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Sunlight readable tablet experience?


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Does anyone have any experience with sunlight readable tablets?

As a sailor, I figured this population would have a good experience base, but I'm actually trying to find something for a different market (aerospace) where there isn't a lot of cost sensitivity, but would need to be relatively light and have decent battery life.

I'd be open to the E-paper devices too, but it would need to run android or something that we can develop for (i.e. not a kindle)...

anyone using anything good?  I've obviously searched, and there are some that advertise "sunlight readable" but I'm looking for first hand experiences...

IMG_0190.JPG

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I've bought the sailproof tablet for exactly that good readability in sunlight, with water on the screen and reasonably long battery life.
And to be true, I can use the screen as a true flashlight if I wanted to. I can not however say much about personal use experience yet. Been a very cold and wet spring leaving the opportunities to test it somewhat on the rare side.(not always unpacking for a quick afternoon sail either)

Maybe keep a look on the Figaro sailor using/testing it. I'll say more on it when I got the opportunity for sunny days.
https://sailproof.shop/2021/02/25/sailproof-with-alexis-thomas-on-the-figaro-circuit/

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For comparison I took a pic in full sun with both ipad and sailproof at full brightness. The latter is more readable in person too.
Then realized that you're looking for a professional application(no idea how I missed that yesterday, sorry) and not sure if this tablet checks all the marks.(I have no experience there)

 

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You need to decide on your OS

If you can use android there are quite a few IP67 options

The screens spec is often not that bright - 600nits is common

I looked but didn't see the actual brightness spec of the SailProof tablet listed, but because 600nits is very common for low end android rugged tablets, there is a good chance that's what it is.

If you want to run win 10, your options are fewer

I have a panasonic tough pad running win 10 - it' big and heavy and only ip65 - i hardly ever use it.

it's brightness is 1000 nits, and i can tell you it's a big improvement over 600nits.

sometimes direct sunlight isn't actually the worst viewing situation. Sometimes it seems that cloudy hazy day with lot's of diffuse sunlight is actually worse.

I am thinking about a Mesa - i want win 10

 

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16 minutes ago, us7070 said:

The screens spec is often not that bright - 600nits is common

Must have missed it on their website.

8inch screen –  Brightness: 1000 cd/m2 (1000 nits) – Gorilla Glass 3rd generation

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6 minutes ago, allweather said:

Must have missed it on their website.

8inch screen –  Brightness: 1000 cd/m2 (1000 nits) – Gorilla Glass 3rd generation

that's great - they should make a win 10 version

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16 hours ago, allweather said:

I've bought the sailproof tablet for exactly that good readability in sunlight, with water on the screen and reasonably long battery life.
And to be true, I can use the screen as a true flashlight if I wanted to. I can not however say much about personal use experience yet. Been a very cold and wet spring leaving the opportunities to test it somewhat on the rare side.(not always unpacking for a quick afternoon sail either)

Maybe keep a look on the Figaro sailor using/testing it. I'll say more on it when I got the opportunity for sunny days.
https://sailproof.shop/2021/02/25/sailproof-with-alexis-thomas-on-the-figaro-circuit/

I'm looking forward to your review, I remember the original thread by the inventor of Sailproof: https://forums.sailinganarchy.com/index.php?/topic/214903-need-your-help-crowdfunding-campaign-for-a-rugged-tablet-dedicated-to-sailors/&tab=comments#comment-7057758

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In addition to being sunlight readable be sure that it's polarized readable at angles associated with boat heal. Remember you head will be level however if your tablet is hard mounted it could be tilted 40 degrees or so. I once saw a display that this happened to (can't remember the brand) and when going downwind when the boat was "flat" no problems but going up wind you had to keep tilting your head to read the display....

 

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On 5/5/2021 at 4:03 PM, SimonGH said:

Does anyone have any experience with sunlight readable tablets?

As a sailor, I figured this population would have a good experience base, but I'm actually trying to find something for a different market (aerospace) where there isn't a lot of cost sensitivity, but would need to be relatively light and have decent battery life.

