Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal.

Aug 12 2010 Published by under General, iPhone, Kindle, Uncategorized

This really isn’t meant to be a contentious post. It really only came about because I got a new toy, something I’ve been wanting to get for a while – a USB microsope! Here’s the model I got:

Veho VMS004 DELUXE USB Powered Microscope

The family had great fun playing with it tonight – looking at everyone’s skin and hair and dirty fingernails and bug bites, and paper and money and cloth and salt and sugar, etc. I could barely pry my daughter away from it. The software allows you to capture images and videos and even notate them with actual measurements, etc. based on the level of magnification.

While playing a bit more with it, I held it up to my computer screen and my Nexus One screen and could clearly see the pixels. Neat. Then I wondered what the Kindle’s screen looks like close up. Quite different! I then compared the Kindle’s screen at roughly 26x and 400x with the iPad’s screen at approximately the same resolution. Wow! No wonder the Kindle is so much easier to read!

First at about 26x.



And now at about 400x for the Kindle and 375x for the iPad.



The Kindle’s screen looks almost organic at high magnification. I need to learn more about eInk now. I will hopefully be getting my Kindle 3 in a couple of weeks (should ship August 27). I’m interested to see how that shows up – supposedly the contrast is much better. And now I need to get my hands on a iPhone 4 with that retina display. I’d love to see what that looks like close up. Not buying one though. Maybe someone at FiTC San Francisco will have one they can lend me for a photo.

[Update 8/13/10]

As requested, here are some additional photos at 26x and 400x, of print media.

First, newsprint, then a magazine, then a paperback book at 26x.




And now the same three, in the same order, at 400x:




Again, I leave it to you to make your conclusions.

[Edit #2]
I changed the post title to remove the “vs.”, replacing it with “and”. This is not a battle, people. Just some interesting photos. Relax. It’s all going to be OK.

428 responses so far

  • Hamilton says:

    Your photos make the opposite point that you are making. The iPad is much sharper.

  • keith says:

    Hamilton, um… are you sure you are looking at the right pics? I’ll give you the fact that the iPad has more contrast, but by no stretch of the imagination is it sharper. And it’s not even about sharpness so much. Looking at the iPad’s screen for any length of time is just tiring, whereas the Kindle really is just like paper.

    • John says:

      Can you also make a test for color saturation, as well as graphical capabilities and processing power? No? Exactly. You’re comparing apples and oranges. The iPad was never touted as an e-reader, as it’s a device holding several orders of magnitude more computational power and usage scenarios, so the question remains: why are you comparing it with an e-reader?

      • keith says:

        John, please read the whole post before telling me what I’m comparing. Thanks. Have a great day!

      • mikes says:

        John, I’ll be less kind than Keith. You’re wrong, go piss off.

        Apple not only has touted the iPad as an e-reader, it’s repeatedly touted the iPad as a better reading experience than those simple single-use e-readers. The future of e-reading they’ve said of the iPad. I don’t need to take time to get the source. Because many of us in this thread know I’m right.

        Keith, this was an awesome project you did. thanks for sharing. You’ve opened up a great possibility for more casual and fun research. To the point where I might want to see what publishers are using what substrates and maybe finding my own preference of book based on production material to buy. And gadgets too of course.

        • JGowan says:

          You should’ve looked for a source because you’re wrong on this mikes. I looked around and the only thing on Apple’s website is a very straight-forward video aimed at discovering the joys of reading all over again. So then, I moved on to the iPad Introduction Keynote, give by Steve and Company at the end of January 2010.

          From the iPad Keynote earlier this year, Steve Jobs actually praised their competitor:

          “Amazon has done a great job of pioneering this functionality with their Kindle; and we’re going to stand on the shoulders and go a bit further.”

          I feel he displayed humility and an appreciation for where Amazon had started the first big push into eBooks and in then, his desire that Apple would take things to the next level. He never was pompous as you claim that it’ll be “the future of e-reading”. That’s just plain wrong.

          About the iPad as an eReader, Jobs explained Apple’s considering the Netbook market or something similar (in between the laptop market and the smartphone market). He spoke of 7 key tasks Jobs was focusing on at being great were: Internet Browsing, Emails, Photos, Video, Music, Games and eBooks.

          “If there’s going to be a 3rd category of device, it’s going to have be better at these kinds of tasks than a LAPTOP or a SMARTPHONE, otherwise it has no reason for being.”

          Again — Jobs shows that he’s not really even convinced of joining the Netbook game (not the eBook game). The seven points that Apple must really do better than a Smartphone or Laptop are very common to anyone computing these days. eBooks was last on the list.

          In conclusion, you make it sound like Apple came in trumpeting their greatness. I got exactly the opposite. They made a great device, they did their best, it’s for sale and they hope people will really like it. Steve’s attitude was more humble than you give him credit for, … by far.

      • r castro says:

        Because the Ipad is supposed to revolutionize the book industry, because we are told over and over that the Ipad is great for reading books.

        THATS WHY!!!

        Whether it has other functions is not the point, it is being touted as something to read books on…. yes or no?

        Then you can compare to other devices that you can read books from.

        Of course, your whole self worth revolves around the value you give your toys and having one of them not rank favorably just eats at you. It doesnt matter if you love it and think its the bestest thing ever…. if someone out there doesnt think so, then it will ruin your fun too.
        Hence, you have to make sure that no one attacks your precious.

        Get a life nerd.

      • alinka says:

        If it’s ‘apples’ and oranges, then tell Jobs to stop pitching the iPad as a revolutionary ebook reader that renders Kindle obsolete.

        iPad uses retrograde 1990s vintage LCD panel technology, one of the worst possible choices for reading. Kindle uses the very latest innovative technologies optimized for reading.

        The latest Kindles (wifi, 3g and dx) are the first releases in a product for the consumer of e-ink Pearl.

        It’s all marketing cruft from Apple. We heard what Jobs *really* thinks a few years ago, when he said that reading is dead, books are dead — at least among the customers Apple is targeting — and therefore Kindle is stupid. Now he’s pitching a bookstore and competing with Amazon to pick up a couple of extra points on his stock valuation. What a hypocrite.

        • sakodak says:

          “Retrograde” doesn’t mean what I think you think it means.

          • Absentia says:



            Adjective: Middle English from Latin retrogradus.
            Verb: Latin retrogredi or Late Latin retrogredere (retro- “back” + gradi “walk”).
            [edit] Adjective

            retrograde (comparative more retrograde, superlative most retrograde)

            1. Directed backwards, retreating; reverting especially inferior state, declining; inverse, reverse; movement opposite to normal or intended motion, often circular motion.
            2. Counterproductive to a desired outcome.

            I would agree with him using retrograde correctly. An older generation screen technology would be counter productive to the desired outcome of viewing things for extended time without eyestrain.

        • JGowan says:

          @alinka — When did Jobs PITCH the iPad as “a revolutionary ebook reader that renders Kindle obsolete? Honestly? Link please. He praised Amazon in Jan 2010’s iPad Intro. Get your facts straight, people!

        • lin2log says:

          “he said that reading is dead, books are dead”

          Oh puh-leeeeeze… try not making shit up as you go along, merely to support your already shaky, solipsistic rant. FAIL.

        • JGowan says:

          Actually, what he said was:

          “It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore… The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.”

          Perhaps he felt that way. Perhaps he changed his mind. He certainly has a right to. I feel he was addressing (mainly) the idea of a single-purpose Reading device. I think he’s right and that’s iPad is so good. It ain’t a one-trick pony … It’s a two-hundred thousand trick pony.

          • scoob101 says:

            Jack of all trades, master of none. Actually, its more like jack of trades pre-approved by Apple.

      • bonzi says:

        Err, John, please learn what “order of magnitude” means before using it. Otherwise, your comment is completely irrelevant – the guy was just curious how two different displays look up close.

      • The iPad was never touted as an e-reader? Really?

        How many publishers were present at iPad launch?

        Also do you remember how they promoted iBooks? What a crazy idea! Why would they do that?!

        • bonzi says:

          Do you remember Jobs’ words at iPad unveiling: “People do not read any more.” iPad is for people who don’t read more than an on-line article here and there.

          There was an article somewhere a day or two ago mentioning a prolific, successful, but not “star” author (J.A.Konrath) who sells both on Kindle and iBooks. The sales ratio is 60:1 for Amazon.

          • Jasper Janssen says:

            I own an iPhone 4, iPad, and Kindle 3, so I feel I’m qualified to comment here. iDevices are great at what they do, which is being platforms for everything under the sun. Kindle is great at what it does, which is being a dedicated ereader with an emergency webbrowser built in. Surf the web? iPad, please. Even the iPhone with its teeny screen. Read a book? Kindle. Read a color comic? iPad.

            Incidentally, iphone 4 and iPad screens are not particularly retrograde — they use IPS LCD, which is still the best full-colour screen out there for reading.

      • Parvesh Garg says:

        “iPad was never touted as an e-reader”?
        well, i also like apple but thats being blind ..

        “its a device holding several orders of magnitude… usage scenarios …”
        yes, im still figuring out what to do with mine 🙂 kindle, at least i read books and its not tiring

      • Paul says:


        John = Raging Apple Fanboy

      • Zeeshan Ali says:

        Really? If iPad was never touted as an e-reader, why Mr. Jobs made a comment during iPad’s keynote that “Amazon did a good job with eBook store, and now Apple is going to stand on their shoulders and steal the glory” (I dont have exact words but you can go and watch the keynote for that). And then a huge portion of the keynote was dedicated to iBooks, they FREAKING launched their own Book Store! And sided with the big 5 publishers againts the consumer in a price battle with Amazon. Really? All of this, without not considering e-reading as its strongest point!

    • matt says:

      well, it’s being sold as a head to head competitor with e-readers. That’s a start. Also, Apple’s by-design sluggish approach to ALLOWING SOFTWARE APPS for the iPhone kind of limits its potential as anything but an e-reader. Remember how Apple computers were really great in 1984, but since they didn’t have games or utilities developed for them until the 90’s they have never been a real computer? This is kind of just like that.

      Also, fuck Steve Jobs. No one American has ever so thoroughly and so consistently limited the potential positive impacts of ideas.

      • Brian says:

        @ matt,

        A bit angry, are we?

      • jay says:

        Yep, those 400,000 apps in the app store certainly limit it’s potential beyond being an e-reader. Yessiree…

        • Kobler says:

          Uh-huh, because as we both know already, all 400,000 of them suck and are therefore overpriced considering that you can do all of the same things on a laptop computer for free.

          And of that 400,000 apps, probably about 350,000 (87.5%) are merely games. See analogy below for more details:

          iOS games = Really shitty flash games.
          Flash games = Free on anything BUT an iOS device… and catered with a price tag to people who are too stupid to instead save their money up to go out and buy a REAL video game and have about 500 times as much fun with it.

          And as for everything else? Well, let’s just say that you shouldn’t have to pay for (let alone download from a 3rd party) the ability to use your phone as a flashlight when you’re fumbling around in the dark after a power outage.

          So of course, instead, another 500 of those apps are “crap apps”, and are given to you free when you get your iPad – just so that your RAM can be slowed down, because you never, ever use them.

          “But that’s all ok, because all devices that run iOS have a 120Hz refresh rate! And as long as the graphics look sharp and crisp and smooth, WHO CARES if they’re a dumb idea!? DERRRRR…”

          Please. iPad sucks and is completely useless, essentially being a giant iPhone without calling and texting capability. iPhone is at least somewhat more practical, but not nearly as useful as an Android. And that’s considering you even NEED a smartphone, which is instant gratification altogether.

          If you want to be satisfied with doing everything that the iPad can do, but to a better capacity times 500 without shoveling out twice the money (yeah, all those apps add up), just get a laptop already and shut your mouth. If you want to read without having your eyes pop out of your skull after a half an hour, get a Kindle or a Nook.

          I have a laptop, and it’s all I need for pretty much anything. My mom has an iPhone, and quite frankly, compared to my Android, it’s very limited in its capabilities once you get beyond fancy graphics and clever sounds. (She has it encased in a $50 indestructible armored shell because it’s made entirely out of glass, for Pete’s sake.)

          However, she also has a Nook, which is basically a Kindle from Barnes & Noble, and it’s really nice. It feels a lot more natrual to read than a regular backlit screen. It doesn’t cause any more eyestrain or photophobia than looking at pages of an actual book made out of paper. The proof is in the pudding on this one.

          I hope I’ve made my point. It’s clear just from reading this that iOS users can’t even think for themselves. If you want to fight for something, don’t fight for the iPhone, or iPad, or Steve Jobs. They all control you.

          Fight for your independence. Do the research; don’t just buy an iPhone because it’s what everyone else has got. Quit being predictable. Stand out against the crowd.

          • Jasper Janssen says:

            When it’s *this* obvious that you’re just saying all the things that you think will get a rise and only an insane moron would actually believe, it’s a fail as a troll.

      • JGowan says:

        Says who? Who is selling it as such? I suppose that would be Apple (since they own it.) I have never seen it advertised to go head-to-head with e-readers. I’ve been in the Apple store a million times and an associate has never said “you know, this iPad is one hell of an eBook reader!” Never.

        It’s sold as something in between a smartphone and full-fledge laptop; but better than Netbook. That’s the argument we should be having NETBOOKS vs IPAD and whether or not Steve Jobs likes THOSE. He said nice things about Amazon’s Kindle, but let’s forget all that!

      • Brad says:

        >Also, fuck Steve Jobs. No one American has ever so thoroughly and so consistently limited the potential positive impacts of ideas.

        Whenever people generally downplay Apple’s contributions to computers and technology like this, they are either:

        1. Ignoring the fact that the original mac, the ipod, the iphone, and the ipad dragged an entire industry into new eras of industrial design.

        2. Or are just plain ignorant of the fact.

        Here’s a more visual example to support my point:

        As you can see, phones looked like total and complete garbage. MP3 players, before the ipod, were similarly miserable. Likewise with computers before the original mac.

        It’s fine to hate on Apple for business practices, personal reasons, dropping your ipod, etc, but blind hatred that flies in the face of history and logic does you a disservice.

        • Jasper Janssen says:

          You’re forgetting the Apple II, which was the most widely used personal computer and the device that introduced spreadsheets to the world. From a third-party vendor, incidentally, which multiplied Apple’s sales many times over very quickly.

          Apple, or at least Steve Jobs, still remembers that lesson in what third-party developers can add to a platform.

    • Jordan says:

      I wonder how many people who complain that using the iPad screen is “tiring” have actually used an iPad for any length of time.

      Even before I bought an iPad I had a color LCD at work and at home for about the last 10 years or so. I use them between 8 and 12 hours a day and have never encountered “tiring” unless I had something else going on (like being sick).

