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I rarely use either a smartphone or tablet computer but when I have tried to use them outdoors, I find the display cannot be read or even seen if there is much ambient sunlight.
Yesterday, I was trying to use a smartphone camera while on the water and couldnt even see it well enough to find the camera icon.
For those who use such electronics, how do you deal with this issue?
 

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Wait until dark. Or heavy cloud cover.

Seriously. In consumer-grade color displays, you can get a display that refreshes quickly and has good color rendering (i.e. smartphones and cameras) or one that is very bright--but terribly slow to refresh and unsuitable for video of any sort.

So you can wait until dark, or just wait ten years for better displays.
 

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Were you wearing sunglasses? Polarized sunglasses can make some displays completely unreadable, depending on what angle you're viewing them from.

I remove my sunglasses and turn so that my body shades the device.
 

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I simply dumped the camera phone idea, and went to pick up a point and shoot camera for all my sailing photos. It's easy enough to use, and you can just snap snap snap away hoping for the perfect picture. :)
 

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I found that on mine, I also have the sunglasses issue. I have prescriptions, and even though I also have Transitions lenses in my regulars, I like my polarized sunglasses for well, sunny days. And if I turn my phone to landscape mode, I lose the display. So I either have to turn my head to match (which I'm sure in itself would be a funny picture....), take the photo in portrait instead and lose the wider view, put on my regulars and give them a moment to adjust so I don't get blinded by sunlight... or what I tend to do, is to turn the phone, position my finger where the shutter button is, then turn it back, and take a series of pictures hoping at least one comes out in focus. I'll review them later and delete unwanteds.

That aside though, I find that even in very direct sunlight, when my phone is on max brightness (at the expense of battery life), I can still see, even with the polarized on that still toys with certain angles upright. With my regular lenses on, I have no issues at all. It might be a little washed out so I can't see EVERY detail, but it's certainly functional enough for my tastes. Otherwise, it's shielding with your hand/body, or ducking into the cabin a foot to see.

If you're having issues, and it's a decent enough phone, double check the brightness settings. Might be better to manually adjust to full brightness instead of letting the auto setting work. Some phones are a little pickier about it. Mine has a setting on auto where I can limit the max brightness it will go to, as a battery saver, i.e. 80% is the max it'll go (or whatever I set it). So when I'm outside, I make sure to switch the auto off and manually go full bright.
 

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I really hate smartphones (and many point-and-shoot cameras) for that very reason. Just about useless in bright sunlight. My Canon camera was one of the last to come with a real viewfinder in addition to the LCD screen. I am going to be very disappointed when it dies and have to replace it unless the screens get much better.
 

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This is because the display is also polarized, but at a 90 degree angle to the polarization on your sunglasses. You can get the same effect by looking through two pairs of polarized sunglasses and rotating one of them. Get to the right angle, and it blocks everything.

Were you wearing sunglasses? Polarized sunglasses can make some displays completely unreadable, depending on what angle you're viewing them from.

I remove my sunglasses and turn so that my body shades the device.
 

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Most cell phones have the brightness turned down to conserve battery strength. I turn it up when aboard. I also find that putting my body between the sun and phone always allows me to read the screen (without sunglasses).

As for seeing when taking a pic, just point and shoot. Cropping a pic is pretty easy these days, so framing is unnecessary. A cell phone isn't taking a "photograph" anyway, but rather a quick "pic".

I think its the greatest way to carry memories around.
 
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