On the day that I stepped outside with my netbook to connect a solar panel and thought ‘hmm, a PixelQi screen would be nice,’ along comes a DIY article and test from Engadget on how to fit a PixelQi screen. Joanna Stern also gives some thoughts about usability and runs some tests to see just how much battery life the new screen would save over the old. It matches what we expected.
Installation on a Lenovo Ideapad S10-2 seems very straight-forward and the results in the outdoor scenario are fantastic. Viewing angles are as tight as I experienced them at CES earlier this year though so you’ll have to be using this at the correct angle to get the best out of it. Indoors, the screen performs much like any other LCD, LED-backlit screen.
The interesting thing about Engadget’s report is the battery life testing. A lot of people have been raving about saving huge amounts of power by turning the backlight off and yes, expect 1-2 watts power saving in this test but it’s not a real-world scenario. In a normal office scenario with reasonable lighting, you’ll still need the backlight on to view the color. Given that the screen only accounts for 20-30% of battery drain, the maximum that can be saved is 30% but in indoor use, with a 30% backlight setting, you may only save 0.5-1W. On a modern netbook that’s about 10-15%. Engadget’s test shows a 25% difference in battery drain with backlight on (70%) and off. That’s in-line with what we predicted.
Based on battery life alone, it’s not worth the money but how much is it worth to be able to finally use the device outdoors? For mobile computing or even train usage, we think it’s worth it. Interestingly, on a ‘smart’ device like the Airlife 100, the battery life savings would be more significant. You could expect usage to rise from 10hrs to 15 or more as the screen backlight forms a larger part of the power envelope.
Full how-to and report at Engadget.