I'd be open to the E-paper devices too, but it would need to run android or something that we can develop for (i.e. not a kindle)...

anyone using anything good?  I've obviously searched, and there are some that advertise "sunlight readable" but I'm looking for first hand experiences...

IMG_0190.JPG

If it has a bright screen it will eat batteries 

 

I use a standard iPad kept under the dodger in a pocket 

it gets the job done 

its not a good idea to navigate on deck with a computer screen 

at night it blinds you , during the day it gets smashed and soiled 

 

On boats , people who constantly follow the little boat moving across the computer  screen are poor seaman and lack situational awareness 

 

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For those that are more cost limited the smasung active tabs are an option. Shock and waterproof without needing a separate case, good battery life, works wet and with gloves. Sunlight performance is OK, about like a newer gen iPad. Probably not as good as the new ipad pro with a claimed 1600 nits of brightness, but that is very expensive and looks too delicate for use on the go.

My decade old garmin handheld oregon and montana have a full sun readable color displays. It is a shame there is not a tablet available with the same type of screen. The fine detail is not as good as modern screens, but for practical use on a boat or aircraft that is not as important as contrast.

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Can’t comment on it yet, but I’ve ordered a Samsung Galaxy Tab Active 2 off eBay which is supposedly bright-ish with good battery life. Will report back if it actually arrives. I’ve used a 4th gen iPad Mini as a secondary device for the last 4 years or so but I’ve always found brightness and battery life an issue. Plus my 3 year old now thinks it’s his. Personally I like a tablet for passage planning at home, and for looking ahead and checking out AIS targets while sailing. There’s a “real” plotter on the boat which is what I actually steer to.

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On 5/6/2021 at 8:34 PM, slug zitski said:

If it has a bright screen it will eat batteries 

 

I use a standard iPad kept under the dodger in a pocket 

it gets the job done 

its not a good idea to navigate on deck with a computer screen 

at night it blinds you , during the day it gets smashed and soiled 

 

On boats , people who constantly follow the little boat moving across the computer  screen are poor seaman and lack situational awareness 

 

I think you missed the point.

I was looking for a non sailing application.

But I’ll tell the pilot he’s a poor seaman...

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11 hours ago, SimonGH said:

I think you missed the point.

I was looking for a non sailing application.

But I’ll tell the pilot he’s a poor seaman...

The high power consumption is still an issue 

 

perhaps the new generation batteries and pads get better run time 

At max screen brightness my iPad rapidly runs out of energy 

remember you may be simultaneously running WiFi , Bluetooth , mobile phone chip

 

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I picked up a cheap Lenovo M8 tablet figuring it would be worth a try as a dedicated nav tablet and I have to say it's pathetic. Low brightness and shockingly slow.

So don't buy one of those.

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12 hours ago, BuenaOnda said:

We'll have a SailProof running Windows soon ;-)

That will be huge as now you just opened up to Expedition and other Windows based navigation software. Even if you doubled the current price, it's still less than a Panasonic Toughbook / Zebra Tablet.

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  • 1 month later...

Has anyone been able to find a tablet listing by how bright they are (nits)? I've seen reviews with individual scores, but not a list of tablets in current production. 

I'm thinking of getting one, it would only be used on the boat 5-10% of the time max, but I'd still like it to be a decent performer. 

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  • 1 month later...

Got the Sailproof a month ago. Still in lockdown in Oz (Sydney) but am playing with it.

Very happy so far.  Screen is magic in daylight, running Navionics and some other stuff synced from my android phone.

Looks good for our type sailing, coastal cruising, not so much offshore these days, but never say "never". ;)

Cheers,

Jim  B)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi I'm interested in the sailproof tablet, for a few years we've been running a cheap tablet with charts in addition to our Raymarine chartplotter.  I now mainly use the cheap tablet for most navigation and only use the old chartplotter as a backup during more difficult pilotage as the tablet is so much more user friendly and uses far less power.

Daylight readability has become an issue for us, we have a permanent mount under our small roof, but one of our crew wears bifocal glasses and can't read the chart when it's above him, hence the need for a daylight tablet we can mount lower down.  The sailproof tablet sounds ideal for this.