      I bought the 3G iPad the day it came out and it’s now my preferred browser. I have back problems so I can lay in bed on my back and whatever I can’t do on the iPad, I can VNC to my PC and do there. It’s 4:02 AM and I have been using it tjis session since 2:45 AM.

      Another complaint from people who don’t know what they’re talking about: “It’s too heavy!” Nonsense. I have books, both hardcover and trade paperback that are heavier than the iPad. If you can’t handle something that is half the weight of a book then you fail at life. If you still can’t figure it out… here’s a tip. Put the bottom edge on your chest and hold the top with 1 or 2 fingers.

      Don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of an eReader… that’s why I have the Kindle, Nook and iBooks apps. But I also like content in color which leaves eInk out in the cold. I also hated the page refresh on eInk. I’ve tried the Kindle, Nook and Sony eReader… on each device it took so long to change pages I thought it must be broken.

      • Jordan, I have both an iPad and a Kindle DX. I read long form text (novels, articles, etc) on my Kindle. Comparing the two, the Kindle is very much clearly the winner in readability and lack of eye strain. This is clear to the point where I couldn’t image reading a novel on my iPad if my Kindle was available at all.

        Make of that what you wish.

      • scoob101 says:

        I tried to use one, but it was so damm heavy, I had to stop. You can`t seriously read on a device that weighs so much and has that kind of screen.
        Oh yea, and 10 hours battery life.

        Its a poor e-reader at best, but not surprising as its a multi purpose device.

  • Hamilton says:

    Looking at the iPad may be tiring for you but that by no means makes it a fact. The Kindle screen has terrible contrast – it’s like reading wet newsprint- and it’s so small that when I use the large font I need for my eyes I only get about 4 words per line. I’m very happy reading on my iPad and my Kindle has been relegated to outdoor reading, which is, admittedly, a weak point for the iPad.

    • Zeeshan Ali says:

      hahahahaha….you are funny! wet newsprint and 4 words per line – someone needs to get their eyesight checked

  • Johan says:

    Hamilton, surely, if you need to use large fonts, you should rather use the Kindle DX? I have both 6″ and DX and whilst reading romance novels is acceptable on the 6″, serious reading and PDFs gets done on the DX.

  • Nobody says:

    Interesting blog post. Not sure if I follow the logic of your analysis of the results. But the crystalline structure of the E-ink display is interesting. For a valid comparison I would also add to the microscope some variety of actually printed pages. Average book, new print, and high quality glossy mag and or art magazine.

    After all these technologies are comparing themselves to the gold standard of print.

    That said I do find the iPhone 4 screen amazing.

  • bartekd says:

    Awesome toy! 🙂

  • keith says:

    Sorry, this really was meant to be a non-contentious post. Looking at it the morning after, I realize I failed on two points: one in using the word “vs.” in the post title, implying a challenge between the two. Two, in drawing conclusions that one was “better” than the other. I still think they are really interesting pictures, but I’ll leave you to draw your own conclusions about them without any argument from me.

    • r castro says:

      >Sorry, this really was meant to be a non-contentious post.

      No need to apologize for other peoples mental problems and inability to read anything without feeling offended like youver just insulted their mother.

      It was very interesting and you didnt fail on any level.

      Some (many) people fail on so many levels when it comes to debating or even discussing that you shouldnt have to justify yourself.
      Lets be honest, there are many people in tech who take their toys too seriously, Mac fanatics are probably the worst of the lot.

      ANY comparison which doesnt result in a positive light being shined upon their precious is met with a fatwa. There is nothing you can do with this level of fanaticism short of never putting their toys in a bad light (then the tech terrorists win!).. or you can never mention those products ever again, which sounds like a win-win for everyone.

      • Leesa says:

        I don’t think it’s really fair to single Mac people out on this. Rabid fanboyism may have gotten it’s start there but it’s annoyingly rampant these days. Android superfans are so out of control lately it’s a little weird. I mean, have you had the misfortune to read Engadget comments on any Mac related article lately? The level of firebreathing fury gives me the heebies.

        On the subject of ereaders I have an ipad and find reading anything longer than a few pages pretty eye straining. I think Kindles (and eink in general) much easier on the eyes.

      • Tim says:

        🙂 I was busy agreeing with you until you decided to dump on the Mac folks specifically. I have been supporting computer systems since 1982 and it is a Universal phenomenon that folks “invest” in systems that take their fancy.

        Before Macs existed it was DEC or IBM or TRS or CBM. They become quite passionate about what is after all an inert tool. Is suspect this has been happening since we started using tools. “This is the best way to make fire” “No you fanboi! THIS is the best way to make fire!”

        For a while I participated… then I got old and became disenchanted with all forms of evangelism. I just use the tool I wish to use. If others ask why I am using it I will tell them but what counts is what works for you. If you like the results someone else is getting, then their tools may be part of the explanation.

        In the vernacular, many folks need to “chill”.

      • Jasper Janssen says:

        The Kindle folks have been just as rabid, even in this comment thread, as the Mac folk. I’ve seen the Android, FOSS, Linux, Microsoft, and several other crowds as well, even recently.

        This isn’t something that just limited to one group — if you see it as such that may be a sign you’re in one of the Vs. camps yourself 😛

  • Hare says:

    my iPads hurts my eyes? Fix it for me someone! What do I do? can I get a screen cover?

    For tech books, iBooks is the best for me. I love it, I can annotate book mark etc, in a nice easy way. Kindle app isn’t nearly the polished product on Mac or iPad. Also iPad allows you to flick through pages fairly fast.

    I know the last paragraph is a bit off topic, but it’s been drawn out of me by a good article 🙂

  • Andiih says:

    Can you add a similar picture from a book or newspaper for comparison as “Nobody” suggests? That would be great (and might also reduce the contention factor!)

  • keith says:

    who said anything about hurting anyone’s eyes?

    Personally speaking, I would rather read a novel or longer book on the Kindle as it is much easier (for me) to stare at for long periods of time. I’d agree though, that for taking notes, marking up, research kind of stuff, I’d imagine something more interactive like the iPad would be much better. The Kindle’s UI for that kind of stuff is too slow.

  • Dan Palmer says:

    The iPad screen is very good, and it is not that much lower resolution than the Kindle screen, but the Kindle is heavily optimised for text. It does text really well but it is black and white only and if you compared pictures you would find the iPad is much better.

  • Uli Kusterer says:

    I think you guys are confused about terminology: iPad is physically sharper, it has rectangular pixels with clear delineation even in close-up, but it looks like the e-Ink has the higher resolution, though it has less sharp, mis-shapen rounded pixels.

    Higher resolution in the end means more precise representation of the edges on each character while reading, while the iPad more roughly approximates each edge, adding averaged pixels (anti-aliasing) to give more precision at the cost of some perceived blurriness of the edges.

    So, depending on the point of reference (text edges, vs. pixel edges, distance vs. close-up), you could argue either being “sharper”. Also, different contrast and reflectiveness are known to have influence on eye strain, even if sometimes very subtle.

  • James says:

    only a few apple fanboys so far denying the obvious but I am sure more are to come 😀

  • keith says:

    Here’s some info about how E Ink works:

    So I guess the blobby things you can see in the Kindle close up are the “microcapsules”. It’s interesting that there’s no need for them to be arranged in any kind of grid, just smashed together like Styrofoam beads. The underlying charge just affects whichever capsule or part thereof that is lying on top of it. Cool stuff.

    • Ronald says:

      I might be mistaken though, but it seems to me that there are layers of the capsules in the super magnified image, which accounts for the slight blurring on the edges and the lightening of capsules in “inked” areas.

      I guess it means that there’s lots of room for improvement in the eInk mechanism simply by focusing on reducing the size, and regulating the placement of the microcapsules.

      Though would that simply make it approximate pixels and inherit the aliasing issues along with it?

  • Conor Wade says:

    I would like to see the same comparison done with the iphone display. Great post though.

    • Ronald says:

      Actually I’d like to see an OLED display comparison as well as supposedly it allows the rgb components to be composited on top of each other rather than side by side.

      I think the nexus had oled, but not sure about any currently available phones.

      • Ben says:

        The Nexus One is still LCD. The Galaxy S from Samsung and the Zune have OLED screens though

        • Dan says:

          Nah, the Nexus One is OLED, *but* due to high demand for OLED displays HTC are switching to a similar tech called SLCD for future runs of the N1 and Desire. Apparently its properties are very similar to OLED, it’ll be interesting to see comparison shots of old v new type screens when theyre released.

      • Walt French says:

        Some rather intensive analysis has been done at DisplayMate, whose CEO was quoted around the time of the Retina Display hoo-hah.

        You can find a “shoot out” of the Nexus One OLED (!) display versus the Droid’s LCD display. A quick scan did NOT find his comments on the iPhone, which I think were wildly exaggerated in the press.

        He blasted the Nexus display for being over-contrasty; having visual artifacts such as moiré and banding; lousy resolution and lousy legibility in bright light. Other than that, it often used MORE power than the LCD style displays as in black text on white ground (e.g., this site!).

        The lower resolution results in part from Samsung’s only putting 2 colors per pixel. Edges between say, red and blue areas would be very indistinct. This seems to have been an engineering compromise (yes, redundant: all engineering is about “tradeoffs”) because it’s harder to shrink pixel size on at least their Super AMOLED.

        I personally believe that HTC used a “shortage” as cover for breaking the contract with Samsung. It’s a customer service time bomb. The screen works fine for photos and punchy icons but would be really tedious for reading.

        If keith adopts your suggestion, I’d propose that he change the magnification factors to make the subtended angle approximately equal. Most users trying to read a phone screen will hold it 9″-12″, way closer than the kindle or iPad were designed for.

        • jon says:

          The Samsung Moment has an OLED. It’s a nice display (though the phone in general certainly has its faults). In particular, I really enjoy Aldiko (an e-reader) with white text on black background – very easy reading in most light conditions.

    • Albin says:

      Actually, I was disappointed that the Kindle shown is not the latest – that information should be moved higher up in the article. Otherwise a very interesting “low tech” intuitive piece on display technology that could usefully be expanded to more of the screens out there.

      • Cathy says:

        He couldn’t show the latest kindle because it doesn’t ship until Aug 27. The author said he would try out the microscope on it when he gets it.

  • Ahruman says:

    Uli, sharpness of individual display elements is not a desirable attribute. The optimal display elements shape, or rather light distribution, is a blurry dot – for maximum generality, the theoretical optimum is a sinc distribution, similar to what you get on a CRT, although generality isn’t necessarily the best thing for text. Sharply delineated display elements are a form of aliasing.

    (I say “display element” rather than “pixel”, because pixels are strictly point samples. They don’t have a shape.)

    • Walt French says:

      @Ahrumen said, “The optimal display elements shape, or rather light distribution, is a blurry dot…”

      This is a new one to me. My eyeballs certainly generate a fair amount of fuzziness around a perfectly crisp dot on-screen, and I don’t understand how sinc —a function that has positive and negative values — means anything w.r.t. brightness.

      I get that sinc, as an input to a resonant system, could give the rectangular function back. But now that nobody uses CRTs, I’m not sure how that matters.

      Could you supply some references here?

  • keith says:

    Ahruman, you obviously have some background on this stuff. More than me. I’d also add though, that super-contrast isn’t necessarily the best thing for reading either. Dark black on bright white can be too much, at least for me. I’d say the K2 is a bit below optimal in terms of contrast, but the iPad has too much, though I imagine you can adjust the background and text colors. Looking forward to the K3, which supposedly has greatly improved contrast.

    • BuzzMega says:

      From your comments here and earlier, I’m drawn to the idea that you may have experienced the iPad at a too-bright setting.

      The light surrounding the read surface is very important to reading comfort, something the Kindle requires, naturally. But the iPad is very often pumping out the photons way fiercer than comfort would dictate. I’m talking the whole surrounding background. Lap, peripheral vision areas, etc., not just the immediate border next to the “page.”

      Here’s a quick test you can perform under any given illumination: lay a white business card on the iPad screen and compare it to the white “page” glowing underneath. The iBooks reader does an especially good job of letting you control the white level, but not all eBook readers do. The minimum Brightness setting of the iPad is too bright for comfortable reading in darkness.

      • russ99 says:

        Every time I read on the iPad, I need to turn the brightness way down for this reason.

        However when you have the Kindle app on the sepia setting (which is best if you want to avoid eye strain) the brightness goes down much lower than you mention, and it’s very comfortable reading in the dark.

  • Eric Dolecki says:

    I enjoy reading on my iPad because when I’m done reading, I can zip over and read emails, keep up to date on a baseball game going on, etc. It’s a better device for me. If all you want to do is read, I’d bet that the Kindle is better in some respects.

    I’d guess that the next iPad will have the Retina Display and the display technologies will get a lot closer (save color). Then I’ll get the new iPad.

  • ja27 says:

    Quick, make an Amazon affiliate link for the microscope before the traffic blows up. Here’s one with your affiliate ID:

    • Mike says:

      Seriously — the first thing I wondered was how much does this cost at amazon, then saw you don’t have an affiliate link!

      Nice one, ja27.

  • Jon H says:

    It might be interesting to get a microscope view of the kindle displaying a gradient from white to black, since it supports 16 shades of gray.

    I expect you could create a 16×16 pixel GIF file with a 16×16 grid of gray tones, and load that onto the kindle.

  • Brandon says:

    Another small item that would make this better is to annotate each image with where it came from. For instance, on the image write “IPAD” or “KINDLE” or something so the casual browser can immediately make the comparison without parsing through your comments. Cheers!

  • […] Link: Kindle vs. iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 […]

  • keith says:

    Eric: kind of off topic, but yeah, I’m glad you like your iPad.
    Joh: Yes, that would be interesting. I may try it tonight.

  • Mark says:

    Obviously the iPad wins since it shows color (plus it looks more clear to my eye) but to be fair, you really should put the fonts at the same size, by which I mean the same width in real-world inches, not in device-dependent pixel sizes.

    Let’s see a fair picture with another object in it (like a corner of a postage stamp, for example) using the exact same object in both pictures with the exact same magnification and web rendering size, and then you’ll have a comparison worth looking at.

    Since I apparently have to spell it out for you, you should also use the same part of the postage stamp in both pictures.

    • keith says:

      1. Nobody “wins”. It’s some interesting pictures is all. I apologized for even stating my personal preference.
      2. All the pics are just about the same magnification. Roughly 26x and 400x. So you can pretty much directly compare what you see in each picture. This isn’t some kind of scientific Consumer Reports analysis, just some neat pictures I took with my new toy. If you find them interesting, great. If not, oh well.
      3. Your last line is pretty rude. I considered deleting your comment, but try real hard not to censor anything unless someone is out and out being a jerk. You were on the edge.

