Pixel Qi display works outdoors, is available for netbooks

By far the biggest problem I have with the current crop of laptops and ultraportable notebooks is that their screens become all but useless when taken outside. You might be able to read them out on a dark, dreary day, but get in any kind of sunlight, and you’ll probably spend most of your time squinting and using your hand to shade the display. And that’s with the screen cranked to full brightness, which chews through your battery life.

Enterprising hobbyists with 10.1" netbooks now have an alternative: a DIY display kit from Pixel Qi. For those unfamiliar with Pixel Qi, here’s the skinny on the company’s display tech directly from its website:

Like standard backlit LCD displays, Pixel Qi displays renders quality full-color images, full-motion video, and high screen brightness. However, in environments with high ambient light levels, the 3Qi’s reflective mode contributes to the image, allowing the backlight to be turned down or off. This unique capability delivers significant power savings, an attractive screen and a comfortable reading experience, with very high resolution. Outdoors, Pixel Qi’s Transflective 2.0 technology comes into play – each pixel is mainly reflective, but has about the same transmissive efficiency as a standard LCD, enabling the user to experience a crisp image with excellent contrast and *brightness* in any light. This highly "green" LCD consumes 80 percent less power in reflective mode, yet delivers a better contrast ratio and equivalent reflectance typical of the best electrophoretic displays.

The display will cost you $275, which is nearly as much as an entire netbook. Pixel Qi will only confirm compatibility with Lenovo S10-2 and Samsung N130 at the  moment, although the company says it’s testing other models. With the supported laptops, a screen swap is said to take only 5-10 minutes. Make has posted a video of the process, which indeed looks pretty straightforward, and they don’t even use one of the recommended laptops.

Suddenly, my old Eee PC 1000HA has become a lot more interesting.

Comments closed
    • TaBoVilla
    • 9 years ago

    I hardly ever take my laptop outside. What next? they are going to make the thing waterproof so you can take it out on the rain?

    What I’m really interested in is cellphone makers using this; good god, screens are so bad in direct sunlight.

    • grantmeaname
    • 9 years ago

    is it 1024*800?

    • link626
    • 9 years ago

    no thanks.

    for $275, I’ll just go stand in the shade.
    Much more cost effective that way. without breaking a sweat

    if you really want to be “green”, you can even make a screen shade/awning out of dark paper.

    • Rikki-Tikki-Tavi
    • 9 years ago

    Please review this.
    Marketing claims are always nice, but I want to see some graphs.

    • wira020
    • 9 years ago

    I’m shocked that no portable device company had bought Pixel Qi yet… if somehow it did get bought, please not let it be Apple!!!

      • willyolio
      • 9 years ago

      nah, apple will just incorporate it into their ipad or something and claim they “revolutionized” LCD technology, and nobody will remember that pixel Qi even existed.

    • ew
    • 9 years ago

    I’m pretty sure this is the same technology the OLPC has been using for a couple of years.

      • SonicSilicon
      • 9 years ago

      The same, no, though it is extremely similar as it was developed in part by the same people as the OLPC’s display.

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    between this tech and the 3DS you have major innovations in the capabilities of screens

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Wow, great tech hope this becomes more common place.

    • bthylafh
    • 9 years ago

    Now why did they horizontally flip the picture?

      • Duck
      • 9 years ago

      Maybe they wanted a before and after as opposed to an after and before shot.

    • HisDivineShadow
    • 9 years ago

    Hope this can become more common as display technology goes.

    • 5150
    • 9 years ago


      • OneArmedScissor
      • 9 years ago

      Lol! Great, now the reflections serve a practical purpose. We’re doomed.

        • bhtooefr
        • 9 years ago

        The reflections are inside the LCD, not on the surface. It’s still a matte display.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      Agreed. You can get most of the way to this by just getting a matte screen in the first place. Go anywhere that has a Lenovo x100e on display side by side with glossy 12″ ‘books, and compare.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This