We do have a problem with dimming the display at night, when on night passage we can't use our existing tablet as it ruins the night vision when on it's lowest setting and you can't see beyond the cockpit when it's on night mode at it's dimmest setting.

How dim does the sailproof tablet go when using it at night?  And has anyone used it when on passage at night?

Many thanks

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On 8/12/2021 at 9:08 AM, SwayingSlightly said:

@BuenaOnda 

What about built-in obsolescence on the SailProof?  Is the battery replaceable by user and will the OS get updates?

I emailed sailproof re Android 11 upgrade and was advised it's Android 10 for the present time.  I am happy with mine but have not used it in anger yet due to lockdown.

Cheers,

Jim

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On 8/23/2021 at 6:17 AM, BorlowenRoss said:

Hi I'm interested in the sailproof tablet, for a few years we've been running a cheap tablet with charts in addition to our Raymarine chartplotter.  I now mainly use the cheap tablet for most navigation and only use the old chartplotter as a backup during more difficult pilotage as the tablet is so much more user friendly and uses far less power.

Daylight readability has become an issue for us, we have a permanent mount under our small roof, but one of our crew wears bifocal glasses and can't read the chart when it's above him, hence the need for a daylight tablet we can mount lower down.  The sailproof tablet sounds ideal for this.

We do have a problem with dimming the display at night, when on night passage we can't use our existing tablet as it ruins the night vision when on it's lowest setting and you can't see beyond the cockpit when it's on night mode at it's dimmest setting.

How dim does the sailproof tablet go when using it at night?  And has anyone used it when on passage at night?

Many thanks

Don't know if you can dim the screen, it sure is great in daylight but could bugger night vision.  I will try it with mine.

Cheers,

Jim

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4 hours ago, JimL said:

Don't know if you can dim the screen

Certainly it goes to quite dim.(swipe down from the top of the screen, twice. There is a slider there.)  But obviously no red lighting and I don't have it at hand yet(lend to family for a trip) or sailed with it at night.(too tired single handed :) )

I have read on it at night before and you can turn it down quite well, though I have not tried darkmode yet or checked how much if any significant impact it had on vision.

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14 hours ago, allweather said:

Certainly it goes to quite dim.(swipe down from the top of the screen, twice. There is a slider there.)  But obviously no red lighting and I don't have it at hand yet(lend to family for a trip) or sailed with it at night.(too tired single handed :) )

I have read on it at night before and you can turn it down quite well, though I have not tried darkmode yet or checked how much if any significant impact it had on vision.

Got it! Many thanks. Just need a bit of practice & playin around.

Cheers,

Jim

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Has anyone figured out the 'best' tablet mount to connect to a swing mount in the cabin hatch area?  I have a new iPad I want to use for nav, and a swing arm that was attached to a MFD, and want a way to use the iPad instead.

Thanks all

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On 8/27/2021 at 4:46 AM, Loose Cannon said:

Has anyone figured out the 'best' tablet mount to connect to a swing mount in the cabin hatch area?  I have a new iPad I want to use for nav, and a swing arm that was attached to a MFD, and want a way to use the iPad instead.

Thanks all

Try this from Railblazer NZ   https://www.railblaza.com/products/adjustable-platform/

Cheers,

Jim

 

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  • 4 months later...
On 5/7/2021 at 9:36 PM, ekerebel said:

Hello, I am developing a sunlight readable tablet using an eInk screen and linux OS. Battery life will be about 36 hours with constant use. Don’t hesitate to pm if you are interested.

I am searching for a tablet for my signal K build curious as to where your at with this.

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1 hour ago, Neilthewheel said:

I am searching for a tablet for my signal K build curious as to where your at with this.

The other alternative might be to go with the tech that FKT is using with the older Toughpad tablet for 175$ish.  Same tech that's in my (heavy) CF-19(MK5-Mk9s) with touchscreen and SSD.

There are many guides out there for switching from Windows to Linux on the tough books as well, including keeping touch screen functionality in tablet mode.

I priced out a Mesa tablet the other day because I am on the hunt for a lighter option than the tough book if one is available reasonably.  I could buy 5 of my tough books for the price of one Mesa that I saw.  

