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Old 12-06-2017, 12:03 PM   #1
gribley
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I bought a Kindle Keyboard and I had a realization. Am I crazy?

hey folks,

I just bought a couple more old Kindles from Woot (thanks to rcentros for the tip!), including a K3 / Kindle Keyboard ($15!). I had a K3 (now long dead) a few years ago; since then I've had a Paperwhite (great), a Koko HD (dead), and a few others. I recently bought a Kobo H2O (1st gen) in an attempt to break out of the Kindle ecosystem and try a larger screen (6.8").

The K3 arrived last night, and WOW -- I had forgotten how amazingly cool is. It is a beautiful and well-designed piece of tech. Playing with it, comparing it with my new-to-me Kobo H2O, the screen of the K3 is definitely murkier and less contrasty -- but I think I like it much more. I've finally identified a couple of possible reasons.

1. The frontlighting of the H2O is fantastic, but it makes me feel like I am looking at a lit screen (which I am) instead of a passively reflective surface. I really have to turn the brightness down to a few percent before it doesn't feel like a tablet screen.

2. The H2O screen feels further away. The K3 e-ink looks like it's just about on the surface (as in a book) and it's just sitting there. I'm thinking that the combination of the touch and light layers in the H2O means that the e-ink really is further from the top of the screen, and I am somehow seeing this.

3. The recessed bezel, ugh! The K3 has a bezel but it's recessed very little. The H2O bezel is significantly further down. It feels much more like a tablet than a flat page.

The combination of factors makes me feel like the H2O reading experience is more like a tablet and feels less like a book. The K3 screen is more murky but feels simpler and more bookish.

So now I have several questions. First, am I crazy? Do others have this experience? Is the solution a flush screen? I hadn't thought that was important before, but now it feels to me that that would really change the experience. Does it?

So now I'm eager to try some possible alternatives. A used Kobo Aura (1st ed) with a flush screen is ~$50 on ebay. I missed the chance at a refurb Voyage for $119 from Amazon over Black Friday, because it's a bit out of my price range, but I would like the "physical" page keys as well. However, I think it would be insane (for me) to spend more than $100 on another e-readers, so the Oasis and Aura One are out.

I'd be interested in hearing from others about the reading experience, especially with respect to a flush screen, fewer layers, and a more paperlike feel.

thanks!
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:30 PM   #2
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hey folks,

I just bought a couple more old Kindles from Woot (thanks to rcentros for the tip!), including a K3 / Kindle Keyboard ($15!). I had a K3 (now long dead) a few years ago; since then I've had a Paperwhite (great), a Koko HD (dead), and a few others. I recently bought a Kobo H2O (1st gen) in an attempt to break out of the Kindle ecosystem and try a larger screen (6.8").

The K3 arrived last night, and WOW -- I had forgotten how amazingly cool is. It is a beautiful and well-designed piece of tech. Playing with it, comparing it with my new-to-me Kobo H2O, the screen of the K3 is definitely murkier and less contrasty -- but I think I like it much more. I've finally identified a couple of possible reasons.

1. The frontlighting of the H2O is fantastic, but it makes me feel like I am looking at a lit screen (which I am) instead of a passively reflective surface. I really have to turn the brightness down to a few percent before it doesn't feel like a tablet screen.

2. The H2O screen feels further away. The K3 e-ink looks like it's just about on the surface (as in a book) and it's just sitting there. I'm thinking that the combination of the touch and light layers in the H2O means that the e-ink really is further from the top of the screen, and I am somehow seeing this.

3. The recessed bezel, ugh! The K3 has a bezel but it's recessed very little. The H2O bezel is significantly further down. It feels much more like a tablet than a flat page.

The combination of factors makes me feel like the H2O reading experience is more like a tablet and feels less like a book. The K3 screen is more murky but feels simpler and more bookish.

So now I have several questions. First, am I crazy? Do others have this experience? Is the solution a flush screen? I hadn't thought that was important before, but now it feels to me that that would really change the experience. Does it?

So now I'm eager to try some possible alternatives. A used Kobo Aura (1st ed) with a flush screen is ~$50 on ebay. I missed the chance at a refurb Voyage for $119 from Amazon over Black Friday, because it's a bit out of my price range, but I would like the "physical" page keys as well. However, I think it would be insane (for me) to spend more than $100 on another e-readers, so the Oasis and Aura One are out.

