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4 Factors Affecting Outdoor Visibility Of A Smartphone

With the summers in India and the sun shining brightly over our heads which makes it very difficult for us users to use our phones on a bright sunny day. So we are here to tell you guys some factors affecting the outdoor visibility of your smartphones’ display.


Display Types

The outdoor visibility also depends a lot on the display that has been used on the phone. Display technology has advanced great deal and today each display type is potent enough to give great outdoor visibility. But if you are looking for a mid range device, the differences are worth considering

  • IPS-LCD displays are the displays that are more popular and offer better outdoor visibility, because they have a bright backlight, something missing in AMOLED displays. SLCD displays are a variant of IPS LCD displays, mostly seen in HTC high end phones, which are even brighter than IPS LCDs.
  • AMOLED displays are thin and preferred in ultra SLIM phone because they don’t have a backlight which adds to display thickness. Since each pixel is fired separately this could result in low overall brightness, especially if you are using a dark background. Again this doesn’t apply to all AMOLED phones as the AMOLED display in Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge has great outside visibility.
  • E-Ink displays are best for outdoor visibility. In fact, they are only visible when ambient light is available. The displays cause the least glare on eyes and with absence of backlighting, are well suited for digital reading and Smartwatches with durable battery backup.
    E-Ink VS LCD.png
    Comparison of e-ink display and LCD display.

Recommended: Smartphone Display Types – Which One is Best For Your Smartphone or Tablet

Technology Used

Some manufactures have tried tackling with the outdoor visibility problem with making their own display technology, Like Xiaomi has make a Sunlight Display in which they Cliaim “Sunlight Display adjusts contrasts for each pixel in real time” which is done in hardware not software so it will work each time without delay. We have tested this technology and must say it works as it says.

Xiaomi has introduced this technology with the Mi4i and also included the technology in there Mi Note Pro. We expect to see this display technology in many upcoming smartphones.

Similar other technologies include Nokia ClearBlack available in phones like Lumia 540, which uses polarizing filters to reduce display reflectiveness. The technology works and offers great experience both indoors and outdoors. Another technology from Nokia, the Assertive Display which debuted with Lumia 1520 works like a charm when it comes to outdoor visibility and without draining the battery.

Screen Guard Protector

This may come as an surprise to many of you but screen proctors which are applied on the phone to protect the screen from scratches may result in causing less outdoor visibility, But screen guard protector are important for phones also so the solution is to buy and apply a good quality screen guard protector which certify anti reflection coating on them or try using a tempered glass which are also not that reflective.

Brightness of Display

The brightness level of a phone is also very important as there are phones which do not get as bright as other and can cause unconformable situations while using the phone outdoors. Phones like Sony Xperia Z3 gets bright upto 713 nits Maximum Brightness which are good enough to view outside and phones like Motorola Moto X (2014) gets bright up to 385 nits Maximum Brightness which is very low and make it difficult to see it under sunlight.

You can go with phones above 500 nits brightness for good outdoor visibility. Also remember to reduce brightness in day to day usage at it can have negative impact on your battery and eyes. A phone with functional Auto brightness is thus important.

Recommended: Understanding Popular Smartphone Display Technology


Sunlight visibility is very important for a phone to survive and specially in India where the sun is really very bright. Manufactures have been trying very hard lately to improve customers experience but they only implement their all time and money in their high-end devices which is sad as low-end devices also need some attention as the low-end phones market is on a boom right now.


Abhinav Singh

Abhinav Singh, a software engineer who is very much interested in social engineering. He is responsible to manage all the social media profiles of Gadgets To Use. He also has a hobby of tracking new apps and gadgets and to share them with our readers as well.