Outdoor Viewability- comparison pics and discussion of tablet pcs being used outdoors

Discussion in 'The Tablet PC Life' started by MasterKuni, Sep 15, 2011.

  1. tabletdummy

    tabletdummy Scribbler - Standard Member

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    How does T730 compare to them? Similar to T5010 I guess?
     
  2. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Well, it's been a while since I've posted here, but I recently sent my x200t into Lenovo to have some repairs again, and I figured it was an opportunity to explore some new devices and see how they compared. The verdict? I have a new machine! The x230t.

    IMG_0847.jpg

    Here's the comparison of all 3 devices outdoors, side by side, with the sun to their back. The t902 is on the left, the x200t SBO in the middle sitting in its Ultrabase, and the x230t Outdoor model on the right. In this orientation, all 3 perform OK. It's late afternoon on a cloudy day, and the sun isn't too powerful. Still, it's clear that the two Lenovo devices do best. When you get up close to the t902, the milky reflections are very overpowering.

    The Lenovo's look for more yellow in the pic than in real life, though it's one of the ways they seem to deal with high brightness situations. They're completely normal indoors, very white, etc, but there's shift in color when outdoors that seems to help with viewability. The sort of cross-hatching or banding you see is not really there in real life-- it has more to do with the camera and how it reacts to the anti-reflective layer. The image is quite clear in rl. Of course, the t902 isn't designed for outdoor use at all, so perhaps its an unfair comparison. But I thought it might be useful to compare a top of the line "Anti-Glare" screen with what I consider two excellent "Anti-Reflective" screens.

    the t902 with a semi-matte Anti-Glare layer
    IMG_0850.jpg

    the x200t Superbright outdoor with an Anti-reflective layer
    IMG_0849.jpg

    the x230t Outdoor model, with a new, slightly different Ant-reflective layer
    IMG_0848.jpg
     
  3. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Here's the follow up posts with a few more pics in various lighting situations-

    t902 with sun in front and to the left. The reflections become very milky and powerful. Basically can't see anything clearly unless its in your shadow.
    IMG_0856.jpg

    And with actual glare on the screen. Here you get complete blow out. It's clear the device is made to cut glare, not reflections of clouds, etc.
    IMG_0853.jpg

    The x200t and then the x230t with sun in front and to the left. Quite readable. No major issues on either machine.
    IMG_0852.jpg

    The x200t and then the x230t with sun reflecting directly off the screen. What's impressive is how well it suppresses the reflections even in this circumstance. I would normally just move the screen or laptop if I had this kind of reflection going on, but I included it mostly just to show how each screen handles the situation differently.
    IMG_0854.jpg
     
  4. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    Finally, I wanted to note that there are some slight differences between the Anti-reflective screens on the x200t and the x230t.

    The x200t has that "valley of shadow" that has often been noted in this thread, but interestingly the x230t Outdoor does not. The x230t Outdoor does have a kind of "banding" that can occur when it diminishes powerful reflections. It's not there normally-- only when reflections are super powerful, such as in the pic where the light is directly reflecting off the screen. The screen is wonderfully functional in bright light situations such as these pic demonstrate, but it's also very nice to work with in more normal circumstances too- the screen is bright and clear, with rich colors and excellent viewing angles. I would say the x200t runs redder, and the x230t runs bluer, but, only being an amateur digital artist and not a photography pro, I find both more than acceptable.

    The screens also have different nit ratings-- the x200t is 400 nit and the x230t is only 300 nit. What's impressive to me is that the x230t doesn't feel significantly dimmer. Perhaps it has to do with tech development over the last 3 years, better contrast ratios, or whatnot, but the screens are really comparable, IMO, in terms of real world functionality. I will say that the x200t does get slightly brighter, that's clear, and it also gets dimmer, which I miss and can be useful at times. Still, all in all, given the incredible boost in cpu power and available ram, as well as a number of other improvements (audio, etc), the x230t is a clear upgrade, and just as good for outdoor work.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  5. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope. Senior Member

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    Where do you think your Q552 would place in this comparison? The X230T outdoor viewable has no touch?
     
  6. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    I actually have some pics of the q552 outdoors that I was going to post for reference-- not that you've not seen it! I should do some comparison pics of it too. IMO, the q552 is very functional outdoors, but largely because its a small, light slate that you can hold in one hand. This means I can change the angle of the screen easily all the time. For "pure" outdoor viewability, the x230t is an easy winner, IMO, but comparatively, in terms of functionality, they're both perfectly fine.

    The x230t has a clearer image-- no screen door affect from the touch digitizer, and no milkiness from an anti-glare coating/cover. The q552 is clearly more "milky". However, the q552 is very bright (at 400 nits, its even brighter than the x230t, in fact), and color is still pretty good. The q552 also obviously has touch, which the x230t Outdoor does not. I think it has something to do with how they bond the screen for outdoor viewing, and how they apply the AR coating, but the short answer is that the "Outdoor" screens from Lenovo have never had touch, while other models have. This is an essential feature for how I use a slate mobilely, but it is not how I use the x230t Outdoor at all-- I set it up like a work station on a picnic table or on the tailgate of my truck, and input measurements from there with the keyboard. The slate is almost solely for pen input or viewing info while standing, etc. In the field, the laptop is almost solely for typing or running programs that need a keyboard and mouse, such as Sketchup Pro.

