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I like to use my laptop outdoors, but it's often so bright outside that I can barely see my screen - even with the brightness turned all the way up. I've often wondered: What if opened a LCD screen and removed the back-light and anything totally opaque. I could add a light diffusing film if necessary to smooth things out. Then I could sit outside, with some bright scenery in my foreground. This would filter through the back of my screen in lieu of the digital back-light. There wouldn't be a need to auto-adjust the brightness either since if a cloud covered the sun, the screen would receive proportionally less light from behind. It would probably save battery power too, if I did it to a laptop.

Has anyone thought of doing this before? It seems like it wouldn't be that difficult. I'm not about to ruin my laptop by tearing it apart, but maybe I'll tear apart a secondary monitor that I could plug into with VGA or HDMI. I'd love to hear from someone who's tried this. :)

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You could do that; but, it's much simpler to make a laptop sun shade from a cardboard box.

Open the flaps and put the box on its side. Put the laptop inside the box and the shadow will allow you to see the screen much more easily.

Laptop sun-shade box Laptop sun-shade box hack

The upside to this hack is that you'll be able to use your laptop in normal circumstances too.

There might be even more solutions that use shade rather than tools.

Good luck.

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  • I'm still using that trick nowadays ... – Glorfindel Aug 5 at 16:50
  • probably prevent damage to both screen and laptop as well. – Old_Fossil Aug 6 at 5:43
  • Good idea! I've done something like this. I usually wear a baseball cap too to keep some of the bright overhead and foreground light out of my view - so I don't have to squint as much at my screen. – Wes Tomer Aug 10 at 16:34
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You'd have to find a way to make sure the display is illuminated evenly by white light. If you just remove the back panel and the backlight reflector, you'd be able to see the scenery through the display, which would make the display hard to read.

So you'd end up with a sort of funnel attached to the back of the monitor, letting light in from above and reflecting it into the monitor.

Also, if you modify an external monitor, you get a setup that's a lot bulkier than just using your laptop: you have to run an extension cord into the yard to power the monitor, you need a monitor stand and a monitor cable. The viewing angle gets worse.

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  • Adding a light diffusing film might smooth out the scenery so that the background would be a solid color. Though you're right about a light funnel. I'd have to have something like an angled white sheet of plastic, otherwise the colors would all be off. – Wes Tomer Aug 10 at 16:32

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