      • Mark says:

        You compared two examples one of which was clearly 2/3 the size of the other (the images of the words “about” and “sign”). Chop off one letter from the word “about” to make four letters, and compare the width to the width of the four letter word “sign” and you see what I mean.

        Obviously the comparison is not even close to reasonable.

        Yes, I am a jerk, especially when people pull stuff like this. That’s just me. Kudos though, for posting what you saw as an offensive comment.

        • torrentblock says:

          Dear Mark:
          Trying to “win” an argument on the internet is like trying to knock clouds out the sky by throwing your shoes at them.
          Your immaturity is betrayed by the tone of your posts. No one will take you seriously, even if you’re right and you clearly are not.
          You are a buffoon. I mean, seriously… you’re resorting to the age old “use the corner of a stamp to test the resolution of and quality of a screen” trick.
          That didn’t work for the Sega Saturn and it sure as hell won’t work now.
          I love you dude, but you’re testing my patience.

        • Dan Willemin says:

          @mark You’re a fag, dude.

    • Ben says:

      Mark, to “spell it out for you”, the Kindle’s e-ink screen has a 30% higher DPI than the iPad’s screen. And when it comes to displaying text, the higher the DPI, the less strain on your eye when focusing and interpreting the figures.

      This doesn’t even address the differences in display technology. Magnifying the displays simply shows the difference in DPI and anti-aliasing on the displays. Even at a non-magnified level, the iPad’s lower density is plainly apparent to the eye, so long as you have good eye sight.

      While I enjoy playing with my iPad, every cellphone I’ve owned in the last decade has a better DPI and screen than the iPad. The only advantage it has over other mobile devices is the screen size. Once the iPad has a high DPI similar to other mobile devices, and a reflective LCD screen, then it will be a bigger player in long-term e-reading. Until then, every e-ink screen out there has a 30% higher DPI than the iPad’s screen, and a significantly more appealing presentation while doing personal reading.

      • Mark says:

        DPI comparisons are meaningless if the two different devices have different bit depths. Not that I understand why you are comparing cell phones and iPads, but which cell phone did you have in 2000 that had a color screen with better than 132 PPI?

    • Nathan says:

      Since when are fonts ever, ever measured in “real-world inches”?

      • Alex Tingle says:

        @Nathan – Fonts have always been measured in “real world” units. Font sizes are usually measured in “points” — a point is 1/72 inch.

      • Kris says:

        Since when does the “world” use inches?

        I kid, I kid.

        But, seriously this is cool. I have personally taken an interest in the tech of E-Ink quite a while ago.. but had not seen magnified closeups of the tech yet. Thank you. The way they are represented in such an unorganized matrix is a little surprising. I would have expected them to be much more constrained to a pattern then to look like they were simple dumped in and sandwiched between glass. Thanks for these.

        What I would like to study is the effect that brand loyalty and anonymity has on the way people treat each other in simple communication exercises. I understand that it is a simply formula of rationalization/justification vs cost… but by that logic you would think that on car sites there would be the same level of.. errr, nevermind. It still surprises me how one opinion can be considered so wrong versus another. I have started to emphasis that statements are my opinion in a lot of my comments now. To try to dissuade others from evoking the spirits in reply. With science one would think logic would follow. But, it seems to be the exactly opposite.

        These statements are solely my little warped opinion. 🙂

      • torrentblock says:

        lol. i’m more concerned by the whole “corner of a stamp” standard.

  • Hubert says:

    Would be interesting to see an iPhone 4 display under the microscope for comparison.

  • Stacey says:

    Wow , @Mark – um the end of your comment was a bit unnecessary. In case I have to spell that out for you, its “dickish”

    • Ben says:

      Actually, I believe it is quite an appropriate tone in response to Mark’s only comment in the discussion. Considering Mark’s tone is that of a condescending know-it-all twelve year-old, when he’s comments make his ignorance about display technology and this topic clear that he doesn’t understand it well enough to carry such a tone.

      While his tone might be the result of his frustration in trying to interpret the data presented, it doesn’t justify the response when he’s demanding someone else do work that was otherwise presented as a favor to the general populous due to a curiosity.

      • Steve says:

        Hi Ben,

        I believe Stacey was talking about Mark, not your response to Mark. Thanks for posting these images- not only am I interested in a Kindle 3, but I want to buy one of the microscopes for my kids too!

  • Tom says:

    Please could you label the pics to indicate more clearly which are of the kindle and which are iPad?

  • Tom G says:

    I have 2 kindles (standard and DX) and an iPad and use them all regularly.

    The kindle is better outdoors.

    The iPad is better at night.

    Both are easy on my eyes and perfectly fine for reading books – in many respects better than printed books, and in only a few ways not always preferable.

    Nobody reads books with a microscope; while the pictures are interesting from a technical standpoint they are in my view not indicative about which one is better – they are apples and oranges.

  • Sunidesus says:

    Those are really interesting pictures! Thanks for adding the book/magazine/newsprint. I find it really fascinating how closely the 400x eInk shot matches with the 400x “dead tree” shots.

  • Leask says:

    One thing I’m surprised by is how similar to newsprint, magazine, & books the Kindle display is at high magnification. My subjective experience with the Kindle has very much been that it’s “easier” to look at for extended periods of time, and this might give a clue why.

  • Helga says:

    The problem with the Kindle is that every time you turn a page, the whole screen goes black. For those of us who read quickly, it becomes an experience that seems like it’s going to trigger an epileptic incident. It’s like reading under a strobe light, and I really can’t read more than 10 pages without wanting to hurl the Kindle across the room. Fortunately, my kid doesn’t care, so she has a new and rather pricey toy/tool. If I’d know that the e-ink screen went black between pages, I’d never have bought it – it SUCKS!

    • Ben says:

      I agree the speed and refresh on e-ink are annoying, which is why it’s meant solely for reading and not general mobile use. But that speed, and the fact that its only reflecting light, will completely eliminate the chances of inducing a epileptic incident.

      The speed is also the reason that I think mobile devices like the iPad have a better chance in schools than e-ink technology. E-ink is great for linear reading, but due to the speed, it horrible for the random access needed for school work.

  • ithinkchaos says:

    Just wanted to say: Thanks Keith for such an interesting post. I think most people missed the point of this, but I state the obvious.

    I had no idea about eInk or how well the Kindle looks until now…so thanks for that!

    also, unrelated: @Stacey – awesome website (and decent burn, but totally right – it was uncalled for…)

  • Lucas says:

    Let’s just stop with the comments by people saying, ‘The iPad hurts my eyes!’ No it doesn’t. Looking at a screen with pixels does not someone make your eyes tired or make them hurt after long periods of time. That’s just total BS. I have used my iPad for eight hours straight on airplane rides and my eyes never ‘hurt’ any more than they do after I’ve been staring at a book for eight hours. People are constantly saying the iPad ‘hurts’ their eyes and the Kindle somehow magically doesn’t. What is the basis for these comments? They’re complete anecdotal BS, and so if we’re doing anecdotes, then I’m goign to point out that the iPad has never made my eyes hurt.

    • keith says:

      Lucas, I’d imagine “the basis” for someone saying the iPad hurts their eyes is the pain in their eyes… ? Just a guess though. 🙂 Yes, it’s all subjective. Many people do report that reading for a long time on an LCD type screen is uncomfortable. That doesn’t mean it’s uncomfortable for everyone. I, for one, am not trying to force a Kindle down your throat. I love mine, but that’s just me. Chill out.

    • Gib Wallis says:

      Also, pain in eyes from backlit displays is also an age and frequency thing for some people.

      If I have one mostly uninterrupted sessions of several hours per week, it’s not a big deal. Do it every day, and it’s worse.

      Folks in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond have a harder time staring at computer screens for extended stretches. Probably because they’ve been doing it for decades at work and so when they get home, reading for several hours compounds the problem.

    • Cathy says:

      Lucas, how can you possibly say that the iPad DOESN’T hurt someone else’s eyes? You don’t know what bothers other people’s eyes, and it’s rude of you to think it does. Your post would make sense if you were upset about people who never read on an iPad claiming that they preferred the kindle because they think that reading on an iPad would hurt their eyes. If someone hasn’t every tried it, then perhaps they have no basis on which to say that reading for long periods of time on an iPad hurts people’s eyes.

    • Cynar says:

      The big difference is active vs passive.

      The kindle changes the physical colour of the pixel. It is then illuminated by the ambient light. The ipad’s pixels are active. A light is shone through them to make thme visable. This can lead to a mismatch in lighting levels between the screen and the background.

      Some people are not bothered by this. Others have problems with it (Imagine staring directly at a torch and you’ll get a feel for what the ‘pain’ people are reporting is). The difference is, everyone can read of e-ink, not everyone can read off an LCD.

      FYI, I’m in the first group. I can read off a laptop screen for hours with no issues.

    • Tagbert says:


      To say that an LCD “hurts” your eyes is, generally, an exaggeration but it does reflect a difference in the comfort levels between back-lit and e-ink screens.

      My experience has been that an e-ink screen is more relaxing on my eyes. Reading on a back-lit screen causes a subtle tension in my eyes that I don’t notice until I read on e-ink or paper when that tension goes away.

      Yes, I use an LCD for several hours during the day, though it is not a continuous reading experience. I look at the screen, at papers, at the phone, out the window and I leave my office for meetings and discussions. Even so, my eyes can be tired by the end of the day.

      When I get home, I often sit and read a book to relax. I could read books on my iPad but find the Kindle more relaxing for that focused concentration, in large part, due to the screen.

      • keith says:

        I do want to say that a number of people have said that LCDs “hurt your eyes” or “make your eyes tired” or alternately that “they DON’T hurt your eyes” or make them tired.

        Either statement is off base. Nobody can tell me whether or not my eyes get tired or hurt when reading with an LCD. You can say whether or not it hurts or makes your own eyes tired, sure. But you can’t really speak for someone else’s experience, as others have tried to do here. In fact, I probably did that a bit in the beginning.

        I program, so I’m staring at a screen all day. But as I think I said before, the kind of screen staring you do when working all day is different than sitting down and reading long stretches of text. Last night I was reading my Kindle, but went into my daughter’s room to sit with her while she fell asleep. Rather than use my Kindle with a light, I decided to try the same book on my iPad. I’ll be honest, there was a low level discomfort, close to what I’d call a pain in the back of my eyes. Granted, I was especially tired, and the bright light of the display in the dark room was just too jarring. I switched the display to white letters on black and that was a little better, but still not comfortable. When she was asleep I went back downstairs and read more on my Kindle. There was no discomfort at all.

        In general, I wouldn’t say that reading on an iPad or other similar screen *hurts* my eyes, but I do find it harder to focus. It’s a bit more of a strain and I wouldn’t want to do it for long stretches of time.

  • David says:

    Great pic’s. Love the comments 🙂 So much fuss over the use of “vs.” I highly doubt it was flame-bating. It’s just a neat comparison, unlike anything I’ve seen elsewhere. Thanks for sharing.

  • […] This set of comparison pics showing the Kindle and iPad displays at high magnification is really more the result of curiosity than an attempt at making a point. It really is interesting to see the differences between the Kindle’s e-ink display, the traditional (but high-quality) LCD of the iPad, and a printed page. If you’re wondering what the hell is going on at 400x in the e-ink, that would be (I think) the microcapsules all squished together. […]

  • Stanley says:

    Not as fun as taking the pics yourself, but here are some microscope pics of various Apple displays including the iPhone 4.

  • Jacob says:

    That microscope is pretty cool. The pictures are interesting, thanks for posting. Does it work pretty well overall? The reviews seem to indicate it works best just at the two settings and not inbetween, what’s your experience like? I’ve got an urge to get one now. 🙂

    • keith says:

      Jacob, the microscope is pretty awesome, especially for just $6o. Yeah, it says 20x – 400x, but it’s really more like “high” and “low”. You point it at something and turn the barrel until it’s focused. At low range, that will wind up being in the range of 20-60x and at high range 360-400x. But the pictures are clear, as you can see. I did all these holding it by hand too. The tip is clear plastic with a bunch of bright LEDs. So you can press the whole thing right on the surface of whatever you’re looking at. It also comes with a little stand so you can set it up and leave it and then move your subject around under it. The there’s also a dial for adjusting the brightness of the lights. All in all, a fantastic bang for the buck. Great fun for kids too, if you’re not into starting Internet flame wars! 😉

  • bunnyhero says:

    i definitely want one of those microscopes now!

  • skumdog says:

    I want to see the Nexus One screenshot! I own one and as close as I can get is when as rain drop lands on the screen. 🙁

    • keith says:

      I’ll do a Nexus One vs. iPhone, then Mac vs. PC. Might as well piss off everyone! 🙂

      The funny thing is that I actually own a Kindle, an iPad, a Nexus One, an iPhone, a Mac Book Pro, and a Sony Vaio.

    • Gib Wallis says:

      I think the solution for making more commenter happy is for you to increase your collection of gadgets!

      I’d be really curious to see a comparison of Nexus One (AMOLED), iPhone 4 (Retina/LCD) and the Samsung Galaxy (super-AMOLED). So you’d only have two new gadgets to beg, borrow or steal for those pics! 🙂

      I’ve been reading bits and pieces on the Kindle app for Android lately and although turning pages is great fun, the dictionary, the notes, and the display size and e-ink make me prefer the Kindle 2.

  • James Andrix says:

    I think these photos are a bit unfair to the Iphone, probably because the brightness and was adjusted (likely automatically) so that you could see the structure of the display: colored regions with black borders. We know that the Iphone display is brighter than the kindle (except maybe in sunlight).

    If I put an iphone next to an LCD monitor, they would appear to be of comparable brightness, but if you had a closeup of the IPhone display that showed black lines and colored emitters, that image would clearly be darker.

    But I don’t think there’s a way to really show a close-up of the Iphone that doesn’t have this problem. There’s no way to make an image of an emitter be so bright that it compensates for the black border around it, as the actual emittter does when looking at it from afar. (unless you have an emmiting display with a MUCH wider range)

  • keith says:

    Well one thing I’ve learned today is that I shouldn’t EVER do ANYTHING that even remotely implies that ANY product is better than – or even compares favorably to – an iPad.

    • Hamilton says:

      I don’t know where you get the idea that you shouldn’t express your opinion. Do you see vitriol in every opinion that’s not like yours? If I disagree with you does that make me seem angry? Honestly, you sound like a child.

      • keith says:

        No, I don’t think people seem angry because they disagree with me. I think they seem angry because of their snide remarks and personal criticisms.

        • Tim says:

          Although, in Hamilton’s defense, the responses to him have been full of snide remarks and personal criticisms as well. For example, Poppycock’s response to Hamilton’s first post.

