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How Colour Ereaders Work
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How Colour Ereaders Work - Introduction



Colour ereaders work just the same as any of the devices we use today, from mobiles and games consoles, through to 3D TVs and laptops. They're filled with circuitry that uses electrical power and a processor to display images on a screen.

Of course that's a very simplistic overview.

But the reality is we don't need to get deep into how a colour ereader works from an overly technical perspective. The main thing is to understand how colour ereader displays work, and what technology drives them. It's the display technology that delivers what we see, and that's obviously the key part for us to appreciate if we want to be in a position to get the best colour ereader to suit our needs.

When reading any colour ereader reviews, one of the most important points you’ll notice is the focus on whether the screen is an E-Ink one or an LCD. There are some key differences between E-Ink and LCD displays that definitely affect how well, where best, and in what conditions your eReader going to give the best results.


E-Ink Displays



Many of the monochrome (black and white text) ereaders available today make use of a technology known as e-Ink. This technology is what helps eReaders to be easier on the eye, and manufacturers are always trying to outdo each other in terms of how good their screens look. Reading text on an E-Ink screen compares extremely well to the experience of reading on paper

E-Ink displays are far more comfortable to read than traditional computer screens due to the fact that they do not make use of a refreshed image, and they allow natural light to reflect (rather than emitting their own light).

E-Ink screens work using electrophoretic technology in a similar way to most of the current ereaders on the market. Black and white charged electronic particles float in a dielectric fluid, while enclosed in a tiny micro capsule.  These minute particles gravitate towards an electrode when an electric field is applied to them, which causes the surface of the display to look black or white at that point. The newer colour E-Ink ereaders work in a similar way but use red, green, blue and white powders.


An E-Ink reader display is not backlit in the same way as an LCD screen. It's not constantly drawing power, it just uses power when it needs to change the displayed image. The more light you have, the better the reading experience. You can't read on an E-ink reader in the dark unless you have an external light source.




LCD Displays



The arrival of the colour ereader has seen increasing use of LCD displays similar to those we see in laptops, PC monitors, and tablet Pcs. These are better suited to displaying a full range of vibrant colours, and also to handling other entertainment media such as video and games. LCD technology works by twisting "liquid" crystals to create all colours in the spectrum.

The twisting crystals are not able to emit light so need to rely on a backlighting source, either supplied by CFL florescent or LED technology. LCD type colour e-readers are backlit so they can provide sharp and vibrant colors in all light conditions except when they're used in direct sunlight. Even so the LED technology that drives the LCD displays in the highly popular Nook colour is reasonably good at giving a good reading effect even in sunlight. The fast refresh rates you get with LCD colour ereader displays result in nicely flowing graphics and a sharp focus on text and images.

In the reading stakes though - plain and simple reading of text - E-Ink displays win out.


Summary - The Differences Between LCD and E-Ink Displays


LCD and E-ink screens work best in different situations and conditions, so comparing them from a colour performance perspective is difficult. It's clear that for reading books in black and white text, E-ink performs better than LCD. For a colour ereader, LCD displays sacrifice some level of readability for color, and that tends to render them more useful as multi-purpose or learning devices


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The Differences Between E Ink and LCD Displays