Anyone Using New Blue Shade Feature on Fire Tablets?


Last month Amazon released an update for the newer line of Fire tablets that run Fire OS 5 to add a new Blue Shade feature, among other things.

Blue Shade is intended to help improve nighttime reading on tablets by filtering blue light to help with sleep and lowering brightness levels for less eye strain.

Some studies have shown that exposure to blue light before bedtime can make it harder to fall asleep because blue light can inhibit melatonin production in the brain, which helps regulate healthy sleep patterns.

The effects of blue light and sleep haven’t been proven yet, and I’m personally skeptical of most studies. Testing a dozen people for a few nights using an iPad at full brightness can be considered a “study” in this day and age. Then the press gets a hold of it and inexplicably treats it as facts worthy of reporting as if it applies to everyone everywhere.

The idea that staring into a bright light for an hour before bedtime is likely going to make it harder to fall asleep as fast just seems like common sense to me. Is it easier to fall asleep in a dark room or one with bright light streaming through?

This whole blue light thing has been blown out of proportion, in my opinion. It doesn’t take a genius (or poorly executed studies) to figure out that light and sleep don’t go together. And if melatonin suppression is a concern, melatonin supplements are rather inexpensive.

The biggest problem is most tablets’ screens are way too bright at the lowest setting. I’ve always had to use screen filter apps on Android tablets and the super low brightness trick on iOS to tolerate using tablets once the sun goes down.

So for me, the Blue Shade feature on my Fire tablet never gets used. I don’t like how everything gets colored in a red/orange hue, and it’s hardly any different from using the sepia theme anyway. I still use the free Screen Filter app instead to dim the screen brightness below the lowest setting; it’s not perfect but it works without changing the color of everything.

Another popular option is the Twilight app, which is similar to Blue Shade but there are a lot more settings and configurations. It’s worth checking out too.

Lots of people prefer to use the black background and white text option for night reading. What about you? Do you like using the new Blue Shade feature on Fire tablets? Has using it made it easier to fall asleep?

10 Responses to “Anyone Using New Blue Shade Feature on Fire Tablets?”

  1. On my iPad I use the black background/white letters on the Kindle app but I really like the Nook app which allows you to make further changes to your color schemes. On the Nook app at night I use a black background and dark orange font which helps – for me anyway – prevent eyestrain. Though I only read on the tablet while my e-ink Voyage and Nook Glow Plus are in need of charging. From screen shots of the blue shade I really do not think I am going to like it.

    • There is also a way to turn on the low light filter on iPads and iPhones. Just Google low light filter for iPad. It’s easy to set up.

  2. I’m with you — just can’t get past the orangish / redish tint, which for me is too much of a distraction. I will say that when I’ve tried it and gone back to the normal screen, it’s striking how bright it is in comparison. Guess I’m lucky, but I’ve never had a problem sleeping after reading on my tablet. I have found that dimming the screen does help me with eyestrain, in conjunction with a black background/white letters.

  3. I think it’s mostly the reporting that’s blown the studies out of proportion. The studies I’ve read about suggest that there might be an issue but they don’t really try to draw any conclusions about how much it might affect sleep. The blogs, however, are making all kinds of wild claims about it.

    In the past nearly 2 weeks I’ve been trying to read exclusively on my phone using Moon+ to see if I like it. It does limit the length of my continuous reading but if I take a break every 15 minutes and look away for a bit it seems to be fine.

    Anyway, during the early part of this little test Moon+ added a blue light filter as an option and I turned it on to try it out. I don’t notice any difference in how quickly I get to sleep but I do notice a difference in how easy it is to read the text. I had carefully fine-tuned Moon+ to my tastes and I thought I had it just about perfect but this blue-light filter deepened it somehow and it looks better. Contrast has improved a bit and I like the way it shifted the color. I’m sticking with it.

    I don’t have the new Fire but the blue light filter might soon be available on my Fire HD 6, assuming it’s not already, and I’ll give it a try and see how I like it. But I definitely like it on Moon+.


  4. I have been using it and have found that at least for me, it helps me fall asleep faster.

  5. With android, I use the Bluelight Filter app and am quite happy with it. It makes nothing orange but instead provides something of a warm pale yellow tint, not unlike dim light from tungsten lightbulbs. It looked a bit odd at first, but took me about 5 minutes to adjust to it. Now, it’s normal.

    I also like it’s built-in dimming slider which, in combination with aldiko’s finger-slide dimming feature, makes it remarkably easy to get just the right amount of dramatic dimming for reading in the dark-dark-dark. Fine tuning is as easy as sliding a finger up or down the left edge of the screen.

    ps: I’ve read the research and I don’t think it’s a scam. I’m not worried about it, I take melatonin anyway, so it doesn’t really matter to me. But I do think there is something to it. Some may be over-selling it, but that doesn’t mean it’s bunk.

    • I have that turned on all the time on my android phone and I have noticed that I haven’t been getting as many headaches.

  6. FWIW, blue light does suppress the production of melatonin by up to 50%, in particular light with a wavelength of around 470-480 nanometers. It also doesn’t take a lot of light to reach the maximum suppression: the response is logarithmic.

    So you have to reduce the amount of blue light emitted by several orders of magnitude to really see a difference. This filter might well be enough to reduce the suppression though (assuming an LCD contrast ratio of 1:1000, it could be up to a 1000x reduction in blue light).

    Of course, merely suppressing melatonin production by 50% probably isn’t going to make you *less* sleepy (just less than if you weren’t suppressing it at all), and the idea that melatonin is the primary factor in falling asleep is contested at best. Suggesting melatonin supplements as an alternative probably isn’t a great idea – too much melatonin can have side effects, and you might build up a dependence if nothing else.

  7. I have been turning off the blue shade at night when I read and have noticed 2 things: 1) I stay asleep longer, and 2) Can definitely notice reduced eyestrain in the morning.

  8. i don;t know what i did to turnon Blue Shade how do you turn it off????