Do You Think the Next Kindle Should Have a Have Color-Shifting Frontlight?

Do You Think the Next Kindle  Should Have a Have Color-Shifting Frontlight? e-Reading Hardware Kindle

One of the surprising details about the second Kindle Oasis is how it doesn’t have a frontlight where you can adjust the color temperature.

Like my counterpart, before Amazon released the 7" Oasis, I was expecting that their next Kindle would feature an integrated color-changing frontlight. Amazon, Apple, and Google had all added a a similar feature to their reading apps, and Kobo had even released a couple ereaders where you could adjust the color of the frontlight.

Kobo was the first to release an ereader with an adjustable frontlight color, the Kobo Aura One, in late 2016, and then they followed that up with the second-gen Kobo Aura H2O, in the summer of 2017.

And now even the Nook Glowlight 3, and the Tolino Epic, have frontlights where you can adjust the color temperature.

So why not the Kindle?

I myself have never found much use for the feature; yes, changing the light emitted from a screen so it has an orange or reddish tint has been proven to actually help make it easier to get to sleep, but I have found it is just as effective to simply put down the gadget at some point in the evening and then not pick it up again. Plus, I've just never liked the idea; whenever I used it, it felt like a bug rather than a feature, and I kept wanting to "fix" it by returning the colors to normal.

I'd never use this feature, but I could be in a minority here.

How about you? Do you think Amazon should add an adjustable frontlight to the next new Kindle?

About Nate Hoffelder (11369 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."

20 Comments on Do You Think the Next Kindle Should Have a Have Color-Shifting Frontlight?

  1. Nate

    Sure why not? I think customer should be given a choice. Don’t forget that some people have to st up late for work. Other might prefer it for daytime reading

  2. Personally, I’d never use it nor do I use it on my iPhone and iPad both of which I think have that feature. To the extent that people like the feature and it probably is a minimal cost addition, sure – put it in for others.

  3. I would appreciate this feature. It’s something I could imagine getting me to upgrade to a new Kindle—my first generation Kindle Paperwhite is going strong several years on, and I can’t really imagine getting a new one short of some noteworthy new features.

  4. I use that feature on my Glowlight 3… I also have an Oasis 2017 which as stated in this article does not have the feature… I do however use the ambient light sensor on my Oasis and have customized it to get pretty dark in situations where the room I’m in is not very bright. My high is set to 18 I believe but my low is set to 12 which it usually goes to…

    I find the ambient light settings combined with eink to be adequate since they ensure that my eyes are not being attacked by bright white light but that said, I love the blue light filter on my nook Gliwlight 3. I also love that it gradually turns redder and redder throughout the day if you set it to. That’s how i have it set up. By 6pm it’s completely sepia… in the morning it goes back to white but never quite as white as if you turn the blue light feature off completely. There’s also an option to just use your choice of the degree of sepia color on the display and not have it change gradually throughout the day. I’ve used that too but prefer for it to adjust based on the time of day. So I’m all for it in the next Kindle and would probably buy the next Kindle regardless of price just for that feature.

    I should mention that I have in fact noticed that when using my nook with the bluelight feature on, I always get a great night’s sleep…

  5. I’m skeptical of the “research shows it helps you sleep” idea — while I know that’s been demonstrated in the case of backlit LCDs as on monitors and iPads, I haven’t seen similar evidence that’s the case with frontlit devices like the Kindle. While I realize that the Oasis still uses blue LEDs, isn’t the difference of frontlit (shining down on the screen) versus backlit (shining into the eyes of the user) different? I’d also want to see how the Oasis’ brightness settings help. I know there’s a big difference between screen brightness at 6 or 8 than at its max settings.

  6. I’ve tried them all. The colored light is a bunch of nonsense. The auto light on voyage never worked either. It is easier to change light manually. Amazon should concentrate on getting the screen evenly lit. All their ereaders have uneven lighting. They all should have page turn buttons as well.

    • I won’t call the temperature settings nonsense as I use it all of the time but I definitely agree the auto-light settings are almost universally wonky, be it on Kindle or Kobo or whatever. They always adjust too often and too drastically and it’s almost always a distraction.

