View RSS Feed

All Blog Entries

  1. Hardware Review: Element 7" Touchscreen Display

    by , 01-25-2012 at 09:40 AM

    What is it?

    The Element is a 7" Touchscreen display which features HDMI, DVI, VGA & composite video connections.

    The Verdict:

    The Element 7" display is a well-received competitor into the small touchscreen genre. In its first revision, it seems to incorporate most of the criteria which makes a touchscreen device usable in the car. Those looking for a budget display device with great quality and community recommendation should look at the Element as their device of choice.



    What’s in the box?

    The Element comes with the 7" Touchscreen monitor, power supply, a remote control, and a 3.5mm to composite video connector. HDMI is not included, however because the Element uses a separate mini-USB connection for the touchscreen, any HDMI cable will do.

    Please note at the time the photos were taken the Element monitor came only in open frame form. A case is now available for the device.


    Description:

    Every once in a while, sites like ebay turn up a gem for the small market Car PC world. Such is the case with the new Element 7" touchscreen monitor, a device that community member RipplingHurst found while sifting through the items available on that website. His intrigue, which lead to this massive thread of information regarding the device, inspired me to contact the displays creator to review the device's uses for Car PC.


    With that massive thread in mind, lets summarize some of facts regarding the Element display. It is a 7" Samsung monitor with LED backlighting, overlayed by a resistive 4-wire "sunlight readable" touchscreen input device. Note that it is not transflective, but it does a fairly decent job in high sunlight conditions. I would put the device right on par with the high brightness Lilliput displays of recent years in terms of the amount of screen visible when the sun is bearing down.


    The controller for the device supports the famed 800x480 resolution from any video device which supports it. This means sticklers car PC pixel perfection can use their compatible video cards with the Element without the hassle of custom resolutions or firmware hacks. Oddly enough, the device supports many different resolutions all the way up to 1920x1080, far higher than most Lilliput and Xenarcs dare go. Now, most people wont ever use a 7" monitor at that high a resolution, but the ability to do so is worth a bragging right or two.


    Another built-in feature that was kindly considered is the ability to auto switch to composite AV1 on signaling. This request has become more popular with the installation of rear cameras in car PC setups. Auto-on/Auto-off and input resume are all there as well. The creator as definitely done their research in regard to what car PC hobbyist are looking for from their touchscreens. They've even done away with the dreaded "blue screen of boot" no signal screen. Instead of retina burning bright blue, the screen is a subtle black.


    The display quality of the Element display is darn nice at factory settings. Colors are rich and deep, and there's not any noticeable "pixel effect" or ghosting at low resolutions, no matter what input you choose to use. The only poor aspect of the viewing quality was the off-axis viewing angles. Colors quickly turn dark when viewing at modest angles. Unfortunately this is a trait of near all resistive touchscreen monitors, and the Element makes no strides in this regard.


    Installing the open-frame Element in to your car shouldn't be any more difficult than normal. The device will fit into mp3Car's double-din kits available, albeit with some minor controller mounting and cable interference issues. The display fits nicely into the opening of the bezel, with only a minor smidgen of touchscreen white-space showing through. The developer for the device kindly included a long strand of cables connecting the controller board to the button panel, meaning the buttons can be neatly tucked away, or the IR sensor for the remote can be mounted away from the dash panel.

    A minor matter of contention I have with the Element is of personal opinion. The device uses separate USB and HDMI cables, meaning there is one additional wire required to tuck into the dash and extend out to the PC. The benefit to this is the ability to use any HDMI cable, instead of the stiff and often difficult to replace HDMI-to-HDMI/USB cables found with Lilliput and Xenarc monitors.

    The Positive:

    • Above average sunlight readability
    • High quality display with extremely rich color and contrast
    • Includes features car PC installers demand
    • High selection of available resolutions
    • True native 800x480 support
    • Buttons can be easily mounted elsewhere for space saving in installation


    The Negative:

    • Requires a mini-USB wire for touchscreen
    • Uses proprietary touchscreen drivers
    • Height of controller and angle of connectors mean some hacking required for double-DIN kits
    • Poor off-axis viewing angles



    The Verdict:

    The Element 7" display is a well-received competitor into the small touchscreen genre. In its first revision, it seems to incorporate most of the criteria which makes a touchscreen device usable in the car. Those looking for a budget display device with great quality and community recommendation should look at the Element as their device of choice.

  2. 7 Inch USB Touchscreen Showdown

    by , 10-06-2011 at 10:51 AM
    In this second series comparing the latest 7" touchscreens we have the Xenarc 700TSU, the Mimo 720f 2G, and the Lilliput UM70C/T USB connected monitors. Check out the video below to assist you in deciding if a USB touchscreen is right for you and which one should you currently consider.

  3. 2011 7 Inch Touchscreen Showdown

    by , 09-07-2011 at 03:02 PM
    New to the scene and searching through the latest in touch screen devices? Maybe looking to upgrade an aging display with something more modern and feature rich? Check out this video for a quick glimpse of the most recent 7" touchscreen devices and how they compare with each other.

  4. Hardware Review: Lilliput 659GL-70NP/C/T Surface Acoustic Wave Touchscreen Monitor

    by , 08-19-2011 at 02:53 PM

    What is it?

