Friday, November 5, 2010

Kindle's grey screen, and keyboard

I've said this before, but I'll say it again: I would use my Kindle a lot more if the screen was not so dang grey.

It just strikes me: I read so much about the Kindle, but hardly anybody ever mentions this. But to me it's such an important flaw. To me it's like a fabulous million-dollar car that can't go above 20 miles per hour. 
I need such bright light to read on the Kindle, and even then it's not really a pleasure.
So I use my iPad a lot more. It also has the great additional advantages of easily being able to read all kinds of Net-delivered content, including web pages. But it's so heavy.
OK, I'm repeating myself. I'm sorry. But it's just: why does this not bother everybody?

Admission: when the Kindle 3 came out, I was very enthusiastic about it, because it had improved speed and yes, a little better screen contrast. But after a few weeks, well, I just sort of "fell off it" again. The improvement was simply not big enough.

I wonder if e-paper will improve drastically soon.
I can live without color for most reading. And I don't need snow-white for the background. That's actually too much. A light grey is perfect for reading, in my view. Good contrast, but not so much brightness that it is way over the surrounding environment.

Oh, while we are wishing: the Kindle's keyboard is not great. You have to really peck at it to use it. Sony Reader now has a touch screen which no longer hurts the contrast of the screen like on earlier SR models. The Kindle would be much more useful with this, and an on-screen keyboard for the odd time when you need to do a search or whatever. This could also make the screen larger without making the device larger.

9 comments:

Jeff R. said...

Howdy Eo.

I teach high school computing, and a few days ago I had my iPad (running the Kindle app), a Kindle 3 and a Kindle DX spread out over my desk.
A number of curious kiddies (16-17 y.o. techno-literates) gathered 'round to perve at them.
They all accepted instantly that the iPad was an electroninc screen, but more than half of them assumed that I had printed out the screen on the Kindles (on paper) and stuck them on.
They freaked out when I showed them [next page].

I confess to a certain measure of personal confusion when I got my first Kindle (3), and I did try to peel off the printed instructions on the screen...

Maybe the grey background is part of the successful illusion of "non-electronic".

I agree that it's not perfect, but the size of the 3 is enough to win my loyalty.

The DX, OTOH, makes a great portable reference library - not so much a recreational reader.

Oh, and BTW... Have you had any experience dealing with Amazon's warranty (returns) dept? I have, and they're brilliant. They were the single most important reason why I went ahead and bought the DX.

Cheers from Sydney
Jeff

eolake said...

Thanks, Jeff, I hope to see more comments from you in the future.

"more than half of them assumed that I had printed out the screen on the Kindles (on paper) and stuck them on.
They freaked out when I showed them [next page]."

LOL! Kewl.

"Maybe the grey background is part of the successful illusion of "non-electronic"."

I doubt it, it's just that it's clearly not backlit, and as such is not really a "screen" as we think of such. We have never seen anything like it before.


"but the size of the 3 is enough to win my loyalty."

The size and weight is wonderful. My idea of heaven is an iPad that size, and with a Retina display! (over 300 pixels per inch).


"Have you had any experience dealing with Amazon's warranty (returns) dept?"

A couple of times only, and I also think they have succeeded in their to have the best customer service.

Jane said...

Hi - late to the party I know - but I have just had the wonderful Amazon Kindle Customer Service here in UK send me a replacement Kindle as I assumed the grey screen was a fault ... and of course, the new one is exactly the same. The greyness really bothers me too - I feel if I need to go find a bright light, then it's not like picking up a book ... BUT I do love it's lightness and it's size. Sigh. Thanks for the post , it was good to find it's not just my ageing eyes!

eolake said...

Thanks, Jane.

(Your comment was much delayed by Blogger's spam filter. It's rare it stops a false positive.)

Jim said...

Guess what I'm reading Kindle on my iPad and all of a sudden IT has turned a gray color. It's awful! And my standard iPad screen settings are as bright as possible. The other screens showing accurately reflect my bright setting. Just the Kindle is gray. Crap!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Well, Jim, that's indeed an oddity. My own iPad Kindle app (I've just looked) still shows the same choice of three colors: white background, black, or sepia (beige) (which is my favorite).

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Try Amazon support though, they are very helpful.

Jim said...

Eolake thank you. I overlooked that feature. Thanks again. All okay now.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...


My pleasure.

I'm just curious; was it accidentally set to Sepia/beige, or was the screen lightness turned down in the app or...?