The Jetbook Color 2 Shows Why Color E-ink Screens Are a Dead End
Sadly, my Jetbook Color 2 arrived yesterday and the new screen for the most part is not visibly different from the screen on the original Jetbook Color.
Sure, the blacks are darker, and the colors are a little brighter, but unfortunately E-ink’s second-gen color E-ink screen has the same gray base color as the previous screen. It is a gray that is so dark that the original Kindle actually has a whiter screen.
To put it simply, E-ink has once again made a color screen that can show you any color except white. I find that incredibly disappointing.
Here is the old and new Jetbook Color side by side. Guess which is the new screen:
Just to be clear, one of the ereaders above is indeed the Jetbook Color and the other is the Jetbook Color 2.
But if I didn’t tell you that the new screen was on the left, would you have been able to tell? I couldn’t, and I had to confirm by email that I had a Jetbook Color 2.
Take a good look, folks, because the above photo explains why no major ereader maker, not Amazon, B&N, Kobo, or anyone else, bought E-ink’s screen and released a color ereader. It’s a pretty simple explanation: the screen is too gray.
In spite of all the hype, and in spite of however we might wish it weren’t the case, E-ink simply cannot yet make a color screen that doesn’t look gray. This company has now released 2 different screens and sold them to device makers, and both screens are an unacceptable gray.
The image at right shows a basic diagram of the filter and the underlying E-ink screen. The red, green, blue, and white squares represents the filter, and the bubbles beneath the squares represent the E-ink screen.
The E-ink screen that is under the color filter is the same basic screen as on pretty much any ereader (except the newer HD screens). It works exactly the same as the E-ink screen on any other ereader, only thanks to the color filter you see RGBW instead of black and white.
Only it cannot show you white.
As I understand it, the problem is that when the screen tries to show the color white, it still has to work through red, green, and blue filters. The reason you cannot see the white color is that your eye mixes the tiny, tiny RGB filters into a single color:
Let this post stand as my formal notice that I am giving up on color E-ink. Unless someone comes up with an amazing breakthrough, I don’t see how an E-ink screen will ever come close to replicating the quality of color we expect to see on a screen, much less paper.