So I rented a bicycle to have a small cycling trip, and since I like to take smaller roads, and did not know the way, decided to use my phone as GPS. This works normally well while walking, but I realized this “solution” is rather a disaster while cycling. I don’t have a phone holder for bicycle, so instead I used a armband on my forearm, until somehow my phone fell and I broke the glass screen, and moved it up to my upper arm.
The reason I first moved it to my forearm was because it’s easier to read, but in any cases, I really struggled to look at the GPS map due to the brightness of the phone – set to the maximum – as sunlight and resulting glare, especially when looking at an angle made it impossible to use. So I had to wait for the rare shadows along the way, or stop from time to time to check the map. I did not feel like stopping too often, and unsurprisingly… *insert swear word here *! I made some bad mistakes.
So I decided to look for better phone or solution to my little first world problem. An obvious solution in my specific use case would be not to use an armband because of the viewing angle, and the plastic cover has its own glare compounding the problem, and instead go with a bicycle phone mount. They cost a little over $10, look lightweight enough, and universal models should work with most phones.
This is probably not good enough to work in all sunlight conditions, and other solutions are anti-glare cover also going for $5 and up. I’m not sure how well those work, and of course those are phone specific, meaning you’d have to get one made for your model. Probably not a problem with iPhones or Samsung phones, but this may not be an option for Chinese brands, unless you are prepared to cut out the cover to fit your screen…
Another way is to buy a phone with the highest screen brightness possible, and according to Phonearena, last year (2017) brighter phone was the iPhone 7 Plus with up to 672 nits, following by Samsung Galaxy S8+ with up to 565 nits. However, the latter features an AMOLED display against an LCD display for the phone, and in conclusion they found the Samsung phone worked best outdoors. The Google Pixel was pretty terrible however, and ranked dead last in their 7 phones comparison. Let us know if you own a phone that works well under sunlight, or on the contrary one that’s barely useful. I can’t really recommend Xiaomi Mi A1 for that matter….
Finally, I found an another smartphone accessory I never heard of before: the phone sunshade. It simply fit on your smartphone, and provides a cover from the sun. It works in a car as shown above, but also write checking out your phone while lying down at the beach. Some people may also use those about of privacy concerns. They are offered for $7 to $25 on Amazon.
A search on Aliexpress reveals those also appear to be popular with people using phones to control their drones in combination with an RF controller, and some sunshades are also made or tablets with support for up to 9.7″ display sizes.
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