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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.



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Paul Durrant January 12, 2012 um 5:16 pm

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.

yuzutea January 12, 2012 um 5:46 pm

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.

Nate Hoffelder January 12, 2012 um 6:18 pm

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.

Video – Mirasol vs E-Ink Triton a colori – Netbook News January 12, 2012 um 6:05 pm

[…] anche nei video hands-on pubblicati lo scorso dicembre. Sotto il filmato. Trovate altro foto su the-digital-reader.Tags:CES 2012 E-Ink ePaper Triton e-ink vs mirasol Ectaco Jetbook Color Kyobo eReader Qualcomm […]

CJJ January 12, 2012 um 6:28 pm

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

zinj January 12, 2012 um 7:06 pm

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

Nate Hoffelder January 12, 2012 um 7:28 pm

2 weeks, but yes.

reichsputin January 13, 2012 um 5:09 am

What have you done to it?

Mike Cane January 13, 2012 um 7:08 am

Yeah, WTF? I thought by "dead" you meant the battery, not the entire device!

piratomon January 14, 2012 um 10:06 am

Would you recommend the Jetbook over Kindle DX Nate?For textbooks and medical articles ( many diagrams and color images).
Tablets with LCD displays are great but not suitable for constant reading.Does it worth the extra ~120$ even for washed out colors?
I need an A4 e-ink reader.Could we expect and alternative in that size until June?

Nate Hoffelder January 14, 2012 um 11:13 am

Jetbook Color over KDX, definitely! Ectaco is planning to add more updates to the Jetbook Color. That promise of future support, when added to the extra hardware and software, makes this the better buy.

But I don’t know of any 14″ devices, other than Fujitsu’s FLEPia’s ereaders in Japan. There’s certainly nothing coming with an E-ink screen that size (that I know of).

reichsputin January 14, 2012 um 11:33 am

Fujitsu’s FLEPia only exists in 8″ size.

No epaper larger than 9.7″ expected in the years to come.

Nate Hoffelder January 14, 2012 um 11:46 am

No, I’m pretty sure that they had a larger screen before.

reichsputin January 14, 2012 um 12:17 pm

It was only announced, but not released. They’ve also a 2nd gen screen about two years ago, but it never hit the market.

Robert L. January 12, 2012 um 10:56 pm

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

Colour EINK neben Mirasol « Walfischbucht January 13, 2012 um 5:36 am

[…] Mirasol and Color E-ink Side by Side […]

Mirasol vs Color E Ink vs Pixel Qi – Which is the eReader of the Future? | The eBook Reader Blog – eReader and Tablet Reviews and News January 16, 2012 um 2:50 pm

[…] and color E Ink. Like I said, I haven’t tested either in person yet, but Nate from over at The Digital Reader posted some pictures, a short video, and some thoughts comparing the two. Here’s a quote: As […]

Pantallas a color: Mirasol vs E-ink « Mi experiencia eReader January 21, 2012 um 3:57 am

[…] son el Kyobo ereader, el Bambook Sunflower y el Havon C-18. Pues bien, hay imágenes (gracias a the digital reader) en las que podemos ver a uno de ellos junto al Jetbook Color de Ectaco, el cual usa una pantalla a […]

Slatta July 25, 2012 um 11:56 am

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.

Nate Hoffelder July 25, 2012 um 12:05 pm

Wrong. The resolution of the Jetbook Color (when showing color and not b\w) is not 1200×600. The correct resolution is only a quarter: 600×800. Please get your facts straight.

Nathan July 25, 2012 um 3:32 pm

Funny that I even came across this and noticed it but I just got this exact same comment on my blog from the same person at 11:50. I couldn’t decide if it was spam or not given the link to Jetbook. I ended up marking it as spam :).

Nate Hoffelder July 25, 2012 um 4:33 pm

That’s what I suspected.

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