The Laptop Screens and LCD Panels That Perform Best Outdoors

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The Laptop Screens and LCD Panels That Perform Best Outdoors

One of the biggest benefits of owning a laptop is being able to take the computer out and work on the go. They are designed to be portable, and useful in any number of different situations and this is one reason why many consumers opt for purchasing a laptop instead of a desktop computer when given the choice. Laptop users who purchased the machines with thoughts of taking it along with them on outings to remain productive while away from the office may experience disappointment the first time they try to use the laptop outdoors.

While designed to be portable, most laptop screens are nearly impossible to read in bright light or outdoors. This can frustrate some consumers. In order to avoid this frustration, a wise laptop shopper will consider where the computer will be used most often before purchasing. If it is likely that the user will want to take the computer outdoors on a regular basis, then determining what screens are most readable outdoors will be of utmost importance.

What Makes Outdoor Use so Difficult

Venture outside with the laptop on a day that is even moderately sunny, and frustration is sure to strike. Viewing anything on some of the most popular laptop screens is guaranteed to be nearly impossible in high light level condition. That is because, in general, most laptop screens are just too glossy to be visible outside; the screen produces too much glare for the image to be readable.

The main way to combat the glare is to turn up the brightness on the computer, but many screens simply cannot get bright enough to be truly viewable, and increasing the brightness drains the battery at an alarming rate. Because most users leave the power behind when they walk outside, the drain means they run out of power to quickly to truly work efficiently.

Choose Matte, Not Glossy

The first concern for computer users who want to work outside often, or in high light situations, is to find ways to cut the glare. The majority of laptops are manufactured with glossy screens that have the negative effect of producing a glare in many lighting situations. These screens are so popular because they present crystal clear images and maintain the proper contrast of the display. They also make the laptop look really great, which is a prime marketing goal. These glossy screens also appear to be the ones most consumers are interested in.

For outdoor use, however, the shiny gloss is unbearable for reading or viewing anything on the laptop. Although they are not as common as glossy screens, many manufacturers do produce computers that come standard with matte screens, or that have that option available to consumers. Choosing a matte screen cuts the glare a considerable amount because the light is not reflected directly back at the eyes.

Many users who choose matte screen are pleased with their performance, even compared with the crispness of a glossy screen. In fact, most manufacturers who provide this option worked to develop matte screens that look as sharp as their glossy counterparts do.

The Right Brightness Level Matters

In order to compete with the brightness of the sunny, outdoor light, the light coming from the computer must be adjustable. Most computer screens do include adjustable brightness levels, allowing the user to increase the screen brightness in high ambient light conditions, and dim it when light levels are lower. It is important to note, however, that not all screens are able to be sent to a brightness that can compete with outdoor light levels.

The brightness of the screen is measured in nits, which is a unit of measurement that equates to one candle per square metre. In order to compete with the outdoor light level, the computer screen should be able to display a minimum of 500 nits. Many screens only have a brightness output of between 200 to 300 nits. The higher the number of nits, the better for outside reading, so the consumer who will often venture outdoors should certainly look for one of these high brightness screens.

Unfortunately, that brightness comes with a price. The high light level uses power at a very fast rate. For this reason, many computers equipped with the type of screen also have high capacity batteries. These batteries can also be purchased separately, which is a good idea for people who will routinely be staying out for long periods of time.

Quick Fixes for the Most Common Screens

Many consumers are not in the market for a laptop that is specifically intended for outdoor use but would like to be able to take the computer outside occasionally. These consumers prefer options that make their laptop work for them on those occasions when they do venture out. The following chart lists some solutions to help cut the glare without buying a completely new computer.



Turn up the brightness

Adjust the brightness of the computer until the level is comfortable. Keeping it at the lowest level that is comfortable will help conserve battery power

Seek shade

The reason it is difficult to view a screen outdoors is because the screen has to compete with the sun brightness. Give the computer an edge in that competition by seeking the deepest shade available

Create shade

Where shade is not available, create your own. Use the laptop case or whatever is available to shape the screen

Wear shades

Wearing ordinary sunglasses can help to diminish the effect of the glare off the computer screen

Choose a matte screen protector

Matte screens make viewing outdoors more comfortable; a matte screen protector can have the same effect

These fixes, obviously, will not be optimal for users who prefer to work outside on a regular basis. They can, however, offer relief for users who find themselves occasionally battling the brightness outside.

Alternative Technology

The absolute best choice for outdoor screen viewing may not be feasible for many consumers. The technology may be too difficult to find, it may be too expensive, or the consumer may have already purchased a usable machine and may not be in the market for another. In these situations, it may be best to change the game plan and explore other ways to be productive outdoors.

One of the main activities most users need to do on a computer outside is read, either literature about work or work documents. Of course, there is always the standby, traditional paper versions of these, but many manufacturers have invested a sizable amount of money into the technology that brings us eInk readers,, products like Amazon ' s Kindle and Barnes and Noble ' s Nook.. These devices have digital displays that do not compete with outdoor light; instead they present the text much the same way paper does, and are more easily read in bright light than in dimmer conditions. Thousands of books are sold for these readers, and most allow the user to send personal documents to the device.

Buying Laptops for Outdoor Reading on eBay

Laptops that are optimised for outdoor use can be difficult to find in the marketplace. They are sometimes available in electronic and technology shops, but more often than not, they must be purchased from the manufacturer's website or other online resource. eBay sellers regularly list a number of laptops that are optimised for outdoor use, or that include options that enhance readability outdoor.

When purchasing any technology, it is important to review all the information about the item thoroughly before purchasing. Understand what is included in the sale, the condition of the item, and any additional fees, such as shipping. Some previously owned items for sale may require additional purchases of the necessary equipment, such as chargers or batteries. Because these are often sold at bargain prices, this situation is usually not a problem for the consumer who has read the information and has taken the time to understand everything about the item they are purchasing.


Laptop computers offer users the ability to pick up and move conveniently and effortlessly. Being productive and staying connected is possible from virtually any location because of the technology that has been put into these devices.

Unfortunately, they are not comfortable for many people to use in every location. Outdoor conditions and rooms with high light levels make viewing the glossy laptop screen virtually impossible, which can drastically cut into productivity. Consumers who use their computer in this type of condition on a regular basis benefit from purchasing one that has been optimised for use in such conditions. These include laptops built with a matte screen instead of glossy, and those with high brightness levels.

In situations where the glare is just too much, a laptop that is optimised for such conditions allows the user to remain productive regardless of the surrounding light levels. For computers that have not been optimised for outdoor use, there are a number of tricks and additional accessories can be used to cut the glare and enable productivity.

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