really are white and black, nor have they ever been.
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