Laptops offer a world of promise; you can work, but still enjoy a beautiful day by simply taking your computer outdoors -- if your laptop screen cooperates. Bright, sunny days can prove challenging if you're a laptop user. Some steps exist, however, that you can take to successfully use your laptop outdoors and still see the screen.
For Existing Laptops
Try adjusting the brightness setting on your laptop. If you're accustomed to working indoors without having your laptop plugged into an electrical outlet, you most likely have the brightness turned down to conserve battery life. Even if you didn't adjust this setting, many laptops automatically adjust the brightness when running on battery power. Turn the brightness up all the way and check whether that allows you to see any better.
Choosing a New Laptop
Laptops with glossy screens are more difficult to see in daylight than those with matte screens. Glossy screens work well if you're in complete control of any light sources in your area. If your light source is overhead or behind you, it will produce lots of glare as it reflects from your glossy laptop screen, making it very difficult to see. Matte screens prevent this problem, since they don't reflect light. If you're in the market for a new laptop and believe you'll be doing a lot of work outdoors, look for laptops with matte screens.
Anti-glare films are available to fit most laptop screens. Laptop sunshades, similar to the sunshade you might use on your car's front windshield, fold out to block offending sunlight. Read reviews from other users of any anti-glare film or laptop sunshade you're considering so you can make an informed purchase that best suits your needs. Don't discount the possibility of non-laptop-specific solutions. For example, a well-placed patio umbrella can make a big difference in the amount of glare on your laptop screen.
If you'll be doing a lot of work on your laptop outdoors and won't be near an electrical outlet, consider purchasing either an extended-life or an extra standard battery and battery charger. The ability to adjust your laptop's brightness setting is helpful, but it also drains your battery more quickly. Having the battery level drop to the critical point while you're in the middle of something important is a frustrating experience. You can easily avoid it, however, if you keep a spare battery charged and ready to go.
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