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Faster Page Turns?

Amazon Kindle Touch Review And Fourth-Gen Screen Quality Update

Amazon boasts that its fourth-gen Kindles achieve faster page turns as a result of two factors. First, it says it uses a slightly faster SoC at the heart of the device. Second, the new Kindles allow page turns without blanking the screen.

Kindle (4th gen) - Page Refresh Off

Normally, when an E Ink display changes its image, all of the microcapsules have to be unpolarized to reset the screen. That's what happens when you see the screen go completely blank during a page-turn. It's a lot like shaking an Etch A Sketch.

Kindle (4th gen) - Page Refresh On

The new Kindles take a shortcut by unpolarizing the visible microscapsules and then polarizing only those needed to display the next image. The result is a faster page turn, yes. But it's not without a side-effect.

Without resetting all of the microscapsules, you end up with a bit of ghosting, illustrated in the picture above. The effect is slightly exaggerated due to lighting. In a dim setting, the more faded text is only slightly noticeable. In direct sunlight or a well-lit room, it's almost impossible to see.

Also, the effect is made intermittent by the Kindle's options. When you disable Page Refresh, the E Ink display still performs a complete refresh every every six or so page turns.

Amazon Kindle Touch - Page Refresh On

Amazon Kindle Touch - Page Refresh Off

We haven't yet recorded any evidence that toggling the Page Refresh option improves the time it takes to complete a page turn. Every video we have from our 1000 FPS high-speed camera yields the same time difference. Hit play on both of the sequences above to see for yourself (focus on the words "singular tragedy").

Amazon Kindle Keyboard - Input Lag

There might be some difference between the Kindle Keyboard and its predecessor, but it's hard to tell. In the real-world, we consider those claims of better performance to be a wash.

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