Mobileread
Night mode reading preference vs normal mode
#1  ProDigit 10-27-2020, 07:34 PM
I've done a few tests on Night mode readability vs day mode, and when it's best to use them

I put it in a small chart:
image »


There are 3 environmental settings, and 3 illumination settings.

The environmental settings are:
1- Bright (outside)
2- Office (~300-500nits)
3- Night/dark (bedroom at night)

The illumination settings are:
1- Back light (either light mounted behind, or inside the display)
2- Front light (light either mounted on top of the display, or as an outside light shining on the screen)
3- Natural light (environmental light)

There are 4 possible results:
1- Night = night mode; dark screen white text
2- Normal = day mode; white screen black text
3- Both, could be seen as 'either'
4- X = not a viable way to read


In my tests I found that in outside (bright) light, it's MUCH better for the eyes to use Night mode in ALL 3 illumination settings.
The outside light (sun) is overpowering most back or front settings, and reading a white page in a bright sun is hurting the eyes.

In all Office light scenarios, it was a matter of preference, with a front light having a slight edge on normal mode (as night mode blocks out too much light from front lit screens, and may make the text harder to read in night mode).


In all dark room (night) environments,
The natural light was not an option, as one couldn't read an ereader with some illumination (and at night ambient light is close to zero).
The front light, same as the office setting, preference set to normal mode, as night mode bleeds out the light, and makes text harder to read.
The back light, was a matter of preference. While both were very close to one another in terms of readability, the night mode had a slight edge for me due to there being less light bleed, possibly bothering a partner sleeping next to you when reading in bed.

Those are my personal preferences.
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#2  Paperbackstash 10-27-2020, 08:16 PM
Hm, interesting. You've put a lot of thought into this.
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#3  Dazrin 10-28-2020, 04:06 AM
Can you explain your testing a little more.

Did you use 2 or 3 different devices to test the lighting? There is no single device that I know of that can function with all three lighting modes you describe. This would be more useful if you provide some details on the device(s) used for testing.

I assume:
Back - LCD or OLED screen with a backlight or integral light.
Front - e-ink with a front light (Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Clara HD or similar)
Natural - e-ink with front light disabled (or not present)

Can you confirm what devices you actually used?
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#4  Quoth 10-28-2020, 08:19 AM
Anyone needing black background and white text simply has a backlight (LCD) or front light (eink) or brightness (OLED) too high, or if eink with no built in light they have a terrible reading light unsuitable for paper books.

The LCD and OLED screens are very different.
LCD uses rear lighting that can be LED, or on old things 18 years ago, CCFL. LCD lighting can be using an array behind a diffuser (big quality TVS) or lighting at the edge of a rear light pipe. LCDs need two polarisers, one front and back and need coloured dye filters as they are monochrome. The quality of the white backlight depends on the LEDs. Only very expensive TVs use Red, Green and Blue LEDs. Older TVs, Laptops and early smartphones used CCFL tubes which can have better phosphors because the tube emits a mix of UVA and UVB. White LEDs do not exist. They are blue, violet or near UV LEDs with mostly a broad spectrum yellow phosphor. They vary hugely in colour temperature and colour rendition.

The various kinds of OLED displays are not real LEDs in the sense of backlights, indicators or ancient calculators. They are electroluminescent dots that are diode like. They usually have phosphors as they don't properly do red and green. They might have filters on the front glass too.

An amber screen filter may work better for LCD and OLED it's too blue at night. The software approach is poor.

So called Dark mode was invented because of people simply having too high a brightness setting on LCD and OLED. It's actually more tiring than white background with proper brightness and ambient light.
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#5  DiapDealer 10-28-2020, 09:05 AM
Dark environment: dimmer backlight.
Bright environment: brighter backlight.

My brightness slider is rarely higher than 30%. Ever.

I use a slightly off-white background 100% of the time. Never light text on a dark background for book-reading.

I have zero issues reading in either well-lit or totally unlit environments. I don't read outdoors. I can overthink this all of this, or I can just read. I choose the latter.
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#6  Sirtel 10-28-2020, 09:41 AM
I never use the night mode either, on LCD or eink. It's just not comfortable for my eyes. If the room is very dimly lit and the screen brightness won't go low enough (my new Dell laptop has such a drawback), there are many dimmer apps, both for Android and Windows. Add the warm light option which all my actively used devices have, and it's possible to get a comfortable screen background for reading or working without using the night mode.

