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Introduction to Notebook Computer Displays
Table of contents
When it comes to notebook computers, the choice of display size is every bit as important a decision as the hardware configuration (processor speed, RAM, hard disk size), as well as notebook type (Ultraportable, Thin-and-Light, Mainstream or Desktop Replacement, each of which has pros and cons). A larger display size means a larger physical footprint, which relates directly to the notebook type. The most important factor, however, is your comfort level during usage – a smaller screen (and notebook size) may mean great mobility, but none of that is useful if text or pictures appear uncomfortably small.
Due to increasing demand, more and more manufacturers are joining the widescreen revolution. Standard TV's and computer displays utilize a 4:3 (or 1.33:1) aspect ratio – this is also the standard display type for notebook computers.
Standard 4:3 Aspect Ratio
The standard 4:3 aspect ratio has been in use by notebook computer displays for a long time and is offered in the popular screen resolutions of:
- 800 x 600 (SVGA)
Note: Resolutions higher than 1024 x 768 can only be found in displays sized 14 inches or above. Ultraportable and Thin-and-Light notebooks with displays sized under 14 inches will be unable to satisfy customers with high-resolution display requirements.
Using a 16:9 or 16:10 aspect ratio widescreen displays can generally display about 25% more content than a standard display. Manufacturers offer lots of sizes, starting from 8.9", 10.6", 11.1", 12.1", 13.3", 14", 15.4", to 17". These sizes are all very popular and even larger sizes are in the pipeline.
When used for entertainment, DVD movies in particular, a widescreen display is in its element as it shows widescreen movies in their intended 16:9 aspect ratio. This means a bigger picture, more comfort and thinner or no black bands on either side of the picture.
The widescreen display also makes it easier to edit and view panoramic images and may eliminate horizontal scrolling on your computer altogether. When editing images of normal 4:3 aspect ratio, you can simply place your GUI tools/utilities in the unused spaces on either side of an image. In any case, a widescreen display can help you increase work (and play) efficiency.
Another benefit of the widescreen display is evident when it comes to serious work – the ability to display two windows side by side and to drag and drop (or copy n' paste) data without having to switch windows is priceless.
Here are the common resolutions found in widescreen displays:
1280 x 768 & 1280 x 800
1280 x 768 (16:9.5) and 1280 x 800 (16:10) are the two most common resolutions used in 10.6, 12.1, 13.3, 14, and 15.4-inch entry-level widescreen notebook computers. They provide about a 25% increase in onscreen content compared to screens of 1024 x 768 resolution.
1366 x 768
This resolution provides a 16:9 aspect ratio and the perfect widescreen DVD movie experience with no more annoying black bands above and below the picture. It is currently available in the 11.1" VAIO Type TX widescreen notebook.
1440 x 900
This resolution (16:10) is found in 17" notebooks only and is positioned as entry level in 17" widescreen notebooks.
1680 x 1050
This is currently the mainstream resolution (also 16:10) for 17" widescreen notebook computer displays. Users will experience a 35% increase in onscreen content compared to normal 17" screens using a resolution of 1280 x 1024.
1920 x 1200
This is the pinnacle for current 17" widescreen notebook displays, and provides a 75% increase in onscreen content when compared to a normal 17" screen of 1280 x 1024 resolution. The resolution is a perfect fit for 1080p and 1080i (1920 x 1080 16:9) HDTV.