What Marketers Need to Know about the Benefits of Frontlit Reflective Display Technology


Lighting a display from the front, instead of from the back, may not sound like much of a breakthrough to the average electronics consumer. But frontlit reflective display technology has major benefits for all kinds of end users, from smartwatch wearers to construction workers to classrooms around the world.

That’s where the people who define and market these products come in. Rather than focusing on the tech itself, marketers can highlight the following three value props that frontlit reflective LCDs offer to differentiate their product and convert more customers.

1: Reflective LCDs Make Batteries Last Longer

Because reflective displays work with ambient lighting and not against it, they have a much longer battery life. LCD 2.0 consumes one-tenth of the power of traditional LCD technology.

This energy efficiency is especially impactful in scenarios where users need to use the screen for long periods of time.

For example, workers on a construction site may need to reference a building design on a device frequently throughout the day. If they’re using a normal smartphone or tablet, they may need to stop and charge the device at some point – or be left without the reference if the device dies mid day.

With a device that uses a reflective LCD, the workers can both easily view the screen in direct sunlight and count on it lasting the whole workday, no charging necessary. This is even more important if your product is a medical device or provides safety features in dangerous conditions.

A frontlit display is also advantageous for screens that must be visible outside 24/7, like parking meters and traffic signage. An advertiser may not realize how much more it costs to power a backlit billboard along a sun-drenched highway than it would be to use a frontlit display or another display designed for outdoor viewing in the same location.

2: Frontlight vs. Backlight: Embracing the Users’ Lighting Environment Instead of Working Against It

One of the core advantages of frontlit reflective displays across all use cases is that they make use of the available surrounding light. That means users can see frontlit displays in any lighting environment, from a dark bedroom to outside at high noon.

In bright light, backlit displays drain a lot of power by increasing the brightness of the screen to combat the ambient lighting so that the user can see what’s on the display. This doesn’t work very well, though. Glare on the screen makes it hard to read in bright light environments.

Reflective frontlit displays instead use ambient light to their advantage by reflecting it, not fighting it, to make the screen brighter and more visible to the user, especially when out in the sun. And when they’re in low light, they simply turn the front light on.

An easy way to illustrate this difference to prospective users is to compare laptops with e-readers like Kindle. Most laptops are backlit, which means if you take one outside on a sunny day, you’ll be squinting to make out the text on the screen. A frontlit e-reader, on the other hand, works with ambient light, so you’ll be able to read your book on a Kindle at the beach.

Consider this same contrast with a wearable medical device that has a frontlit display. Someone who wears an electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor will be able to easily glance at their heart rate stats while running outside, as opposed to having to step inside or shadow the sun to read the screen.

3: Frontlit Displays Are Easier on Our Eyes

Our eyes are weary from hours and hours of backlit screen time at work and at school. To combat eye strain, many people have turned to additional products like blue light glasses (whose benefits are dubious at best) without realizing that a different type of screen altogether can provide relief.

Backlit displays emit high levels of light, which has been linked to the eye strain from screens that consumers are familiar with.

Frontlit displays reflect sunlight or the room’s lighting back to the user, making the viewing experience as natural as reading a book.

Frontlit reflective displays can be especially beneficial in education settings as kids’ screen time rises, along with concerns about their eye health. A classroom presentation display that uses a frontlit reflective LCD may be more naturally engaging to students who have trouble reading and focusing on a backlit screen throughout the school day.

Frontlit Reflective Displays Are the Screens Customers Want to Use – They Just Don’t Know It Yet

Many of the pain points of backlit displays have become accepted as part and parcel of the modern world: poor visibility in bright light, strained eyes, and constant charging.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Marketers can educate potential customers on the benefits of having a frontlit reflective display in their product and the ways in which this can give them a leg up on the competition.

Not sure how to talk to your engineering team about LCD 2.0? Click here to learn more.

To learn more about how Azumo’s frontlit display technology can enhance the end user experience in your product, get in touch with our team.



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