Transflective screen(claimed 6000 nit equivalent in sun).  If there are no or few shadows, I can turn backlight right off, there's a built in sensor to do it but I usually cover that since I only need about 6 hours of batt life, and carry the equivalent of more than 24 hours in my toolbag.  Also they are circular polarized rather than linear, more expensive but looks the same to me from any angle, can't remember if I've used polarized sunglasses with it yet but my regular sunglasses it does fine.

As far as I have been able to determine, there are really only a handful of technologies at play with varying costs and benefits.

1.  Transflective, seems to be the oldest, not very common.   Can find the occasional($$$) display from china that claims this, so far as I've been able to find in other sources Panasonic seems to be the only company that used it until recently.  They have also eliminated it on the newer ones such as the CF-20 unfortunately as that would have otherwise been my likely upgrade path in 5 years or so.   Many upsides, but manufacturing cost is not one of them.  Since it's a dying tech hard to find anything over 1024x768.

2.  High brightness backlight such as new iPad Pro/sail tablet.  The kill it with fire approach, upside is it's pretty much made the same as any other display as I understand it.  You have to watch these because some will list max single Mini-led brightness(1600nits) but whole screen brightness is lower(1000 for the big iPad Pro, 600 for the smaller).

3. E ink.  I love E-ink.  But it's hard to find anything with a good refresh rate, contrast, resolution and colour.  It seems to me you can pick any two, for a boat my pick would be refresh rate and contrast, but black and white.  I would love this for gauges, not so much for a plotter.

There are then two other things that seem to crop up on the higher quality units for both approaches.  

a. Circular polarization.  This comes on a variety of screen types.  Better than linear but more $ I think if camera filters are anything to go by.

b.  Bonded screens.  Optically bonded screens eliminate a lot of the internal reflections, this means more bang for your nit of backlight and better readability.  Also much higher durability to impacts etc.

 

Touch screens are either capacitive or resistive.  CF-19s and FKTs new tablet are resistive.  Upside is you can touch the screen with anything from a finger to a wrench and it works just about as well.  Downside is it never feels as smooth as capacitive and is not as crystal clear.  

Capacitive give you multi touch, no visual interference, and less internal reflection.  Some of the newer ones are better with gloves, but you have to watch those ratings because many are rated just for medical/mechanic thin latex/nitrile gloves.  Can be solved by capacitive compatible gloves of course.  

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On 5/5/2021 at 2:06 PM, allweather said:

I've bought the sailproof tablet for exactly that good readability in sunlight, with water on the screen and reasonably long battery life.
And to be true, I can use the screen as a true flashlight if I wanted to. I can not however say much about personal use experience yet. Been a very cold and wet spring leaving the opportunities to test it somewhat on the rare side.(not always unpacking for a quick afternoon sail either)

Maybe keep a look on the Figaro sailor using/testing it. I'll say more on it when I got the opportunity for sunny days.
https://sailproof.shop/2021/02/25/sailproof-with-alexis-thomas-on-the-figaro-circuit/

Thats really cool. I have been thinking something like this was needed for a long time. Priced less than an iPad which is good considering they don't have the economy of scale 

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  • 2 months later...
On 3/27/2022 at 11:02 PM, ordkhntr said:

Any feedback on the tripltek? 

Sorry, forgot to come back to this!  Have had the Tripltek out a few times now, works great.  I'll try to remember to grab some pics in sunlight next time I'm on the boat.  Haven't pressed battery life too hard yet, but after 3-4 hours still a lot of charge.

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Here’s a shot in direct sun with some shade for contrast.  The Tripltek is fully readable.   My phone camera lens is cracked, so a little distortion and there is actually very little glare on the tablet. Overall I’m happy with it, sort of a pain being use to Apple functions, but that’s just on me to get comfortable with an Android. 

 

5025D7DE-4C71-4F08-8A31-9B0506790A31.jpeg

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iPhone 13 Pro is 1000nits. I think it’s good enough. Get Max for $100 more to have more screen. I think that’s what I’ll do. INavX for iOS is pretty nice.

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