          When John posted his perhaps ill-informed post, he had no snide remarks or personal criticisms. He made a point that the iPad can do more. Yes, he was a little hostile by directly opposing your post, but there was no snide remarks or personal criticisms in that post. Yet in the response, there were a stream of angry criticisms like “get a life, nerd”, “what a hypocrite”, “raging Apple fanboy” and several snide, sarcastic remarks. Below are more examples, from Charlie.

          Re-read Hamilton’s and John’s posts. I see no personal criticisms or snide remarks, only stated disagreement. Yes, he may have been antagonistic by saying you were making an opposite point, but I daresay the response to his comment were far more vitriolic and hateful than his. (Unless, of course, the more vitriolic comments were deleted. In which case, correct me, although Tim Ma’s recent comments seem to indicate that none were…)

          After reading through this thread, it’s clear that the Kindle defenders are far more disparaging and, well, angry than the supposed Apple fanboys.

          Charlie is right. Hamilton’s remarks are all negative and highly defensive in regards to Keith’s opinion, because he disagrees with Keith’s implicit assessment. Crossing out your opinion doesn’t make it unreadable, Keith. And Hamilton posted first before you neutralized your post. It’s fairly obvious what your opinion is here, and I don’t think it’s wrong for Hamilton to disagree. Why should his disagreement be seen as angry? I think the angry sentiment in this thread is largely due to the responses TO Hamilton/John, as evidenced above.

          And then you come in and say that you shouldn’t”EVER do ANYTHING that even remotely implies that ANY product is better than…an iPad.” I think this is the crux of the issue here. It seems that any defense of Apple is seemingly seen as one of anger and hot-headed irrationality. I see this everywhere on the internet, in real life, and, now, here in condensed form.

          When someone comes to the defense of an Apple product, others who care about technology seem to automatically think he’s unworthy of any intelligence, and immediately disparage him as such. Yes, he may or may not have been factually incorrect. But why call him a nerd, a hypocrite, or a raging fanboy? The vitriol originates from the Kindle “side.” People like r castro could have easily debunked his supposedly incorrect point without resorting to personal criticisms, yet they seem to add them in for no apparent reason.

          So, keith and co., please re-read the comments and note where the anger and the vitriol really originates. Just because someone makes a defense of an Apple product does not mean they’re a raging fanboy, or even irrational. They’re making an honest point.

          Beyond that, Hamilton and John’s original posts were good points. 1. It’s debatable what “sharpness” really means, as expanded later by people who seem to know what they’re talking about. No need for Hamilton to get his head checked. 2. John makes a good point that the iPad can do more. Just because you haven’t found a place in your life for the iPad doesn’t mean you can dismiss John’s assertion. 3. No, r castro, defending Apple doesn’t mean they’re internet terrorists. It just means that they disagree with keith’s initial implication and an honest defense of such. No need to resort to labeling them as mentally insufficient. That sounds like 3rd grade, when we used to call people “retards” for fun.

          I love the post, Keith, but your responses and the responses by others to the Apple “fanboy” posts are what really made your comment thread angry and contentious. There was some good, vitriol-free debate later about the very points Hamilton and John made; why should the initial responses be so heavily insulting? Just compare r castro’s posts to Hamilton’s. You tell me which one’s angrier.

          • keith says:

            There were several comments in the first few days that were well beyond “I disagree with you”. Whatever. I don’t believe my responses after that have been anything but attempts to chill the scene out. I crossed out the line I did because it was stated as a fact, and I wanted to emphasize that my preference for the Kindle for reading was my personal preference, not a universal truth. I crossed it out to show that the post had been edited, rather than just magically remove it to protect myself.

            Since then, the post has hit crunchgear, reddit, hackernews, gizmodo and wired. I’ve hardly been able to keep up with the comments since I’ve been travelling. But yeah, I agree, the vitriol is going the other way now, with a lot more volume. I don’t condone this, but I’m not censoring it either. Everything anyone has posted here has been published. As others have said, it’s an interesting sociological study if nothing else.

      • Charlie says:

        There seemed to be plenty of vitriol in that response, and in every other response you have posted. Every time he expresses his opinion you jump down his throat, so yeah, it sure seams that way.

        Are you a troll? Seriously, are you a troll? The only comments I have seen from you so far are negative and highly defensive in regards to Keith’s opinion.

      • Tim Ma says:

        Honestly Hamilton, thinly veiled vitriol is still vitriol. Your post spoke volumes about your anger.

    • Alex Tingle says:

      If you’d just spent an awful lot of money on a very overpriced new toy, you’d be pretty sensitive to criticism too.

    • Gib Wallis says:

      Goodness, this has been proven here if nowhere else like everywhere else on the net!

  • Stuy Parker says:

    I posted similar pictures in macro mode taken with my Nexus One camera in comparing iPad Kindle vs. Kindle in daylight:

    It’s sad there’s so much vitriol in these comments. In truth, as an owner of both devices, the blurry text on the iPad is what made me purchase a Kindle. I didn’t have any intention of buying a Kindle, but the Kindle for iPad app made me realize that the Kindle service is awesome, and the blurry text and backlit screen making me tired of reading after an hour made me realize that eInk is the future. It’s not a debate, it’s a fact, the Kindle is better suited to reading books (for hours upon hours, even in daylight). The iPad is better suited for everything else.

    Not sure why people have to act like it’s one or the other. It’s childish and unbecoming of everyone who plays into that myth.

  • Nathan says:

    I’m pretty surprised how how close the Kindle looks to other print media. In the first picture it looks like there is a legit fiber above the serif on the ‘b’. The kindle also looks much closer to other print media on the that indicates a .42 mm width.

    When compared to the iPad the Kindle is clearly much better at emulating the appearance printed media.

  • […] iPad and the Kin­dle under a micro­scope. I found the Kindle’s resem­blance to ink on paper at high mag­ni­fi­ca­tion really […]

  • Rothrock says:

    You’ve got lots of interesting ideas and you take the experiments where they go instead of to a pre-determined destination. Keep doing what you do!

    I’ve got myself a Graphite DX for my birthday about a month ago and I love reading on it. I’ve played with an iPad a bit, but haven’t found any “killer app” for my needs.

  • […] the new eInk Pearl display. For now there are some very revealing photos at the Bit 101 blog that compare Kindle and iPad screens at roughly 26 times and 400 times […]

  • T Cubed says:

    Keith, I am a very happy iPad and iPhone 4 user, but this post has surely made a strong argument for e-ink. Thank you. I am looking forward to the Kindle getting cheaper and cheaper as Amazon knows the profit is in the books, and it just a matter of time before the gadget becomes a giveaway, or darned near.

  • […] This set of comparison pics showing the Kindle and iPad displays at high magnification is really more the result of curiosity than an attempt at making a point. It really is interesting to see the differences between the Kindle’s e-ink display, the traditional (but high-quality) LCD of the iPad, and a printed page. If you’re wondering what the hell is going on at 375x in the e-ink, that would be (I think) the microcapsules all squished together. […]

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. […]

  • Charlie says:

    I think a lot of people need to learn that there is no shame in admitting that a device they love does not perform as well in some areas as another device.

    Let’s be honest here. The Kindle looks better as an e-reader. There is no shame for the iPad in this. The kindle was designed for this. It is specialized for this. The iPad wasn’t. It doesn’t make the iPad any less wonderful as a device. If you lose a footrace to an Olympic sprinter would you be ashamed? Or happy that you are considered good competition?

    Likewise the Kindle isn’t as good at browsing the web as the iPad. That is what the iPad specializes in (among other things). There is no shame for the Kindle in admitting this either.

    They are both wonderful devices that work perfectly for what they are designed for. But a refusal to admit they aren’t the best at everything does a greater disservice to your beloved device than smashing it with a hammer.

  • Nobody says:

    The print examples are really interesting as point of references. The fact that you can see the fibrous details, and when you see the e-ink kindle there is an amazing approximation of the physical characteristics of print.

    This is a really useful and interesting post. I don’t think it should be a flame war, but ultimately an empirical investigation of the different characteristics.

    Keith I think you should add to this post various displays and examples over time. Add monitors, OLED, etc. It would be great to to have a cross section of display devices. That in itself is interesting.

    I don’t think it is right to say one particular technology is “better” just different with different characteristics and therefore applications. But definitely please add the retina iphone 4 display if you get a chance. I would be curious to see how that compares to the iPad.

    Great post!

  • […] Pretty neat, but I still found the comparison of iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 screens more amusing. [Bit 101 via Hacker News via CrunchGear] Tagged:amazonapplecomparisonscomputersdisplaysebook […]

  • Mike says:

    And this whole post is why there are MULTIPLE devices in the market! To please everyone! Everything is a matter of opinion, there is no right or wrong in product marketing, and with out kindle, the iPad might not be what it is today. If you don’t like one you get the other.

    Great post!! Very cool!!

  • […] Keith over at Bit101 got his hands on a USB microscope. After realising that holding it to a Nexus One, he could see the […]

  • […] via ————————————————————————————————————原文:Kindle与iPad的荧屏在显微镜下比较本文短网址:可以任意转载,转载时请务必以超链接形式标明文章原始出处及声明订阅本站: ———————————————————————————————————— […]

  • […] 来源中有各种完整大图,还对比了现在的报纸和杂志在400倍之后的放大效果。作者特别强调,他把原来标题中代表‘pk’ 的vs 换成了‘和’,因为这并不是较量,而是两种不同的方式。 […]

  • […] Bonus Track: GhostDancer casualmente nos envió también un enlace a Las pantallas del Kindle y del iPad vistas con microscopio. […]

  • […] guys over at Bit 101 put their new USB microscope to the test.  Check out their post and more pics on their […]

  • […] Bonus Track: GhostDancer casualmente nos envió también un enlace a Las pantallas del Kindle y del iPad vistas con microscopio. […]

  • […] a un brillo moderado no hay problema.Pero para comprobar las bondades de una y otra, los chicos de BIT-101 las han puesto bajo la vista del microscopio para verlas desde más cerca. El microscopio utilizado […]

  • Arnie says:

    Fantastic post. This darker magazine line explains my preference for them of the three print forms.

    PLEASE, do this again when you get your new kindle. I am itching to get something in the e-reader category, but want to be happy with my purchase.

  • Lunchbox99 says:

    This is stupid for two reasons. People don’t read with microscopes so what does it matter which technology becomes grainy first? Readability to the naked eye is all that matters.

    Secondly, all the comments stating “reading on LCD hurts my eyes” doesn’t ring true to me. Millions of people read LCD screens all day every day at work. Hundreds of millions of people have been glued to LCD screens for hours every day at home on their laptops and desktops. Why is this such an issue now that the iPad has been released? Sounds like rubbish to me.

    I would much rather a colour, responsive screen than a black and white, slow screen any day. The only area where eink is better is for reading novels. For everything else (email, webpages, magazines, technical docs, animated books, kids books, textbooks) people generally prefer not regressing to technology visually equivalent to what we had 20 years ago.

    • Kris says:

      It’s not a comparision of which is better to read with under a microscope. Did you read that article at all? It’s just some interesting comparison photographs of the inner works of some pretty cool technology.

      You said it brilliantly, YOU would much rather have. Imply an opinion and a rather good one for YOU. Though, I agree with you in MY opinion that an iPad would be better for webpages, animated books.. since the Kindle can not even accomplish those tasks. I would also have to say that I agree that most Kindle use IS limited to novel (and magazine) reading. That is what the Kindle was made for.

      On a final note it is not regressing to technology visually equivalent to what we had 20 years ago. It is regressing visually to technology we had about 4000-5000 years ago.

      Written text.

      Oh, and here is a wiki link to CVS. It’s interesting.

    • keith says:

      Lunchbox, who are you arguing with? How many times do I have to re-iterate that I’m not saying anything is better than anything else. I prefer the Kindle for long form reading. I prefer my laptop for short form reading, or my Nexus One when I’m on the go. I have an iPad, but I haven’t really figured out where it fits in my life yet.

      And I think that’s the key point with the eye strain factor. Lots of people have claimed that LCD-type screens hurt their eyes or make their eyes tired. A lot of other have said that’s “BS” or “rubbish”. Certainly, many people do spend lots of time on the computer all day at work. I do. But that’s a different activity from reading a book. When you’re on the computer, you’re doing this, you’re doing that, switching windows, scanning a bit of text, looking at some graphics, typing some text. I bet most people rarely read more than a couple of paragraphs at any one stretch while working on a computer. Even myself, as a coder, it seems like I’d be reading and writing code all day. But when I really look at it, I’m reading at most a few lines of code at a time, then typing something, testing, jumping to another method or some documentation, looking at the debugger, etc.

      Compare that to reading a book, such as a novel or whatever. You might sit for an hour straight – or more – doing nothing but running your eyes over line after line after line of text. For me (and many others, but not all) THIS is what causes eye strain, tiredness, pain, what have you. On a Kindle, I do not get that kind of eye strain.

      End of story. That’s my experience. Don’t call me stupid because it’s not the same for you. Don’t say my experience is rubbish or BS. I respect that your experience might be different.

      • Ralph says:

        Hi Keith,
        Thanks for the post! I just ordered the microscope from Amazon. The grandkids and I will have a good time with it. Thanks again for the post.

      • ypocaramel says:

        yea, the comparison is pretty awesome, now I know what’s actually going on. Wayy to much “this better than that” … who cares, different tools for different jobs right?

  • jdmitch says:


    Very cool. Any chance you have a friend that has an iPhone 4? It’d be interesting to also see side by side pics of Apple’s new “retina display”.

  • Steve says:

    Fun project! One of the things I noticed from your Kindle photos is the occasional “unflipped” microsphere. The E-Ink black and white technology relies on colored polymer microspheres that can flip from the white side to the black side with and electrical signal. Once flipped, no more need to apply a current. So if you look at your photo within the white region on left side, you see a black “polymer bead” that did not flip. Why this intrigues me, is the complexity of coming out with high resolution color and the ability control all the color flips.

    One thing that would be fascinating as an extension of your work would be to monitor two things. One if errors in microsphere flips is site specific – a bad microsphere, or change in location, indicating occasional non site specific missed flips. One can imagine that you want to use just enough power to flip all the Nevada and no more, so there is a threshold level. The second thing to monitor would be if there is an increase over time – several years – with missed microsphere flips.

  • Lars says:

    Hi, thanks for the nice article.

    Have you thought about putting the 400x Kindle picture under an open license and put in Wikipedia? I guess it would make a nice addition for the E-Ink article.

  • […] para comprobar las bondades de una y otra, los chicos de BIT-101 las han puesto bajo la vista del microscopio para verlas desde más cerca. El microscopio utilizado […]

  • […] ocasión, concretamente con uno entre la pantalla del iPad y la del Kindle.La comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto a leer libros electrónicos, […]

  • […] comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto … Continua leyendo […]

  • Sam says:

    Fascinating! I gotta get one of those microscopes. Thanks for writing this up, and good luck dealing with all the rabble-rousers =)

  • […] out the article (with pictures!) here. By Mike, on August 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm, under Uncategorized. . No Comments Post a comment or […]

  • mary broad says:

    contentious; net’s definition?

    that’s for anybody who refers to apple’s products as a ‘toy’.

    if they are toys, try looking in the mirror and then reassess your intelligence level.

    an old adage; “everything in life is relative.” so compared to what toy…….?

