Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Cellphones Displays Handhelds Hardware

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Glare On Cellphones? 135

An anonymous reader writes: As far as I know, I am not particularly sensitive to glare; I've used CRTs in offices full of overhead fluorescent lights, and just ignored the terrible reflections, and I've worked in places where the natural sunlight cleverly funneled in by architects was bounced around by glass walls and mirrors in just the right way to irritate. Still, I never found it much of a problem. Now, though, I work in a field that has me both working outdoors a lot, and traveling by car a fair amount, too. Now that days are getting longer, especially up here in the Pacific Northwest, I know that I'll be squinting and cursing a lot at my phone. My question(s): Are there are any modern smart phones you can recommend with a truly or even passably day-light readable screen? I don't care if it's e-ink (that would be cool), transflective (long promised!) or maybe just a secondary screen with some daylight-readable technology. Barring that, how do you deal with glare on a phone, when you need to use it on a sunny day? Same answer could apply to laptop use, I suppose. Do you build a little glare shield, of the kind that camera operators use? Wear a giant hood of privacy and darkness? I know I'm not alone — I see lots of others squinting and cursing at their cell phones, cupping it with their hands at their eyes, or ducking into scant shade just to see whether the call that's coming is one they need to take, or to read a text. I've tried quite a few phones that have been praised by reviewers for their bright, crisp, daylight-friendly displays, but I think those reviewers probably lived in New York or San Francisco, and were reading in either shadow or fog, because even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ask Slashdot: How Do You Deal With Glare On Cellphones?

Comments Filter:
  • Easy. (Score:5, Funny)

    by mobby_6kl ( 668092 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:08AM (#51791637)

    I just don't go outside, and my mom's basement protects me from the harmful sunlight.

  • by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:09AM (#51791645) Journal

    I don't get the point of glossy screens, ever.
    Not on phones, not on monitors, not on tv's.
    I was looking at HP laptops the other day and it's like they're going for hypergloss - this finish that makes every single dark part of the screen work like a mirror and reflects nearly perfectly every single ambient light around/behind you in your viewing cone.

    Who - ever - wants a glossy screen on any such device?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I actually had a tablet with a matte screen cover (Notion Ink with Pixel Xi). It wasn't a terrible experience, but the matte glass does have a sticky feeling on the fingers, and it can be harder to clean.

      The best I've seen in terms of handling the inherent glare of a glossy screen was my Nokia N9 which has a high contrast OLED screen, but more uniquely actually uses fairly high contrast menus and OS screens (mostly white text on a black background, what a novel idea). This means you can actually read the

      • by mathew7 ( 863867 )

        I don't know what screen cover you had, but all my matte screen protectors are better than the clear ones (except for pixelation).
        The finger glides immediately after cleaning as oposed to clear ones where the finger sticks until it gets oily; and then it's oily.
        I don't think matte surface is immune to oiling, but it takes a lot longer to notice it. Some say it's harder to clean....but clear ones I have to clean more often.
        I did try a glass screen with oleophobic coating, which I got close enough to the feel

    • I must have over half a dozen devices with glossy screens and I can't complain. Glare isn't a problem for me and I personally prefer glossy. I find the image crisper.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Who - ever - wants a glossy screen on any such device?

      The person who hasn't bought it yet. Look at it inside and judge it by how cool it seems, not by imagining how well it's going to work. Do this and I can see how you'll pick glossy.

      There are many applications for stupidity, and here is one of them: it helps you choose glossy screens. Preferably on top of a super-thin body which doesn't have any space for a battery.

    • Glossy screens typically have higher contrast and color saturation. There are plenty circumstances where someone would prefer that over a matte screen on a monitor, regardless of glare.

      • by mathew7 ( 863867 )

        Yeah....for watching movies or playing games WITH ALL LIGHTS OFF.
        My first widescreen monitor was a glossy Dell, which I hated until I finally found a very big reason to scrap it (FYI: input lag). Whenever I was gaming during the day, I would see myself and my room on half of the screen (window was on my left side).
        After realizing that, I saw a darker glossy coating on some Sony laptops, which would be better inside (this was in a big well-lit store), but that would still pose problems outside.
        PS: all matte

    • by Khashishi ( 775369 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @12:23PM (#51792949) Journal

      Glossy screen makes it easier to remove the glare-- just tilt the screen a bit to shift the glare out of view. With a matte screen, the glare gets washed out over a large angle. This means it's much less bright at the reflection angle, but it is present no matter which direction you point the screen.

