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Old 09-26-2005, 11:50 AM
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Default VGA screens in direct sunlight

Ever wanted to know how the screens of the iPAQ hx4700/PL720 compare to other PDA's in direct sunlight?

Unfortunately, current transflective screens (see Wiki for an explanation of the tech. terms) aren't as good in direct sunlight as earlier reflective ones. As the outdoor visibility of VGA Pocket PC's is a commonly asked question, however, I've made some comparison shots so that you can see the difference. Please note that there is no Dell Axim x50v/ x51v in the test I don't have one. Note that, as the iPAQ hx4700 and the Fujitsu-Siemens Pocket Loox 720 have a Sony screen built on exactly the same technology (only differeing in their actual DPI), these test shots also show how .

In order to see the indoors difference (and the superiority of these PL720/hx4700 screens to the other, tested screens), you may want to read this and this articles.

To summarize, the iPAQ hx4700/PL720 screens aren't at all bad in direct sunlight. If you have a WM2003 QVGA iPAQ (like the 2210) or a Palm transflective device, it's clearly better. It's, of course, worse than most reflective devices like the iPAQ 36/37/38xx's. You will be able to live with it, though, even without backlight, if you plan to use them, for example, in a car.

Some images (click them for the original, untouched, non-downscaled/sampled versions be warned, they're 5Mpixel images and well above 1 Mbyte) or some of my PDA's:

- PL720 : VGA transflective
- iPAQ 2210: QVGA transflective
- Casio E-125: QVGA transmissive (the worst-behaving screen type outdoors)
- HP Jornada 720: HVGA transmissive (not in all tests!)
- iPAQ 3660: QVGA reflective (the best-behaving screen type outdoors and the worst indoors)
- Palm Zire 71: a beautiful HiRes transflective screen
- (finally, my S-E t610, which is also transmissive it has a very bad screen, outdoor visibility-wise)

Note that the iPAQ 2210 and the Zire 71 had a traditional Brando screen portector on them; the PL720 a Brando Ultra Bright one and the rest of the PDA's didn't have any. Incidentally, this is clearly visible on the shots the traditional Brando screen protector greatly reduces reflection, unlike the Ultra Bright version / the original touchscreens of these PDA's. This is why the reflected image of my hand is much less visible on the 2210 scren than that of the 3660 (no screen protector) or the PL720 (Ultra Bright protector.

From the bottom right (so that you can have an idea of how they behave from angles), full brightness (which considerably helps transflective screens and is the only way to get transmissive screens seeable to a certain degree at least), no additional photo correction:

From the front, full brightness, no additional photo correction:

From the front, full brightness, strong image post-correction (this is why the screens are seemingly much more visible this is just a trick, made by the camera, by just increasing the brightness level of dark(er) areas):

Finally, a shot from front, with no or, with the E-125 and the Palm Zire 71, minimal) backlight. As can be seen, the PL720 fared far better in this test than the iPAQ 2210, but considerably worse than the reflective iPAQ 3660:

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