Is This Discoloration on the Kindle Paperwhite’s Screen Normal?

Kindle Paperwhite Discoloration

As I mentioned in the Kindle Paperwhite video review the other day, the Paperwhite’s front lighting isn’t perfectly uniform over the entire screen like all the pictures suggest over at Amazon.

For the most part it’s not a big deal. At the bottom of the screen there’s sort of a wavy shadow created by the LED lights that is more visible in lower ambient light than bright light. I don’t find it very distracting, but I do continue to notice a slight discoloration toward the upper half of the screen, and I’m starting to wonder if it’s normal or a defect.

If you look closely at the picture above, you can see sort of a bluish-green shadow that starts below the second line and goes down through the second paragraph, with a slight yellowish tinge surrounding it that’s not as white as the lower half of the screen.

The discoloration is subtle, but it is noticeable while reading. See how much darker the background is behind the words in the fourth line “I found him smoothing” than it is behind “coat of the”. Then compare that with the lower half of the screen where the screen is at its whitest.

If you’re having a hard time seeing it in the picture above, here’s a customer picture uploaded at Amazon that shows a more severe case—the colors are not nearly that bright on my Paperwhite.

The picture I took above is a fairly accurate illustration of the slight color variances on my particular screen, although it’s a hard picture to take. As you can see it’s not a big deal. The lighting is still a lot more uniform than using a reading light. But seeing as how the discoloration is more noticeable on some screens than others, and the fact that some pictures online don’t show it at all, it brings up an interesting question: is a slight amount of discoloration normal on the Kindle Paperwhite’s screen?

How about you. Does your Kindle Paperwhite have any discoloration aside from the shadows at the bottom? I find it’s not very noticeable in bright light, more so in areas with lower ambient light.

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18 Responses to “Is This Discoloration on the Kindle Paperwhite’s Screen Normal?”

  1. It’s not uncommon. Mine also shows the uneven lighting you mention.

  2. My Paperwhite also had that blueish hue in top section. It didn’t bother me too much, but I also had a dead pixel so I returned it. I think I will stick with my Kindle 4 and a light for now (or my Kindle Fire with the Screen Filter app).

  3. The Paperwhite I received has a similar color palette and pattern to yours, just darker shading all around with very little white background. In the rush to get this to market, quality control went out the window. I did not expect a perfectly white screen as in the adverts, neither did I expect this mess. Until now, Amazon’s ereaders had pretty good quality control as far as putting out a consistent product. Oh well, live and learn.

  4. I wonder if this could be related to the increasing frequency/density of downward-pointing nano light directors, which supposedly increase in number toward the top of the screen (presumably in relation to the distance from the lights at the bottom of the screen). At least that’s what some of the diagrams they’ve shown would seem to imply (that the numbers increase), which I assume means the light needs to be directed/reflected more frequently as it weakens farther up the screen.
    I’m probably not using the correct terminology here, but I do wonder if the discoloration could be related to the changing pattern in the fiber-optic overlay on the screen.

  5. I’m finding that my traditional light works fine on a similar screen on my Onyx i62HD (6 inch, 1024 by 758 pixels). Sure it can be tricky to position the light, but you eventually learn how to do it and you don’t have these kind of light distribution problems. I wonder if the integrated lighting feature, while a promising idea in concept, is really not going to work effectively.

  6. Mine has the “wavy lines” at the bottom but nothing at the top. If I go 1 down from the highest light setting the bottom discolorations disappear on mine.

  7. Mine has the shadowing across the bottom. Pretty uniform throughout the rest of the screen though. Kinda bummed about it, I love my kindle, always have enjoyed amazon. Have yet to see a picture of one with the perfect light distribution they claimed from the day of its release and in all their marketing. Be honest about it from day one and you’d have a lot happier customers. (*some light shadowing across the very bottom if the screen is normal in certain conditions and light intensity*) problem solved.

  8. I have decided to send back my Kindle Paperwhite unopened. I have read far too many negative reviews (over 30 on the Amazon site iteself) and know I will be disappointed in this rushed to market dud.

