Mobileread
Quality Control in E-Readers/E-Ink?
#1  FlyHero 07-07-2019, 01:39 PM
I don't know if this is accurate, but in my experience e-readers have a higher than normal incidence of QC issues relative to other things I buy. Wild variations in both screen clarity/quality and frontlight isues if so equipped. Why do you think this is?

I realize some people have no problem and their first purchase makes them happy every time, but reading around, and based in my own experience, it's quite a lottery. My purchase experiences have always taken a few tries to get a problem free device. Every time I have the chance to see more than one of a model in one place the variations are very noticable. "New" devices never seem much clearer or better but are sure a lot more expensive. I recently looked at a Nook GlowLight Plus, a new model which should have the latest and greatest, and it had a dark screen when unlit, and splotchy light staining that reminded me of early lit devices and their poor lighting.

Is this all rooted in E-Ink patents and stagnation along with maximising profits/minimizing production costs? For three digit costs these devices should be better in my view. My best device is 7 years old and only lacking in screen size. That's shocking to me. All I really want is that same clarity and reading experience with a large display and possibly touch...but they are all 200 plus dollars/euros (3-4x the cost) and with darker displays and other issues.
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#2  DiapDealer 07-07-2019, 01:57 PM
In all honesty, I think a lot of it has to do with people being a little too focused on the devices themselves. It's easy for some to get caught up in the "splotchy lighting" and ergonomic "failures" of the devices they seem to want to fall in love with. I've been able to avoid all that by staying focused on loving the content more than the delivery system. From my first unlit eink screen to my latest lcd tablet (and everything in between): they have all disappeared completely after a few pages of a good book on them. Just like the black borders disappeared after a while when watching letterbox formatted movies on old 4:3 screens.

And it probably has something to do with eyes. Mine have never been able to pick out the horrific splotchiness, the uneven lighting, and the odd colorations that people insist I should be able to see. *shrug*

I count my blessings at not being born a screen-ophile. Those who were have my sympathy.
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#3  FlyHero 07-07-2019, 02:12 PM
I guess for me the entire problem is I cannot focus on the content if the contrast is bad, the lighting affects that more, the software lags and pages turns are missed often etc. It's no different than if I picked up a paper book with tiny fuzzy fonts and ugly colored paper that was always sticking together with each turn....or watching a movie on a screen that was too dim or too bright, with poor audio that sounds like a train station speaker etc.It takes me out of the experience. I just want to read. Personally, and I know it's an opinion, the root of the reading experience is the clarity of the text on the medium (not ppi or specs but how it actually looks) and that has not improved really based on all new devices I have seen, and is often regressive.
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#4  gamba66 07-07-2019, 03:08 PM
Well considering my last post about the Sony DPT-RP1 and CP1 being extremely fragile and having inherent QC issues I believe there is some truth to your post.

I believe there are multiple reasons for this listed in order of importance.

Quote
1. E-Ink is a new and a relative (compared to the usual TN and IPS-Panels) expensive technology which forces manufacturers to save on other costs to provide a competitive pricing. Plus nobody really knows the yield rates for E-Ink Displays and what margin of defects are accepted (such as dead or stuck pixels, bad contrasts etc.). Since they are so expensive it would be logical that minor defects are accepted in production instead of driving the price even higher.

This is especially true for the larger E-Ink Devices with the 10.3" and 13.3" Panels which costs hundreds of dollars already by themselves (extremely expensive for a mass-manufactured products)

2. Most of the E-Ink Manufacturers are rather new companies such as Onyx or Boyue which do not have the money and resources like larger Companies as Sony which makes it even harder to massproduce at a low cost.

3. The demand for a lighter and more slim reader is higher than for a durable one similiar to the tablet market.

4. Android Implementation highly varies among the manufacturers which each one having their own pros and cons (some more than others). This goes back to point 1 again since a proper android implementation is expensive but on the other hand necessary because E-Ink needs a customized software in comparison to a Tablet. A good software to hardware integration is mandatory for a great eink product and imo nearly all manufacturers fail at this point especially when it comes to PDF Readers with note/annotating features etc.
Now my perspective is mostly focused on the large screen readers since that is what I am interested in but seeing how even a huge company like sony messed up the Sony DPT-R1/CP1 I believe its a very tough product which will improve over the years (hopefully the next 5 years). I am very happy and thankful for this technology though.

I am still using my Hanvon E920 (1600x1200 E-Ink Pearl Display with customized Win CE 6.0 OP) and even for how limited it still is I read a ton of non-fiction books on it without any problems
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#5  barryem 07-07-2019, 07:02 PM
I bought my first Kindle in 2009 when the Kindle 3 first went on sale. It was perfect. Since then I've bought every model Kindle except the DX and the Oasis. All but one has been perfect: a Paperwhite with a non-working 3G. Everything other than the 3G was perfect.

I've also bought multiples of most of these Kindles for myself. I currently have a 1st gen Paperwhite, 3 3rd gen Paperwhites, 3 4th gen Paperwhites and a Voyage. I did have a couple of 2nd gen Paperwhites that I've sold to neighbors. All have been perfect except that one with the 3G that didn't work.

I live in a retirement home and most of the time I'm the only one here with internet access so when someone sees my Kindle, borrows one to try out, and wants one, I buy it for them, set it up, etc. I help them open an account, they come here and use my Wifi to buy books. I help them learn to use it and when they have issues. I've probably bought 15 Kindles for my neighbors since I bought my first Kindle. All have been perfect.