      • According to rumors, Apple intends to solve this by using a curved glass, ensuring that a glossy screens will always glare at any angle.

      • by Bratch ( 664572 )

        Yes, tilt is how I deal with it. Tilt one way to reduce reflections, tilt another to see the shoulder surfer behind you.

    • Amen brother, Amen! When ever I go to buy a monitor, the salesman looks at me like I have three heads when I say I want a monitor that's not super shiny and reflective. Sigh.

    • I was looking at HP laptops the other day and it's like they're going for hypergloss - this finish that makes every single dark part of the screen work like a mirror and reflects nearly perfectly every single ambient light around/behind you in your viewing cone.

      Who - ever - wants a glossy screen on any such device?

      If you're talking about this in one context then there are many people who buy screen covers after market which do precisely that, create a mirror finish on the phone, so the answer is surprisingly quite a few people.

      If you're talking about just glossy screens in general then the answer is most people. Better contrast ratio, better blacks, and while glossy screens reflect details, matt screens reflect frigging everything and in my opinion I find them harder to read in sunlight than a glossy screen.

      Now a mor

    • I tried using a matte and a glossy screen indoors. It could have been a bad matte screen, but I noticed that they were about equally readable given glare. The glossy screen was obviously unreadable, and the matte didn't really look unreadable until I tried to read it.

  • Odd - usually cloudy days are the worst case. (Why? Because there's no angle at which you can rotate the phone to eliminate the specular reflectance from the cloudy sky.)

    So it's strange that the OP is having issues in direct sun - in this case it's easy to rotate the phone so you don't see the one superbright specular highlight in the sky. (You will never see a display that is fully readable against a direct-sun specular...)

    • Odd - usually cloudy days are the worst case ... So it's strange that the OP is having issues in direct sun

      OP is in the Pacific Northwest. It rains up here all the time. The OP is obviously confused, never having seen the actual sun.

      It's sad, but I've seen this sort of delusion before. It's usually caused by caffeine deficiency. With much professional help and coffee, he has every chance of leading a rich, full life.

      • I, too, live in the Pacific Northwest, and I have encountered the problem with reading the screen when outside. But I have found the solution:

        Wipe the screen against your shirt cuff. This will distribute the raindrops into a thin sheet of water that makes it easier to read the screen's contents.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Step 1. Turn brightness up to max
      Step 2. Use hand as a shade/visor to help eliminate screen reflection.

      I see lots of others squinting and cursing at their cell phones, cupping it with their hands at their eyes, or ducking into scant shade just to see whether the call that's coming is one they need to take, or to read a text.

      Yes, do those things.
      As for knowing who is calling, take the time to assign a custom ringtone to important (and unimportant) callers. Then you don't even have to look. Some text messaging apps also have that capability.

      Oh, ya one other thing. There's this place called "Google" where you can type things such as "smartphone glare reducing cover" and find a variety of products which are advertised as helping

    • by jrumney ( 197329 )
      The guy is in Seattle. The cloudy sky is the problem.
    • > (You will never see a display that is fully readable against a direct-sun specular...)

      Correction - you will never see an *emissive* display easily readable against a direct sun reflection. Transflective, prismatic, and and color-changing displays (e-ink) all work fine. For that matter so do old-fashioned unlit black and white LCD displays often found in watches and calculators.

      The lack of sunlight readability is 100% the result of screens being designed primarily for indoor use - there's a completel

      • Newfangled OLED, especially AMOLED screens work great in outdoor viewing. It is kind of their whole selling point.

  • Answer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wezelboy ( 521844 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:11AM (#51791655)
    Turn your body so that the sun is directly behind you
    • Re:Answer (Score:5, Informative)

      by pr0fessor ( 1940368 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:23AM (#51791725)

      Spend $6 on a 3 - pack of anti-glare screen protectors that are made for popular model cell phones...

    • Not even that just tilt the screen a few degrees. I have bigger problems with LCD Matted on my car dashboard, then I ever had with my phone.
      I expect the poster was trying to troll for CRT based cell phones or something.

    • I tried that, but I find it difficult to keep my knee against the steering wheel.

  • Not a problem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jbengt ( 874751 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:13AM (#51791665)
    I just turn the phone off and enjoy the sunny weather.
  • I don't know of any such phone, so I'll ask differently: what do you use the smartphone outdoors for?

