PDA Screen “Scandal” Uncovered?

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PDA Screen “Scandal” Uncovered?

The Tungsten T3 was one of the most exciting recent releases this fall.  However we received feedback from readers concerns regarding the variation in screen quality from unit to unit.  You may have also caught our previous story: Concerns Raised Over Quality of Tungsten T3 Screens which was posted on October 13th; http://bargainpda.com/default.asp?newsID=1678.  The idea that multiple screen manufacturers were being used on PDA’s from both Palm and HP has been a hot topic and considered a possible reason for this variation.  Since that time, we have considered literally opening the cases on units with extreme differences in screen quality to investigate exactly what the brand name was on each screen.  As you can guess, that would have been a bit costly should anything have gone wrong upon reassembling the units. 

T3 Screens side by side in darkness.  Take note of the brightness of the unit on the right.  Also observe the color difference on the backlight adjustment bar.  The left (darker) unit appears to display a blue hue while the right is gray.  These units were using identical color and brightness settings for this photo.

At this point we have not attempted to disassemble units on our own, and we have found out some inside information from a credible industry source.  BargainPDA has been told that Palm units indeed incorporate screens from more than one manufacturer.  We have confirmed that Sony is one of these, and have been led to believe that these Sony screens are the best of the bunch.  However, in an effort to produce T3’s with comparable screen quality, we have learned that a “cheaper” touch screen (which is laid upon the inner display) is used to somewhat “mask” the extra brightness and contrast of the better screen.  In contrast (no pun intended), a higher quality touch screen is laid over the lesser quality inner screen in order to allow a higher degree of brightness to pass through, thereby making both combinations produce a comparable final product.

On a higher note, we were also told that as less demand and better processes for manufacturing the lcd screens emerge, the overall quality will improve on a more consistent basis.  Until then consumers have to wonder, Is my screen as good as yours?


Barry Doyle




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