7 Top Tips For Using a Laptop in the Sun

It goes without saying that the massive benefit of laptops is the ability to work anywhere. However, one thing that has always been a challenge is using a laptop in the sun.

You flip your laptop open but you can’t see a thing. Damn! You’re arching your neck and squinting now, but you can still barely see, the sun is making sure of it. 

Trust me, I get the struggle with your laptop in the sunshine, I’ve been there too. It seems strange that the machine that promises freedom struggles in the places that you dream of working while traveling.

My favorite option is just to give up and rather than a laptop by the pool, just order a beer and be done with it. But, sometimes you have to just knuckle down and get on with it.

So whether you spend your days in an office, looking at the sun shining outside longing to be outside. Or maybe you are a digital nomad, struggling to see your words while sitting by the pool in your private villa in the Maldives, these tips and accessories will help you with using a laptop in the sun.

Please know, there are a couple of Amazon links in this page that are affiliate links to recommended products. This means that if you purchase after following one, I make a small commission from the sale at no additional cost to yourself.

7 Tips How can I see my laptop screen better in the Sun

1. Increase the laptop’s Screen Brightness

This is a pretty obvious step that many people overlook. Many devices these days have light detectors for auto brightness adjustment but most laptops do not so it is easy to forget. Upping the brightness will make the more brilliant and easier to see if working with your laptop outdoors.

Most computers have a shortcut key usually somewhere in the f-numbers to increase the brightness. On a Macbook these are the F1 and F2 keys which will increase and decrease.

Brightness controls are normally found on the top row of the keyboard, usually indicated by an icon of the sun and a plus “ +” symbol to increase brightness and a minus “ – ” symbol to decrease the brightness. If you do not see the shortcut keys you can also manually adjusting screen brightness on your computer by going into your control panel.

You could also consider getting a portable monitor for your laptop if the screen isn’t bright enough.

Just remember one important factor. Screens consume the most energy in a laptop, so an Increased brightness will equal increased power consumption, which will ultimately result in shorter battery life. It would be a good idea to keep an eye on your battery level and back up work regularly. You might need to arm yourself with a backup battery pack or be ready to plug in quickly.

2. Pick a Spot in the Shade. 

Where possible, set up your laptop in the shade. Aside from making it easier for you to see your laptop screen, it also helps prevent your laptop, especially if it’s black, from overheating. 

A couple of other benefits of this are that it reduces the risk of getting sunburn and it will ensure that the crafty beer or glass of wine you’re enjoying while answering an email on a lovely summer day stays cooler for longer.

A laptop outdoors in the sun

3. Wear Dark Glasses

Another easy to do hack is wearing a pair of sunglasses. Rocking a pair of polarized sunglasses will go a long way to improving using a laptop in the sun. Wearing polarized sunglasses can reduce sun glare.

Sunglasses help to reduce the effect that the sun would have otherwise had on your vision, while also making you look pretty awesome. For any outdoor work trip like this, try to go for the amber lenses, as they help increase the contrast of the laptop’s screen.

You may also want to consider turning on the High Contrast Theme, which inverts the colors and helps the text to stand out more.

On Windows, go to Display Settings > Ease of Access and click the ‘High contrast’ tab in the left pane. Click the toggle to turn it on.

On Mac, it’s System Preferences > Accessibility and checking the box next to ‘Invert colors’. Both operating systems offer various customization options from these menus.

You can also opt for a pair that has an anti-reflective coating on the front and back of the lens, it greatly reduces the sun glare.

4. Invest in a Laptop Hood

To further ease the outdoor use of a laptop, it might become necessary to get your own laptop hood. It’s popularly called a “laptop cap”, and it helps cut out the light rays from hitting your screen. 

A laptop hood is made black on the inside to reduce glare, and white on the outside so as to prevent the buildup and retention of heat. Make sure not to cover the air vent on your laptop while you’re at it, this can cause overheating.

You can get smaller models designed for portability but minimal use as they aren’t the most effective or you can get ones that act more like an entire tent for your laptop. If you spend almost all of your day working in the sun, this would be the best option for you.

5. Wear dark clothes

This is a good little hack whenever you want to work outdoor with your laptop. Since bright colored clothes, can tend to reflect rays of sunlight back onto the screen, this reflection can make it more difficult to see your laptop screen. 

Dark-colored clothes, on the other hand, are less likely to reflect rays of light, they absorb it instead.

6. Pick outdoor-optimized Laptop models.

If you are looking for a new laptop for embarking on a life of digital nomadacy, when choosing, look for ones with matte screens, they are laptops optimized for outdoor use as the matte finishing helps reduce glare on the laptop screen. 

While glossy laptop screens might have more appeal, they tend to grossly reflect the sun.

If you are unable to get find a laptop with matte screens to fit your other requirements, you can find a glossy finished one that works well in the sun. The descriptions on glossy-screened laptops almost always have a phrase like  “Outdoor View,” “I/O,” “Indoor/Outdoor,” or “Enhanced Outdoor”, so look for these.

Finally, if you already have a model, it is possible to purchase matte anti-glare screen covers. 

A lady using a laptop outdoors on a bench in the sunshine

7. Sit and Face the Sun

Probably the most simple and easiest tip on this list.  When you sit and face the sun, your laptop will automatically cut out the sun, making it impossible for the laptop screen to catch any sunray, screen blindness is prevented as a result. In direct sunlight, you’ll probably have a hard time making out what’s on the screen, while the device can quickly overheat.

NuShield’s DayVue film can be placed over your screen and makes your screen readable in direct sunlight, even if you’re wearing polarized sunglasses. The film basically works against the nature of your glare-prone screen by canceling out reflecting light but still letting enough through so you can, you know, see it. It also fights blueish light so that it’s readable when you’re wearing sunglasses.

A man using a laptop on an outside table

Final thoughts on using a laptop in the sun

For an optimum outdoor experience, you will need to observe some of the above tips, which include: increasing brightness, high contrast mode, wearing a dark shirt to avoid reflection, and wearing sunglasses to improve your vision. 

With these 7 practical tips on how to use your laptop in the sun, the days of facing challenges are over. Henceforth, you’re bound to have an awesome, itch-free outdoor experience. Go on and enjoy it!

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