Front Light vs. Back Light: Why Front Lights Are Eye-friendly

3 mins read

The wind is roaring and blocked by the window when you unfold the next chapter with an e-paper device by the fireplace. The subtle light emitted by the dancing flame can’t light up the screen and you know where your finger should tap: the front light button. Toggle it on and adjust the brightness until every word looks sharp on paper. No need to turn on a lamp or leave the cozy cushion. That’s the happiness that only a front-lit device can give you.


Fortunately, BOOX equipped almost every single E Ink tablet with front lights. We struggled to balance aesthetics and functionality when developing Note Air and Note Air2. Finally, like what we insist on from the beginninginnovating versatile E Ink devices to match more people’s needswe added the front light even on a device that was intended to be slimmer. And we didn’t regret it.

However, people sometimes mix up the front lights with LED/LCD backlights and take that the front light would hurt their eyes. As the name suggests, the front light and backlights are not in the same place of a device and work with different principles.


Light Emitting Diode (LED) backlights or other backlight types are placed behind the top layer of a screen.

They emit the light directly shooting into your eyes. The lights are more even due to the dense LED, but they plus the high refresh rate and blue light will cause eye strains possibly followed by headache and nausea.


On the contrary, The front light is placedin front of the E Ink screen and under the bezel. The little small bulbs aim their light sources inwards to the screen and light up the display. So you can see the screen because it becomes brighter. As the front lights are placed around a screen, it’s challenging to make a larger screen illuminated evenly. Although with such limitations, we achieved the highest illuminance uniformity on our 13.3’’ Max Lumi and Max Lumi2.



Moreover, the front light reduces the deteriorating blue light. BOOX Nova2, one of our models tested for blue light performance, has been verified to have photobiological safety lights.



The front light is not meant to destroy the simplicity of a device; it’s designed to give you the light whenever you need it. Sometimes you need to read in weak ambient light, write even though it’s inconvenient to attach a clip light, and jot down the ideas when you sit in the dark and think independently. The front light is indispensable and creates more possibilities for your work.



You have to endure the backlight at the office staring at charts and sheets on computer screens. You’re lured to receive the blue light passively when playing TikTok or Instagram on your mobile. But, please, at least give your eyes a rest. The sky is getting darker as the winter stays, nothing is better than holding a front-lit, eye-friendly BOOX by the fireplace for leisure reading, note-taking and doodling.


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