Monday, March 29, 2010

Netbook Screens

I went to the Sony Store and looked at 10.1" netbooks with 1366x768 screens. The text on the screen was tiny, both in Windows and in webpages. It was hard to read and hard on my eyes. To be sure, the fault is mine: my weak, aging eyes.

This is what happens when you try to stuff 70% more pixels into the same screen real estate (most 10.1" screens use 1024x600). Of course, you can enlarge the font size in Windows to compensate, and you can magnify the webpage in the browser. But I have to ask: What's the reason to have a higher resolution screen in a netbook? Play video games? Watch HD movies?

Dan Ackerman and Scott Stein at CNET are always going on about how the newer, premium netbooks offer the higher resolution screen, a gentle rebuke of high-end devices such as my NB305. But if you don't have the right hardware, a high resolution screen is a waste.

You need discrete graphics acceleration in order to enjoy a positive gaming experience, or a positive HD video experience. However, discrete graphics will also drain your battery more quickly. I appreciate the 8.5 hours of battery life on my NB305, and I wouldn't trade any of it for better gaming or High Definition. In the end, it really depends on what is important to you.

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