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Old 02-12-2010, 01:02 PM   #1
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NYT: Do E-Readers Cause Eye Strain?

http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/0...er=rss&emc=rss

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“It depends on the viewing circumstances, including the software and typography on the screen,” said Mr. Bove. “Right now E Ink is great in sunlight, but in certain situations, a piece of paper can be a better display than E Ink, and in dim light, an LCD display can be better than all of these technologies.”



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“The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds.”

Mr. Taussig said consumers will pick the type of screen that makes sense on an individual basis. “I don’t think there is a single technology that will be optimum for all the things we want to do with our devices. For example, H.P. sells 65 million displays a year, and they are all used in a different way.”
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:24 PM   #2
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The iPad screen is glossy, which is going to be a bigger factor than even the backlighting. I don't like reading off a mirror.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:30 PM   #3
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The glossy screen doesn't matter when it's lit up unless you're in direct sunlight or something. In normal lighting conditions you won't notice it's glossy when it's lit up, just like the iPhone or other glossy screen LCD screen devices.

But the thing I like about the article is that it acknowledges that every screen type has it's pros and cons for reading.

Something the "if it glows it blows" crowd here doesn't seem to acknowledge. All have their pros and cons, and what's best for you will depend on your typical reading conditions, what you need out of your device etc.

I love my Kindle, but I get annoyed to death with all the "if it glows it blows nonsense" and saying devices like the iPad can't be used as readers because of the screen tech.

Every screen type has it's pros and cons, everyone's eyes and typical reading conditions are different. There's just no need for people to talk in such absolutes, rather than just simply stating their own opinion that they only want to read on e-ink.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:31 PM   #4
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In my opinion, a good ereader causes less eyestrain than paper.

A poor one is much much worse.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:33 PM   #5
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I think you'll see reflections more often than just when you're outside in direct sunlight. If there's a lamp near you, a TV behind you, an overhead light, a window nearby, etc. Even the light from the iPad itself shining on your face in a dark room could cause some reflection onto the screen.

Some may be more sensitive to it than others, but reflection on a glossy screen is not a minor factor in readability.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:36 PM   #6
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I've never noticed it on glossy screen devices I've used. I have the sense not to sit right under a lamp etc.

That's the advantage of a backlit screen vs. e-ink. You don't have to be right under a light source to be able to read without strain. Just need enough lighting in the room so that the light coming from the device isn't making your eyes fatigued since that's the only bright light source.

But again, it's just a too each their own thing. Read on what works best for you, and don't go around stating your opinion as fact and bashing other devices. One can say they only like e-ink without stating "if it glows it blows" or other crap that comes off as stating their opinion as fact.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:40 PM   #7
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“The new LCDs don’t affect your eyes,” Mr. Taussig said. “Today’s screens update every eight milliseconds, whereas the human eye is moving at a speed between 10 and 30 milliseconds.”
Except of course eyes don't have a linear refresh rate. So that comparison is nonsense*.

*Actually, I'd use far FAR stronger terms.

Last edited by DawnFalcon; 02-13-2010 at 10:18 AM.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:41 PM   #8
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Well, I do notice reflections in every single hands-on iPad video I've watched.

Bottom line is that the article doesn't mention glossy screen glare at all as a factor in eyestrain and readability, and for many people it is (witness how many complaints there have been about the glare/reflections in touchscreen readers like Sony's 600-900 series). So I was just pointing out that omission.
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Old 02-12-2010, 01:46 PM   #9
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Fair enough. But with glossy screens you tend to see the glare at the off angles, but don't notice them when looking directly at as you would if reading.

That's because the light from the device isn't going directly into your eyes like it is when looking at it directly when reading etc. But of course one would have to try out the iPad themselves and see if glare etc. bothered them.

But I'd expect glare would be much less of an issue with an LCD screen than the e-ink touch screens which don't emit light to counteract the glare.

But in any case, it's again just a too each their own thing. I rarely read for more than an hour, so eye strain is just moot for me. I can read on pretty much anything. So I have a lot of interest in stuff like the iPad since reading isn't a big hobby. I got a kindle just to try and read more since I don't have to donate/recycle paperbacks after reading them anymore.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:02 PM   #10
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I don't understand the mention of how a backlit screen is better in a dark setting. When I'm a passenger in a vehicle, it's night, and I try to read on my phone, it's is way way too blinding, even with the backlight at its lowest level. If I use my computer at night with the lights off, it's too bright and I can't imagine putting a backlit screen a foot from my face to read in bed. I would think indirect lighting would be best in a dark environment.
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Old 02-12-2010, 02:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddman View Post
Well, I do notice reflections in every single hands-on iPad video I've watched.
Yes but they've all been on display in very brightly lit conference centres, with flash cameras and lighting for video recording, the kind of lighting that would make glare look like an issue even on a chalk board
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:35 PM   #12
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The reflection issue would merit more of my interest if not for the fact that e-ink screens are also reflective as has been the case with both my nook and my friends kindle. You still have to be careful of the angle and lighting with non-lcd e-readers.
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Old 02-12-2010, 03:54 PM   #13
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The thing with backlit screens is that you need to adjust them to match ambient lighting conditions (or vice versa). If you read them in the dark you need to dial down the brightness, or even change the color scheme so they throw less light (white text on black background etc.). Of course if the display can't be adjusted enough, and you can't change the color scheme, the only recourse may be to turn on some external lighting, or go to sleep.

Apple has figured this out, so that their laptops (and iPad) have light sensors that automatically adjust the brightness level of the screen. OSX also has a hotkey to change the toggle the color scheme from 'black on white' to 'white on black' (colors get remapped to some complementary value). There's probably some software that lets you do something similar on Windows.
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Old 02-12-2010, 04:00 PM   #14
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I don't know about the LCD screen thing. I know reading anything on my LCD or TV kills my eyes after half the time of using the eInk. I need my glasses for them, but i'm fine without on everything else.
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Old 02-12-2010, 04:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by tomsem View Post
The thing with backlit screens is that you need to adjust them to match ambient lighting conditions (or vice versa). If you read them in the dark you need to dial down the brightness, or even change the color scheme so they throw less light (white text on black background etc.). Of course if the display can't be adjusted enough, and you can't change the color scheme, the only recourse may be to turn on some external lighting, or go to sleep.

Apple has figured this out, so that their laptops (and iPad) have light sensors that automatically adjust the brightness level of the screen. OSX also has a hotkey to change the toggle the color scheme from 'black on white' to 'white on black' (colors get remapped to some complementary value). There's probably some software that lets you do something similar on Windows.
You mean they FINALLY caught on to the idea of the "ambient light sensor" which my last four (spanning 10yrs) WINDOWS based laptops have used and were also around before then on other models...amazing....good for aPpLe!!
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