Kindle 3: Under the microscope!

Yeah, this took a while, but I finally got around to sticking my new toy under the ‘scope. To be honest, the differences between the Kindle 2 and the new version are amazingly apparent the first time you turn the thing on. The contrast is supposedly 50% better, but my eyes say it is many times better. When I look at my Kindle 2 now, it does indeed look like “wet newspaper” as one of my dear commenters said in my last Kindle post. 😉

Anyway, here are the closeups. In each case, the low res shots are approximately 25-26x and the high res ones are around 400x. I concentrated taking the same shots on the same images / words at the same size on both models. Note that all the images are links to full size images.

First, an image, a close up from one of the screensavers.

Kindle 2:

Kindle 3:

Pretty easy to see that the K3 is darker and crisper. But to the naked eye, I feel the effect is even more stunning. The screensaver photos themselves are rendered beautifully. I’d still like some new ones, but even as bored as I am with the, the first few times I saw them, I had to stare a while.

Now let’s zoom in on that eye, to 400x.

Kindle 2:

Kindle 3:

What you are seeing here are some gradient bands of gray values. What I notice here is that the various shades are noticeably different in the K3, and kind of muddled in the K2. Also, what seems to be happening in the K2 is that the microcapsules of E Ink are either spaced a bit further apart or somehow have some kind of dark border. They are very distinct from each other, whereas the K3 capsules seem closer together with less of a noticeable border. Thus, in the K2, the “white” areas still have so much dark border around them that the areas appear more gray than white, whereas in the K3, the white areas are more uniformly light. This is evident in several of the following pictures as well.

Here’s a closeup of one of the branches in the birds screensaver.


Kindle 3:

It also seems like in the K3, there is a bigger mix of smaller and larger capsules, resulting in what could be called a higher resolution.

Now, onto the important stuff, TEXT!
Kindle 2:

Kindle 3:

Mmm…. rich and dark.

Let’s zoom in on the rightmost vertical stroke of the letter “m”.

Kindle 2:

Kindle 3:

Now we’re talking! Here you can really see just how dark the black is, as well as how much whiter the white is.

And now the curve of the letter “e”.

Kindle 2:

Kindle 3:

Again, you can see the darkness and the uniformity of the blacks and whites. What’s interesting here is that the fuzziness of the K2 actually seems to result in some crude antialiasing, smoothing out the stairstep of the curve. I’m not sure what’s going on here. It’s obvious that the microcapsules themselves would be capable of a higher resolution. They are not what’s causing the “jaggies”. I guess it’s the underlying grid of charge-producing elements that is giving you that pixelation. See the below image and link:

Anyway, that’s all I have for now. Notice that I did not mention any products beginning with an “i”. Hopefully this will help avoid World War 4 starting on this blog, but unfortunately will also mean fewer hits. Controversy sells. 🙂

Oh, and in case you want to pick up one of those nifty USB microscopes, they ROCK! And only $60ish.

Veho VMS004 DELUXE USB Powered Microscope

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16 Responses to Kindle 3: Under the microscope!

  1. I’m going to start calling you Mr. Microscope. 😉

  2. keith says:

    I’m going to start calling you backpackman. 😛

  3. BTW: When are you upgrading to an Electron microscope? Do they make a USB version? 😉

  4. eco_bach says:

    Would be great to see a comparison with the other popular e-ink readers out there

  5. After I saw your first pictures I quickly logged to the Amazon website to find out that they won’t ship (as always) the microscope to Brazil. Neither will other sites… Too bad, but the new comparison K2/K3 images is exactly the first thing I’d do with it so, once again, thank you!

  6. dm says:

    Great work! How about comparing iPhone4 and Kindle 3 displays?

  7. Merijn says:

    Your recent blogpost convinced me to buy a kindle 3. I’ve always been a big reader but I haven’t read this much in ages. It’s so nice having a big stack of books available in bed without the actual stack.

  8. felix says:

    Kindle SUX! iPad RULEZ!

  9. Rudolf says:

    And apparently iPad users can’t spell either.

  10. Dan says:

    Tempted to get one of these. Very nice.

  11. keith says:

    It should be pointed out that I know felix, and I assume he is joking. 🙂

  12. Farley Lai says:

    How about experimenting on the iPhone 4 Retina Display?

  13. AnonymousJane says:

    Great review! I currently have the K2 and am now convinced that the K3 would be well worth my time. Thank you!

  14. cgrantski says:

    We now have four Kindles in the house and the latest Kindle3’s background is noticeable darkers than our previous Kindle3, seen side by side and judged by several people. I wonder if I can get Amazon to take this seriously. I bought it for the lighter background, not just the blacker blacks.

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