    You mention seeing who calls and reading texts; that I can do very well on my (non-smart but connected) Garmin Fenix watch, which is very readable outdoors (the downside being the large number of software bugs). If you're looking at maps/routing, there are quite good GPS devices with transreflective displays (so the sunnier the better).

  • matte 3 (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:14AM (#51791671)

    take a fine grit sandpaper and scratch your screen everywhere. it is a poor mans matte finish.

  • Easy (Score:5, Funny)

    by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:16AM (#51791673)

    "How do you deal with the effects of electromagnetic radiation?"
    "You interpose a material that stops it" []

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Monday March 28, 2016 @09:16AM (#51791675)

    Their laptop for children used grayscale only for sunlight, for obvious power consumption reasons, and an effective low power color display for night use. I frankly wish most modern cell phones would use the same technolgy. I have no need to see pretty colors for a dozen icons on my cell phone, or for fancy borders on text messaging, email, or phone interfaces.

    • Indeed, and the technology was further refined by the Pixel Qi spinoff run, as I recall, by the woman who designed the screens for OLPC. From the videos I've seen it's become quite impressive, unfortunately very few devices use the screens for, I imagine, a couple of reasons: Normal displays look much more vibrant indoors, where comparisons and purchases are usually made, and thanks to the much smaller production runs P-Qi screens are considerably more expensive.

      Kind of a disappointing situation, but on th

  • I just assume that is the way it works on most phones. I increase brightness and I use high contrast colour schemes. I prefer dark backgrounds with bright letters.
  • One side usual color LCD, other side e-paper. A very good idea, a very idiosyncratic implementation, tough.
  • Because, if not, get a cheapo phone with a black and white LCD display; I have an old Moto in each car's glovebox, bought for nothing a while ago.
    Can't remember the model number...Google is your friend. Does nothing much except call and SMS, but if one of the family has an emergency and a dead battery/smashed phone, (always a danger with today's phones), they can drag the Moto out and get calling. The battery lasts for months when turned off.

    ***pause while does a quick google***

    Damn, the ones I have are l

    • I suspect that if OP didn't want or use smart phone features, being able to see the screen in direct sunlight wouldn't be an issue.

      I haven't regularly used a phone of any kind for voice communication in many years. It's really not the primary use for most people anymore.

    • That Motorola F3 is a hershey bar phone. The type that started the term "butt dialing."
      A better type of phone is the "flip phone" or the "slider phone." The Flip phone in particular
      is popular with construction workers etc. where a smart phone would die in a day or two.

      A friend of mine is a welder, and his flip phone skin looks like the surface of the moon, yet
      it keeps on working. And like Bearhouse said, the battery lasts all week or more.

  • Captain Obvious strikes again!

  • had this last year really bad and saw one of the sleazy doctors at an eye glass store. he wrote me a weak prescription for reading glasses. i have a $99 set of warby parkers now and the coating on there is pretty good. but this week i'll probably spend $500 or more for nice Alain Mikli glasses with Prevencia anti-glare and blue light coating. just be careful with eyeglass stores. it's like disney world and the doctors are there for sales leads. like on disney rides, you come out into the store and pressur
    • 1. Ditch the polarized sunglasses. 2. Wear a long-bill cap. 3. Get the $5 reading glasses at the drugstore. 4. Turn so the screen is shaded.
      • those $30 reading glasses will most likely have the wrong PD which can screw up your eyesight even more
        • I tried looking through drug-store reading glasses once. There was something about them, which I can't really describe, which was exceedingly unpleasant, so I couldn't stand to look through them. It was worse than the time I was using an IBM PC-XT using CGI with a relatively inexpensive color monitor.

  • I don't even run a screen protector any more. When I do get glare, I tilt the screen slightly and it goes away. I guess the answer is "wrists"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    That dude staring back at me is so fucking handsome, I just start giggling. What does everyone else do?

    Oh, sorry. You don't have that problem.