It is true that if I put my various Kindles side by side their screens all look slightly different, even among the same model. That was also true when I was using Palm Pilots as well. I put them side by side and each perfect screen is different than all the other perfect screens. I suspect this is the nature of screen making. They're probably made in large batches and each batch is probably slightly different from every other batch. I'm just guessing at that. I do know they're all a bit different.

The blotchiest light I've seen on any ereader is on my 3 Kobo Auras. The original Auras. I bought 4 for me and sold one. I bought half a dozen for other people. All had blotchy screens. When I compare them to any lit Kindle they're kind of ugly. And yet when I'm reading a book I never notice it. I'm in the book looking out.

A similar thing happened in the early days of high fidelity sound. I don't know how old others reading this are but I listened to music for a lot of years before there was such a thing as a high fidelity speaker, much less stereo. Then Hi-Fi came along and it was wonderful. But not necessary. Just really, really nice. I was still able to enjoy music on my old fashioned record player and radio but I like the Hi-Fi more.

And then people began comparing the various speakers and amplifiers and tuners and suddenly whichever one they loved was wonderful and the rest were garbage. It had nothing to do with music. It was about vanity!

Barry
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#6  FlyHero 07-07-2019, 07:49 PM
Barry I was just thinking today about my first E-Reader experience...an OG Kindle I was loaned by a family member. The weird shaped one with the scroll wheel. I obviously had nothing to compare to but don't recall the experience as bad and I devoured books on it for months. I then decided to buy my own and was about to get a Kindle 3 (Keyboard) when the 4NT and Touch were announced. I got an NT and it was amazing. I went to get a second for a backup and it was ugly and green and muddy. Took two exchanges but got another beautiful one. I saw others on Kindle Boards complaining of the same massive variations. It was a real lottery. For a long time after I was content. Heard about these nifty frontlights and ordered a Paperwhite 2. It was washed out and worse than the Kindle NT. Exchanged it twice and got another washed out one and one with a display lighting defect with a big stripe up one side and still less clear than the 4. I gave up and went back to the Kindle 4. It just seems no matter what I try nothing can match the clarity of that old device than cost 70 bucks. if I could enlarge this device to a 7 or 8" reader , since I don't use the light anyway, I'd probably be happy as a clam. Touch would be a bonus as the buttons get tiring in hours long sessions but it's not a deal breaker and avoids fingerprints on the screen.
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#7  ZodWallop 07-08-2019, 12:30 PM
Quote hap124
Personally, and I know it's an opinion, the root of the reading experience is the clarity of the text on the medium (not ppi or specs but how it actually looks) and that has not improved really based on all new devices I have seen, and is often regressive.
Having moved from a Nook ST with Glowlight to an original Kobo Aura to a Nook Glowlight Plys, Nook Glowlight 3 and Kobo Clara HD, my experiences have not been the same as yours.

The Nook ST was perfect for me and I have no doubt I could still be reading on it to this day. It was perfect until I got the Aura. The Aura was just slightly better than the Nook and I wouldn't have wanted to go back.

I was happy with the Aura for years and years. Then I got the Glowlight Plus, 3 and Clara HD in quick succession. Suddenly the Aura looked gray and almost unreadable.

EInk readers don't advance with the rapidity phones and tablets had, but each incremental improvement is an improvement. I have not seen any of the regression you mention.
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#8  FlyHero 07-08-2019, 01:11 PM
Quote ZodWallop
Having moved from a Nook ST with Glowlight to an original Kobo Aura to a Nook Glowlight Plys, Nook Glowlight 3 and Kobo Clara HD, my experiences have not been the same as yours.

The Nook ST was perfect for me and I have no doubt I could still be reading on it to this day. It was perfect until I got the Aura. The Aura was just slightly better than the Nook and I wouldn't have wanted to go back.

I was happy with the Aura for years and years. Then I got the Glowlight Plus, 3 and Clara HD in quick succession. Suddenly the Aura looked gray and almost unreadable.

EInk readers don't advance with the rapidity phones and tablets had, but each incremental improvement is an improvement. I have not seen any of the regression you mention.
The displays, unlit, are objectively darker. You can place older Pearl devices next to Carta ones and see the obviously darker background consistently. I find that a regression regardless of other tricks added. People wouldn't read paper books with pages that dark.
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#9  rkomar 07-08-2019, 01:28 PM
Quote hap124
The displays, unlit, are objectively darker. You can place older Pearl devices next to Carta ones and see the obviously darker background consistently. I find that a regression regardless of other tricks added. People wouldn't read paper books with pages that dark.
I suspect the higher pixel resolution comes at the price of the background being a little darker. I think most people are glad to have the higher resolution even if it means they have to turn on the front light, and the manufacturers cater to that. I'm afraid you are in the minority about caring about the unlit background colour.
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#10  Deskisamess 07-08-2019, 02:14 PM
I've had a Kindle 2, DXG, basic Kindle, 1st Paperwhite, several 2nd gen Paperwhite, the 2018 Oasis, and the newest Paperwhite.

The only one that was less than perfect was the first gen Paperwhite. I saw other same generation Paperwhites that also were a little blotchy, and didn't have great contrast if the screen light was turned down too much.

But, reading was still a pleasure, and I happily used it until the 2nd gen Paperwhite was released.

It is my observation that some people focus too much on slight flaws in anything. The more they focus on the supposed flaws, the less enjoyment they derive from the object. They tend to be chronically disappointed, in almost everything. I've several such people in my life, and they suck the air out of any room they happen to be in.
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