I'd be interested in hearing from others about the reading experience, especially with respect to a flush screen, fewer layers, and a more paperlike feel.

thanks!
To my eyes, the Aura screen doesn't 'feel' flush. It feels like the e-ink is a few layers down as you describe. I don't remember feeling that with my Nook STwG. Maybe because of IR vs. Capacitive that requires another layer?

The Nook Glowlight 3 just came out with an IR screen and reviews noted the text is a tiny bit sharper than the Paperwhite or Glowlight Plus.

I have heard the Voyage feels like the text is on the screen, even with the light and capacitive layer. The supposition there is that the glass screen is clearer than plastic.

Having said all that, the Aura is a nice little reader. It is nicely designed and very small. Worth your $50.00.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:30 PM   #3
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I personally far prefer flush screens to recessed ones. The flush screen is one of the reasons I went for both the Kindle Voyage and the Oasis 2. I wouldn't dream of buying a non-illuminated reader, though. It's an absolutely non-negotiable requirement.
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Old 12-06-2017, 12:48 PM   #4
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Also, good enough text to speech, with an adequate built-in speaker.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:11 PM   #5
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I’m with Harry on this issue...I wouldn’t even consider an e-reader that didn’t have front lighting. The flush bezel is a non issue for me. I am over the moon happy with my Oasis 2.

I started off with the K2 for my first Reader, and since then have have the little basic Kindle, which I didn’t like at all, the first Paperwhite which was nice but blotchy and had, looking back, poor contrast due to the blotchyness, the 2nd Paperwhite which was very nice, (my husband still uses that model), then a Kobo Glo HD for the better font options, and now the Oasis 2.

I don’t need audio options on my reader...I can use the screen reader on my iOS devices if I want to, and I’m not an audio book fan as a rule.

My first Kindle in 2009, the K2, was a marvel for me. It opened up a new world, and gave reading for pleasure back to me. I’m astonished at the improvements when I compare that device to the Oasis 2.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:18 PM   #6
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The K3 at that price would make a good gift for someone who is new to Readers/eBooks or for a child/teen.

But as for being better than the H2O, no way at all. Less contrast, fuzzier, and no front light. I've used a 650 and T1 that both use the same screen. I've also used an external light for the 650 and T1 and I much prefer the front lit screen.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:42 PM   #7
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I adore the K3 and have 2 more for when my current one fails (likely this year as the on/off button is hedgy), also from the Woot sale. The thing is that the K3 was really ideal at the time: organization of folders, use of buttons, the text-to-speech/audiobook. Just like those folks who keep seeking out replacements for their old Sony e-readers, some of us will keep trying to find these older things because we were so darn happy with them even though there is 'better' tech now (more fireworks).

I have many other units (but no Kobo or Oasis), but the K3 is still my favorite.

As to the bezels, with buttons, I don't think it really makes a difference (i.e. K3, Kindle basic 4 & 5). Now that I have several touch screen units (paperwhite 2 & 3, Kindle basic 7 & 8, Voyage), I can agree that the bezel on the Voyage is preferable and easier to clean.

Lighting was never a deciding factor for me because I do 95% of my reading in my chair with a decent reading light. I only use the lighting feature in doctors offices that feature the new 'minimal lighting' design or staying overnight somewhere else (family member, motel) where reading light is poor.

Last edited by Tarana; 12-06-2017 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 12-06-2017, 01:47 PM   #8
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Me on the other hand, wouldn't want a lit ereader.

As to is the OP crazy, all I can say is look at 3 of friends if one of them is not crazy then yes you are. Rumor has it 1 in 4 people are crazy.

Ok bad joke on not enough coffee.
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Old 12-06-2017, 02:15 PM   #9
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Of course you're not crazy because you like the K3. Whatever floats your boat is the right thing for you. Personally I would not buy a non-lit e-reader, even though I read on my Basic Kindles happily for years. I'm very satisfied with my Voyage and both the Oases, but I would not call them paperlike. For that matter, no e-reader has ever felt paperlike to me. If I wanted paper, I'd read paper books.
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Old 12-06-2017, 04:55 PM   #10
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I’ve never met a chair side lamp that cast enough light for comfortable reading. The shadows they cause bother me, and being able to see the bulb, which happens when I would get the lamp close enough, bothered my eyes.

Full spectrum lights are better, but I’d need to carry one around with me.

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Old 12-06-2017, 04:56 PM   #11
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thanks for all the responses! and to a few of you for endorsing my sanity

Interesting to hear that there are others who prefer the flush screen. It had never occurred to me before and I've never had the opportunity to see one, but I now think I would greatly prefer it.

