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Old 12-02-2017, 03:39 PM   #1
Derek87
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Screen and Kindle Quality Control

hi guys, a little bit of a rant, but also an experience to share regarding my recent Oasis adventure. i've previously owned a PW2 and PW3 (still have these), and recently i have tried out three Oasis:

- Oasis 2 (2017): near perfect screen. could see a very slight color gradient at a couple light levels, but did not affect my preferred lighting levels (dark room, 6-8). no cones/scalloping whatsoever. But, it was uncomfortable to hold lying in bed, so i had to return it (and i still miss it and it's wonderfully clean bigger screen):
- Oasis 1 (2016): light cones and screen gradient evident at my preferred light levels (not visible in daylight or light levels over 11-12 in daylight/indoor lighting). after living with this for two weeks, i decided to see i if could get a better unit. the gradient was livable, but the cones were distracting (two prominent ones which were hard for me to ignore)
- Oasis 1 (2016): light cones MUCH reduced from first unit..noticeable, but i would say about 1/4 the intensity for the worst cone compared to the old unit. gradient even better too. not noticeable unless i was really staring hard and looking for it. BUT: this unit was possessed: touch screen flakey, buttons flakey, would randomly start doing things like highlighting text even though nothing was touching the screen. so this had to go back. they are sending me a replacement unit without accessories and asking me to just send the Oasis reader itself back.

in addition to this, comparing the two Oasis 1's side by side, the first unit had much better contrast (blacker blacks) than the second unit. in the end, i could live with this, but it was very noticeable. it almost looked as if bold was turned onto level 1 vs no bolding, when in fact, but were set with zero bold font.


in short, as many of you probably are aware of in your experience, Amazon's quality control or tolerances for light cones, gradient, and contrast is very broad. i know i fall on the "picky side" of the spectrum, but to me, the differences from unit to unit i've seen are very visible (and confirmed by my wife's eyes even though in the end, she's ok with her somewhat splotchy PW2 and likes the 212 dpi resolution which appears to be higher contrast than the 300 dpi of my PW3.

i wish i had more confidence in what i am going to find on Tuesday when the third Oasis 1 arrives at my door...
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Old 12-02-2017, 11:08 PM   #2
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The difference in screen color from one unit to another, even of the same make and model, is the normal thing. Nearly all ereaders are like this regardless of brand. That's not a Kindle specific thing at all.

I have 3 Kobos, all of the same model, and side by side, all have different colored screens.

I have 4 Kindles, although they're different models, and all are different. I live in a retirement home and I've compared my Paperwhite with some of my neighbors and they're different. That's just how ereaders are.

I'm not sure if it's because they're made at different times in different batches, or if it's just something inherent in e-ink screens. But it is the normal thing.

By the way, when I had a Palm 3C, many years ago, and my neighbor had one, those screens looked very different as well.

I doubt that this has anything to do with quality control. All my ereaders have held up very well over the years. Since 2009 I've had Kindles, Kobos and Nooks and none have had any problems so I'd say their quality control is very good.

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Old 12-04-2017, 03:23 PM   #3
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i understand there can be screen to screen difference in color due to LED color and tolerances, yet i think it's fairly surprising the range, but that's just my humble opinion.

i know they initially said the "light cones/scalloping" were a feature with the Papewhite, but from what i had understood, they had figured it out with the Voyage/Oasis 1. certainly, for the Oasis 2 i had for a few days there was no noticeable issue with this regard at all light levels. i can definitely tolerate the variation in light (gradient and slightly different color tone) on both of my Oasis 1's. my only hope in getting a 2nd unit was to improve on the horrible light cones which to me is distracting while i read. the 2nd unit did very well in that regard, but there is some major hardware issue going on related to it's touch/button interface. (still there after multiple factory resets, sadly)
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:45 AM   #4
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@Derek87: This is indeed disheartening.

I have a Voyage and Oasis1 with gradients which, while not ideal, I can ignore. But I find light cones much harder to ignore. I replaced my first Oasis1 because of prominent scalloping. My second one has faint scalloping which I can ignore. I was hoping they had figured out how to eliminate the scalloping, but alas.

Did you get a 3rd replacement? How's that working out?
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:22 PM   #5
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thanks for the commiseration, Odamizu.

sadly, the 3rd Oasis 1 has scalloping too, but in a different way/location than the 1st. right now i'm trying to decide if its better or worse. it seems the "hot spots" are better, but my eye is now drawn to a dark/shadow area on this screen. this screen is definitely a cooler white than the first two screens. as far as gradients is concerned, this one has a less prominent one.

i'm torn on what to do. i think i need to read a few days on both units and see if one is better than the other. i'm not sure Amazon would be happy for me playing another round of Russian Roulette and asking for yet another, and i want this saga to be over soon so i can just get back into reading.

the only wild card reason for keeping the 3rd unit is it came with a very old firmware (that along with its lower serial number suggests its one of the earlier units which may explain the worse cones/scallops?). the old firmware means it is jail breakable. not a huge thing for me although it would be nice to do the custom screensavers.

i think the thing that really has me down this road of disappointment was the complete lack of cones/scalloping on the Oasis 2 i had. in that respect the screen was perfect, and the very slight gradient was livable. yet, the discomfort holding it in bed, was not.

Last edited by Derek87; 12-06-2017 at 03:17 PM.
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Old 12-07-2017, 03:43 PM   #6
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more talking to myself, but good to air this out and maybe make it available to others who search the site in the future...

two more experiences to share...

