Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reading Comfort: Kindle 2 vs. Kindle 1

I just got a message from a Kindleville reader who had this to say about the difference between Kindle 1 and Kindle 2:

Side-by-side, the K1 text is bolder and jumps out at you. It's as if the low fidelity, dot-matrix-like typeface of the K1 is better suited for the reading experience than the feathered, crisp, 16-shades of gray of the K2. After 30 minutes of reading on the K2, my eyes get tired and I actually experience mild dizziness, headaches. Never experienced that with the K1.
Is anyone else out there finding the Kindle 2 provides a less pleasant reading experience than Kindle 1?

15 comments:

lsmcenter said...

From the screenshots, it's quite clear that K2 is not using it's blackest black for ordinary text.

Instead of thickening fonts for bold, they are darker.

This is something they should be able to fix in a firmware upgrade.

But it's disappointing they haven't acknowledged the issue.

Not the only misstep on the K2. Buttons have gone from too easy to too hard. The former you can get used to. The latter can give you aches and pains that don't go away.

Jason said...

I've been reading on my Kindle 2.0 for a few days, multiple hours. I have to agree I noticed a difference in the darkness of the font. It's surprising this isn't an option we can adjust to our liking, just like the font size. Hopefully something does become available via firmware update.

Anonymous said...

I'm definitely having more trouble reading with the K2. For one thing, the background is darker, so the contrast is worse. They've always said the K is readable wherever a print book is, and that has never been so, but with less contrast, the range of limited light conditions which are usable without artificial light are even more limited.

I love my K1 and K2, but I would not buy , another if the contrast and legibility issues aren't addressed. Any worse and reading won't be possible at all.

Anonymous said...

Exactly my experience as well. With the K1 I can read on the smallest font setting for hours at a time. I sometimes forget that I'm not reading a paper book.

The K2 text is blurry compared to the K1 because of the antialiasing and also the lighter shade of gray used as the default font. I find myself squinting to read the K2, even on a larger font. After about 10 minutes I have to stop reading because my eyes/head hurt.

I'm 28 - it's not my eyes. It's the Kindle2.

Anonymous said...

Just bought the K2, my first Kindle, and the readability has been the biggest disappointment by far. I find it very difficult to read and consider returning if it doesn't appear that the contrast issue will be acknowledged or corrected in firmware update (if possible).
I was expecting it to "look like a book"! Not even close in my opinion. The background is much darker than the page of any book I've ever read, and the text is much lighter. Bad combination.

Anonymous said...

Yes I am considering returning the K2 even though I think every other modification they have made is an improvement over the K1. I have a Kindle to read, it's just easier on the K1, though I will miss the Much better graphics and photos that appear in my subscription to the Globe.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

This is my first Kindle (2) and after a week I called Amazon Kindle tech. support to see if there was a way to turn up the contrast. No luck. All you can do is increase the font size.
Still love it though.
Michael.

Anonymous said...

This is my first Kindle and, I'm really not experiencing any problems with it. The background is gray, rather than white or off-white, that's true, but it's not interfering with reading at all. I'm 46, have worn glasses for nearsightedness for most of my life and have been needing reading glasses for the last couple of years. Time for bifocals :(. Anyway...if I can read it easily with less than perfect vision, either I got a "good" one or something else is up.

Anonymous said...

We all want to love the K2. But Amazon skimped on the #1 Design Goal: Readability.

The K2 text is lighter than the K1 text. Not by much (maybe 20%), and it likely has something to do with the faster page turns (do I hear 20%?).

At a bare minimum, I think we all expected the 2nd Generation of Kindles to equal, if not surpass, the readability of the original.

Ted-san said...

Joe, I've been studying and discussing this in detail in the Kindle message groups on Amazon.
Here's a link to the study:
http://sites.google.com/site/kindle2ui/Home/fontrendering
and
http://sites.google.com/site/kindle2ui/size1b

Anonymous said...

The K2 is my first Kindle. I'd suggest using a light. I wouldn't not have noticed the contrast "problem" if it hadn't been raised so loudly online. It kind of goes along with the "flashing" screen or ghosting complaints. Seems like a lot of quibbling. It would be nice if these minor issues were fixed but I can't understand why people would want to return their K2 just for those reasons, but if it really bothers them that much they should. Just personal preference and a lower level of tolerance I guess.

Anonymous said...

Without question, the K2 text is a shade lighter than the K1 text. But why?

Could it be that the lighter K2 text is a direct response to consumer complaints about the K1? (along w/ big buttons, loose cover, weird navigation). Maybe Amazon "over-responded" when designing K2. It's just strange that Amazon would go in this direction - making readability inferior in their "new and improved" product.

Ken said...

I am NOT HAPPY with my Kindle2 experience. It broke immediatley. It is very, very fragile. If you kick or bump or drop it, it will break and if it breaks they will be rigid and unyielding in customer service. You will have a lot of money in the Kindle2, you will have to buy a extended service warranty and you will only get to replace it once.

Anonymous said...

At the very least, we can all agree that there are some drastic variations of text/contrast in the 'Kindle Wild.' A different species is found everyday - fluctuations of light to dark, unpromted data transfers, sudden sharpness then dissipation after battery run...

-Life in the Amazon

C Hawk said...

Only used K2. 1st book was 12000+ of those units, about 600+ conventional pages. It reads very easily. Less contrast is better in bright light, like outdoors down here in FL.