    For those who haven't seen a q552 outdoors, here's the pics I have on hand, to illustrate.

    Here it is in the shade, outside. Perfectly readable, though a lot of tablets and slates are ok too-- though still not as good as this one.
    IMG_0176.jpg



    Here it is in full sun. It's pretty obvious to me that it's not as good as the x230t Outdoor, but its perfectly workable since I can easily change the angle of the slate to view it best, and really-- its almost the only game in town for a good, tough, hand held, penabled Windows slate with any kind of true outdoor viewability.
    IMG_0178.jpg
     
  7. AndreR

    AndreR Scribbler - Standard Member

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    The x230t outdoor version seems to be much, much better than the multi touch version. I am impressed on how well it seems to perform despite 300nit.
     
  8. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Here's a shot of the Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga beside a Microsoft Surface Pro 2 sitting in indirect sunlight. Both are legible. The Surface Pro screen is brighter and sharper, but reflections are much clearer, where the Thinkpad defuses reflections.

    Outdoor1.jpg
     
  9. surfaceproartist

    surfaceproartist Scribbler - Standard Member Senior Member

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    Under the same lighting conditions, but in tablet mode with the screens pointed directly skyward. Reflections on the Surface Pro's bezel are almost more distracting than the ones on the display.

    outdoor2.jpg
     
  10. Steve B

    Steve B Moderator Moderator

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    My review of the Thinkpad Tablet 2 for Outdoor Use--

    I have recently picked up a Thinkpad Tablet 2, and after some testing, it's going to be replacing my q552. There are a number of reasons, which I'll go into, but the big surprise to me was that I've found the screen's performance out of doors more than adequate, if you give it a semi-matte screen protector. I was honestly quite concerned it wouldn't hold up, but I've been very pleasantly surprised.

    The TT2 is rated as 350-375 nits. The q552 at 400. However, screen tech endlessly advances, and the contrast ratio on the TT2 is significantly higher (presuming the q552 has the same screen as the q550, which is the only one I could find contrast ratio info on). The TT2 is about 1200:1, the q552 is about 750:1. I'm assuming that's the difference. Whatever the case, I transferred the exact same screen protector I've been using on my q552 onto the TT2, and the the device, IMO, is performing fantastically. Very easily readable. Easily as good as the q552 IMO.

    I just wrote up an estimate for client using the provided skinny Wacom pen (with silo!) and emailed it to him in the field using the tablet's 4g and Win 8.1. A wonderfully smooth and productive experience! I'm sure it would be even better if it had a real AG layer like my x230t, but the ability to shift a tablet's position around with ease level's the playing field.

    Do I wish it had a 16:10 ratio? Yes. Would it be nice if the pen was thicker or its little button more ergonomically placed? Yes. But it's WACOM! Writing was smooth as molasses, and really very accurate around the sides. As edge-accurate as Ntrig? Perhaps not, but it was usable enough I wrote right up to the edges of the screen despite a bit of cursor drift, which is all that really matters. And even more important, the inking experience was smooth and responsive- absolutely no vectoring or choppiness. Yay! The devices strengths have far outweighed its issues- touch input is fantastic, I find navigating Win 8.1 very smooth and functional in the field, its 4g capable so I can access and mail off data in the field or car, it has a silo, and its Wacom. I wish it had a rugged build, but you can get a Griffin Survivor case for it (from which I'll be removing the sp and replacing it with one of these semi-matte Fujitsu jobs), which will make it drop proof. For all that, I can give up 16:10 and aobut .4" of width.

    Since the Griffin Survivor case comes with a attachable stand, I'll be getting the bluetooth TT2 keyboard, and will be testing the combo out for mobile keyboard input. I'll be reporting back with pics of the device in the Survivor case, but for now, here's the pics I've got.

    The proofs in the pudding (the pics down below), but, to me, this tablet is easy to recommend as a secondary device for outdoor work. Throw in that it's Wacom, that it has a silo, that it's 4g capable, that it has very smooth touch input and runs Win 8.1 without a hitch, and the transition is a no brainer for me. And including the Griffin Survivor case, it'll only put me back 425$. Half of which will be covered by selling my q552.

    Please pardon the terrible job I did installing the screen protector, which was basically wiping down the naked screen and then ripping the screen protector off of my q552 and slapping it onto the TT2 for testing purposes.


    Here it is outside, with the sun off to the side. Mildly milky, but quite readable. I find it even better in real life than it is in the pics. As usual, there's some scattering/ "webbing" that occurs in the photos that is just the way the camera interacts with the screen.
    photo.jpg


    Here it is in direct sunlight coming from over my shoulder. The sp diffuses reflections, and the rest of the screen is readable. In truth, I found even better than it was in the pic as well. Not fantastic, but still quite readable, particularly in high contrast programs like OneNote, where you're basically just using black ink on a white background.
    photo(1).jpg

    And here it is in a bright-light, highly reflective indoor situation. In my truck. Very usable. Honestly, it looks like... well, like normal.
    photo(2).jpg
     
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