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Old 06-13-2010, 02:12 PM   #1
LDBoblo
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Dreaming of resolution...

I was really excited when I heard the iPhone 4 was equipped with a ~320ppi screen. Numerous smartphones already boast 200+ppi screens (and there are a few other products out there with 300+), but it's a fantastic achievement nonetheless as far as typography is concerned.

I just wish it had been done with a reflective screen. E-Ink has demonstrated a contrast increase with their signature product, but I really hope that as EPDs and other e-paper technologies evolve, they become capable of supporting very high resolutions. I can't wait until the day I can read super-crisp text on a low-power reflective screen, as if I were looking at a printed page. I don't know if that's 6 months or 6 years away, but it's something to look forward to.

Unfortunately I don't have a 200ppi 5-inch reader or a 300ppi LCD to add to this snapshot, but I thought it was interesting. Each picture represents an identical area a little over 5mm wide on a page. They're not perfect pictures, but they make a handy comparison nonetheless.
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Old 06-14-2010, 02:03 PM   #2
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Substantially higher resolution == ME WANTS IT! I'm eagerly awaiting higher-res readers, especially in low-power reflective display tech.

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Old 06-14-2010, 02:11 PM   #3
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Y'know, I could really care less. Current eInk works fine for text, so does my Droid screen. iPad res works fine for my uses (that is whenever I bother to use the damned thing).

Do yourselves a favor and hop off the hedonic treadmill for a few minutes.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:29 AM   #4
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Do you have a printer? You could try adding it to the comparison, and a newspaper. And it would help if the pictures showed the same letters, with a similar typeface if possible.
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Old 06-15-2010, 04:45 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Do you have a printer? You could try adding it to the comparison, and a newspaper. And it would help if the pictures showed the same letters, with a similar typeface if possible.
I would need to set it up, but I do think some kind of comparison can be done. I wanted to keep the snaps to the same field of view of the media, rather than emphasizing any particular glyph. It's not exactly easy to pull a newspaper, a paperback, a hardcover, and an ebook all with the same typeface. Or it might if they all use Minion, but I'm afraid my current physical library doesn't have that degree of consistency.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jellby View Post
Do you have a printer? You could try adding it to the comparison, and a newspaper. And it would help if the pictures showed the same letters, with a similar typeface if possible.
It's not scientific or anything, but I was bored enough to do a bit more comparing. I set the light a little more oblique and tried to equalize things a bit, so it doesn't look exactly the same as the previous comparison.

I obviously didn't get equal typefaces, or even completely equal sizes. However, this isn't meant to be a purely apples-apples comparison of glyph drawing. It's just a really close and personal view of what these media look like in general.

Sorry it's a rather big picture...but I wanted to keep each sample big enough to see clearly.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LDBoblo View Post
It's not scientific or anything, but I was bored enough to do a bit more comparing. I set the light a little more oblique and tried to equalize things a bit, so it doesn't look exactly the same as the previous comparison.

I obviously didn't get equal typefaces, or even completely equal sizes. However, this isn't meant to be a purely apples-apples comparison of glyph drawing. It's just a really close and personal view of what these media look like in general.

Sorry it's a rather big picture...but I wanted to keep each sample big enough to see clearly.
Robert Scoble took a high res pic of the iPhone 4 screen-not sure if it helps:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/scoblei...67529/sizes/o/
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:46 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kali Yuga View Post
Y'know, I could really care less. Current eInk works fine for text, so does my Droid screen. iPad res works fine for my uses (that is whenever I bother to use the damned thing).

Do yourselves a favor and hop off the hedonic treadmill for a few minutes.
"Hedonic treadmill"??? Perhaps so. But I certainly notice the difference in print quality (and eyestrain!) when comparing (worst-to-best) my Sony reader, a paperback, a hardcover, and a high-end well-produced textbook. If I could have the best of those (at a reasonable price, of course) I'd love it! For now, I'd like to see eReader-ish screens improve to the level of a paperback.

It's not a "difference no one will notice," however. It's not a show-stopper. It's not a life-or-death proposition. But if eReader screens were improved to the level of typical paperback text, I would be able to read faster and longer with less eye-strain. And that would certainly be a nice thing.

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Old 06-15-2010, 10:46 AM   #9
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I obviously didn't get equal typefaces, or even completely equal sizes.
But the magnification is at least more or less equal, right? There's still a long way from EPD to magazine, but MMPB and newspaper don't look so far.
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Old 06-15-2010, 11:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
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But the magnification is at least more or less equal, right? There's still a long way from EPD to magazine, but MMPB and newspaper don't look so far.
Yep the field of view is pretty much identical for all of them. That's why I put the 1mm line at the bottom to show scale. It really is a very small area. The speckles you see on the e-ink and other artifacts in most of the pictures aren't visible to the naked eye at most distances, so it really is an unflattering view.

What makes me curious is the capsule size of EPD and whether that imposes a practical resolution limit. Naturally, the capsules are individually much smaller than pixels on the pixel grid, but I wonder how far beyond 200ppi an EPD can go.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:56 AM   #11
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And another quick shot, but this time with a Chinese character instead. Horizontal width is the same as the previous shots, but taller vertically. EPD and mid-quality Taiwanese paperback.

Normally this size font (12pt) is too large for me on a 6" screen, but I figured it was fairer to compare at similar sizes.
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Old 06-16-2010, 12:22 PM   #12
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For those of us with bad eyes better contrast and higher ppi is welcome. I started reading hardcovers because paperbacks were too fuzzy once my eyes required bifocals. The only reason I can read well on the eInk screens is because I can enlarge the font. And I can hack the Kindle to add a better font or add a font to ePubs on my other devices.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:18 PM   #13
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I haven't actually seen a >300dpi screen, but I think I'd like one. I would rather have a sharper screen that I can read, than to have to enlarge the font, assuming these parameters are inversely correlated. I'm getting a little too aware of eInk's lack of contrast and am looking forward to trying out the next iPod Touch with the hires screen as a reading device.
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