DIY Netbook Screen Replacement With a Pixel Qi

Want a display on your netbook that’s both bright and and low-power? The Pixel Qi display just might be what you’re looking for in terms of being friendly to both your battery and your eyes, but perhaps not your budget.

Pixel’s Qi's screen has been the talk of the town for some time now, and they are so popular that they sold out in just one day. The main draw of these 10.1-inch screens is two-fold: First, they can absorb ambient light to make screens appear brighter, which means they can operate without a battery-draining backlight and thus require less power. Second, the screen has two operation modes: bright, full-color for indoor use, as well as black and white for “high ambient light” environments (translation: outdoors).

What’s it like to put one of these power-sipping screens in your netbook? Jesse Vincent over at Massively Parallel Procrastination recently acquired a Pixel Qi and installed it in a Samsung N135. The result of mashing up the Qi and a netbook? A low-energy screen--one that supposedly uses 80% less power than similar 10.1-inch displays--that can be easily read outside in bright sunlight in black and white mode, and that handily renders an OK Go music video in the glaring afternoon sun. Vincent notes that, In reflective mode, the Qi display is almost as bright as an Amazon Kindle’s e-ink screen.

Pixel claims that the Qi will only work with the Samsung N130 and the Lenovo S10-2, but could possibly be compatible with other models. Interested in getting your own Qi? MakerShed is selling them for $275 (ouch), so combine that with a compatible 10.1” netbook and you’re out about $600.

However, the Qi is backordered at MakerShed, so you’ll have to wait until at least the middle of next week to get your hands on one. While PCWorld encourages DIY and hardware tweaking, if you fry your display connectors while installing one of these, you’re on your own. Happy modding!

On temporary hiatus from blogging to teach computer science, Alessondra is chronicling her adventures on her blog. You can also follow Geek Tech on Twitter!

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