Rugged Display Screen Guide

Outdoor Viewable Screen

If you have ever taken a commercial laptop to the beach or out by the pool, you quickly realized that the screen is almost impossible to read. Daylight-readable displays are much brighter. If you intend to use a computer outdoors or in a mobile environment, daylight-readable or sunlight-readable is a must. Rugged computers either come standard with an outdoor display screen, or offer outdoor viewability as an option. Some rugged computers have a normal display screen but employ an anti-glare, anti-reflective coating. Others have hi-bright and anti-glare or a transflective, sunlight-readable display that uses the ambient light to brighten the screen. Display screens that are "Hi-Bright" are great, but keep in mind that they use significant battery power, so consider the high-capacity battery option or buy spare batteries.

Touch Screen Display

Touchscreens are often a feature or upgrade option on rugged, mobile computers that are not offered on commercial, plastic computers. Basically, a touchscreen is another way to move around in an application other than the keyboard/mouse.

All tablet PCs have a touchscreen since they do not have a keyboard/mouse. Some ruggedized laptops offer a touch screen as either standard or optional features. In the tablet PC world, touchscreens come in two flavors, the more traditional finger-touch style of touchscreen also called passive or resistive and the newer style digitizer, active touch screen which requires the use of a stylus pen and allows for handwriting or signature capture directly on the screen. Some tablet manufacturers offer models with one or the other type, while others offer a dual-mode which provides both types in the same computer.

Touchscreens in a computer are often a desirable feature for a computer that is mounted in a vehicle or used in a field environment where typing is difficult. Some organizations develop or purchase field application software that is specifically designed with a touchscreen in mind that will have big touch buttons on the screen (think about an ATM machine or restaurant cash register for example).

Group Mobile Comment: If you have any questions about the viability of a touchscreen for your application, or which type of touchscreen is best for your intended usage, please ask one of our sales consultants.

Display Screen Size

Screen sizes vary considerably depending on the form factor and even within form factors. Handheld's are typically around 4", tablets are usually 8.4" or 10.4", laptops can be 12.1", 13.3", 14.1", 15" or even 17". FYI, the screen size is measured diagonally, not vertically or horizontally.

Display Resolution

The image that is displayed on the screen is composed of thousands (or millions) of small dots; these are called pixels; the word is a contraction of the phrase "picture element". A pixel represents the smallest piece of the screen that can be controlled individually. Each one can be set to a different color and intensity (brightness). The number of pixels that can be displayed on the screen is referred to as the resolution of the image; this is normally displayed as a pair of numbers, such as 640x480. The first is the number of pixels that can be displayed horizontally on the screen, and the second how many can be displayed vertically. The higher the resolution, the more pixels that can be displayed and therefore the more that can be shown on the monitor at once, however, pixels are smaller at high resolution and detail can be hard to make out on smaller screens. Resolutions generally fall into predefined standard sets; only a few different resolutions are used by most PCs.

  • VGA: 640 x 480
  • SVGA: 800 x 600
  • XGA: 1024 x 768
  • SXGA: 1280 x 1024
  • UXGA: 1600 x 1200
  • WUXGA: 1920 x 1200