    The Lilliput 659 is a 7" touchscreen monitor which uses Surface Acoustic Wave technology for accurate and precise touchscreen operation.

    The Verdict:

    As beautiful as the display is on the Lilliput 659, it may not be the best bet for every installation. The physical dimensions of the screens bezel and other components means you may very well need more than double din space for adequate installation. If you do have the space needed, the 659 may just be your best bet as its brightness and color saturation is head and shoulders above other factory Lilliput devices to this point.

    See the Lilliput 669HB on the mp3Car Store here.



    What’s in the box?

    As always with Lilliput monitors, everything is included with one minor omission. Connection options include an HDMI to HDMI/USB cable, DVI to HDMI/USB cable, and VGA/Composite cable with sub-connector. Included power options are a 12v cigarette lighter plug and brick-style home power connector. Also included are remote, driver CD, and desk stand. The one omission is the stylus that's typically built into the bezel of the monitor.


    Description:

    The Car PC market has been fed a steady diet of touchscreen options in the last several months. Not only have the major brands like Lilliput and Xenarc done more with their existing product line, the hobby has seen new companies start to promote new products. Though there are many slight differences on specifications between product lines, when it boils down to it, most devices use the same basic screen technology. In the 659GL, Lilliput has changed the game. The 659 uses a different type of touchscreen technology, creatively named "surface acoustic wave" (SAW). This technology isn't new by any means, but this is the first iteration we've seen in the 7-inch touchscreen genre. Surface acoustic wave touchscreens send ultrasonic waves constantly through the screen surface. When a user presses the screen, the wave is interrupted a touch event is sent to the controller for processing. Science aside, the surface wave technology in the Lilliput 659 allows for precise touchscreen presses, higher light transmission, and a sharper, more saturated image.


    Simply put, the image quality on the Lilliput 659 is fantastic. The colors are rich and images are sharp. Though the nit rating remains at 450, the light transmission the SAW touch panel allows makes the screen appear transflective. The glass is still glossy, but its mitigated by the amount of light it passes through. This benefit also allows for a extremely larger viewing radius when compared to resistive touchscreen devices.


    Equally as important to the display of the touchscreen is the response, and the Lilliput 659 comes through in this regard too. The SAW touchscreen is harder than the resistive variants, and this results in a surer button press. The Lilliput 659 eliminates the mushiness, giving users greater confidence in a press without needing the eyes fixated on the screen. I did note that it's harder to get a response on the outer 1/4 inch of the screen, but I'm not sure if this is a problem with my test unit or with all of the 659's.

    This small problem leads me to a larger gripe I have with the Lilliput 659. The bezel on this device when compared with any other 7" touchscreen available today is huge. Anyone looking to install this in a standard double din enclosure may encounter a problem getting it to fit. I'm not sure if the controller boards inside require the larger bezel, but its definitely something to take note of prior to hacking away at your dashboard. Check out my video comparing the bezel size with a Lilliput 669.



    The Positive:

    • Huge leap in image quality from the SAW touchscreen
    • HDMI, DVI, VGA, and Composite connections available
    • Accurate and satisfying touchscreen feedback
    • Auto-On still available (via factory menu)

    The Negative:

    • Bezel size may prohibit double din installation for some
    • Missing auto composite switch wire


    The Verdict:

    As beautiful as the display is on the Lilliput 659, it may not be the best bet for every installation. The physical dimensions of the screens bezel and other components means you may very well need more than double din space for adequate installation. If you do have the space needed, the 659 may just be your best bet as its brightness and color saturation is head and shoulders above other factory Lilliput devices to this point.

    For more specifications on the Lilliput 659 click here
    For more pictures of the Lilliput 659 click here

    Updated 08-19-2011 at 02:58 PM by Sonicxtacy02

    Categories
    Product Reviews
  5. Introducing Mimics. The ultimate iPhone-in-your-car experience

    by , 05-19-2011 at 02:53 PM

    Mimics Dash allows you to operate an iPhone via a touch screen monitor installed in your vehicle. After installing Mimics Dash, simply plug your iPhone in each time you enter your vehicle and enjoy the convenience of all of your iPhone's apps, music, phone, and navigation features on a safe, easy-to-use touch screen monitor. By bridging the gap between your iPhone and your car, Mimics becomes the ultimate in-car entertainment system.

    Here's how it works: The touch interface is interpreted by the module and transmitted via Bluetooth to your iPhone. Genius! Now you can control your phone from the monitor! The Module draws power from the Lilliput monitor, and video is supplied to the monitor via the Apple HDMI dock connector (optional). Audio is supplied to your aftermarket amplifier* via the 3.5mm jack on your iPhone (optional). Choose the Mimics Cable Option and we'll give you all of the necessary cables needed to get video and audio out from your phone and be able to charge while driving.

    Made specifically for your vehicle, Mimics Dash is engineered to be an easy install (or have your local car stereo shop do it for you):
    1. Remove your existing dash panel
    2. Install the Mimics Dash
    3. Install an aftermarket amplifier* of your choice
    4. Connect the Mimics Cable kit and you're ready to go

    Pre Order NOW
    Everything you wanted to know about Mimics
    Talk about Mimics in our forums





    Comments

    Updated 05-22-2011 at 12:47 AM by optikalefx

    Categories
    Products and Technology
Page 2 of 3 FirstFirst 123 LastLast