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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  • AndrewJacksonZA - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Some repetition on page 2 (the paragraph is difficult to read in my opinion):
    "The stylus / pen supplied as part of the DPT-S1 is passive. It doesn't need any batteries. Not recharging is necessary. The Wacom digitizer is 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, allowing the pen to be passive."
    Yes, thank you, we know the pen is passive.
    Reply
  • nikon133 - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    So... from all that is said, I'm under impression that pen just might be passive..? ;) Reply
  • dsumanik - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    800 bucks? suck wang sony. Reply
  • Byte - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    I love my ereaders, had a 3rd gen sony and amazon kindle paper whites now. BUt $800? Just get an ipad pro already. Reply
  • Alexvrb - Saturday, December 19, 2015 - link

    But they don't compete with the iPad Anything. The only competition to e-ink displays is... other e-ink displays. Backlit displays are a whole different ballgame. For example, I have a tablet. I also have a Kindle Paperwhite. The paperwhite is great for long reading sessions for a number of reasons such as tremendous battery life (days or weeks) and zero eyestrain. The built in edge frontlight is fantastic. The latest gen Paperwhites (and their more expensive Voyage brethren) are even better. This gets more important the older I get. If you have good eyes you won't regret staring at LCD/LED backlit displays all day and night for a few more years at least. ;) Reply
  • bernstein - Tuesday, December 29, 2015 - link

    sure but that kindle is $150... compared to $500 for an ipad mini... granted there are good $200 android tablets. since they exist kindle has stagnated. cause a lot of people just have money for one and willl get the more capapeble option... so i'll get a surface 4 pro... cause thats a $900. sure it's not as perfect for reading but it's a whole lot more versatile...if i can spare another $800 before that surface 4 or my iphone 5s gets obsolete well i'll happily buy one :-) Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    From it's need to be recognized as passive, and that it's stated so many times, perhaps the pen is passive-aggressive. ;-) Reply
  • moozooh - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    You know, that's interesting, because a passive-aggressive entity is passive in its aggression. The pen, however, is aggressive in its passivity, which would then make it aggressive-passive. Reply
  • Tams80 - Sunday, December 20, 2015 - link

    I heard it's active.

    If passive * passive = active and I count eight direct or indirect references to it be passive...
    Reply
  • xthetenth - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    How is the lag between writing and stylus input appearing on the screen? That's a major concern I'd have with an e-ink screen. Reply

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