    • Tyson says:

      For myself anyway, I see it as a toy due to it have very few really serious uses, that and what uses it does have serious could more better be done on a native device. Though I will admit the annotations could beused for some serious note taking though, granted I agree on paper/E-ink display being easier to read on than a lcd screen (Mainly so why I don’t read ANY books short of short stories on lcds and usually go buy the book (Or be lazy and not read it >.>)

  • […] comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto a leer libros electrónicos, […]

  • Scart says:

    Apple sux as always 🙁

  • John Marbach says:

    Keith this is a great product review. According to the microscope, its clear the Kindle is just as easy to read as a book/newspaper/magazine. Now since the iPad isn’t generally considered the Kindle’s primary competition, it would be interesting to see a comparison with the Sony e-reader and the Barnes & Noble tablet.

    • Cathy says:

      All three (kindle, nook, sony) use the exact same E-ink (R) screen, so there would be no difference. The new kindle 3 uses a better e-ink screen, though, so that would show a difference.

  • Paul says:

    I like turtles.

    • keith says:

      Perhaps the best comment in this whole mess. 🙂

    • Andy says:


      Turtles are ok if you like slow moving animals that are pretty much right where you left them at all times. Personally, I like cheetahs much better although I’ve heard a lot of people complain that watching them run makes their neck sore. I’ve never had a problem with my neck after watching cheetahs.

      Let me spell it out for you: Turtles suck. There really is no comparison, cheetahs win every time.

  • […] comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto a leer libros electrónicos, […]

  • Jessica says:

    i think this is a neat project, i dont think anyone should be bashing the poster of this site. As you can see, he posted other items as well in comparision. I think someone’s just upset that the ipad doesnt look so well under a microscope..tee hee…and as you can plainly read what the post says…. this isnt for comparision purpose’s YOU simply genererate your own ideas…… people read…. thats why you have a kindle and a $500 ipad anyway right?

  • […] comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto a leer libros electrónicos, […]

  • […] comparativa esta vez ha sido realizada por BIT-101 quienes, para comprobar qué tal se comportan ambas pantallas respecto a leer libros electrónicos, […]

  • […] iPad vs tinta electronica  por OnRails hace 4 segundos […]

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. […]

  • Joe says:

    All he was doing was messing about with his new USB microsocpe and did what we would all do and put cool stuff like ipads and kindles under the scope to take a look!

    its not a battle, and its not a contest, just a fellow techy with a new toy.. lighten up guys!

  • […] >>มาดูแบบละเอียดๆด้วยกล้อง Microscope กันดีกว่าครับว่าเครื่อง Kindle กับ iPad ใครจะอ่านได้ชัดกว่ากัน ดูต่อได้ที่ Posted on August 15, 2010 by iphone4th >>มาดูแบบละเอียดๆด้วยกล้อง Microscope กันดีกว่าครับว่าเครื่อง Kindle กับ iPad ใครจะอ่านได้ชัดกว่ากัน ดูต่อได้ที่ […]

  • […] US-Programmierer Keith Peters hat die Probe aufs Exempel gemacht und mit dem Mikroskop nachrecherchiert (wer das Experiment reproduzieren möchte: er benutzte ein USB-Mikroskop von Veho). Als Testobjekte […]

  • […] interesting article where a guy puts the Kindle, an iPad, and some print materials under a microscope. var […]

  • Gib Wallis says:

    This was a really cool post. The images were great, and the discussion was mostly civil. I’m blown away by how good the Kindle looks under a microscope! I won’t be looking at mine the same way for the next few days, for sure!

  • […] partida porque no poseo ninguno de los dos aparatos, pero eso no impidió que un personaje del blog Bit-101 hiciera la comparación bajo un potente microscopio USB, Veho VMS004 DELUXE, con hasta 400X de […]

  • […] invito a ver este fantástico trabajo realizado por bit-101 sobre la comparativa entre ambas […]

  • Joel says:

    A scientist at the University of Utah (I think) took an iPhone, an iPhone Retina Display and an iPad and took some screenshots under a microsope, at least of the pixels. He’s @bwjones on Twitter if you want to get ahold of him and see if he can do the same of a kindle.

  • 4512jth says:

    I have to say, all of the comments defending the iPad were extremely unintelligent.

  • David Dietzel says:

    Interesting article — I agree with the lined through text in the article that the Kindle 2 is easier to read (over extended reading sessions, I would qualify; the iPad and my laptop are fine for quick reads). Keith: Don’t be overly concerned about offending people — some folks are passionate about their devices with some being pathologic — write about what you observe and express your views on your observations objectively — some people are offended by sunshine.

    I tried both the iPad and Kindle 2 before buying.

    The Kindle 2 was the better reading device — easier to hold in your hand for extended reading periods as it weighs a whole lot less; easier on the eyes over time (all LCD reading, whether on a laptop or iPad, is tiresome due to screen brightness and pixeled character display) with a background that is more like real paper and text that appears more like printed text. Bonuses include the Kindle app and Whispersync so I can have my library available “everywhere” for quick reads — on my Android phone and my laptop; two weeks of battery life if I keep the wireless turned off — I turn the wireless on every Monday morning during my commute to sync new magazine content and check out any new publications; the Kindle 2 is a whole lot less expensive. Also, the glare on the iPad screen was just too annoying for reading — or watching movies for that matter.

    The more I think about it, the more I value the “Kindle Everywhere” approach Amazon has taken with its Kindle app. Apple has decided to keep their iBooks for Apple devices only.

    I spend alot of time reading, so the Kindle 2 was the way to go. One eight ounce device holds all my recreational reading and technical manuals and texts with two weeks of battery use — I plan to take my Kindle 2 on my next backpacking trip.

    For now my 14-inch laptop, Evo phone and Kindle 2 meet all my needs.

    Perhaps the second or third generation iPad will allow me to use just one device — we’ll see what Apple does and how the tablet market in general progresses.

    I’m looking forward to my Kindle 3 arriving and wedding anniversary gifting my Kindle 2.

  • Mitch says:

    What I think is even more fascinating than the photos is the sociological experiment. Provide some data, even if the data may not be perfect, covering two products which have cult followings. Then, watch the responses to the data — does one’s consumer loyalty overshadow taking a reasonable and rational approach? I’ll let the posts above be the judge.

  • […] bit-101] <!– –> 5 Condividi tweetmeme_url = […]

  • slw says:


    • Hob says:

      The master troglodyte said. Do you really aspire to be considered seriously with that brilliant comment or you are just trolling?

  • […] are more gallery image at BT 101, the ‘researcher’ (Keith) who’ve just got his own USB-microscope. If you are also […]

  • Frank says:

    Nice photos. Have you had a chance to take a photo of a LED display (maybe Nexus One? I’m very curious about that.

  • […] de tinta electrónica está muy por encima del resto (LCD), pero en el post que han publicado en Bit-101, podemos observar que los pixeles se ven claramente en el iPad, mientras que la pantalla con […]

  • […] is between a Kindle and an iPad at extremely high magnification? Over at Bit-101, they’ve slung both devices under a microscope (a USB one that will set you back some $60 at Amazon). The image above is at 26x, the one below is […]

  • […] in order to compare them. In my view, the Kindle display looks much better. See for yourself at BIT-101. This entry was posted in Technology. Bookmark the permalink. ← Self destroying […]

  • Cool project, Keith! Very interesting indeed :).

  • Tim Ma says:

    Keith, great post! Very interesting stuff. I came to the site to look at the magnified pictures and stayed for the fanboy war. 🙂 A remarkable example of cognitive dissonance.

    But I will say, you have convinced me to buy a … Veho Microscope. I never knew such a thing existed at that price point.

  • df says:

    People are arguing about this? A guy takes some pictures and presents his opinion on why he prefers one thing to another, and then it turns into “no your are wrong”and ” no you!”.

    Apple makes marketing claims to drive sales. They will say things that some people will believe and some people will disagree. Which is better, Coke or Pepsi? Opinion aside, marketing speak is worthless and the end user makes the decision.

    Comparing and LCD to eInk is valid and shows why many people prefer the eInk displays. That aside, if you like LCD readers, good for you. If you think eInk is the end all of the electronic reader, awesome, go team.

    To argue about it, that is just nonsense.

  • […] week, Keith at BIT-101 used a USB-powered microscope to zoom in on the displays of a Kindle, an iPad, and three printed paper samples. Mainly he was […]

  • Dave says:

    Fantastic pics, thanks so much for posting them. I’m only sorry your blog has attracted such a battalion of ill-mannered, reactionary whiners who can’t see past their own need for validation by “defending” a specific product and instead just appreciate something beautiful and interesting.

  • txvoodoo says:

    As someone who owns both a Kindle and an iPad, I thank you for the (geektastic) comparison!

    And, as someone who owns both, I will say that my personal experience is that the ipad is a great device for online content consumption, especially multimedia. For reading large chunks of text (books, long articles), I prefer the Kindle. I use my ipad every day, but when I sit down to read a book, it’s on my Kindle.

  • Troy says:

    Could you clarify if the book you used was a traditional trade paper book, or a hardcover book? I wonder if they use better quality printing in those 2 book styles. (The cost is certainly different enough!)

  • Joseph C says:

    If only the eInk had higher resolution! Clearly, the micro-pigment spheres are individually capable of finer features, but since they are thrown together into pixel “buckets”, the eInk display also have to resort to anti-aliasing using grey-shades.

    When looked at from far enough away, you barely notice the individual pixels on either display, of course — but anti-aliasing does feel a little “fuzzy” compared to crisp edges of print!

    Personally, I love the eInk – especially because I love reading outdoors!

  • […] Para ler a análise detalhada, que ainda compara os dispositivos com livros e revistas, clique aqui. […]

  • […] 近日,BIT-101 站长 Keith 利用一台 USB 供电显微镜对 Kindle 和 iPad 的屏显进行了一次比对。其实关于 Kindle 和 iPad 的讨论已经屡见不鲜了。前者的 E-ink 技术使电子书显示效果无线接近真正的纸张书籍;后者出众的工业设计和强大的多媒体娱乐功能也已在业界获业界和消费者认可。今天,我们无意比较双方的竞争现状或是今后局势,仅仅想借助显微镜的镜头来比较下 iPad 和 Kindle 在屏显方面的差异。 […]

  • Paul says:

    Wow the Kindle is pretty amazing, I would have never guessed it was that crisp at such high magnification.

    I’d love to see this with the iPhone 4 retina display if you get the chance, more for curiosity than much else, I highly doubt it would compete with the Kindle screen either…

  • […] I love reading on a Kindle, microscope edition. by Eric on August 16th, 2010 Keith over at BIT-101 got himself a 400x USB microscope. One of the things he did was take pictures of a book, magazine, […]

  • […] The Bit-101 blog throws the Kindle and iPad under the microscope to compare pixels with close ups of print. [From: Bit-101] […]

  • […] 近日,BIT-101 站长 Keith 利用一台 USB 供电显微镜对 Kindle 和 iPad 的屏显进行了一次比对。其实关于 Kindle 和 iPad 的讨论已经屡见不鲜了。前者的 E-ink 技术使电子书显示效果无线接近真正的纸张书籍;后者出众的工业设计和强大的多媒体娱乐功能也已在业界获业界和消费者认可。今天,我们无意比较双方的竞争现 状或是今后局势,仅仅想借助显微镜的镜头来比较下 iPad 和 Kindle 在屏显方面的差异。 […]

  • […] ofrecer una respuesta a la incógnita en BIT-101 utilizaron un microscopio USB para comparar ambas pantallas, la del iPad y la del Kindle,  dando […]

  • sailorjerry says:

    wow all of you appear to have sand in your vaginas except keith. just appreciate the pictures for what they are.

  • AJ says:

    Wow. nice one Keith! It is amazing how similar the kindle is to real paper. Put some more stuff under the microscope!!!

  • crain says:

    Hey Keith,
    very cool post! I’m jealous I want a USB Microscope! Sorry, about all these folks who have so little to do, except find a devious plots, faults or compare their relatively smalls wangs.

    Keep playing and being curious, maybe the buzzkills will go away!


  • JefPrice says:

    Sweet Test Keith!

    I’ve got to say, to me it’s fascinating the way the iPad’s screen looks under the microscope. The Kindle to me looks about as I’d expect it would, but the odd bars and color shot of the iPad is wonderful!

    If I wasn’t so against the death of print, I would love to move to a Kindle, but for me the only way I’d ever “E-read” is on a device like the iPad, simply because it does more. I wouldn’t, nor have I ever bought any digital device for reading. It’s not that I don’t see the appeal, it’s just that I like turning of the TV, Macbook, iPhone, or whatever else might distract me, and feeling the pages turn between my fingers.

    As far as the sadly unavoidable debate/I’m a little kid with a toy debate between Apple-Kindle Lol for my own little kid with a toy opinion, I think the iPad-Kindle debate is one of the dumbest Apple VS debate ever. The iPad is much more the just a E-Reader, it’s a home version of the fabled tablet that we’d all use in every room of our home for anything and everything. Email, Networking, Travel, Whatever we’d like to have a bigger then iPhone/iPad screen for.

    Where as the Kindle is for reading. READING. If I were to buy a device just for reading, as much as I love my Apple products, it’s very could be a Kindle I bought, (though I would like a color screen for such a device, eInk in color would be great!) Truth be told though, like I’ve said, I don’t like reading digitally, publishers send me digital copies of works for review and I can’t hardly follow through because I HATE the experience. I own comics, and books on my iPhone, well over 100 in fact, because I thought that when I first bought my iPhone I’d read on it all the time. . . Yep. I have yet to complete any book in any digital format on any device. So for guys like me? iPad may be a better choice, but dang does that eInk look cool!

    Great experiment Keith, really fantastic images. I may have to buy me one of those Microscopes now to play with!


    • Hob says:

      you make excellent points. Normal people would never compare a Wüsthof chef knife with a multi-slicer tool, so why people try to compare a Kindle with an iPad?

  • […] The Bit-101 blog throws the Kindle and iPad under the microscope to compare pixels with close ups of print. [From: Bit-101] […]

  • yewenyi says:

    Wow, thanks for this. I am particularly happy that you included the print versions. It makes for interestign reading. I wonder if they will get colour ePaper to work. It would be good if they can.