  9. Joshua, it’s a shame you sent it back without opening it, because if you opened it and it was defective you could send it back for free anyway. I know it doesn’t look good to see so many bad reviews, but look at it from another perspective:

    – There are 390 reviews as of this writing

    – Amazon has sold VASTLY more than 390 units since the launch

    – People are more inclined to provide feedback if they have something negative to say than if they have something positive to say (venting)

    – Some 5-star reviews say they see nothing wrong with their display (specifically referring to uneven lighting and discoloration)

    Taken all together, these observations tell me that Amazon is selling a LOT of good units, along with some duds. It’s worth it to roll the dice.

  10. I, too, noticed the wavy lines at the bottom and
    wondered if this was “normal”. It is somewhat distracting
    to me when reading. I was expecting a better
    reading experience.

  11. I sadly received my Kindle Paperwhite today only to discover, a poorly lit display with color blotches. This is not a quality product and people shouldn’t settle on a poor quality product. Amazon should not have raised customer expectations about the clarity of the screen. Yes the fonts are extremely sharp, but you have to put up with a discolored display. There’s no reason at any price point for consumers to put up with such poor display quality. I have another Paperwhite arriving next week, I suspect I will send them both back as defective.

  12. I have been trying to convince myself that this unevenness doesn’t bother me but now that I’ve read many of the comments above, I’m sending mine back. It’s not ready for prime time.

  13. Received mine today had not read any of the issues on the screen but noticed 4 thumb marks at the bottom of the screen. Rang Amazon and they are going to replace which says to me it is a quality control issue. Only problem I have to wait until mid December for the replacement. I guess they must be busy sending out substandard screens up to the Christmas period :(

  14. I see the very same bluish/yellow/green spots on my screen. It bothers me tremendously! It distracts me entirely from reading the book. So I end up turning it down to the 8-12 light range, which makes me read it under my OttLite, which is a nice even fluorescent white. Why the heck did I get this “paperwhite”? I’m going to try to exchange it, if I get more of these bruises on the screen. I’m returning it for a regular Kindle, which is a lot cheaper and has more space on it.

  15. I had the same pink and blue discoloration issues with my Kindle Paperwhite. Went through 2 replacements which also had the same issues, the only difference being the location and shading of the discoloration.

    This is a picture of the original unit: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mC36rvO3L.jpg

    This is a picture of the 3 units side by side: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nfrpYO98L.jpg

    These discolorations are very distracting to me while I read and take away from the reading experience. Not to mention the fact that it’s nothing like what Amazon advertises in terms of lit screen quality.

    I spoke to 4 different people at Amazon via chat and received different answers. One said it was definitely not normal. Another said it was normal variations. Very frustrating. I returned them all and I’m now doing research on the Kobo glow instead.

  16. I am a kindle paperwhite user form China.Rencently i also found the blue shadow on the screen.When i turn off the back light it is hard to see but when i turn the light to the brightliest,it got realy obviously.

    what is Bad that i am in China and can’t return kinlde to Amazon..

  17. Mine has the dark spots at the bottom, which amazon now says are normal (see site).

    Mine ALSO has pink and blue-green areas on the screen. They look about the same or perhaps slightly darker than the ones in your photo. They have a similar pattern as well (they are in approximately the same places on the screen). If I turn the light way down, they are not as visible. I called amazon (05/29/2013) and the person said she had NEVER heard of this issue before! She offered to have me return it, but I decided not to do so. I think I can get used to it. I need a Kindle with 3G and my old one broke. However, I am disappointed that it does not have the even illumination that is described in the ads. Maybe it is just extremely difficult to do, and that is why no one else has done it.

  18. I have had 3 KPW in a row with very bad blue and pink hues across the entire screen; gave me headaches trying to read it for any length of time – in the end, after a couple of hassle-free exchanges (Amazon do this very well, it has to be said) I returned the last one for a refund (this, they aren’t so good at, keeping back a ‘restocking’ amount until I complained my KPW was faulty, not a ‘change of mind’ return) and purchased a Kobo Glo instead.

    The KGlo is fantastic in comparison, completely uniform and free from any discolouration at all… it does have the same ‘dark fingers’ at the bottom of the screen that the KPW has, but that is part of the frontlit technology.

    Don’t let Amazon CS bamboozle you – I got the same “we’ve never heard of this before” response on every separate occasion I called for each KPW return and subsequent refund (in Feb\Mar\Apr 2013) – and each time I pointed them to well documented sources regarding the discolouration issues “on their own forums” along with user uploaded product photos (mine are there as well).