Laptop (and monitor) vendors

What the fuck is with these people?

Dear Lenovo,

I don’t fucking care if I have an option for "
12.1", 14.1", 15" or 14.1" and 15.4" widescreen" just tell me what fucking laptop has 1200 lines of resolution on the front fucking page, jesus. So as far as I can tell only T61p does WUXGA and I had to click on every single damn model to find this out.

Dear Dell,

I still don’t know which laptops have which resolutions as options. My only guess is that Latitude D830 is the only latitude that supports 1200 lines, and only in widescreen. The only reason I found it is based on a wild ass guess that you wouldn’t put a 256MB graphics card into a business laptop if you couldn’t use some lame excuse to justify it. I can narrow down laptop selection by screen size in inches, weight, price and graphics chipset? Also, I found the luminance information that pops up everywhere greatly enlightening, “14.1 inch 500 nit Outdoor-viewable LCD Panel” just sells it to me :rolleyes: … that is until I find the fine print buried in the tech specs that says “14.1"WXGA (1280 x 800 resolution)”.

Dear Toshiba,

I wouldn’t be posting resolution on the front page either if after checking about 20 models I did not find a single one exceeding 900 lines that wasn’t big enough to have its own orbit.

Dear HP,

You have all the information in your product matrix. Good job. If only you offered a normal resolution in a laptop that was less than 7.5lbs and 17", we’d be set.

Dear Apple,

On your store page for your MacBook Pro you clearly state that the 15" ones are “1440 x 900” and the 17" one is “1680 x 1050 pixels”. Unfortunately those are a little big for my needs. On your store page for your 13" MacBook it does not state the resolution anywhere, and my only reasonable conclusion is that instead of a display I get a 13" LED with the effective monochrome resolution of 1x1. I simply cannot justify spending $1100 to get a 1x1 monochrome laptop.

Dear Amazon,

I have a choice to narrow down my selection by brand, operating system, price, or display size in inches. Choosing display size in inches, I can narrow it down by brand, CPU speed, CPU brand. It seems that I either have to delve into the product description hoping the resolution is mentioned or sacrifice a small virgin rodent in a sacred ceremony to get this information.

Dear Newegg,

Thank you for finally adding resolution to your “Advanced Search”. I really appreciate it. It still not part of your guided search, and I’m completely befuddled why would anybody rather narrow it down by specific CPU type over resolution, but you have a marketing department, you deal with it.

This same story applies to LCD monitors as well. Overall, I’m getting more and more mystified by the LCD situation. Every time I get a new laptop or desktop it has an order of magnitude faster hardware, an order of magnitude slower software (you know, so my user experience stays consistent) and a slightly worse monitor. When my 2048x1536 Trinitron CRT died I had to settle for a 1600x1200 LCD with bigger viewable area. Back then I at least had an option of getting a 3840x2400 22" LCD if I had $8000 to burn on a screen – now I don’t even have that option. The last fucking thing I want is even bigger pixels, jesus.

Pixel resolution is the first thing I consider when shopping for a laptop. I could care less about RAM, CPU speed, or anything else. Just give me that 3840x2400 reolution in a 12" screen, and I can look past the 550mhz AMD k2 and the 64 MB of RAM. :rolleyes:

groman, when you say 1200 lines of resolution, do you mean 1200 pixels? I’m a little confused. Are you saying that they are telling you the physical dimensions of the monitors (in inches) but not what the pixel dimensions are. And, what is the ideal dimension you are looking for? I’ll probably need this info for someday when I am in the market for a laptop.

The Apple MacBook spec page clearly shows the resolutions for all models. The MacBook is 1280 x 800.

Never mind…

Provided it had decent battery life and I could upgrade the RAM, I’d probably pay about $500 for that laptop.

Why the rolleyes? Sure, RAM, processor speed, HD space, etc. are important, but that’s why they’re almost always listed first in spec matrices. I don’t see the OP asking them to take that out. He just to wants them to add a piece of information that might be useful to potential buyers…if not to Page One of the product listings, then at least somewhere, so that the consumer doesn’t have to dig futily through multiple pages trying to figure out what the hell kind of monitor he’s buying. Sounds reasonable to me.

Yes I am talking about pixel resolution, and there’s no real ideal – you should use whatever DPI still produces a discernible difference. For me, to a point the higher the DPI the better, at probably around 450-600DPI my consideration would switch to things like physical size, pixel refresh rate, luminance, dynamic range and color fidelity. We’re nowhere near, the average monitor has been stuck in the ~100DPI world for decades, and the only 200DPI LCD panel made was introduced 10 years ago and is no longer in production.