  • […] Bit-101] Anotaciones RelacionadasKindles gratis para suscriptores de Amazon PrimeKindle para Mac ya está […]

  • Hugh says:

    lend scott janousek your microscope if he doesn’t already have one. that ought to take care of every single device known to man that you could take a magnified picture of.

  • Matchu says:

    That’s how the Kindle looks? Neat!

    Thanks for being willing to put up with the silly people around the internet. It’s the downside of doing something interesting around these parts.

  • Peter Ashford says:

    Heh. Interesting article, but perhaps the feedback was more interesting still. I’m led to the conclusion that the self worth of Apple fans is closely linked to the size of their iDevices.

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 Kindle or iPad?  Which has the better display? (tags: kindle ipad display readability) […]

  • krystal says:

    Super cool observation! Who woulda thunk to magnify electronic lettering?
    I’m really surprised how the Kindle looks at 400x…pebbly like sand or round rocks.
    Neat stuff!

  • imrubio says:

    very interesting finds. but we really are comparing apples and oranges. not because one is just an e-reader and the other is so much more but because the Kindle only needs to deal with a single color whereas the iPad is a full color display. Keith, magnify some color prints and compare that to your black and white prints. The same difference in clarity can be seen as you will see between the Kindle and the iPad.

  • Jamie says:

    Not going to jump in on the iPad/Kindle debate. Just wanted to say: thanks Keith for a very cool post. Had no idea the e-ink was really so close to paper. Also didn’t know there was such a thing as a USB microscope. Very neat. I would also like to see how the Nook compares to the Kindle.

  • Martin says:

    Great post. Please please please do an update when you get your Kindle 3 🙂

  • Windy says:

    Keith, you rocks!! maan,
    Why cant you all just engulf the beauty of the tech and hope that it gives us better experience. I love my Kindle, but I iPad is also not a bad product. Get a life people. 🙂

  • […] Bit-101 tienen una comparación detallada de cómo se ven en un microscopio libros, e-books como el Kindle, iPads, periódicos, […]

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 – I didn't think to take such a close look at a Kindle […]

  • Hans says:

    The Kindle looks like the real thing (as far as it goes). Interesting, I own 3 Macs, but it looks like the iPad won’t appear on my desk in the near future.

    But than again: nothing beats print on paper.

    • Matt says:

      I received a Kindle for Christmas and returned it in 48 hours. It hurt my eyes to read from it because of the ccontrast of the dark gray print on light gray-green screen.

      I now have an iPad and have already read about 4 novels on it. Very comfortable on the eyes.

  • Mark says:

    It’s amazing how far this article has strayed from its original intent. Keith was simply trying out his USB microscope and happened to experiment with a Kindle and an iPad and then newspaper, magazine, and book prints.

    Lighten up people. It was merely an article on what these items looked like under the USB microscope.

  • […] above pictures originated from microscope shots by Keith Peters at his website, Bit-101. There are several more pictures and also comparisons with real printed ink if you’re […]

  • […] eletrônicos Kindle e iPad ganhou um ponto de vista bastante detalhado quando um blogueiro do site Bit-101 decidiu analisar a tela de ambos com seu novo microscópio. E ele encontrou detalhes realmente […]

  • As someone who makes a good part of my living from designing and typesetting books, I’m an abject Apple fanboy, tho’ I suspect I’m closest to about the oldest person commenting here. That said, however, I think it’s high time that Apple fans lose the defensive posture and inferiority complex. Accept it already that there are some people who just prefer to use the the non-Apple tools they use.

    In point of fact, the iPad’s a cool toy with an annoying glossy display that gets in the way of reading. Hell, its glare is bothering the crap out of me as I type this. Nevertheless, as I prepare for some coming eBook projects, I’m throwing my lot in with both iPad and Kindle versions.

    As for Steve Jobs, as annoying as the fullness of his persona can be, it’s plain ignorant to not recognize him as the genius he is. I can only wonder what direction serious digital publishing would have taken–or how long to get there–without him. I can’t imagine I’d have 80 or so book projects under my belt at this point without Macintosh.

    Perhaps, Keith, the “vs” is best left out of these discussions. Then again, maybe the people who get there diapers in a twist when comparing Apple anything to corresponding non-Apple stuff should just go back to playing their video games and let those of us who do actual work on or for either platform continue the discussion in a non-competitive fashion.

  • Noble Kale says:

    Very awesome, and interesting pics there.

    So… can you do a series with, perhaps, different fruits? 🙂

  • michael says:

    Well done Keith! And thanks. I’m an Apple fan. Have Iphone 3gs, but can’t afford an ipad. Finding your post may just about be the best thing that’s happened to me this week. I love reading. It probably would have been my main use of ipad. But Kindle looks great, is lighter and works everywhere. Also, I can justify purchase as it will get plenty of use. As regards the vitriol; it is unpleasant, but very informative for non-techies. I’ll probably get Kindle 3.

  • […] 近日,BIT-101 站长 Keith 利用一台 USB 供电显微镜对 Kindle 和 iPad 的屏显进行了一次比对。其实关于 Kindle 和 iPad 的讨论已经屡见不鲜了。前者的 E-ink 技术使电子书显示效果无线接近真正的纸张书籍;后者出众的工业设计和强大的多媒体娱乐功能也已在业界获业界和消费者认可。今天,我们无意比较双方的竞争现状或是今后局势,仅仅想借助显微镜的镜头来比较下 iPad 和 Kindle 在屏显方面的差异。 […]

  • […] eletrônicos Kindle e iPad ganhou um ponto de vista bastante detalhado quando um blogueiro do site Bit-101 decidiu analisar a tela de ambos com seu novo microscópio. E ele encontrou detalhes realmente […]

  • Pat says:

    Thanks for sharing, Keith, a different look (closeup) for Kindle & iPad. Good thing you edit the title. 🙂

  • […] Qui approfondimenti ed altri screenshots. […]

  • […] Qui approfondimenti ed altri screenshots. Tags: comparazione, kindle vs ipad, schermo ipad, schermo kindle […]

  • […] als E-Book-Lesegerät in Verbindung mit iBooks und somit als Konkurrenz zum Kindle von Amazon. Ein Blick durchs Mikroskop zeigt allerdings, dass Amazon bislang die Nase vorn hat, wenn es um die Nähe zum gedruckten Buch […]

  • I’d love to see the retina display in the comparison. Had time to get one yet? 😀

  • Kamil Kisiel says:

    Really interesting photos.Thanks for posting this here, and hopefully the negative comments have not detracted from your initial enthusiasm 🙂

    If you wouldn’t mind taking a few more shots it would be nice to see a shot of the curved portion of a letter on the kindle. It would be interesting to see how the eInk display handles rendering of curves.

  • Jason says:

    Well, thi sure validates my decision several years ago to not read, print or on screen, through a microscope.

  • L says:

    If/when an iPad is released with the retina display I’m sure there will be a very different conversation about Kindle and iPad side by side. Reading on the iPhone 4’s screen is nothing short of amazing.

    Also on a side note, I love how gizmodo some how got credit on some sites for your images.

  • Scott Lewis says:

    I don’t get all the wars that crop up from the Kindle vs iPad posts. If you read a LOT, and compute a LITTLE, get a Kindle. If you read a LITTLE and compute a LOT, get an iPad. If you’re BOTH, get BOTH, especially now that $130 nets you a Kindle 3. Get the Wifi iPad instead of the 3G model and it’s the same price to get a Kindle 3 as well! Thanks to the Kindle app for iPad, it’s not like you can’t have your books in both places.

  • Andre Richards says:

    “Also, fuck Steve Jobs. No one American has ever so thoroughly and so consistently limited the potential positive impacts of ideas.”

    Look out the window next to your computer. See those trees and the sky? That’s called the “outside world.” It’s very real and you need to go out there for a while. It’s okay. You don’t need a keyboard or screen for it. You just turn off the computer… yep, just like that, and leave everything sitting there. Just shut down and then you just walk out the door. It’s okay. It’s safe. And just trust me on this one–you really, really need it.

  • Eric says:

    “And now I need to get my hands on a iPhone 4 with that retina display.” I would LOVE to see an update to this post regarding that comparison as well.

    In addition, it would be nice to see the difference between Kindle 1, 2 and 3 (on August 27th). The Kindle 3 is boasting 50% more contrast, etc. etc.

  • Chris C says:

    The iPad is SO bad at this that when it tries to display the word “about” it comes out looking like “sign”. Horrible!

  • I’d love to see a close up of how both the Kindle and the iPad handle curves. Showing the Kindle rendering a pixel width vertical line in the extreme close-up while the iPad is rendering something else (the corner of an ‘L’ perhaps?) isn’t an apples to apples comparison. No pun intended.

    Your pictures happen to play to the Kindle’s strong suit. I am really interested in how the anti-aliasing holds up on both devices which we can’t see well in your examples.

  • J says:

    Keith I applauded you and feel so sorry for the inattentive folks and sometimes assholes you’ve attracted here.

    You had a simple concept: play with your new toy, and show photos of 2 of the most interesting things you’ve discovered.

    People have turned this into a competition even though you’ve stated it isn’t.

    Overall your post is amazing and you have made me want the product that has truly won here….the USB microscope! Lol.

    Now my real question here is, what is the max magnification on the microscope? And is it a traditional(mirrors) microscope? Or all digital?


  • […] [BIT-101] googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display('div-IPTF-Blogpost'); }); […]

  • David K. says:

    I’d love to see the iPhone 4’s retina display at the same levels. These are fascinating pictures!

  • thompse2 says:

    Thanks Keith that was a really cool post. One thing that I think could have been done differently that would give perhaps a little different comparison was if the high magnification for the kindle and print would have been around corners as the ipad was. And also I agree with Martin and Jamie in that an update to this article with the Kindle 3 and Nook when you get a chance would be great.

    Again, thanks for the interesting article.

  • Brad F. says:

    I’m never going to buy an iPad and the reason is simple. The only thing I want a flat electronic panel thingie for is to read on, and the Kindle, with its eInk screen is obviously the better choice for that.

    For anything else I’ll use my iPhone or my laptop.

    • Hob says:

      You have an iphone. Aren’t you contradicting yourself?. Don’t you read anything on your iPhone? isn’t it flat?

  • Jim Collins says:

    Thank you. A very nice comparison. A monochrome display, or print for that matter , is always going to have better resolution than color. eInk also has the advantage of vastly lower energy use. That makes it an ideal display for the Kindle but also makes it a bad display for something like an iPad. I will be very interested in seeing the iPhone 4 display. I would also really like to see an OLED display although I would expect it to look about the same as LCD.

  • Danka says:

    …..and how does it look in direct sunlight? I love the micro perspectives but really defeats the purpose. If we had eagle eyes it might be worthy of debate. Question is under what conditions can we make reading ideal and pleasurable? I own an iPad myself…mostly NOT as a reader but a universal device.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn't do too well, actually — I think the […]

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal – BIT-101 […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • […] a bit more and get so much more functionality in the bargain. Now, after seeing a comparison of the Kindle and iPad displays under a microscope, as well as both compared to printed text under magnification, I understand — the text on the […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn't do too well, actually — I think the […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn't do too well, actually — I think the […]

  • Jeff says:

    Did the Kindle start playing music? Or browse the web? Hmmm, that’s right, it doesn’t do those things! That’s why the pad is a good investment, it does multiple things quite well and quiet acceptably. I have a great time reading on it and I have been using both the iBooks and the Kindle/iPad software and find both pretty good. It does have the weakness of outside glare problems. That being said, I don’t do that much! I’m either in bed, on the couch, or on a train/plane, etc.

    The reason why the iPad will “revolutionize” e-books is this….since no one on here seems to understand retail or consumers…it’s because it does these multiple things well….I no longer need to get all these other devices (netbook, don’t need, kindle, don’t need, etc etc) and can buy just the pad. Hence, it’s value.

    Now what I want is one of those microscopes! Very cool!

    There ya go!

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn't do too well, actually — I think the […]

  • Angus says:

    Interesting images. Obviously each technology has very different qualities. But what is better depends on your criteria.

    What’s always so dismaying is reading the savagely opinionated comments.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn't do too well, actually — I think the […]

  • Kindle and iPad Displays: Under a microscope by @bit101 via @gruber of @daringfireball

  • madgunde says:

    Wonder who would win if you repeated the tests in the dark? 😉

    E-ink looks great, but I do most of my book reading in bed with the lights out so as to not disturb my wife. A huge plus for the iPad and iPhone over e-ink readers and print media in my book.

  • will says:

    For the record, I saw no effort to create controversy on the part of the author. It seemed that he was merely interested in what these different products looked like close up. I have used both products and if I had to pick one I would choose the iPad simply for its functionality and speed. While I do prefer to read on the Kindle’s screen, I’d rather have the eye strain, speed, and functionality than readability and none of the above.

    I would also be interested in seeing a Pixel Qi screen up close. It’s a fascinating technology and in the article below some diagrams are present, but no actual microscope photos. I know that it may be beyond your means to get access to one, keith; I was just stating my interest and having skimmed or read many of the comments, I did not see it mentioned. Details on the screen can be found in the article below:

  • Wayne says:

    Just about every poster here (that’s comparing the ‘resolutions’ of Kindle and iPad) are missing the point. Your eyes cannot see the respective screens at the magnification shown with the USB microscope; that’s why you need the microscope. Any discussion along the lines of which device is better for reading, based on these magnified photos, is flawed. If your eye cannot discern the presence of an object or artifact, it might as well not exist. Surely looking at magnified images that your eyes cannot see under normal circumstances is interesting, but it does not have any bearing on ‘readability’.

    As far as backlit LCD screens being ‘tiring’ for the eyes or causing eye ‘strain’, there simply is no evidence of this being true. Eye strain is defined as the muscles controlling the shape of the eyeball (allowing the eye to focus) as becoming tired. There are only two situations where this phenomenon can occur: 1) If you have uncorrected vision – your eye needs an additional lens (contacts or glasses) to see objects clearly, and 2) There is a glare on the object you are looking at; like sunlight on water. Both of these situations cause the muscles surrounding your eye to constantly adjust (for different reasons, but ‘squinting’ is a symptom of both situations) and eventually becoming tired. There is nothing about the physiology of the human eye itself that could cause it to become ‘strained’ or ‘tired’. The term ‘eye strain’ is a misnomer.

    That leaves other considerations for why an individual may prefer one type of reading ‘device’ over another. These considerations are almost all subjective, causing preferences to be difficult to predict and not easily generalized. All you can really say with certainty is that you prefer one kind of device over another, and you really shouldn’t say even that much until you’ve tried all of the alternatives for fair amount of time each.

  • David says:

    AWESOME POST! Keith, this is a very cool post. It’s also kinda fun to watch the fireworks, lol. To the person complaining about the speed of the pages turning on the Kindle, I’ve found if I press and hold the next page button, when I get near the end of the page, I release it just before I finish reading the page. Your mind still picks up the last part of the page and the next page comes up just fine. Much like turning the page of a real book. Anyway, thanks Keith, and keep it up.

