Mirasol and Color E-ink Side by Side

There's been a lot of clamoring this week among my readers, and today their curiosity will be satisfied. I'm sure you know that I have a Kyobo eReader, the first device to ship with a Mirasol screen. Since I was the only person at CES who owned one, I got a number of requests to compare this color epaper screen with color E-ink. So on Wednesday I went back to the Ectaco booth and took a bunch of photos and shot a couple videos.

Ectaco had a couple Jetbook Colors on display. These are academic ereaders based on the 9." color Triton E-ink display, and they recently shipped in Russia. They're production models, not engineering samples, so I got the chance actual products - not devices still under development.

I hope you can see the different in the photos, because I won't have a chance to take more. My Kyobo eReader is deadish, and attempts to revive it have failed. I had planned to look at the photos and shoot a second set if these didn't work. But I cannot, sorry.

Update:  It's Not Dead! Yay! But I cannot take anymore photos because CES is long past (dammit). Don't worry, I'm planning to update this post when I get my Jetbook Color review unit. If I have to I'll take both devices to a pro photographer.

I think you can get something from the video, which is embedded at the end of the post. I shot it in 720p, and if you watch it in full res then you should be able to see how the colors on the E-ink screen don't shift.

The cover visible on the Kyobo eReader is from the book ButcherBird. I thought it offered a reasonably rich example that would show the changes quickly.

As for me, I could clearly see a difference when I had both screens in front of me.The Mirasol screen had better color quality - but only in the narrow 20% viewing angle. In that small region, Mirasol showed colors that were both stronger and sharper, while the E-ink screen looked distinctly washed out in comparison. But outside that region the color E-ink screen had better color. And of course neither compares well to LCD, but of course we expected that.

The E-ink screen displayed consistent color across its entire viewing area, while the colors on the Mirasol screen shifted quickly once you got out of the 20% region directly in front of the screen.

I'm attaching the photos I took, but only because I cannot get anything better due to the dead device.  Feel free to point out the best photos so other readers can find them faster.



About Nate Hoffelder (11476 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

18 Comments on Mirasol and Color E-ink Side by Side

  1. What the Kyobo’s front light on for that video and photos? It looked a bit like it was. In which case, we’e comparing the eInk with Ambient light to the Mirasol with frontlight.

    The thing that immediately struck me was the terrible reflections from the glass front of the kyobo. I’d love to learn why they decided to cover the mirasol display with glass. Was it for the front light? Or is a mirsaol screen particularly sensitive to touch?

    Somewhat to my surprise, on this comparison it seem to me that the eInk wins hands down.

    • Yeah, I’m surprised also. I wonder what e-ink would look like frontlit, and why the Mirasol screen couldn’t have a matte surface.

      Thanks for taking these pics, Nate. I guess we’ll have to wait some more for there to be good reflective color screens.

    • Yes, it was on. I set it at the level that I thought was best for the screen to be seen in that lighting condition. The screen would have looked worse if the frontlight was off.

  2. The glare on the Kyobo is just a deal killer for me.

  3. You’re had the Kyobo for just over a week and it’s dead?

  4. I think I’m going with the color e-ink more, there could be money made, if a company was to make it for schools, you check them out to students for the year, they go home and upload there school books from the school site, they can even go to a point setting up a deal with overdrive to help with cost of books for the library’s

  5. Its 2012 and they have to try a little harder to? remove the flashing and refresh rate to make it limitless.

    Gel is the way to the future.

    when are they going to make a real A4/Letter-oriented Gel Display? screen of at least 11.5 inch diagonal.

    all I know is? I AM GETTING ONE. Color – eink – 1600×1200 resolution. YES finally can read magazines improves its resolution considerably and reading will not be a problem and the experience will be much richer.

    100 million colors of Trasparent layers of diffrent shapes of pixel overlaping each other for great quality and rich contrast of graphical real nature images.

    We can put this technology e skin on e ink gel display screen for more performance and improvement. we can overlay e skin on e ink and have organic real paper back display.

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