1200 lines generally refers to 1600x1200 resolution 4:3 and 1920x1200 widescreen. In general I would pay more for a smaller screen with an identical resolution than a larger one. I would most definitely four or five times as much for a “3840x2400 reolution in a 12” screen" mentioned above (I’m not sure sarcastically or not) than a 1280x1024 resolution in a 15" screen. Unfortunately the former does not exist and the latter is all too common.

So if you could find the theoretical “3840x2400 reolution in a 12” screen," the pixels themselves would have to be very very tiny, right? Like, let’s say one square pixel on an average screen is 1/4 mm (just a wild-ass guess), the pixel on your screen would have to be even smaller, right? Wouldn’t that make average text (anywhere between 10px - 16px) really really hard to read?

I didn’t know that they could make the actual pixels in different sizes (in LCDs). The several LCDs I have seem to have pixels that are of the same size (from what I can tell when I look really really close). For example, the dot at the top of this i is 1 pixel wide X 2 pixels tall. The period at the sentence is also 1X2 pixels. This apostrophe ’ appears to be 1X3.

Also when you talk about DPI, isn’t that in reference to the resolution of the printing device? For example, I can have a .jpg photo that is 1,000 px wide on any screen, but if it is in a higher DPI (such as 300dpi) it will print out much nicer than if it were in 72dpi (which is the default for screens since 72 pixels = 1 inch).

When I am working with graphics that will be viewed on the web, they are all 72 dpi, and when I am printing photos on nice paper for framing, I save them at least 300 dpi. Also, whenever I have done any print work (such as print advertisements) the printers always ask for a minimum of 300dpi, otherwise it will come out looking grainy or pixelated on the paper.

My point was that very few people look for screen resolution over CPU as a deciding factor of what laptop to buy. You seem to not understand this given your comment about If that specification is so important to you, then you will need to do your research and dig up the information. (which it looks like you did). You can’t expect all the work to be done for you.

Average text is 10pt - 16pt, as in 10 to 16 points (NOT 10px - 16px). 10pt is a size on the screen not in pixels. If you are using Windows, it just assumes your screen is 96DPI and scales accordingly. XP supports up to 500DPI and that’s just what I tried, maybe more. The DPI setting is in Display Properties -> Settings(tab) -> Advanced -> General(tab) -> DPI setting: (Custom). Go nuts. 12 point fonts can look from tiniest to biggest based on the DPI setting.

There are high definition LCDs less than an inch wide used in projectors. Some of those are pushing 6000DPI.

The proper term would be PPI, but everybody and their grandmother uses DPI for both DPI and PPI. If you have a photo that is 1000 px wide that is a JPEG, it pretty much has no DPI (some might be stored in EXIF but it’s ignored by most programs). You can print it out at 300 DPI (then it’s going to be about 3.3" across) or you can print it out at 150DPI (then it’s going to be about 6.6" across). 72 DPI is the resolution of the original Apple Macintosh display from the early 1980s, it hasn’t changed since just because of this kind of misinformation.

Graphics have pixels. If you already have a raster image, it doesn’t matter how you save it, you can save it 1 DPI or 8000DPI, and it won’t affect the quality as long as the number of pixels stays the same. The DPI number is just a single number attached to some formats that hints as to how big they should be printed. See, printers, unlike displays, have actually been progressing quite a bit since the 1980s and got well past the 1000DPI territory (although printer DPI is different from display PPI, it’s similar enough to make a noticeable difference).

If you have a 1200 pixel-wide image, you can treat it as a 1 DPI image 1200 inches wide (really pixelated, each pixel one inch wide) or a 1200DPI image one inch wide (if your printer can print 1200DPI). If you treat it as a 6" wide image then the DPI is fixed at 200DPI and there’s nothing you can do about it other than scale the image (losing quality) or try to get a better original.

But I don’t understand why. This is not intuitive to me that nobody cares about DPI. I understand consumers can be morons, but why do they have to be inconsistent morons to my detriment? I think there’s an irrational fear that everything will get tiny (it will stay the same size if you change the damn settings). People are buying 10-12 megapixel cameras, never bother to print out the photos (just e-mail them to each other) and just view them full screen. This 20" dell LCD I have at work is 1.3 megapixels. Guess what, if you don’t zoom in, crop or print then *you would’ve gotten a much better quality photo out of a good 1.3 Megapixel camera. * Not much of a market for those anymore, eh? I’m a digital camera engineer and I deal with this crap every day. I’d have to stack like 9 of these monitors together and go take a step or ten back just to see a 12 MP image at full size. The whole camera megapixel race is silly because of this – each progressively denser sensor is getting worse and worse in quality and nobody really cares because most people just stare at their 1MP screen and don’t do anything else with the photos.

