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Old 02-01-2010, 02:12 AM   #1
al35
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DR800 in direct sunlight

A question to the lucky owners of the DR800 -- did you notice any fading of the text in direct sunlight, as it happens with many other e-ink screens? I'm just wondering if the technology of the screens improved since my Sony 505 (mine fades a lot in the sun), or does the DR800 have the same problem. Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:21 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by al35 View Post
A question to the lucky owners of the DR800 -- did you notice any fading of the text in direct sunlight, as it happens with many other e-ink screens? I'm just wondering if the technology of the screens improved since my Sony 505 (mine fades a lot in the sun), or does the DR800 have the same problem. Thanks!
I think the problem with text fading is more optical illusion than anything else. The light source is so strong that it highlights the fact that the text you are looking at isn't really "black", it's more a really, really dark gray. In dimmer light such as lamp light or just natural daytime light indoors or in shade, the text looks blacker. With the full brightness of the sun, your eyes perceive it for what it really is, and that makes it look like it "fades." If I'm correct, you will encounter this issue with all e-ink screens, not just the Sony.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:46 AM   #3
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I think the problem with text fading is more optical illusion than anything else.
No, it's most certainly more than illusion. It's very easy to see -- if you hold the device so that half of the screen is in the shade and half in the sunlight, and then refresh the page, you'll see a clear difference in contrast between the two halves. If your screen doesn't behave like this, then you are lucky to get one of the good ones.
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Old 02-01-2010, 03:42 AM   #4
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I've never heard any technical explanation of exactly why this happens, nor have seen any official statements that it's been solved. The phenomenon definitely exists, but any reasons behind it seem to be nothing more than speculation. I assume it's inherent in eInk in general, and will effect all devices to a degree.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:25 AM   #5
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I had a 505 with screen looking perfectly in direct sunlight.
I also had a 600 with text fading in direct sunlight.
I know the difference between fading and not fading, so I can confirm that this is a real problem for some eink screens.
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Old 02-01-2010, 08:40 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by al35 View Post
A question to the lucky owners of the DR800 -- did you notice any fading of the text in direct sunlight, as it happens with many other e-ink screens? I'm just wondering if the technology of the screens improved since my Sony 505 (mine fades a lot in the sun), or does the DR800 have the same problem. Thanks!
I'm using an Irex for several years and haven't seen a decrease of quality. I don't think that the 800s will be any different (it will have the same technology).
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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If you get a Vizplex EInk reader that fades in direct sunlight that is a manufacturing defect and you should be able to return it for a replacement that does not have the problem.
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Old 02-01-2010, 10:51 AM   #8
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I am curious on the real cause of this. Is it only sunlight or any bright light? The difference is that sunlight also brings along heat and UV. I wonder what would happen if you cover half the screen and expose the other half to a bright florescent light (less heat). Or expose the uncovered half to the sun from the inside side of a window on a cool day.

If it's UV, there are UV light bulbs to test this out. I've heard that the Que has an UV protective coating on its screen. Perhaps that's the difference? I've also heard that regular plastic can block out most of the UV, so touch-enabled sony devices may be more protected.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:20 AM   #9
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If you get a Vizplex EInk reader that fades in direct sunlight that is a manufacturing defect and you should be able to return it for a replacement that does not have the problem.
Do you have any sources for the information that it is a manufacturing defect, or that it has anything to do with Vizplex?
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:32 AM   #10
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Do you have any sources for the information that it is a manufacturing defect, or that it has anything to do with Vizplex?
Pre-Vizplex EInk, e.g. on early iLiads, was susceptible to fading. We know that the majority of Vizplex screens don't fade, and Amazon replaced Kindles if the owners complained of fading. Amazon has lenient return policies, but replacing the Kindle would not work if most screens fade.

If you get a fading screen, ask for a new one. The vendors don't advertise that this is a potential problem because most EInk screens are not used outdoors and some owners won't complain about the fading.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:45 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmdahler View Post
I think the problem with text fading is more optical illusion than anything else. The light source is so strong that it highlights the fact that the text you are looking at isn't really "black", it's more a really, really dark gray. In dimmer light such as lamp light or just natural daytime light indoors or in shade, the text looks blacker. With the full brightness of the sun, your eyes perceive it for what it really is, and that makes it look like it "fades." If I'm correct, you will encounter this issue with all e-ink screens, not just the Sony.
You can see samples of the defective fading screens here and here.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:31 PM   #12
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You can see samples of the defective fading screens here and here.
That certainly shows that it is not just peoples perception of a problem.

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Old 02-01-2010, 12:57 PM   #13
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Wow, never had that on any of my devices and I've had quite a few. I routinely read while outside as well.
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Old 02-01-2010, 12:58 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by wallcraft View Post
Pre-Vizplex EInk, e.g. on early iLiads, was susceptible to fading. We know that the majority of Vizplex screens don't fade, and Amazon replaced Kindles if the owners complained of fading.
So no official information, just empirical evidence and speculation?

We're still in the same boat with this we've always been, nobody really knows what causes it.
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Old 02-01-2010, 02:01 PM   #15
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Always falling back on the paper book model - I don't read books printed on paper in direct sunlight. I don't use my laptop computer in direct sun either. Why would I expect an EReader to be any different? Find a bit of shade...

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