Operations Products

Tablet Computer Displays – 3 Types

This is a guest post by Bill Graulty from ARMOR Rugged Mobile Computers. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.

The principal medium to retrieve and input information on a tablet device is the display. EMS professionals must be able to read the display in light conditions ranging from pitch dark to full sunlight – sometimes while moving from one extreme to the other. Not only must the display be fully visible in these light conditions, it must also perform consistently across the entire temperature range.

A liquid crystal display may be characterized as transmissive, reflective, and transflective.

  • Transmissive displays, such as those on conventional computers, employ an LCD screen with a backlight that provides excellent indoor viewability. The user sees the display image by virtue of the light that passes through the panel from the backlight. These displays are difficult to see in bright light because the brightness of the ambient light overpowers the light coming through the display from the backlight.
  • A reflective LCD uses ambient light which passes through the LCD to a mirror and is reflected back to the viewer, providing good performance in bright conditions. However, these displays provide minimal viewing in dim light because there is little light to bounce off the mirror.
  • A transflective display combines elements of both with LED backlighting for low-light conditions and a reflective component that improves outdoor viewability.

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By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.