There are three places outside of my office or a client's office where I'm likely to use my new Lenovo X61 Tablet in bright light: Kathy's car on the way to Disneyland, at the local pool, or at the local lake. I decided to test the first two. Yesterday, under the premise of conducting "research," we headed down to Anaheim to test the X61 on the way to Disneyland. Kathy drove and I sat in the passenger seat and processed my pending email. Well, actually, I sorted my pending email to process later and spent the rest of the time Skyping Michael Sampson from the car, but that's another story.
First test: Off to Disneyland
Here. I am holding the Lenovo X61 Tablet PC at 2:30 PM PST on the 5 Freeway on the way to Anaheim, California. I'm on-line to my Lotus Notes server via my new Treo 755p and PDANet. Pirates of the Caribbean is playing in the background. As you can see, even with the soundtrack from Pirates up at full volume, the screen is still readable. Let's move on to the next test.
Now, I have the Pirates soundtrack playing even louder and I've moved the X61 Tablet PC to the window so that the sun is shining across half the screen. This is my way of testing the contrast between bright (in the car) and very bright (with the sun shining). As you can see, the tablet is still usable.
Conclusion: the new SuperView coating allows you to use the X61 Tablet PC in a car on the way to Disneyland with the Pirates soundtrack at full volume. Nice work, Lenovo.
Next test: Outside at the pool
For as long as there have been laptops (or even 30 lb luggables) we have seen advertising from vendors showing how their laptop would allow you to work away from the office, perhaps at the beach, as long as you had a source of power. (At the beach. yeah, right.) These ads used to make me so angry that I wanted to launch a class-action suit because it was nearly impossible, in my experience, to see anything on an laptop screen outdoors. Well, things are getting better. Not great, but much better.
First, as I blogged last week, the X61 Tablet PC runs for a long time on a single battery. So, all we have to do now is take the tablet to the local pool and see just how well it works. For this test, I found a reasonably shady location under an umbrella overlooking the pool and with Mt. Pinos in the background. At first, the screen was nearly impossible to read. I concluded that this was because I wasn't playing the Pirates soundtrack as I had done in the previous tests. It could also have something to do with the fact that I was booting under battery power with maximum battery savings enabled. Once I booted, I was able, under a beach towel, to set my brightness to high so that I could see the screen with out the beach towel. As you can see from these photos, the screen is still usable, even in bright ambient light. What you cannot see is that with so much ambient light you might get a headache switching between the contrast of the screen and the bright outdoors. Lenovo sent me the special bump case for the X61 which I also took along to test. While I felt that my tablet was much safer with the bump case, the high-gloss plastic of the bump case reflected too much light so I took the Tablet out of the case. (Note: the clear plastic protector is velcroed in and can be removed easily. I've not yet tried that but will probably do so in a future test at the duck pond.)
Conclusion: even without playing the soundtrack from Pirates of the Carribean in the background the New SuperView coating on the X61 Tablet PC produces a reasonably readable screen in all but direct sunlight, however, working with the X61 Tablet and listening to the Pirates soundtrack, is still more fun.
The X61 SuperView screen coating is a smudge magnet
I would like to respond to a comment that James Kendrick made in his podcast with Marc Orchant about the X61 Tablet. James said that the X61 is a smudge magnet. Several readers have written to ask me if this was true... Yes, the X61 is a smudge magnet. The smudges, while visible when the X61 is powered off, do not impede normal operation of the X61 Tablet PC as they become invisible once the tablet is turned on.
Special thanks to my friend and colleague, Tanny O'Haley, for his tireless efforts to enhance my Domino blog web site and to extend the features of the DominoBlog template. Thanks to Tanny's efforts, it is now easier for me to blog from Lotus Notes and to include photos and media in my blogging.