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Old Feb 13, 2009, 10:59 AM   #1
Night Spring
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E-Ink vs. iPhone

Anybody here use any of the e-ink readers (Kindle, Sony, etc) and can give an opinion on how the reading experience compares to reading on the iPhone?

Specifically, I'm wondering if there is any truth to e-ink proponents' claim that e-ink is "easier on the eyes." They keep saying e-ink is better for reading than LCD screens, but I have a suspicion that they are thinking about regular computer monitors, not the iPhone screen. Personally, I feel iPhone's screen is less tiring on my eyes than computer monitors. It it just me or does anybody else feel the same way?
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 04:41 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Night Spring View Post
Anybody here use any of the e-ink readers (Kindle, Sony, etc) and can give an opinion on how the reading experience compares to reading on the iPhone?

Specifically, I'm wondering if there is any truth to e-ink proponents' claim that e-ink is "easier on the eyes." They keep saying e-ink is better for reading than LCD screens, but I have a suspicion that they are thinking about regular computer monitors, not the iPhone screen. Personally, I feel iPhone's screen is less tiring on my eyes than computer monitors. It it just me or does anybody else feel the same way?
How could it be more comfortable to read of the iPhones small screen than an actual computer monitor.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 04:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Night Spring View Post
Anybody here use any of the e-ink readers (Kindle, Sony, etc) and can give an opinion on how the reading experience compares to reading on the iPhone?

Specifically, I'm wondering if there is any truth to e-ink proponents' claim that e-ink is "easier on the eyes." They keep saying e-ink is better for reading than LCD screens, but I have a suspicion that they are thinking about regular computer monitors, not the iPhone screen. Personally, I feel iPhone's screen is less tiring on my eyes than computer monitors. It it just me or does anybody else feel the same way?
e-ink is far better for your eyes than any monitor I have ever used. I think Best Buy has some Sony e-readers on display that you can use and try you. It's really like looking at a sheet of paper.

I used to be against it a little because of price, but I'd use that thing in a heart beat if I had the $300 to drop for it.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 04:57 PM   #4
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eInk is like (more or less) paper .... it emits no light, no radiation ....

The display is lit purely with ambient light like a newspaper ... it will be much easier on the eyes than an active display panel
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 06:59 PM   #5
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How could it be more comfortable to read of the iPhones small screen than an actual computer monitor.
Well, sure, size is a factor in reading comfort, but to me it feels like a computer monitor "blinks" more than the iphone screen.

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e-ink is far better for your eyes than any monitor I have ever used. I think Best Buy has some Sony e-readers on display that you can use and try you. It's really like looking at a sheet of paper.
I've seen sony e-readers on display at a nearby electronics store, and didn't really find them that "paper-like." It seemed to me like a drab grey sheet. I felt like there wasn't enough contrast between the text and background.

In any case, thanks for all your comments, I think it's become clearer for me at least why I prefer the iphone.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 08:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Night Spring View Post
Well, sure, size is a factor in reading comfort, but to me it feels like a computer monitor "blinks" more than the iphone screen.



I've seen sony e-readers on display at a nearby electronics store, and didn't really find them that "paper-like." It seemed to me like a drab grey sheet. I felt like there wasn't enough contrast between the text and background.

In any case, thanks for all your comments, I think it's become clearer for me at least why I prefer the iphone.
Have you never read a newspaper? It's a drab gray sheet! Anyway, eink will be much easier on the eyes as opposed to staring at a floresant bulb like in LCDs.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 08:59 PM   #7
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Have you never read a newspaper? It's a drab gray sheet!
Heh, true enough. And I do like the white or cream paper of bound books a lot more.

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Anyway, eink will be much easier on the eyes as opposed to staring at a floresant bulb like in LCDs.
Everyone keeps saying that. I just wondered if anyone has actually compared. Like, read a chapter of a novel on an e-ink device, then read a chapter on the iPhone.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 10:40 PM   #8
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Everyone keeps saying that. I just wondered if anyone has actually compared. Like, read a chapter of a novel on an e-ink device, then read a chapter on the iPhone.
Yes, we have, and it's quite easy to do. Most of us have seem/used/demoed, both the iPhone, LCD displays and some kind of e-reader.

The Sony e-ink and kindle e-ink are pretty much the same, and both are better than the iPhone/LED/LCD when it comes to reading for prolonged periods of time.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 10:46 PM   #9
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E-ink does look very nice, but expensive. Myself, I have no problem reading eBooks on my iPhone - I do it all the time. I believe the trick is the white letters on a black background. This set-up doesn't seem to bother my eyes at all - less light to blind you.
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Old Feb 13, 2009, 11:42 PM   #10
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Doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize an e-ink display is easier on the eyes. Think about it for a second, this type of display does not emit any light into your eyes and thus has less eye strain.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 12:27 AM   #11
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Think about it for a second, this type of display does not emit any light into your eyes and thus has less eye strain.
Yes. Dark. Trying to make out letters in the dark = eye strain.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:01 AM   #12
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Speaking as someone who owns a Sony Reader, E-Ink is much easier on the eyes. In direct sunlight its so much easier to read. In the dark, you have to have a booklight which is kind of a pain. Although the newer Sony model has a sidelight which addresses this and you can buy sidelit cases and such for the old model.

Besides the readability issue, the real beauty of E-Ink is the power consumption. It uses practically no power until you actual turn the page. My Sony reader will go over a week without having to charge it. The same cannot be said for my iphone.

