Since the beginning of e-ink readers and tablet computers, kindles and iPads there has been a debate about whether back-lit LCD screens cause more eye strain than the more paper-like e-ink screens. When I first reviewed the Kindle 2 I admitted then that the Kindle’s e-ink was “easier on the eyes” than reading on a laptop or tablet. Then the iPad happened.
I bought the original iPad to try it out and over time found myself using it more and more. When the iPad 2 arrived I sold my iPad and moved up to the iPad 2 and over the next several months found myself using that iPad2 more to read everything than the Kindle 2. Then I began travelling a lot for work and for vacations and in the process began looking for ways to “downsize” the gadgets I carried with me. In the process I started weaning myself from the Kindle. Yes it had much better battery life, but I wanted – almost needed that iPad as it many times replaced my laptop AND e-reader on trips. Finally this summer I gave away my Kindle to my daughter since I was using it so little.
Now many months and books later I’m finding I miss that Kindle’s e-ink screen. Many days I work on a PC all day with it’s dual-screen LCD and then at home catch up on my reading, researching and even working on my PC and iPad at home. And you know what I’m finding? My eyes are really strained – I think from non-stop LCD viewing. Over the next few weeks I’ll be reviewing the new Kindle Fire tablet and the new Kindle touchscreen e-ink reader. I’m pretty confident I’ll be going back to using both a e-ink Kindle AND a tablet. If I can get away with a smaller tablet like the Kindle Fire I might even keep that lighter load goal I’ve been working towards.
What about you? Do you think there is something to the eyestrain argument against back-lit screens versus paper or e-ink?