Why aren’t we there yet?

We live in 2012. Notebooks and laptops have been around since the nineties. At first they kept pace with desktop computer screens. The evolution brought us 640×480, 800×600 and 1024×768 screens. And we were all happy, then there was out of nothing the first laptop with 1280×1024 pixels. I owned one of those laptops. It was a strange resolution, 4:3.5 but who cared, I got myself some height, and height is all that matters when you’re coding for a living. When i put my font on 9 points I was able to view 100 lines of code without scrolling. I was a happy coder.

But somewhere during the past decade this evolution stopped. They gave us UXGA (1600×1200) and IBM even offered an QXGA (2048×1536) to businesses. But those were the good old days, before the multi-media hype took over and brought us where we are today. Poor displays in 16:9. Not a single laptop producer offers a screen that is below 16″ and has 1200 lines. Apple is the last manufacturer left hat produces laptops that have 1200 lines vertically. Unfortunately it’s a 17″.

We’re travelling backward because of the stupid idea that got hold of laptop manufacturers that we all want to watch HD movies on our laptop without black lines above and underneath. Well, I was not asked, I would have stated otherwise. We are professionals and we build the web and the software that powers your daily drive. And we need height.

While on phones and tablets the pixel density is going crazy (over 300 pixels per inch) on laptops we are still stuck around 120. It’s impossible to find anything decent on the web. Which leads me to another point, the impossibility to select a laptop based on screen resolution. Not one manufacturer states the display size. Some even go that far that even reading the technical specifications leaves you in the dark.

It’s time for us consumers to take action and write those manufacturers that it’s time for our (W)QXGA laptops. We want them now, we need them if we want to continue to be able to create what we create, to read what we need to read.

3 Responses to “Why aren’t we there yet?”

  1. Gerd

    I am desperately trying to find a new 1600:1200 notebook. After I already have used a 16:9 laptop and loosing 25% of screen heights I was lucky to get one of the last Thinkpads with 4:3. I would even pay the double price, if I could buy a real businness laptop.

  2. Russ

    I have a Dell XPS m1530 laptop I bought about 4 years ago, with a true WUXGA 1920×1200 15.4″ display. I am so scared that something will happen to it. I can’t replace it, even though it is getting long-in-the-tooth processor and memory-wise. What I’d really like to do is gut it, and replace everything but the screen and case with updated parts… Too bad you can’t do that with a laptop.

  3. Roland

    I have found the SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) in both the 15-inch (Compaq Armada E500) and 14.1 (IBM Thinkpad T60) form factors particularly useful (although I did prefer the slightly larger E500 screen), as they are not only easily carried in the backpack but will also fit on aircraft and train trays, so can be used whilst on the move.

    In this size I get a usable vertical resolution ~(even with the Office ‘ribbon’) with extra space at the sides for toolbars etc. Another aspect I’ve found useful has been the very good viewing angles making it easy to share a screen when collaborating on some task.

    Unfortunately my 2007 T60 is starting to fail so it does currently look as if I’m going to be forced into using a laptop with less than ideal screen real estate …


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