When display devices are used in direct sunlight or struck by other powerful reflective light sources, they frequently suffer from reduced visibility. At home or in the office, users can close the blinds or adjust their screen orientation. However, combatting lighting that overwhelms backlit LCD panels can be a major challenge in commercial, industrial, and military field applications. With the growth of the LCD panel industry as a whole, the importance of new technologies that prevent sunlight from washing out displays for outdoor use has never been greater.

Let’s take a quick look at what sunlight-readable monitors are, how they work, and where to get them.

How Sunlight-Readable Monitors Work

The first iterations of high-brightness LCDs were usable, but not without their share of problems. Many early model high brightness displays frequently resulted in much greater power consumption and shorter battery life than traditional LCDs. And to shed more light, they used significantly greater energy, frequently resulting in device overheating, which impacts battery life and the lifecycle of each LED on a panel. Today, various technologies allow for much greater battery life, heat management, and visibility among sunlight-readable monitors through a few different methods.

On an LCD, the light we see comes from white backlighting that passes through each pixel. The colors and images we see are determined by how much light passes through each adjustable red, green, or blue element. When the pixel is off, it appears black. LCDs include a light diffusing material between the backlight and the LED pixel layer, scattering the backlight and ensuring it doesn’t show up as bright spots on your monitor.

There are two basic ways to make an LCD brighter and readable in sunlight. The simplest is to increase the backlight’s brightness. LCD brightness is measured in nits, with an average brightness of 250 to 450 nits. 800+ nits is generally considered sunlight readable, and most sunlight readable monitors are 1000 nits. Increasing the brightness of the LCD panel backlight is the most common method of making an LCD panel sunlight readable.

Transflective Materials

Another way to make an LCD sunlight readable is to change the diffuser material between the LED backlight and the LCD pixels to a transflective material. Transflective material is similar to reflective sunglasses or a one-way window where the shiny side faces the LCD surface. Sunlight entering the LCD panel travels through the pixels, bounces off the transflective material, and reflects through the pixels to your eyes. This system significantly reduces sunlight’s impact on viewability, as the light reflects back through the pixels and contributes to the LCD brightness.

A drawback of transflective diffuser LCD monitors is they don’t allow as much of the backlight to pass through the diffuser material, so they can be darker and harder to see in low-light environments.

Optical bonding

Optical bonding is another method of improving monitor viewability in direct sunlight or other high-bright environments. In a touchscreen computer, the touchscreen sensor and the LCD panel are separate components, with the touchscreen mounted in front of the LCD surface and a small air gap between the two. When bright light passes through the touchscreen layer, some amount of light is reflected between the LCD surface and the touchscreen, reducing visibility. With optical bonding, a transparent adhesive gel is placed between the LCD and touchscreen. The gel hardens, bonding the touchscreen to the LCD to eliminate the air gap and enhance visibility.

Surface Treatment

In addition to advanced construction methods, it’s possible to make devices more sunlight-readable using surface treatments. The most common are anti-reflective (A/R) films and coatings and anti-glare processing. A/R surface treatments are made by depositing multiple transparent thin film layers onto an LCD monitor. The thicknesses, structures, and properties of each individual layer composing the film are designed to alter light wavelengths and reduce reflection. Anti-glare surface treatments are achieved by fragmenting reflected light using a rough surface and reducing disruption of the display image. These surface treatment methods can also be combined to enable displays to provide bright and clear pictures in all types of lighting conditions.

How is sunlight-readable monitor visibility at night?

The full brightness of a sunlight-readable display may be overwhelming at night, but most industrial computers with sunlight-readable monitors are available with manual and auto-dimming features. With an auto-dimmer, an ambient light sensor on the front bezel measures incoming light and adjusts the backlight brightness to match the current conditions. This is typically required for industrial touchscreen computers used at all hours of the day.

Common Uses of Sunlight-Readable Monitors

Touchscreen computers in vehicles commonly require high-brightness LCDs because of the ambient sunlight coming through the windows. Sunlight readable LCDs are also used in many indoor applications surrounded by windows, such as air traffic control centers, railroad cars, marine vessels, agriculture machinery, and public kiosks.

Finding the Right Sunlight-Readable Monitor for Your Application

A sunlight-readable monitor solution is essential for any commercial, industrial, military, or other application where bright light may impact the usability of a digital display. As the leading provider of industrial sunlight-readable LCD monitors, AbraxSys offers sunlight-readable systems that are ideal for most commercial needs, kiosks, and industrial, security, marine, military, and vehicular applications.

AbraxSys’ high-bright, sunlight-readable LCD monitors and high-brightness daylight-viewable touchscreen computers are ideal for use in any high-ambient-light condition, delivering the intensity, brilliance, and long product lifecycle your application requires. Our enhanced high-bright TFT active matrix displays have brightness levels from 700 nits to 2200 nits, significantly outperforming commercially available non-enhanced products.

Don’t spend time struggling with monitors that wash out in the sun. When you need high-quality sunlight-readable LCD monitors now, not months from now, AbraxSys is here to help with the best products and fastest service in the industry. Get started today.