  • Marko says:

    The ipad, can do many things, but without a keyboard it can only do one thing well- consume “media.” In the end, that is what the ipad is, a “media consuming device.” It is hugely bulky for playing music. So that leaves movies, books and magazines. Movies obviously won’t work on Kindle or other e-readers. Magazines are a toss up – most people expect a magazine to have lots of color pictures and ads, so that is a drawback for Kindle. But for books, and for the text of magazines, these pictures (or handling the devices in real life) show that ipad sucks for books. Studies have shown people don’t like reading on ipad:

    I wonder if people would buy netbooks with e-ink, and what the experience of browsing the web with e-ink would be. Would it be easier to read, or would the lack of color be bothersome? Maybe both?

  • Andrew says:

    First of all, thank you Keith. It’s a wonderful topic backed by well executed research. I’ll look forward to images of the iPhone 4’s display.

    Secondly, thank you internet. I just spent over 10 minutes reading some of the most inane, boisterous and amusing commentary on what obviously was intended to be an unbiased presentation of 2 very good electronic displays compared with the 3 staples of printed word.

    I love how passionate albeit misguided some of us can be.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Jim H says:

    If you’re trying to judge what is the best image for reading from pictures taken at 26x and 375x magnification, I think you’re all nuts. At that magnification, I’d pick the Kindle to read from. Unfortunately, I do not have USB microscopes attached to my eyes, so I don’t want to buy a Kindle OR an iPad based on these pictures, and I have no desire to yell about technical details I don’t understand. I doubt many people here do, either, but they like shouting.

  • […] Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101. […]

  • Billy says:

    This post has nothing to do with your USB Microscope. If you want to bash Apple, next time try a little harder. You are just preaching to the Apple-hating choir.

    You have proved that .42 is smaller than .48. Congratulations.

    The Kindle is a one-color, one-trick pony. It’s dead. Get over it and move on.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Joe Bloggs says:

    Wow thanks for a great article! The Kindle’s screen looks AMAZINGLY intriguing up close.

    Something else worth noting and throwing into the mix: Apple’s antialiasing techniques on fonts is not everyone’s favourite for some very good reasons it seems (for reference, I’m not a MSFT fanboy I am a graphic designer who owns an iMac and iPod touch and loves both, I’m just being honest). A read an article about MSFT’s Cleartype technology and it seems like a great technology for antialiasing fonts on a sub-pixel level and Apple doesn’t seem to have anything close to it (I presume it’s also heavily patented). This would have been especially handy on a lower resolution (relatively) screen like the iPad’s.

    So maybe it’s not the hardware limits to blame for the iPad’s fuzzy fonts, but software limitations instead?

    Please note that I am not an expert on the issue (I do not design for web or screen and not for low resolution devices) so please don’t flame me if I’m wrong, I just thought this might be interesting to consider.

    Some articles Google throws out regarding the issue that might be worth reading:

  • Thephen says:

    The visionary engineers at Veho have outdone themselves with the Veho VMS004DELUXE USB Powered Microscope. This amazing compact and easy-to-use hand-held device opens a brilliant new window onto your world allowing you to explore ordinary objects in your life at profound new levels of magnification.

    At the strongest level of magnification, you’ll find bewildering and hidden beauty in the strange textures that this remarkable device will reveal in even the simplest of objects. You’ll have hours of family while peering into the microscopic detail of common household items.

    By simply twisting the VMS004Deluxe, you’ll zoom-out to and behold the prodigious intricacies of previously mundane realities, heralding an awakening of new levels-of-understanding and wonder. You’ll easily explain previously tiny interactions and phenomena with the power of extreme magnification.

    And by simply zooming-out just a bit further, you’ll witness the weird and counter-intuitive oxymoronic nature of humanity itself– fleeting truths yielding to previously un-seen pressures that crush perspectives at unthinkable speeds across vast distances.

    Indeed the Veho VMS004Deluxe defies the confining classification as a microscopic tool and pushes up and out into the aspects of psyche and ego at communal and macro-communal previously only known to the Gods themselves.

    Omnipotence is only a USB cable away with the new Veho VMS004Deluxe. Affect people half a world away with but a touch of a button and a subtle twist of Veho’s low-friction vestibular focusing technology. Amaze your friends with the hordes of new enemies that will carry your name on their breath as they froth into heated rages and pound their unspent mania into blog comments and track-backs.

    Know no limits with the new Veho VMS004Deluxe.

    Please note: the Veho VMS004Deluxe is not a toy and should only be used by individuals operating under the strict supervision of politicians, priests, pundits, and other qualified and licensed carriers of truth. Do NOT ever point the Veho VMS004Deluxe at you or anyone else’s’ eye nor iPad. Or Kindle. Or anything. Offer no analysis of what you see when using the VMS004Deluxe nor any analysis of not providing an analysis of what you see when using the VMS004Deluxe.

    • Tim Dillenbeck says:

      This tempest in a teapot was worth enduring if only to happen across your beautifully crafted, deliciously literate commentary. Rapier wit is ever in such short supply, and greatly appreciated. A welcome contrast to the endless, banal guttersniping.
      Thanx & etc.

  • Stuart says:

    Reading this has made me chuckle. Some people are way too intense.

    Bottom line is that I am glad that Keith and his family enjoyed using his new “toy”.

  • Mic Edwards says:

    And now … at 50fps !!!


  • Mic Edwards says:

    That’s right kids … apples and oranges …

  • […] optimaler eBook-Reader, als bester Webbrowser. Und trotzdem: Perfekt ist es nicht. Das fand auch keith und hat das Display des iPad mit dem auf der E-Ink Technologie basierenden Display des Amazon […]

  • […] Bit-101 blogger used a Veho VMS004 DELUXE USB Powered Microscope to test the screens […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Jakk Ogden says:

    Personally, I loved this analysis and the commentary with it. What I loved less though were the amount of complete and utter cretins dissing the whole thing, to the point where their own comments just look like the ramblings of a raging apple fanboy.

    I’ve personally never had that problem on my technology blog, but that is unfortunately a by product of being too opinionated and comparing devices – where one of which has loyalists to the extent of they’d die for an ithing.

    Thank you very much buddy and keep up the terrific work.

  • MK says:

    Thanks for the great article! Nice pictures, and definately worthy info (I think I want a Kindle!)

    Don’t listen to much to all the hating comments, I’m sure they didnt read the entire article, or they didn’t understand it…

  • Zeus says:

    Great toy, I like the USB-microscope a lot. The comparison you did is quite adequate. One main difference in the screen is the capability to read outdoors. I had my iPad for about a month now. Yesterday, for the first time I experienced using the iPad outdoors and it leaves a lot to be desired. The iPad screen is completely washed away even under the shade. If you increase brightness, the screen heats up much faster, and still the experience is not that good. While on the pool side I was able to see the sharp contrast of an ink reader held by a guy almost 5 meters in front of me. It really depends on what you want, not on what they claim.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 usedhis new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Buster P. Keaton says:

    Hi. I’m an Apple user. I apologize for my fellow Apple users.

  • Frank says:

    I don’t even know why people have to argue about these things. I own both Kindle and iPad. Kindle is great for reading books (as evidenced above) while iPad is the greatest way of reading graphic novels. Both of the devices save me from increasing (again) the wallspace that my bookshelves take so all the power to both manufacturers.

  • […] Bit-101 blogger used a Veho VMS004 DELUXE USB Powered Microscope to test the screens of both the Kindle and the […]

  • […] Bit-101 blogger used a Veho VMS004 DELUXE USB Powered Microscope to test the screens of both Amazon’s e-reader […]

  • Enid says:

    Wow, I want one of those microscopes now! I’ll wait a few years though, until my daughter’s old enough to enjoy it. Thanks for letting me know such things were available!

  • Aerliss says:

    Yeah… er… not a tech head so all I have to say is; wow, Kindle screen looks like actual paper. It’s practically stroke-able.

    Fun post, keith. As others have said, would be nice to see a comparison with real paper in there.

  • AaronY says:

    I’m not going to take the time to read all of the comments so forgive me if this has already been mentioned – but wouldn’t a Kindle-optimized internet be a neat thing? Web pages would display like newsprint, it could be very low-res as far as photos go, and video might not work well, but overall a very useful way to get lots of info easily. And no annoying flash ads, right?

    • keith says:

      The Kindle 3 has a webkit browser. It looks pretty cool from the brief images I’ve seen. Of course, yeah, all grayscale, not something you’d want to rely on for daily use, but if you’re out and about with your Kindle and want to look something up, kind of neat. Personally, whenever I have my Kindle around, I’d also have either my computer or my Nexus One, either of which would be better for using the web.

      • AaronY says:

        I see what you are saying, but are there Kindle-optimized web pages as there are mobile-optimized pages? I just don’t know the answer to that, and think it could be really interesting. A stripped down, ultra-minimal web. That appeals to me.

  • Erin says:

    I want this microscope! While I would rather have an iPad over a Kindle any day (I read ALOT, but prefer the old fashioned books (which are free at the library folks!) to e-reading), I would take this USB microscope over both any day!!!
    Seriously, you have to post more pictures of things your magnified! Wood, dust, skin, bugs, soil, sand, ice crystals, salt, food… the list goes on and on! An online album would be great!

  • Liudmila says:

    Could I take several photos for my we-site about e-readers with link on you?

  • I see the “dispute” of e-readers like this: e-ink is for those who actually read books; LCD is for those who want the capability of reading books, but don’t do it at all.

    Spend 6 hours reading with each kind of technology, and get your own conclusions.

  • Kosta says:

    Riddle me this. Can you read the kindle in the dark?

    No. iPad RULES!!!!

    • keith says:

      Oh snap! I never even thought of that. Case closed. iPad wins!

    • Marcel says:

      Can’t read a book in the dark either…

      But go ahead, you read your iPad in a darkened basement, I’ll read my kindle in the sun.

    • Rhodri says:

      Turn on the light. That’s what it’s there for. You’ll also find it useful when you’re cleaning, cooking, and pissing.

  • Koz says:

    You know what’s better than e-books? Real books.

  • AC says:

    Whatever the effect this blog post may have on either the Kindle or the iPad, I’m pretty sure that it managed to sell a few more microscopes.

    Tomorrow, let’s see which one looks better when viewing moving colored text through a telescope. My money’s on the iPad . . . and the telescope.

  • Jason says:

    Thanks for the interesting view. Very cool.

    This is one of the most annoying promo videos, but the iPad does have its advantages, for those that can’t see beyond the Apple perception:

    Alice for the iPad

    Kindle does seem nice on the eyes for reading. Can’t wait to see if the Retina display comes to the iPad and how that changes things, though. Or even that Pixel Qi display would be really cool. 🙂

  • LRoss says:

    Last night I compared apples to oranges, had my Kindle in one hand, and the iPad in another (running Kindle app). There’s NO WAY I could read on the iPad past say, 5 minutes. Enjoy your Kindle, Keith.

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • masa says:

    Trying not to offend any Apple fanboys, but I doubt that anything but praise will come as an insult.

    I’d like to try that USB microscope out on my Sony Reader and my iPhone 4. But, I’d *really* like to see it on the rumored 7″ iPad with a retina display. Of course, you’ll still see the colors at some magnification, but I wonder how pronounced they’d be at 26x.

  • […] btw!). The results are stunning. And further compared them to newspapers & magazines. Read here (via Wired). Actually the microscope itself is worth a […]

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Andy says:

    Hi Keith,
    Thanks for putting up these great and interesting pictures.
    I have one clarification question which will be lost in the noise of other comments:

    what version of the Kindle did you photograph?

    I’ve heard some newer version have higher contrast screens, so I’m curious which I’m looking at. Thanks.

  • […] an iPhone 4 handy, I’d love to see a comparison with the Retina Display.Head on over to the web site for even higher magnification images and a spirited iPad vs Kindle debate in the comments…var […]

  • Scott says:


    There. Now I think I’ve responded in-kind with the general tone of these forums.

  • […] Kindle と iPad のディスプレイを顕微鏡で拡大するとこうなる。 Tags: iPad, Kindle, ディスプレイ, 拡大, 顕微鏡 Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101.より […]

  • Where? says:

    The problem we have here is one of misinterpretation::
    Keith: “… and the Kindle compares to the iPad …”
    Macman: “… and the Kindle is comparable to the iPad…”

    Heresy, Keith, for allowing others to draw conclusions that you are possibly implying such lowly products is comparable to the majestic iPad.

  • […] сайте  англоязычном сайте были выложены фотографии экранов электронной книги […]

  • […] Keith hat auf seinem Blog einen irgendwie super interessanten und angenehm unwissenschaftlichen Artikel verfasst, in welchem er das LCD-Display vom iPad mit jenem vom Kindle, dem zwar älteren aber […]

  • […] Originally Posted by OneEightZero I have that app! Huge difference between reading on a pixel based screen and e-Ink. Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 […]

  • andysuth says:

    Hi Keith,

    Great post, I can see the Kindle screen is much better than the iTablet with my bare eyes, but this was really well investigated.

    It’s ironic that fanboys on both sides are arguing over this or that of large corporations with their products manufactured in the Far East by subcontracting companies: we don’t really have ownership of any of these brands, so why the hate?

    Let’s look at advertising budgets: Apple Spend $3.1Bn advertising their products, I bet they only spend a fraction of that developing them.

    Does Enimem or Bono make me want to buy a device? no! I buy it because it suits me!

    Why can’t we all accept different people may want different things.

    Peace and Love,


  • Tink says:

    You can read Keith?

    Hope all is well mate.

  • russ says:

    Oh, can you post a microscope video of the kindle changing page? That should look interesting..

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Matt says:

    Took photos of the iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 with the same microscope. See here:

  • Vikaroo says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome pics! They were extremely helpful to me when looking into getting the e-reading thing. I’ve been reading eBooks on my laptop and iPhone 4 until my eyes literally ache, but my Kindle wont arrive for weeks. Sorry so many people think you’re being biased or posting an argument when you so obviously just thought what you saw was neat and wanted to share it with the internet. Thank you for doing so!

  • Shen says:

    IMHO, this post is as relevant as showing slow motion video of iPad AND Kindle turning pages.

  • […] between eReading (and the readers themselves– the Kindle versus the iPad), and I thought this post by Keith Peters at Bit-101 about taking a USB powered microscope to a close-up view of a Kindle, an iPad, and old-fashioned […]

  • […] at the discussion. But we get a fair idea about the differences between LCD, eInk and a real book. Kindle and iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 Reply With Quote + Reply to […]

  • […] und darauf liest es sich dann doch ganz anders als in einem Buch. Bei BIT-101 gibt es einen hübschen Vergleich von TFT und E-Ink unter dem Mikroskop, ich glaube, dazu muss ich nichts weiter sagen. […]

  • […] från har en ny leksak (ett USB-mikroskop) och undersökte därmed bildskärmar av Amazon Kindle och […]

  • jack says:

    Two words: color pictures.