Actually, when designing web pages, the designer controls the font size in px, em, or pt - however pt is not used that much (I hardly ever see it). I usually use pixels rather than em. In most of my pages, I use 11px verdana as my default body text. I do this so that no matter what browser you’re using, you will see 11px text. Now if I set it at .8em, that would be .8 x whatever your browser’s default font is. The default in Firefox is usually 16px. So anyway, from a web designer’s perspective, a font’s size is usually defined in pixels (whether it be px or em, since em is a percentage of a browser’s default pixel size.)

Regarding the rest of the stuff you talked about, I guess we’re talking about things from a different perspective… I regularly deal with these different measures in my web and graphic design work. For example, let’s say I am designing a print ad in Photoshop or Fireworks, and I want it to be 5 inches by 5 inches. At 72 dpi, it would 360 x 360 pixels on my screen, and it would print out grainy (i.e. the edges of text would look blurry, etc.) At 300 dpi, it would be 1500 x 1500 pixels on the screen but would still print out 5"x5", and everything would look very clear and sharp. So that is an illustration of how dpi is the print resolution. Both ads print out 5" x 5" but appear to be very different sizes on your screen. One would look small, the other would take up the whole screen.

Those are virtual pixels. Just like a point is 1/72nd of an inch (due to postscript’s original standard of 72DPI, IIRC), a “CSS pixel” is recommended to be about 1/96th of an inch, regardless of actual resolution of the viewing device:

From the CSS 2.1 spec

You are talking about vector graphics, and I was replying to a comment about a “300 dpi jpeg”. A print ad is usually kept as vectors and would not be affected by a different display DPI. Font sizes will not be affected by a different display DPI. Window sizes and button sizes will not be affected by a different display DPI (in theory). The only thing that will get smaller is things that are measured in pixels. Poorly designed web sites and graphics, photographs (that will finally fit on a screen, maybe), etc.

I think that’s the reason. I’ve been using laptops for about 10 years (mostly Thinkpads: 701C, 365, 770ED, A20p, A31P, T43p), and only upgrade when an LCD comes out with more pixels. My T43p is 1600x1200, which isn’t even available from Lenovo anymore, as far as I can tell, in any model. For the first time ever, I’ll have to downgrade in LCD pixels the next time I get a new laptop. Lenovo is especially bad about hiding the actual resolution of their laptops, and making it difficult to search based on that. It took some time to figure out this handy list of resolutions:
[li] WSXGA+ = 1680 x 1050 (widescreen)[/li][li] WXGA = 1280 x 768, 1280 x 800[/li][li] UXGA = 1600 x 1200[/li][li] SXGA+ = 1400 x 1050[/li][li] SXGA = 1280 x 1024[/li][li] XGA = 1024 x 768[/li][/ul]

PS - on preview, I read the first post more carefully - I didn’t realize WUXGA existed on the T61p (or at all) - I guess I won’t have to downgrade after all! And I actually just checked this today, and missed it. Thanks groman for finding that out!

By the way, if anybody thinks this is a technological limitation of Liquid Crystal Displays in general that is not so. Very dense LCDs exist and are used in projectors. They are typically monochrome. For example, the Epson L3C07U Series monochrome LCD gives 1920 x 1080 in a 0.7" diagonal module producing about 3000DPI.

I think the problem is that virtually no one talks about screen resolutions (except with regards to HDTV, and that’s still smaller than what you’re looking for). Computer nerds are always talking about getting more RAM, or a better graphics card, or a faster processor. When’s the last time anyone talked about getting a monitor with more pixels? (This thread aside) With a camera, that information is front and centre, and even the dumbest consumer can understand that more megapixels=better*. For monitors, the information is hidden so it doesn’t even blip the radar of most consumers that it might be something they should check out.

*now if only they understood why they should resize them. For most people, more megapixels is worthless to them, but these people rarely know that, so we end up with huge monstrosities that fill up most monitors and then some.

I went through this pain a few months ago.

I’ve moved from:

800x600 13.3"
1024x768 14.1"
1600x1050 15"
1600x1200 15"
1920x1200 15.4"

And it looks like this is the end of the road for me as far as screen resolution goes. There are precisely THREE computers currently on the market which support WUXGA 15.4": Thinkpad T61p, Dell D8X0, HP something or other. That’s it.

The real problem is, it’s incredibly difficult to make scalable interfaces in current operating systems. It’s much, MUCH easier to make fixed pixel interfaces and just assume that everyone is running on 72-96dpi. And so we get a chicken & egg problem, people who buy high DPI screens have to either suffer from wonky interfaces or have incredibly good eyes and nobody makes scalable interfaces because nobody has high DPI screens.

It’s a sad situation but that’s what’s happening.

Resolution is one of the main criterion for a monitor. I fully support this pitting.