IMG_20151206_205942I finally got to try Amazon’s loudly trumpeted Blue Shade feature on the $50 Fire tablet. And the results are, frankly, fairly awful. But if you want to use it, this is how you do it – and how it looks.

Courtesy of a parental visit, I actually got to compare a plain-vanilla unmodified Fire with my highly modded version. And my parents’ Fire actually has updated to include the Blue Shade functionality. I’m not sure why mine hasn’t: Amazon’s Settings screen shows no system updates waiting under Device Options. However, on my parents’ device, the pull-down window shade quick settings panel includes a Blue Shade icon – which looks like a bed.

Activating Blue Shade via that icon gives you a sort of washed-out sepia effect across the Fire’s entire screen. The result is fairly ugly and looks, in fact, like some kind of screen failure – which is exactly what my father thought it was when he activated it by accident. You should be able to see above what a difference this makes to the basic screen colors – and the bed icon at the top of the screen. Contrast with the screen below – which also shows you the control button for the Blue Shade feature.

There actually isn’t much point showing Blue Shade on a text page because this is where the feature … ahem … shines. If you have a sepia background to your Kindle text pages, or whatever other e-reading app you use on your Fire, you won’t really see much difference at all with Blue Shade on or off. Which may mean that sepia page backgrounds miss out those nasty dangerous blue wavelengths anyway. I’m not worrying about this myself, since I already suspect that the warnings of the dangers of blue wavelengths from screens are junk science anyway. But for those who really feel they need this feature, this is what it is and how it works. Me, am I Blue? Nope.




  1. I don’t see any problem with Blue Shade on my Fire. It works exactly how it’s supposed to, and makes the screen look about the same as my desktop under F.lux or my Android phone under Twilight. The reddish-orange is caused by the relative absence of blue. (They probably should have named it something other than “Blue Shade” given that it’s actually removing the blue light, but whatever.)

  2. The BlueShade feature and this article kinda miss the mark about the blue light wavelength. These little tablets and gadget emit the light natively from the screen and no amount of changing the color of the picture is going to help. You can prove this by powering off the device and moving the screen around under natural light. You will see that the screens are inherently blue. The ONLY fix to this problem is covering the whole screen with, essentially, another screen that filters out the blue wavelength similar to those As-seen-on-TV blue blocker sunglasses with the orange lenses.

    • Um…laws of physics much? Color is caused by light wavelength. If you change the color, you are changing the wavelengths of light that are emitted. There’s no such thing as invisible blue light—you can’t get blue wavelengths being emitted without the color of light you’re seeing having that blue in it. If your picture is more orange, that means it’s less blue, which means less light of those wavelengths is being emitted.

  3. This is a nice feature for nighttime reading (especially on bright white webpages or Facebook), however the new button takes the place of the bluetooth icon. Now if I want to access bluetooth I have to hit Settings > Wireless > Bluetooth. I would rather have the bluetooth button back!!

  4. In my experience blue shade feature makes for an infinitely more soothing reading experience when the lights are low, in bed for example. If by “ugly” you mean muted, softer tones and lower contrast than, yes. But for people who find bright lights at night disruptive before bed, this “ugliness” makes for a better late night reading experience.

  5. Blue light is not “junk science.” I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome; SADS. When the short days of winter come, I get panicky and depressed. I use a blue light supplement in the morning and evening to trick my brain into thinking it is summer. It works.

    In that same way, blue light at night keeps me up and disrupts my sleep. I use the Twilight filter on my android device for night reading or browsing. I look forward to the Blue Shade feature on my Kindle.

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