What characteristics do I need to look for in an LCD to ensure it is easily readable in the daytime

Adding more info: Low power, smaller size < 4" diagonal, either monochrome or color. Bitmap , not character.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How big & how many? If you just want one or two small ones, you could cannibalize an old GameBoy Advance. \$\endgroup\$ – Michael Kohne Jul 31 '10 at 12:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes, more details please. Do you require color, or is monochrome ok? What resolution? size? etc \$\endgroup\$ – davr Jul 31 '10 at 16:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ I've found the LCD on my Nokia phone to be relatively daylight readable but my cheap Sagem is almost completely unreadable. Maybe something to check out: PDA or phone LCDs from Nokia and other slightly higher-end phones. \$\endgroup\$ – Thomas O May 19 '11 at 15:47

Reflective LCDs are available, the Palm IIIx PDA I used some years ago had one. It gets more readable with high light levels!

  • \$\begingroup\$ Many of the standard character LCDs which lack backlights are reflective. Newhaven Display also sells a number of reflective modules, just search for 'reflective'. (As well as their more popular transflective and transmissive modules, see here: newhavendisplay.com/app_notes/LCD_Variations.pdf for a comparison.) \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jul 31 '10 at 16:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ The GameBoy Color used a reflective full-color LCD, and TI graphing calculators used a reflective pseudo-color LCD (I think varying the activation level of a pixel would change the hue). I don't know why I haven't seen reflective color displays for sale anywhere, nor have I seen them used for the outside display on cell-phones, since they'd seem very useful. \$\endgroup\$ – supercat May 19 '11 at 15:05

Don't forget e-Ink the PixelQi display, and Cholesteric LCDs.

PixelQi at MakersShed
Cholesteric Displays
e-Ink Dev Kits (Expensive)

  • \$\begingroup\$ And you can buy those where? \$\endgroup\$ – starblue Jul 31 '10 at 9:16
  • \$\begingroup\$ There you go. Added links. \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Jul 31 '10 at 11:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ Cholerteric should be Cholesteric. These are cool because they're really low power! Also, I'm not sure if the PixelQi is suitable for embedded systems, it's more designed as a plug-in module, with a datasheet to help laptop makers create conforming products. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Aug 3 '10 at 3:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Whoops, my spellchecker doesn't recognize either. As for the PixelQi screens, a screen is a screen. It's true they are 10" displays, but that's the display size on the i-pad. If it uses a 10" lcd, it can probably use the PixelQi display (with modifications). \$\endgroup\$ – Connor Wolf Aug 3 '10 at 22:27

The only displays that I would consider daytime viewable are organic LEDs. Expensive but excellent contrast and saturated colors.

  • \$\begingroup\$ The Stellaris dev kits use grayscale OLEDs from Ritek Display, and have driver source code available. The complete LM3s6965 dev kit is available for less than $70. \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jul 31 '10 at 16:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ Blech. Forgot that some comment markdown isn't available on SE 1.0 sites. When do we go to 2.0? \$\endgroup\$ – Kevin Vermeer Jul 31 '10 at 16:18
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have used a product with an OLED display and would definitely not consider this usable outdoors on an averagely sunny day (UK). Having to shade the screen to read anything is a real pain. \$\endgroup\$ – uɐɪ Aug 4 '10 at 11:07

Most character module LCDs are transflective with an LED backlight. In sunlight or good ambient they are easy to read.

In low ambient with the backlight on, they go into three transmissive mode and are readable.

I think dark blue digits on the anti freeze green polarizer probably has the highest contrast in sunlight or ambient.

Graphics modules have less contrast and reduced viewing angle as the pixel on time is shorter due to higher much rate.


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