    I’ll be the first guy to jump on the e-ink bandwagon … as soon as they can do cmyk.

  • […] This is an interesting series of high-magnification photos of the Kindle and iPad, also compared with newspaper, magazine, and book photos. My eyes like the Kindle, but my geek likes the greater versatility of the iPad. Decisions, decisions … ebook, publishing Share |     « Earlier Entries Older Entries »   […]

  • […] Kindle & iPad @ 400x zoom […]

  • […] Basta pôr os olhos na tela para ver que a tecnologia e-paper é uma benção dos céus. É possível ler horas seguidas sem cansar os olhos, como acontece sempre com telas LCD. A tecnologia usada na tela do Alfa é da SiPix, o mesmo tipo do E-Ink do Kindle. Para perceber melhor a diferença entre uma tela LCD e uma e-paper, veja esse post. […]

  • Dan G. says:

    Cool work, Keith. If your kid[s] is/are now hooked on microscopy, here’s a pretty cool site run by Nikon with many very cool micrographs: … they even have a yearly contest. Enjoy!

  • […] between eReading (and the readers themselves– the Kindle versus the iPad), and I thought this post by Keith Peters at Bit-101 about taking a USB powered microscope to a close-up view of a Kindle, an iPad, and old-fashioned […]

  • could you post your impressions about your brand new kindle 3?

  • Singletrackm1nd says:


  • Julie says:

    Wow. Just. Wow.

  • […] If you’ve been holding back on getting a Kindle, the $139 WiFi only version just released should remove most, if not all, barriers in your decision.  For what you are getting on that price in an e-reader is amazing.  Sure I can get an iPad for 3x the cost and have Kindle on that, but I’m not sure it would make a good e-reader as a primary purpose device.  Also, take a look at this comparison of quality for reading purposes between iPad and Kindle. […]

  • Lyn says:

    Keith – what a fun project … thanks for sharing the results with us … all of us … including the negatives and the battle-ready.

    I admit I originally planned to hold out on purchasing a Kindle until they got color up and running. But, then, once I realized that the stacks and stacks of books that I read do not actually have color pictures, I relaxed and went for it.

    For the record, I, too, love the concept of relaxing with a glass of wine and a reclining chair and feeling the tactile pleasure of a physical book in my hands.

    However, in real life, I read while I am standing up, walking, standing at the sink brushing my hair/teeth, and sitting in different spots all the time – including outdoors. Since almost every book, hardcover or soft, that I’ve ever read requires two hands to hold the pages open, the e-readers have opened a whole new world for me. (Makes sipping that wine a whole lot easier!)

    And your magnification photos were totally interesting!

  • […] Screens under a microscope In Read, View on August 31, 2010 at 7:35 am At the risk of setting off a Kindle vs. iPad powder keg, Keith Peters posts pictures of the devices’ respective screens through a microscope at varying magnification powers: […]

  • BT says:

    Great little experiment, thanks mate. Ignore all the embarrassing fanbois. As an Apple fan, I find it very embarrassing to admit sometimes when these almost religious zealot like fanbois come out of the woodwork, as well as the Apple haters who are equally vicious in their zealotry.

    Come on people, they’re just shiny new toys, fun to have and each to their own. Just chill!!

  • Joel says:

    Internet drama rocks!

  • Robert says:

    The most astonishing thing about the photos you post is just how organic, to use your own words, the eInk looks!!!

    How does it work? It’s certainly very spooky to look at at that level of magnification.

    To the rest of the people reading this: Stop jumping on the “my device is better than your device and I love/hate Steve Jobs” bandwagon. This post is about looking at some cool (and pretty revealing) photos Keith made with his new toy, damn it!


  • Anthony Sebastian says:

    How difficult, if even possible, to develop an iPad-like device that had both iPad’s and Kindle’s best display capability, for eBook reading plus apps?

    I’d use the color display for color-illustrated textbooks and the associated research tools, the eInk display for novels and the like.

    Might need out-of-the-box-thinking…

    Aside: Sad to experience so much incivility in the commentary.

    • keith says:

      Anthony, it would be pretty hard actually. Kindle has E Ink, iPad has LCD. You can’t really put one on top of the other. Color E Ink is coming, but from all reports it would be a big disappointment if released now. Touch screen means putting another layer on top of the E Ink. One of the Sony readers does this. Reports are that the extra layer diminishes the display quality significantly.

  • Jose Manuel says:

    Here reviving an old tread, did you got the kindle 3?, It would be great if you got the pics from the new screen.

    I ordered mine last week but they are sold out + shipping time is 6 days all the way to mexico. 🙁

    Take care

  • […] Das ist eine Kulturrevolution. Aber wahrscheinlich merkt das fürs Erste kaum jemand, weil alle denken: Halt noch so ein eBook-Reader, ein bisschen besser und billiger vielleicht, aber nichts Besonderes. Doch genau jetzt, im September 2010, hat sich der doppelte Quantensprung erst ereignet: Erst mit dem Kindle 3 verschwindet wirklich das technische Drumherum beim Lesen im Hintergrund. Erst jetzt bleiben Buchtexte zugleich digital und flüssig. Und umgekehrt: Erst jetzt ist es wirklich möglich, Texte aus dem Web in den neuen Aggregatzustand verwandeln: typographisch perfektes Licht-Schriftbild, Print ohne Druck. […]

  • Mike F. says:

    Amazing photos, & interesting article. Thanks for posting it !

  • […] on a technology gadget. It is said that this is actually as easy to read as real printed paper. So, Keith Peters tried a comparison of their displays using a microscope. The results are really impressive as you […]

  • jroberts says:

    Very cool. I love Apple products. I own more that I’d care to admit. If I was to buy a dedicated e-reader, though, it would be the Kindle. It does look great. Very easy on the eyes and the store interface is great. For the time being, though, I’m sticking with my iPad. Now, if they ever came out with “Angry Birds” for the Kindle…

  • […] Pretty neat, but I still found the comparison of iPhone 3G and iPhone 4 screens more amusing. [Bit 101 via Hacker News via […]

  • […] first started looking seriously into the e-readers when I read an article that took the technically under a microscope to see what the screen really looks like up close. Give that article a brief glance, especially checking out the pictures, and you’ll see that […]

  • […] Aug 13th, 2010 9:29am Kindle vs. iPad Displays: Up close and personal. | BIT-101 […]

  • […] Ebooks are the only logical future, and soon traditional books will go the way of the record, tape, CD, DVD, etc. Technology will get to the point that a traditional book will seem fun, much as a record still seems fun. But the practicalities of ebooks will inevitably take over the publishing industry, similar to how MP3s have taken over the music industry. What I read now is 90% digital, whether it be a web based library book, PDF, or just a standard web page. Also, my grandmother whom is the most avid reader I personally know now uses a Kindle as her main reader. What makes a Kindle ideal for an avid reader is the relatively new technology E ink, which is continually improving, but essentially the technology allows an electronic display to appear similar to print. […]

  • […] this post which shows microscopic photos of an eInk […]

  • […] now, E Ink and iPad have similar resolutions–close to offset newsprint–but what I’m referring to is the creative balance between text and […]

  • […] Podemos ver que la calidad de la pantalla de tinta electrónica que incorpora el Kindle no es distinguible a la de cualquiera de los medios gráficos, mientras que en la pantalla del iPad se pueden ver perfectamente los píxeles. Gracias a: BIT-101. […]

  • […] Podemos ver que la calidad de la pantalla de tinta electrónica que incorpora el Kindle no es distinguible a la de cualquiera de los medios gráficos, mientras que en la pantalla del iPad se pueden ver perfectamente los píxeles. Gracias a: BIT-101. […]

  • Ben says:

    Lets focus on how magnificent the Veho VMS-004 performed and why everyone should go out and buy one !

    Of course I am biased, I work for Veho !

    • keith says:

      It’s a great product. Everyone should buy one!

    • Mai says:

      Yeeeaaaaah microscopes are fun!
      We used to have a tiny one when I was a child, that wasn’t electronic, I think it was my dads for looking at jewellery, and hairs looked like barky tree trunks through it! Those were some educational fun-times; everyone should have that memory!

  • Corie says:

    Flame war go!
    Anyway, this is a great article. I’ve

  • […] screen, multiplied by 24 times over. Keith Peters at Bit-101 used his new USB microscope to examine a few different e-reader displays up really close, and the results are definitely a fun read. The iPad doesn’t do too well, actually — I […]

  • Onaka says:

    Let’s summarize the comments.

    Apple fanboys: “Why are you comparing the Kindle to the iPad the iPad isn’t an e-reader, stop making my e-penis feel small!”

    Everyone else: “Grow the fuck up, the comparison is about display technologies and nothing more.”

  • […] Keith Peters used a USB microscope to take photos of text displayed by an iPad, a Kindle 2, a newspaper, a magazine, and a book. […]

  • Sherena says:

    Hi Keith,
    Thanks for your helpful post. My daughter already has an Ipad, so seeing the difference between the two, as ereaders, really helped me to decide what I want to get for me!
    Thanks again.
    P.S. I really prefer real books, but I can’t take 6 different novels away on holiday with me, so Kindle it is!

  • […] reading Keith Peter’s USB microscope posts, I was inspired to interrogate the world around me with fresh eyes. Also, I wanted so badly […]

  • WOW.Its amazing.I really appreciate your work.Thanks for sharing.

  • Modelki says:

    my favorite because of the division between comments. Making it real easy to read.

  • Florian Blaschke says:

    Let me summarise the comments again for you, Onaka:

    Keith: *posts interesting post showing two products under the microscope*

    KindleFan: “HAHAHA KINDLE >>>>> IPAD this shows what ive always said APPLE SUX!!! FUUUU STEVE JOBS and ur overpriced toys!!!!1 FUUUU his mindless FANBOIS!!!!11”

    AppleFan: “Uhm, let me point out that the iPad is not a dedicated eBook reader but a universal device, much like a Swiss army knife, so the comparison is not quite fair.”

    Keith: “Actually it wasn’t meant to be a comparison. Sorry for unintentionally encouraging the impression.”

    KindleFan: “HAHAHA!!!1 look at that raging APPLE FANBOI!!!!1 he can’t just admit that he’s LOST!”

    AppleHater: “this thread PROVES that apple fans SUCK! GROW UP!!!”

    HolierThanThou: “Have you heard, fanboys? That wasn’t a comparison. It’s obvious from the pics that Kindle is awesome and a far superior eBook reader, but the iPad isn’t bad either (even though its display technology is outdated and crappy, and the product itself is basically useless; yeah you may think it’s awesome and I respect any opinion, but fact is it’s just for fashion-addicted tools who never read books). Now go back into your basement to your Steve Jobs altars, nerds. Leave the adults alone to discuss civilly among themselves.”

    More like this.

    Can’t people just cut out the casual or subtle Apple bashing in almost every single freaking post? Why do you keep retaliating?

    For the record, although I own neither device, both do appear to be awesome products in their own right and valuable contributions to the progress of human technology.

    And while I’ve owned an iPod for several years and recently acquired a MacBook because I needed a new computer after more than five years and it seems to fit my user profile excellently, neither was motivated by blind “following a leader” (a curious criticism given Apple’s actual market share). I still use products other than Apple’s. Yes, Apple products are well designed, but design is more than just a pretty look: a lot of thought goes into them, and people aren’t superficial for appreciating that. They are not always technically superior or perfect in every imaginable way, but adapted to the specific purpose they are meant to fulfil.

    Therefore I take issue with people constantly forcing everyone who defends an Apple product, however thoughtfully, into the “fanboy” stereotype. I find the hating far more annoying than the fanboying, so far.

    Oh, and I want that microscope, too!

  • Lady’s & Gentleman, I shall now settle the argument, it’s so simple, at least you physicists should have gotten it! The Physicists & Thermodynamiisits… LOL!



  • Jasper Janssen says:

    Just to reiterate: I own an iPhone 4, a Kindle 3, and an iPad (1). I use all three devices daily. They do different things, and they do them well. I use all three of these devices more often than I use my TV or my desktop PC.

  • […] are some screenshots comparing the Kindle to the iPad to Magazines/Books/Newspaper. Of course those tests are looking at an iPad, not an iPhone 4. So for the iPad images, imagine the […]

  • Ian says:

    Cool pix made with a cool toy! I love my Kindle 3 for reading during daytime. I love my iPad with Kindle software for reading in bed. My wife appreciates the latter too: no need for a bright reading light.

  • das says:

    maybe but the ipad is in color

    ha ha!

    • keith says:

      Oh, gosh. You got me there. I never even thought about that aspect. I’m sure the plain black text of this novel I’m reading would look so much better in color.

  • […] the benefits of doing some of my reading on an e-reader. And I really cannot help being amazed by [these images] of Kindle and iPad screens under extreme magnification, with magnified print media sources for […]

  • Jack says:

    No doubt the Kindles screen is sharper. As a book reader, the kindle definitely takes 1st place. It’s much easier on your eyes over extended periods of time too. It’s a 1-trick-pony but it does a good job at what it’s meant to do.

  • Arash says:

    Heeey guys. just relax

  • […] porównanie ekranów, które obiegło światowe media wykonał w sierpniu 2010 twórca bloga BIT-101. Oto jedna […]

  • Pavlicko says:

    My goodness, that’s a lot of comments. Love them both – Kindle is my go-to reader, iPad is my surfer, app and music toy.

  • […] I don’t claim to understand how the E-ink works but it looks pretty close to a printed page, making it a complete joy to read. The iPad may be streets ahead in every other respect but are you really going to want to read a book on a back-lit screen — I know I wouldn’t. If you want a comparison between the two displays (literally under the gaze of a microscope), check out this blog post: Kindle and iPad displays: up close and personal. […]

  • Sharon says:

    Wow! Terrific images from an awesome microscope! I love it. You have explained also well the reasons why my eyes gets tired while working on the computer the whole day. Thank you so much. Great blog, I bookmarked your site. Keep doing good!

  • mathew says:

    fantastic images! ive always wanted to see close ups like this but never had the science tools to do it..

  • raymond says:

    Wow! Terrific images from an awesome microscope! I love it. You have explained also well the reasons why my eyes gets tired while working,,fantastic images! ive always wanted to see close ups like this but never had the science tools to do it..

  • […] while.  As I have mentioned before, eInk is much more comfortable on the eyes.   Over at there is an interesting macro photo comparison of the […]

  • James Smith says:

    You are comparing black and white against color. That’s not nly inaccurate, it’s stupid.