I didn't mean to say that the K3 screen is anywhere near as good the H2O screen -- it's certainly not at all, in contrast or resolution. But I was surprised at how much I like it regardless. One reason seems to be that the Kobo fonts are all quite delicate, and perhaps that means that they somehow they look less permanent and more computer-generated because of it. I sideloaded some new fonts and adjusted the weight and it's much better now.

Still, the K3 ink just seems to be more on the surface. I'll have to find a place selling the Voyage to try it out one of these days.

I am also a big believer in the frontlit screens -- definitely a game-changer. But if that means the e-ink is deeper and less paper-like, I am in a quandry.

I'm playing with several e-readers these days, and I'm interested to see which ones I will actually stick with and use. The K3 is the one I put in my bag when I left the house this morning, for what that's worth!
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Old 12-06-2017, 06:32 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by gribley View Post
I didn't mean to say that the K3 screen is anywhere near as good the H2O screen -- it's certainly not at all, in contrast or resolution. But I was surprised at how much I like it regardless. One reason seems to be that the Kobo fonts are all quite delicate, and perhaps that means that they somehow they look less permanent and more computer-generated because of it. I sideloaded some new fonts and adjusted the weight and it's much better now.
You can increase the weight of the system fonts with the H2O. Just go to the Aa menu while in a book and you can get to the adjustment for the fonts from there. You just have to have the font you want to increase the weight of selected.
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Old 12-06-2017, 11:03 PM   #13
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I have heard the Voyage feels like the text is on the screen, even with the light and capacitive layer. The supposition there is that the glass screen is clearer than plastic.
I read an article about the advantages of plexiglass over glass in certain situations probably 30 or 40 years ago. I don't recall the situations it referred to but I do remember that plexiglass allowed 90 times as much light to pass as does glass. Plexiglass is, of course, plastic.

This information may be very out of date by now. Probably it is. And there's no reason to think the glass still suffers that same limitation or that the plastics today have anything in common with plexiglass of those days. Still, that does make me think it's not just automatic that glass lets more light through.

Please don't take any of this as decisive. It's just a reason to wonder about assumptions.

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Old 12-06-2017, 11:12 PM   #14
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So now I have several questions. First, am I crazy? Do others have this experience? Is the solution a flush screen? I hadn't thought that was important before, but now it feels to me that that would really change the experience. Does it?
Nope. You've pretty closely described my own experience with front-lit eReaders. I like the way they look. I would love to be able to use them (still planning on trying with the Nook GlowLight 3 at some point), but it's like I'm constantly trying to refocus my eyes when using them. Almost like a 3D effect, flat fonts in a pool of water. My non-lit eReaders, on the other hand, have fonts that stand out – clear and sharp. I just use an M-Edge reading light for the eReaders that don't have lighted case and I'm happy. If I could find a non-lit eReader with 300 ppi, I would be happy as a clam.

As for the Kindle Keyboards at Woot – they got them back a couple days ago, but now they're saying "only a few left." These really are nicely made eReaders. Woot sent me one without ads and with 3G, but I don't if that was luck of the draw or normal – I'm guessing Amazon no longer cares what which one they sell to you any more. I decided I didn't like the backgrounds included with the K3, so I turned on ads to get away from them. (I might look into a background image (screensaver?) hack down the line.)

If you like the K3, you'd probably like the K4 as well. It's basically the same but smaller and without a keyboard or headphone jack (and 2GBs instead of 4).

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Old 12-06-2017, 11:24 PM   #15
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You can increase the weight of the system fonts with the H2O. Just go to the Aa menu while in a book and you can get to the adjustment for the fonts from there. You just have to have the font you want to increase the weight of selected.
I've done that on my Kindle 8th Generation, but the fonts are still duller than the K3s or K4s, even thought they're nicer fonts. There's a limit to how dark you make them without making the fonts look like blobs. (I realize the Kindle Basic - 8 - isn't quite as refined as the Kobos here, but the principle was the same when I had my Kobo Glo. Although I'm sure 300 ppi would help.)

When I bought my first Kindle, a Kindle Touch, I gave it away because the fonts were so much lighter then my Nook Simple Touch. I only like the Kindle Touch now because of the USE_ALT_FONTS hack and the Constantia font – that someone (you?) tuned specifically for eReaders. I would love to get that font into my 8th generation Kindle.
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