E Ink 101 – What is eInK?

eeInk on the Amazon KindleInk is the system that the Amazon Kindle eReaders use to display text on the screen.  It’s a bit difficult to explain exactly what it looks like, so I’ll try and show you (please bear in mind though that because you are looking at the screenshots on a computer screen or mobile screen, you are not going to get a true picture of just how great eInk actually is).

eInk (or electronic ink) apparently uses actual, real-live, ink in order to display the letters and graphics on a kindle screen which is how Amazon manages to make the print look so good.  Amazon have also built there own letters up using familiar fonts to ensure that the letters are as clear to read as possible.

eInk and battery life

From what I understand, having the eInk displayed on the screen takes no battery power at all.  The thing that takes the power is loading the page.  I kind of think of it like this…
Imagine having a clean sheet of paper and a paint gun.
You fire the paint gun to make a blob on the sheet of paper, and that takes your energy to pull the trigger.  Now that the paint is on the piece of paper it will stay there, and you don’t need to spend anymore energy trying to keep the paint there.
Now imagine you want to change the paint blob.  You use your energy again to clean the piece of paper and fire your paint gun, but again that’s it.That’s kind of how I imagine eInk to work which is why Kindle devices can run for up to 2 months (mine actually lasts longer than this, but 2 months is what Amazon quote) between battery charging.

Reads Like Real Paper, Even in Bright Sunlight

Because the Kindle’s display is not shiny, or backlit like most computer screens or mobile devices, it looks and reads like real paper (with one exception, which I will come to in a moment). Kindle’s screen reflects light like ordinary paper i.e. you get no reflections and it uses no backlighting, so you can read as easily in bright sunlight as in your living room…great for the beach or by the pool!


The exception to the ‘Real Paper’ comment, and where I disagree with Amazon

Amazon are very busy saying that the Kindle display is as good as real paper, but I have to disagree with them…I think it’s better!  Have you ever read a book, especially a paperback, where you can read the next page (albeit backwards) through the current page you’re reading?  It’s because the publisher has chosen to use poor quality paper….in some paper you can even see ‘bits’.  Well, with the Kindle you get none of that…it’s like every book you read is printed on the best quality paper available.  There is one downside to this however, once you start reading on a Kindle device, you won’t want to pick up another paper book 🙁


  • badri

    May 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    I bought the Kindle a colupe of days ago, and it has been amazing to me. Bought a colupe of books,including The Forgotten Kingdom by Julius Carlos and Sanctuary by Prashanth Nayar, and both stories were amazing! Sanctuary was particularly heart wrenching, a short story that somehow managed to grab my attention from start to finish. Amazing product, have not regretted it at all.

    • Cinquantenaire

      September 1, 2012 at 10:16 pm

      Did you guys heard that Firefox is coming with a new Device just for Browsing. Yeh !!!! So you can carry iPhone for Calling your mom, iPad for pliayng Angry Birds, Dre Beats to hear perfect music, Kindle to read Books. Must hold all in your hands. !!!!