YMMV, obviously.
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#7  4691mls 10-28-2020, 11:32 AM
One reason I've seen given for using night mode is to make the screen as dark as possible so as not to disturb a bed partner who is trying to sleep.

There are also some people who simply prefer the appearance of light text on a dark background.

I live alone and don't like the appearance of white text on a black background so I don't use night mode.
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#8  ProDigit 11-06-2020, 08:58 PM
Quote Dazrin
Can you explain your testing a little more.

Did you use 2 or 3 different devices to test the lighting? There is no single device that I know of that can function with all three lighting modes you describe. This would be more useful if you provide some details on the device(s) used for testing.

I assume:
Back - LCD or OLED screen with a backlight or integral light.
Front - e-ink with a front light (Kindle Paperwhite, Kobo Clara HD or similar)
Natural - e-ink with front light disabled (or not present)

Can you confirm what devices you actually used?
All devices are E-ink devices.
The backlight, like mentioned are your standard e-ink with built in led.
The front light, is more like a Sony PRS-700 with front light, or popup light (a bulb right above the screen, or a click on magnifying glass with led.
Natural light is no back/front light, and only using environment light, like a spot, room light, night light, or open curtain windows shining daylight into the room.
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#9  ProDigit 11-06-2020, 09:08 PM
Quote Quoth
Anyone needing black background and white text simply has a backlight (LCD) or front light (eink) or brightness (OLED) too high, or if eink with no built in light they have a terrible reading light unsuitable for paper books.

The LCD and OLED screens are very different.
LCD uses rear lighting that can be LED, or on old things 18 years ago, CCFL. LCD lighting can be using an array behind a diffuser (big quality TVS) or lighting at the edge of a rear light pipe. LCDs need two polarisers, one front and back and need coloured dye filters as they are monochrome. The quality of the white backlight depends on the LEDs. Only very expensive TVs use Red, Green and Blue LEDs. Older TVs, Laptops and early smartphones used CCFL tubes which can have better phosphors because the tube emits a mix of UVA and UVB. White LEDs do not exist. They are blue, violet or near UV LEDs with mostly a broad spectrum yellow phosphor. They vary hugely in colour temperature and colour rendition.

The various kinds of OLED displays are not real LEDs in the sense of backlights, indicators or ancient calculators. They are electroluminescent dots that are diode like. They usually have phosphors as they don't properly do red and green. They might have filters on the front glass too.

An amber screen filter may work better for LCD and OLED it's too blue at night. The software approach is poor.

So called Dark mode was invented because of people simply having too high a brightness setting on LCD and OLED. It's actually more tiring than white background with proper brightness and ambient light.
Not really true.
There are 2 scenarios where Night mode makes sense:
1- Using e-ink books in normal day mode (same like reading a book) in bright outside sunlight, is very damaging to the eyes.
There is too much light hitting your eyes, and may cause temporal blindness.
For that matter, when you have a high intensity light source, it's better to use night mode.

2- In a totally dark room, with the darkest backlight setting (or built in light like most Kindle Paperwhites and Oasis devices), the device emanates much more light bleed in normal mode than in night mode.
Only in these back light devices (or kindle-like front light how they like to call this here; though in a sense it's not a popup or PRS-700 kind of front light),does night mode make sense.
Meaning, the light emanating might lit up the room behind you in normal mode, will no longer do that in dark mode.
My tests also found the text is just as readable in night or day mode in a dark room.
Not so much with a PRS-700, where the front light bleeds out in night mode, and where letters are harder to read in night mode than day mode.
Though it's really a matter of personal preference. For as long as you can read the text on a front lit (popup led) display, you can choose either one.

Most of my tests were done with very small text (below 10pt) to aggravate or stress the reading more than with bigger fonts.
So my preferences probably won't bother others as much, who use larger fonts or displays.
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#10  ProDigit 11-06-2020, 09:10 PM
Personally I like white on black text. It reads just as good, if not better in some cases.
Though where you use the E-ink devices most, will be in office or dark rooms.
Both of which don't really favor night mode reading.
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