Five Baytrail Tablets in the Sun. One Winner.

Posted on 04 March 2014, Last updated on 04 March 2014 by

The sun is shining so it’s time to take a bunch of Windows 8.1 tablets and do some sunlight readability testing. This is an operation where I lay all the tablets in the sun, choose the best one, make a cup of tea and enjoy some reading and Vitamin-D intake. It’s a tough test.

Sunlight readability on LCD panels is generally shockingly poor. I’ve seen a few laptops that have a small amount of transflectivity but in general, the technology is not good for sunlight reading. Go for an AMOLED large-screen smartphone if you really want to get some reading done outdoors. Better still, an e-ink based reader.

Having said all that there’s a Windows 8.1 tablet here that does a surprisingly good job.

The Lenovo Miix 2 10 is terrible. Way too much grey and not enough backlight. The ASUS Transformer Book T100 isn’t far behind.  The 8-inch tablets do better but the ASUS Vivotab Note 8 is the worst of the three shown here. The two stand-out devices are the Toshiba Encore WT8 and the Dell Venue 8 Pro.

It’s difficult to relay the differences via relatively low dynamic-range photographs but the images below give a good representation of what my eyes see.


WP_20140304_12_05_16_Pro  WP_20140304_12_07_11_Pro

On the top: ASUS T100. Middle row from left: Dell Venue Pro 8, Toshiba Encore WT8, ASUS Vivotab Note 8. On the bottom: Lenovo Miix 2 10.


It’s the contrast that really impresses me on the Dell Venue 8 Pro. You can hardly make out the frame. Black is Black. The WT8 frame highlights the grey level of the black background.

In a comparison with the Nokia Lumia 925 which has an AMOLED screen the Dell Venue 8 Pro shows that it really can work as an outdoor tablet. The two images show bright light and sunlight representations.


The Dell Venue 8 Pro is the easiest to handle, has a good rubberised non-slip back, is less fingerprint-prone and now that we know if has the brightest screen here, is a clear winner for outdoor use.

What about the others? The Lenovo Miix 2 8 is probably not going to compete (I’ll test later this week and update this article) but I’d really like to test the Acer W4 because in a hands-on at MWC this week I was really impressed at the screen brightness. The other device I want to test is the Lenovo Thinkpad 8. That screen is also likely to be good and also has a protective layer that rejects fingerprints. If you’ve ever compared the screen on the Dell Venue Pro 8  next to the Lenovo Thinkpad 8, let us know.

Adaptive screen brightness was turned off for this test.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Andrew says:

    Cool! Thanks man. Glad to see my DV8P doing well.

  2. jason says:

    I had a Panasonic Toughbook at work and that thing was almost impossible to see outside. I vowed never to deal with that again, so visibility in sunlight is one of my major requirements for a tablet. I use my DV8P outside or near big windows on a regular basis and never have a problem seeing the display.

  3. Chippy says:

    Thanks for that feedback. Good to have a second positive opinion.

  4. Alan says:

    The ASUS Vivotab Note 8 looks decent enough in comparison. So far it’s the best 8″ tablet to get. Good thing I decided to postpone my purchase of the DV8P due to the separately sold, battery powered, non-stowable and issue riddled stylus. A mouse pointer is the bare minimum requirement for me. I thought about using one of those virtual onscreen trackpad software but it wasn’t so great on the tablets I used it on it.

  5. Kawatwo says:

    Cool, now if the sun ever comes out around Seattle I will have to try my Dell outside :)

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