What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?
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  1. #1
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    What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    What do you think about analog vs digital display in their purpose for providing information (time reading)?

    I'll start first:

    Analog:
    1/ More legible at a distance (clocks at train station, hospitals, schools, etc) because of the simple picture format.
    2/ For short or less than one minute timing purposes, i.e. counting pulses, sometimes using second hand is more preferable because of the readability.
    3/ Gives you a sense of the current time.
    4/ Generally it becomes more legible as it gets bigger.

    Digital:
    1/ Easier/faster to read correctly at a glance.
    2/ Undoubtedly superior for timing purposes (linked to the 1st point and because of the format).
    3/ Generally eats less space.
    4/ Generally it doesn't get more legible as it gets bigger, maybe the effect is the reverse because of how it must be read (left to right).

    I think the major problem with analog is that the reader could miss by one hour mark, that usually means +/- 5 minutes and/or 1 hour. Maybe if the day consists of 16 hours this would happen less often.


    PS: I think this has been discussed before but I couldn't find a specific thread devoted to it so I just made one ;>
    bezgeo85 likes this.

  2. #2
    Member HomerJ's Avatar
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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    For strictly telling time, I agree with you. Legibility can't be beat for the analog display, especially at a distance. I'll find myself squinting at a digital readout, but analog hands are easy to pick out.

    On a watch, I prefer analog (old school, classier look), unless I am timing something for an extended period (ie jogging/exercise). Then the digital chrono display is much easier than an analog chronograph.

  3. #3
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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    I prefer analog. I get more information from the way the time is displayed. Analog display shows me how long it is before or after the hour, how much time is left before the target time etc. Analog represents more of an idea of what part of the day it is currently & isn't that what we want to know? It may be a matter of my having learning how to use the display over the years, but digital forces me to do the math & I think that I still visualize the time on a 12 hr dial in my head after I look at a digital clock. When you see someone look at their watch, quickly ask them what time it is. The digital owner will probably tell you, the analog owner will usually have to look again to give you a number.
    Cheers,
    kev
    P.S. I love Ana-Digi watches, mainly because the day/date display is usually easier for me to see.
    I just think that things should work the way I expect them to.
    Conroe, Texas

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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    Quote Originally Posted by bugeyed View Post
    ... When you see someone look at their watch, quickly ask them what time it is. The digital owner will probably tell you, the analog owner will usually have to look again to give you a number.
    Funny you mention this, it's something I do to with an analog watch to.

    I regularly look at my watch but ask me a few seconds after which time it is and I have to look again to give you the correct details .
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  6. #5
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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    I generally stick to analog watches.

    Comparing the two, digital is far easier to get a very accurate reading of the time. You look at the face and it tells you the time is exactly 15:43:38
    Analog on the other hand has a much more graphical nature, so giving the time down to the second needs a bit more thought in finding exactly where the minute and second hands sit on the dial. What it does much better though (at least for me) is in giving rough times (within five minutes) very simply, and also being much easier to read in comparing multiple times. If I know I need to leave the house at quarter to the hour, with an analog display it is trivial to glance at it and compare the position of the hand to what I need and get an idea of how much time remains. With digital however I need to do a bit of quick mental arithmetic to figure out the data I want. While it is only a small difference, the analog just makes it that step easier to use.
    The other bit is that I rarely ever need to know the time down to the second (however accurate I may keep my watches) - with analog I can glance at my watch and easily tell it is almost on the hour, which is all I really need - knowing the time is exactly 12:58:20 is excessive and pointless.

    Reading it back it does sound quite petty in text, just in use for me an analog face makes much more sense and gives me what I want and need in a timepiece.

    At the same time, something should be said for the fact I just find them more aesthetically pleasing - to look at a watch with a nice dial and the hands ticking round steadily is just nicer on the eyes than the somewhat more harsh display of a digital.

  7. #6
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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    I find analog to be more intuitive. To me, it's easier to see how much time remains before a certain target time with analog. Oddly though, when I glance at my analog watch, I think I'm really giving myself a rough idea of the time based on my eyes visually splitting the face up into quarters. I can glance at my watch, and all I really process is which quarter the minute hand is in. Someone can ask me what time it is, and I have to look at second time to tell them!
    Digital provides a very accurate snapshot, but there is such a thing as digital watch tunnel vision. I like the "big picture" that an analog watch provides. The spacial relationship between the hands and markers just makes more sense to me at a glance.
    Yikes, I should post this over in the boring thread.
    Caraptor

    The man who buys a particular watch to feel smarter or better than other people and the man who avoids a particular watch to feel smarter or better than other people are brothers.

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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    I find analog watches (and displays in general) much easier to read than digital, especially at a glance. The graphical representation seems to be much easer to read than something that's just a string of digits. Also, if you're off a bit when reading an analog display it's usually not that bad, but confuse the digits on a digital display and you could be way off. Seven segment display in particular can be a problem. There's only one segment difference between 8 and 0, 1 and 7, 5 and 6 etc.

    Unless there's a good reason to have something digital, I almost always prefer an analog display.

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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    Interesting that apparently the majority has a bias for analog, perhaps unsuprisingly for WISes

    Quote Originally Posted by caraptor
    ...a rough idea of the time based on my eyes visually splitting the face up into quarters. I can glance at my watch, and all I really process is which quarter the minute hand is in.
    Quote Originally Posted by narcosynthesys
    Analog.... What it does much better though (at least for me) is in giving rough times (within five minutes) very simply, and also being much easier to read in comparing multiple times.
    Quote Originally Posted by narcosynthesys
    If I know I need to leave the house at quarter to the hour, with an analog display it is trivial to glance at it and compare the position of the hand to what I need and get an idea of how much time remains. With digital however I need to do a bit of quick mental arithmetic to figure out the data I want. While it is only a small difference, the analog just makes it that step easier to use.
    I agree on these points. For rough estimation on remaining time, analog is more readable (dive watches anyone?)

    Quote Originally Posted by HilltopMichael View Post
    I find analog watches (and displays in general) much easier to read than digital, especially at a glance. The graphical representation seems to be much easer to read than something that's just a string of digits. Also, if you're off a bit when reading an analog display it's usually not that bad, but confuse the digits on a digital display and you could be way off.

    Seven segment display in particular can be a problem. There's only one segment difference between 8 and 0, 1 and 7, 5 and 6 etc.
    Your experience is a bit different than mine on reading the current time. But I agree that LED-like display of digital numerals have a deficiency in legibility. Maybe it's a good time for high resolution watch like the EPD protoype from Seiko:


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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    Analog all the way for me, for I suppose purely psychological reasons.

    With a digital display I always feel rushed for some reason. There's never enough time to do something, I'm frequently late (or feel as if I'm going to be) and everything's over before it starts.

    An analog display however makes me feel as if there's enough time in the world :P. I mean, that seconds hand moves at the same speed as those ever changing numbers on the digi, but it feels slower, and psychological time is often what matters most (unless you're a scientist or pilot or something).

    Oh, and my 24hr analog is really helpful; I truly "run by my own clock" and don't sleep regular hours. I find that this visual representation of the entire day helps plan my hours, see how long until something must be done, how much sleep I might/should/must get etc.

    I recommend a 24hr analog to any nightowl/cat, "24hr person" or frequent traveller :P
    ~not really that silent...bit of a boring, meandering, waffling, blathering blabber-mouth actually~ :D

  11. #10
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    Re: What do you think about Analog vs Digital display?

    I like traditional analog displays, especially vintage/retro styling.

    But I also REALLY REALLY like particular modern digital displays ...especially the negative digital LCD display on my Suunto Core


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