  7. Instead of (better: in addition to) the tinted frontlight, I’d prefer to invert colours. In pitch darkness, light text on dark background makes much more sense.

  8. Yes, please! I bought a Kobo Aura One predominantly for this color-shifting frontlight feature. I find the harsh blue color of the light from current model Kindles to be unpleasant, and definitely prefer a warmer color light when reading at night. I won’t buy an Oasis until it has this feature. It’s too expensive for it NOT to.

  9. Why not? May be someone can use it.
    I personally don’t use all those ‘Night Shift’ tricks on all my devices.
    They either have almost zero effect on my sleep and cause slight discomfort (Night Shift for iOS) or cause huge discomfort as in ‘my eyes HURT, disable this RIGHT NOW'(macOS’s Night Shift, F.lux for Mac, Twilight for Android) (I don’t have eInk reader with adjustable color yet).

    • Interesting. I have these settings permanently enabled on all of my devices for the same reason. I find I have much less eye strain when they are enabled vs disabled.

  10. I read in bed and then fall right to sleep. I don’t believe the color of the light on an e-ink screen has anything to do with sleeping.

    There was some research that pointed to that as a possible issue. I don’t think anything was definitive. Phone makers jumped on that as a new feature to boost sales and began marketing that as a problem. It’s a problem we’ve been sold.

    I do most of my reading on my Paperwhite and my Voyage. I also have the Glowlight 3 and I read my last couple of books on that. I never bothered with the orange light. I read till I got sleepy and I slept well.

    Barry

  11. Yes, It is an added value and I don’t think it has an added cost

  12. I have no problem with the light the way it is. Like Barry, I read till I get sleepy. The light does not keep me awake. What I would most appreciate would be better battery life. The battery of the Oasis 2 is appalling. Thus I have returned to reading on the first Oasis most of the time

  13. I don’t have a Glowlight 3, so I don’t know how I would like it. I am open to trying it though.

  14. Yep, I have the brightness set very low and the natural light setting permanently enabled on my Kobo Aura One. I much prefer the “look” of it and think it is much closer to a paper book feel than the default light on a Kobo or Kindle. At high brightness, the default light is far too white. Print books simply do not look like that. I’ve only seen a few print books with bright white paper and they are awful. At low brightness levels, the default light makes the screen sad blueish gray that I find completely unappealing. I tend to believe the cautions regarding blue light before bed but I mainly use the setting because of a preference for the warmer color.

    I also typically have the warmer color adjustment permanently enabled on my computer monitors, regardless of time of day. I prefer the warmer tone and I don’t work with images or anything else that requires proper color settings, so why not? As someone who works on a PC all day, I find that leaving the setting on all the time greatly reduces eye strain.

    • I ditched my Kindle Voyages in favor of the Kobo Aura One because of the light setting. I would absolutely switch back to the Kindle if the next model included this feature. But until it does, no deal.

  15. No. I’d prefer the Invert Black & White feature of Kindle Oasis 2 (which apparently needs hardware support, i.e. newer cpu/gpu).

    I think orange background makes it harder to read when there’s no external light, does not reduce the amount of light enough, while ‘dark theme’ is more effective at this, and indeed is something I use nearly all of the time (not just for reading in the dark).

    I do use ‘night shift’ as well on tablets/phone/desktop but that is because it is somewhat subtle and helps when using apps without a dark theme. Even so, I’d prefer that all apps support ‘dark theme’ and that there were system-wide control over when to turn it on, or just turn it on all of the time.

    I think discomfort people have reading in the dark is 1) it is probably not such a good idea in the first place and 2) it is difficult to reduce light while preserving clarity of text – reducing light means pupils open up and one relies too much on ability to focus with or without glasses (even autofocus cameras have trouble in weak light). I do read in the dark but only for relatively short periods of time.

  16. Just like Will, I find the research on the subject rather scanty. Maybe there has been more research on the subject in the past couple of years, but when I tried to research this in detail (back in 2016) I only found one study from 2014 where they studied 12 people, under rather peculirar conditions.

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