Also an area that the Sony Reader takes getting used to is that it takes a few seconds to flip the page, but if you time it right where you press the page button as you are reading the last few lines, you don't notice so much. Whereas iphone is instantaneous for page turns. The Kindle 2 supposedly is much faster in this regard.

The beauty of the iphone though is that it fits in my pocket where as the sony reader does not. If I had software to transfer my bookmarks between the two devices, so I could easily pick up reading it would be awesome. This is what Amazon will supposedly be able to do if they are allowed to bring the Kindle store to iphone. You would be able to stop reading on the kindle and pick up your iphone and continue on.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:26 AM   #13
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The beauty of the iphone though is that it fits in my pocket where as the sony reader does not. If I had software to transfer my bookmarks between the two devices, so I could easily pick up reading it would be awesome. This is what Amazon will supposedly be able to do if they are allowed to bring the Kindle store to iphone. You would be able to stop reading on the kindle and pick up your iphone and continue on.
Thank you! This is exactly the kind of detailed description of user experience I was looking for. And yes, being able to switch back and forth between devices while reading a book would indeed be awesome, as obviously different devices are more useful in different situations. I really hope Amazon implements something like this, and I might be pursuaded to give the kindle a try!
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:27 AM   #14
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Yes. Dark. Trying to make out letters in the dark = eye strain.
E-ink should be viewed the same as regular ink on paper. You can't read either in the dark without some form of light in the room. If you read direct lit devices in the dark (without other room lighting) then you are causing eye strain.

The Amazon Reader screen size (being bigger) is also much easier to see text than my iphone is.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:30 AM   #15
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E-ink should be viewed the same as regular ink on paper. You can't read either in the dark without some form of light in the room. If you read direct lit devices in the dark (without other room lighting) then you are causing eye strain.
Well, see, that's what I like most about the iPhone right now -- I can read in bed without disturbing my partner. *g*
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:45 AM   #16
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I can read in bed without disturbing my partner.
Good point and I do that as well but when my eyes are tired then no matter how low I bring my iPhone's brightness level down, they hurt after a while. The simple fact is, devices that throw light directly into your eyes will negatively effect them more. So for when you would be reading for much longer periods, an E-Ink device would be easier on the eyes. That is all I am saying.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:53 AM   #17
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Another good point to note is content selection. You can't get either the Sony book store or the Amazon kindle store on the iPhone currently. Yes the iPhone has the ability to purchase books from Fictionwise with Stanza, but that has like 50,000+ books vs Amazon's 230,000+ books.

So there will be books you can acquire on Sony or Amazon that you will not be able to legally acquire on the iPhone.

If Amazon brings the Kindle store to the iPhone though, they would make SO much money, it would be ridiculous.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 01:54 AM   #18
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Well, see, that's what I like most about the iPhone right now -- I can read in bed without disturbing my partner. *g*
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 02:16 AM   #19
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Ya wanna know which is the best way to read a book? It's called a book. There is a niche of people that an e-reader will be a boon to, but for the vast vast vast majority of people there is nothing that yet comes close to even matching the benefits of reading an actual paperback book.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 02:26 AM   #20
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Ya wanna know which is the best way to read a book? It's called a book. There is a niche of people that an e-reader will be a boon to, but for the vast vast vast majority of people there is nothing that yet comes close to even matching the benefits of reading an actual paperback book.
eBook Readers are the perfect book substitute.

What's a paperback do that my Sony Reader doesn't?
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 02:41 AM   #21
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eBook Readers are the perfect book substitute.

What's a paperback do that my Sony Reader doesn't?
How about cost $300 for a start.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 02:48 AM   #22
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How about cost $300 for a start.
Price isn't an issue for him. I think it's the perfect idea for saving paper either on the iPhone or eReaders.
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 02:58 AM   #23
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Isn't e-ink healthier for the eyes?
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 07:00 AM   #24
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OP, you've got to be kidding, there's no comparison here. e-Ink and dedicated e-readers completely blow away a stupid phone for reading books. Why don't you try actually looking at a real e-reader before posting nonsense like this
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Old Feb 14, 2009, 09:18 AM   #25
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Good point and I do that as well but when my eyes are tired then no matter how low I bring my iPhone's brightness level down, they hurt after a while. The simple fact is, devices that throw light directly into your eyes will negatively effect them more. So for when you would be reading for much longer periods, an E-Ink device would be easier on the eyes. That is all I am saying.
Actually, I'd gotten so used to having low level pain in my eyes (mostly from staring at computer monitors all day), that I wasn't even aware of it until I read this post! True, having a light source in your eyes would be like staring into a light bulb for too long. But otoh, e-ink or regular paper means you have to find a light source when you want to read. So, maybe an e-ink reader during the day, iphone at night?

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Ya wanna know which is the best way to read a book? It's called a book. There is a niche of people that an e-reader will be a boon to, but for the vast vast vast majority of people there is nothing that yet comes close to even matching the benefits of reading an actual paperback book.
An actual book might be easier to read, but you can only carry so many books at a time. With an ebook reader, you can carry as many books as you want at a time. That, to me, outweighs the inconvenience of having the medium be a bit more difficult to read than actual books.

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Why don't you try actually looking at a real e-reader before posting nonsense like this
Because I don't want to drop a few hundred dollars on a device just so I can try it, and playing with a device for a few minutes at Best Buy doesn't give me an idea of what it would be like to actually read a book on it for a few hours.

Last edited by Night Spring; Feb 14, 2009 at 09:28 AM.
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