  • it's not great but iphones have better sunlight usage screens i've seen. better than my Galaxy s6 too and better than every other android phone i've used. and turn the brightness all the way up
  • I have a Lumia 1520 and the sunlight readability is awesome.
  • I've been dreaming for years of a display that's full color, high resolution (print quality, 300 dpi at least), fast unlike e-ink, and completely 100% reflective. Like the page of a magazine. From cars with their now ubiquitos center console screens to farm machines would be ideal uses of such a screen. Heck I'd prefer watching TV and movies on a large, reflective screen in a well-lit room. Perhaps even photo editing on a such a screen would be useful as the image could look just like the print final cop

    • I'd love something like that too, I'd even settle for color eink for the time being (since reading would be my most important application) but it seems we're not getting nearer to it.
      Some years ago eink was all the rage, nowadays I don't follow the news so much but it seems there's no progress in that area.
  • If you buy a 4K res phone, this will be the panacea for all screen woes.

    people, look up the meaning of "sarcasm", unless your outside and it's really really bright out there.

  • Printed paper hasn't any glare issue.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Have you tried polarized glasses or those hi contrast glasses that shooters where?

  • ...glare becomes a common problem. Maybe its time to get a checkup on your eyes. It can't hurt to rule out glaucoma while your getting checkup.
  • If there's enough ambient light, especially sunlight, to cause glare on your phone screen, the first thing you should do is put your goddamn phone away and do something else. It's nice outside. The Sun is shining. Take your dog for a walk. Throw circular plastic discs with your girlfriend. Fly a kite. Go for a bike ride.

    There are so many better things to do than to waste life away twiddling on a cell phone.

  • I like my Yotaphone 2 ... use it anywhere ... no glare problems at all []
  • ... on my Samsung S5, full brightness in 12Noon sun is quite usable... never had an issue.

  • First, get into the shade.
    Second, wear a black t-shirt.

  • You do mention driving, but I'm going to assume you're not operating your phone or laptop while you're actually driving. If this is not a valid assumption, then don't do that. I'm assuming at the very least that if you're in a motor vehicle, when you're operating your device the vehicle is stopped and not in gear. You state, "even the brightest Samsungs, Motorolas, and LGs I've seen cannot hold a candle to the summer sun north of Seattle." One other thing there is a lot of in the area north of Seattle i
    • Not everyone drives with one person in an SUV. I use my phone freely when my wife is driving (she used to get carsick, and wants to do all the driving).

  • iPhones will wash out and be unreadable in direct sunlight. No problem. People just look at me funny while I intone "Call Mother?" or "Navigate to Joseph Blow!"

  • Summary asks to reduce glare, but then describes a problem with brightness. Glare is a hotspot created by a bright light source reflecting off a screen displaying a dark image. Even though coated glass only reflects less than 1% of the light that strikes it, with a sufficiently bright external light, the reflection can be brighter than the image. And you get glare. The easy fix for glare is to orient the screen so you no longer see the reflection, or a matte screen protector which will diffuse the refle
  • People love to hate on Windows Phone, but the Nokia/Lumia hardware is top-notch. Even their low-end phones are quite readable in bright sunlight, and the touch screens work with modestly thick gloves, too.

  • The first thing you're going to do with an expensive handheld device these days is buy a 3-pack of screen protectors. I found matte ones for my phone, and they work as advertised: very much lower glare, much more readable, and any reflections are diffused sufficiently that they don't show any detail.

    The matte finish eventually will wear out - mine is starting to show some shine now - but at this rate I reckon I'll be replacing it after about 18 months. Even then, it won't be glossy. Just greasy.

  • "Yeah, you see, I couldn't even make out the swipe area to accept your call, the phone was all reflecting and stuff. Yeah, I was outside all day long."

  • with an E-Ink display.
  • I don't think the FBI ever really needed to get into the phone. They have all the metadata and they know he never used the phone for personal business. They are chasing a pig in a poke. I would love to get a FOI on what was on the phone for data. That being said I believe that the FBI always had at their disposal to get the data themselves. It's just an iPhone 5c so it does not even have the fingerprint deal yet. Also I think the FBI might have thought hey we might just throw Apple a bone and let them
  • Get out of the harmful rays of the sun and get under some shade. Your phone is telling you that you don't need all that UV. So it's a helpful feature for the sake of your own health.
  • I have an iPhone 5S and I find it perfectly readable, even outside, in broad daylight, on cloudless summer days. The difference with older models (I used an iPhone 4 before getting the 5S) is huge. The secret is that it simply has a backlight whose brightness can be jacked up to amazing levels, plus an ambient-light sensor that adjusts the backlight brightness automatically. The end result is that I never touch the brightness control.

    Before anyone accuses me of posting an Apple advertisement, I'll say tha

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo.