Hardware Platform

In the previous section, we had a brief description of the external hardware aspects of the Sony DPT-S1. A few aspects not noted over there include the presence of a microSD slot on the back as well as a micro-USB charging / data transfer port just beneath the navigation / context menu buttons at the bottom. The microSD slot can accommodate microSDHC cards up to 32GB in size. The back panel also includes a reset hole that can be activated with a pin while booting up to restore the device to factory conditions.

Thanks to a forum member over at mobileread, we have some insight into the internals of the system. The pictures linked in the forum are reproduced in the gallery below.

The board shots reveal the following components:

  1. Freescale i.MX508 application processor (single core Cortex-A8 at up to 1GHz)
  2. Samsung LPDDR2 K4P8G304EQ x32 8Gb (1GB) DRAM
  3. SanDisk 4GB eMMC 4.51 19nm flash (SDIN7DP2-4G)
  4. Wacom digitizer
  5. Neonode zForce NN1001 optical touch controller

In addition, the FCC ID printed in the back (VPYLBWN572) indicates the presence of a Murata WLAN module which internally uses a Atheros AR6003G 1x1 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz radio-on-chip WLAN controller.

The stylus / pen supplied as part of the DPT-S1 is passive. It doesn't need any batteries. No recharging is necessary. The Wacom digitizer is also passive in nature. According to a forum post on mobileread, it is possible to use non-Sony digitizer pens with the DPT-S1. This indicates that Wacom's EMR (Electro-Magnetic Resonance) technology is in use. The power requirements for EMR are satisfied by the display side. The digitizer generates a magnetic field that allows energy inducement in the pen's resonator. This can, in turn, be detected by the digitzer to determine the coordinates of the pen's position and its orientation.

The DPT-S1 has a touchscreen with multi-touch support. The teardown reveals an optical touch controller. The DPT-S1 integrates a set of light emitters and detectors along the edges of the screen and an optical light guide to the neonode touch controller IC. The IC controls the light sent out and also monitors the detectors. Changes in lighting conditions can indicate the presence of a touch object. The coordinates can also be calculated by the IC once calibration is in-place.

The device contains a rechargeable Li-ion battery rated at 3.7 V DC, 1270mAh. With the supplied 5V @ 1.5A USB charger, Sony indicates that full charging can take up to 2.5 hours.

Coming back to the general characteristics of the hardware, we find that the rear side of the device is a fingerprint magnet despite not being glossy. The front screen itself, thankfully, is not that bad. The navigation and context menu buttons make an audible click when pressed. While this is good feedback, there appears to be a lack of consistency across the three buttons in terms of the force required for activation. The placement of the power button in a slanted panel works perfect, but some users might prefer the power button elsewhere. The placement of the micro-USB port is unfortunate in the sense that the device has to be taken out of the sleeve for charging purposes. All these are minor aspects in the overall scheme of things.

The physical characteristics of the E-Ink Mobius screen (8" x 10.625" with a 13.3" diagonal, 1600 x 1200 resolution and 16 levels of grayscale support) have already been discussed. Readers might be wondering if a 13.3" tablet would be a good alternative if the backlighting / eye strain issue is not a big problem.

The above photograph shows the same graphics-heavy PDF page displayed on a Sony DPT-S1 and a Dell Inspiron 13 7000 series in tablet mode (13.3" 1920x1080 touchscreen). Despite the absence of color capabilities, it is obvious that the aspect ratio of the DPT-S1 leads to a better experience with the perusal of the content.

Introduction Software and UI Aspects
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  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    To really screw things up, though, different countries measure screen size differently.

    Canada measures viewable sizes (from the inside of the bezel) while the US measures actual screen size (including any parts of the screen hidden underneath the bezel).

    This probably isn't that big of a deal any more with LCD panels, but it was a huge deal back in the CRT days. A 27" TV imported from the US could actually have less viewable area than a 24" TV in Canada.

    Aren't "standards" wonderful? :)
    Reply
  • Murloc - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    screen diagonals, case bay dimensions, jack plug length etc. are in inches everywhere in the world because of historical reasons and because they're standard sizes (not the screen diagonals but the other things), so the number in inches could be replaced by any other name just as well, so it doesn't really matter how long it really is for consumers who have to understand if the optical drive will fit in a case. You could call them A and B instead of 5.25'' and 3.5'' but there's no point really. Reply
  • Levish - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I'd grab one around $350 to read ebooks / manuals.
    Not sure if doable if dropping the digitizer / pen input / touch input.
    Not like there are any available alternatives in Eink.
    Reply
  • Amandtec - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    As someone who suffers from eyestrain something like this is a godsend. But I want it to be able to handle email, run Word and Excel, and have built in sim slot and and cover based keyboard. Reply
  • ganeshts - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I think you are looking for an E-Ink monitor / notebook - maybe something similar to this: http://the-digital-reader.com/2015/06/30/dasungs-1... : I am not sure why these 13.3" E-Ink devices are not coming to the market fast enough. Reply
  • Coup27 - Saturday, December 19, 2015 - link

    I think everybody suffers from eye strain if stare at white on a computer screen long enough. Make sure you are using the colour invert feature of Windows magnifier when spending hours in Word, Excel etc. Makes you work white on black instead of black on white and that is a godsend. High contrast for Chrome does the same thing for webpages also.

    I am a designer and use AutoCAD most the day. They realise this and work with a black background. Why Microsoft and most websites insist on as much white as possible dumbfounds me.
    Reply
  • phoenix_rizzen - Tuesday, December 22, 2015 - link

    If you wear glasses, consider getting your next pair tinted yellow. A 10% yellow tint has done wonders for eye strain and dryness at work (staring at a computer screen for 7 hours). I'm tempted to try a 20% yellow tint on my next pair.

    Also really helps with driving.
    Reply
  • Beany2013 - Saturday, December 26, 2015 - link

    I've noticed less eyestrain now that I'm using Redshift to auto-tune the blue out of my screen after dark. I know that's not what it's there for (it's meant to help you sleep better by pulling the blue out of the image - which means you get all melatoniny and drowsy at night) but it seems to help quite a bit.

    Redshift is the linux variant, I have Twilight on the Android phone, and I'm sure a Windows/Mac OS X variant exists, too.
    Reply
  • surft - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Wioshing E-ink in color (i.e. Prism) would be made available in consumer portable products. I'd like to read my huge library of Franco-belgian comic albums on the go more often. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Me too, unfortunately the color e-ink available to us is lacking on saturation. Comics/magazines are just so washed out that it's just not worth the asking price. We'll get there someday. Reply

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