- stopped by Best Buy yesterday and looked at the Kindle Oasis 2 (2017 model) on display and because there was a shelf underneath, despite its tethering, i could look at its backlighting. first, there was no light cones/shadows/scalloping. in my small sample size, it seems Amazon figured this aspect out on the newest Kindle. on the flip side, there was a very noticeable yellow-to-white gradient at different light levels. surprised by this as it was very subtle on my short-owned unit.

- i had an extensive chat online with Amazon today about my Oasis 1 screen experiences that i've already discussed here. the Kindle specialist was very sympathetic to my concerns and suggested either sending one of the units in for warranty inspection* or just ordering another one. he assured me that Amazon understood my multiple orders and wouldn't hold it against me for trying to get a satisfactory unit.

i'm not holding my breathe, but this is i think my last ditched attempted to get a good screen like i had with unit #2. one thing to note is that unit #2 had a serial number about 1000 higher than units #1 and #3, so there is a possibility that Odamizu's hypothesis is correct: they improved things later on...i can only hope so, but of course, i have no control over what serial number i receive for the forthcoming unit #4.

i think i will need to cut my losses here and either return all 3 units and go back to my PW3, or keep the best of the 3 Oasis. i ended up Jailbreaking #3 since it was such an old firmware. the custom screensaver option is really nice, but i'd gladly give it up for a better screen. i'm not even sure which i prefer in #1 vs #3 right now. i like the lack of gradients in #3, but two areas of shadows which can best be described as smudges that go about 3/4" into the screen (about 6-7 letters into the text) may actually be more distracting than the two prominent "hot spots" on #1. sigh...i wish i could ignore such things...


*he ultimately agreed that this would likely yield either "you are too picky" or "yes, it's bad, order another"
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Old 12-08-2017, 12:26 PM   #7
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so... the end of the saga (for now)?

unit #4 arrived. first impression booting up: is that a pinhole or fixed pixel in the dirt where the boy is reading? UGH!...but it seemed to go away. but after some limited time with this 4th Oasis (2016), it's a mix and match of what i've seen before: it's a "yellower white," much like #1 (and #2), but less of a gradient (but not as good as #2). it still has cone/shadow issues when used at light levels 6-8. (btw, serial number is n the same ballpark as units #1 and #3, again lending credence that maybe they figured out and improved the line cone/shadow issue in later runs (i.e., #2)...but there is no way to pick serial numbers buying this refurbished last generation)

so, what am i going to do? i think i've driven myself and my wife nuts over this Russian Roulette of trying to find a satisfactory unit. i packed up #1 and am returning it via UPS today. looking at #1, #3, and #4 side-by-side, the gradient of #1 sticks out like a sore thumb. the gradient in #3 is slightly worse than that in #2, and i actually was going to package up #4 along with #1 for return last night, but i thought i'd give it a shot with some bedtime reading. with about 15 minutes on each of the two remaining units, i *think* the smudge/shadows from the light cones are less distracting in #4. that may be reason to tolerate a slightly worse gradient and lose the jailbroken custom screensavers and quieter buttons. i can't seem to "unsee" the prominent "dark smudges" on #3 as much as i like the more uniform light.

thanks for listening and reading (if any of you are stilling following me out there). what really bothers me is i know there are some good screens out there, but in my limited sample, it is only 1 in 4, and for my bad luck, the one that was good had other problems.

i do think i see an Oasis 2 or whatever follows it in a few years, in my house in the future. i was impressed by the near perfect screen i had, and now seeing a few folio cases out there with a built in strap lead me to believe that i could potentially be happy holding it in bed with my hand tucked in a strap. yet, even there, with my observation of the bad screen at best buy (no light cones, but strong gradient very easily seen), i think i need to take a break from trying out different Oasis's and hopefully get back to reading if i can manage to unsee these gradients and shadows.
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Old 12-08-2017, 09:32 PM   #8
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Still following - hope you get something you’re happy with. Heaven knows you’ve earned it!
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Old 12-08-2017, 11:18 PM   #9
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Omigod. How discouraging. I'm sorry you were not able to get a good screen, despite all your efforts, Derek87.

One question: Were all 4 units refurbished, or were any of them bought new?
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Old Yesterday, 12:45 AM   #10
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Omigod. How discouraging. I'm sorry you were not able to get a good screen, despite all your efforts, Derek87.



One question: Were all 4 units refurbished, or were any of them bought new?


Thanks for your commiserations plumadoba and odamizu.

Yes, all four units were refurbished so I have likely inherited someone else’s rejects that amazon somehow certified as ok. If I had paid 290 for these I would have given up already. But 199 seemed a fair price if I could get a reasonably acceptable unit. Yet I have heard success stories of people getting refurbished PWs and voyages with excellent screens and functioned properly (unlike #2 with a good screen but funky behavior)

So get this: tonight while reading on #4 I had it lock up and freeze for several minutes. I ended up restarting it. Let’s see if the problems come back because that was the one I was thinking I might be able to live with screen wise.

To give amazon some credit, the rep I spoke with yesterday followed up as he promised but automatically removing special offers and checking in with me by email. I sadly had it report what I’ve shared here along with my freeze up tonight. Not sure what they can do to help me. Maybe send me yet another unit from their batch of refurbished units without charging me for a new one? (I currently have 3 on my credit card by hopefully the first one will get credited quickly when they get it back next week)

Thanks for your support guys. It feels good to share and get this frustration off my chest.


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Old Today, 03:29 PM   #11
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... So get this: tonight while reading on #4 I had it lock up and freeze for several minutes. I ended up restarting it. Let’s see if the problems come back because that was the one I was thinking I might be able to live with screen wise.
That's terrible! The inconsistency in quality among Kindles is indeed disappointing Buying an expensive ereader shouldn't be a crapshoot.
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