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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  • Samus - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Yeah, GREAT review. This is why I love Anandtech. Engadget and the like would never touch something like this.
  • ganeshts - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    I think it is light enough. Any lighter, and I think it would get very flimsy. Hopefully, these types of large screen E-Ink devices come to market soon. Competition will definitely help drive down the price of the DPT-S1 further.
  • Murloc - Friday, December 18, 2015 - link

    yes I have a small one and it's totally fine to read pdf with small pages or slide stacks, but if the documents are A4 you'd have to zoom in and shift around which is simply not possible with the long refresh time unless you want to kill your eyes.

    My sony reader which is much older than this actually features the automatic cutting out of the white space, so I'm surprised it isn't included in this one.
  • Raniz - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Dimensions in inches and weight in grams? Pick one system (metric)!
  • Kepe - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Display sizes are reported in inches everywhere. I've never seen a TV, laptop, tablet, phone or a computer display size being reported or advertised in millimeters or centimeters, and I live in Europe.
    BUT this is only true for the diagonal size of a display. When reporting how tall/wide a screen is, for me it would still be more informative if metric numbers were used.
  • ddriver - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Oddly enough, the only 3 countries in the world still using imperial units are the US... Burma... and... Liberia. Still cherishing the good old days of colonialism I guess. Gotta use imperial, even long after the empire died and went for metric.
  • name99 - Thursday, December 17, 2015 - link

    Myanmar (Burma) does not exactly use imperial units. It uses traditional Burmese units (consequence of being detached from the rest of the world for two generations) but is on the way to SI (metric). The legal formalities have been performed, and I expect that over the next few years as infrastructure is added and replaced, all signage will be in metric.
  • Tams80 - Sunday, December 20, 2015 - link

    The UK uses a mix, and I'm sure there are plenty of other countries (particularly past colonies) that do. In the UK, some of these are very deeply embedded as well; such as miles.
  • Beany2013 - Saturday, December 26, 2015 - link

    In the UK, the generation born in the 60s and 70s are pretty entrenched in imperial, anyone born after that is generally pretty au-fait with both. 1 x 1.6 for km-miles, etc.

    I still get confused with gallons and litres, but as the only time I see it as at the petrol pumps, I'm more concerned with how light my wallet is getting, and how lighter I should really be pushing the right-hand pedal in the car.

    I do use kilos for everything, except my weight, because weighing myself is such a wholly disappointing experience that I've stopped doing it, and that's the only time I used to use stones.

    Actually, let me rephrase that - those of us born in the 80s are mathematical freaks.
  • 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? :)

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