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Any (laptop) Display Experts?

Discussion in 'The Tech Room' started by Joe F, Jan 18, 2017.

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  1. Hello.

    I'm looking for a new laptop but I want to be sure its got the right display.

    My goal is to be able to take high quality screenshots for publising on WordPress blogs. I would be taking screenshots using an app like Snagit and then resizing them for use in the articles.

    Most laptops in my budget have a FHD 1920x1080 screen resolution.

    The next size up seems to be QHD which is 2560 x 1440. Then there's QUXGA - Quad Ultra Extended Graphics Array 3200x2400.

    I'll be going for a 13 to 14 inch screen.

    Any tips on what to look for when shopping for a laptop with a suitable screen? Is there anything else other than the resolution to look for?

  2. I have the 15" HP ZBook Studio G3 which has a 3840x2160 pixel resolution.

    90% of the time, it is great having such a large resolution.

    From a work point of view it is generally better. When you use the full 4K resolution most apps are scaled. It feels like you are on a 1920x1080 resolution because everything has been scaled up.

    Some apps, however, are not scaled up, and using them can be very problematic. For example, Screencast-O-Matic does not scale. This means you are using an application that was optimised for 1920x1080 pixels. My laptop's 4K resolution has four times as many pixels so using the app can be a pain.

    Here's a screenshot showing what I mean (reduced down to 1,000 pixels in width).

    Screencast-O-Matic on  4K Screen.png

    This is a minor inconvenience as most of the apps I use scale well which means the laptop operates like a laptop with a 1920x1080 pixel resolution.

    I've upgraded from a laptop with a 1366 x 768 pixel resolution so I appreciate all the additional real estate I have. It helps with photo editing and movies look amazing. From a blogging point of view, a 4K screen really helps as when I take a screenshot it takes it at 3840x2160 pixels. This gives me a lot of room to get the screenshot I want and then just scale it down to the size I want.

    Remember, because of scaling it shouldn't matter too much whether you use a full HD or a 4K resolution. It only becomes a problem when apps don't scale properly.

    Be aware though that if your screen has a higher resolution, your laptop will use more battery powering it. Generally speaking, if two laptops have the same specs, the one with the higher resolution will have less battery life. It does depend though. For example, my old Surface Pro 4 has great battery life and boasted a 4K screen.

    To summarise, if you have a high resolution on a small screen you will need to scale apps down, but the screen will look great and the additional pixels can be helpful in certain situations.

    With regards to the type of screen being used.

    You will mostly be choosing between an IPS screen and a TN screen. This article has a good comparison image that shows you the difference between them - https://www.laptopscreen.com/blog/tag/ips-vs-tn/


    TN screens have poorer viewing angles, but they are popular with gamers because response times are generally better. They tend to be cheaper too. If you have a choice of a laptop having a TN screen or an IPS screen, the TN screen will undoubtedly save you money.

    IPS screens are brighter and the colours look amazing. If you had to look at an IPS screen next to a TN screen you would probably say the IPS screen looks much better because of the colours being vibrant.

    I have used TN screens in the past and been happy with them, but I don't game that much on my laptop and when I do it tends to be simulation games such as Civilization and Command & Conquer, so an IPS screen is better for me.

    Let me know if there is anything you are unsure of :)

  3. Hi Kevin,

    Thanks for your helpful reply!

    The laptops I'm looking at have 13.3" IPS displays and are available as either 1920 x 1080 or 3200 x 1800.

    I'm currently using an old 1368x768 screen so any thing will be an upgrade!

    The other factor is that the 3200 x 1800.higher resolution models tend to have i7 CPUs, where as the 1920 x 1080 ones have i5 CPUs. I know the extra pixels require more processing power, but would the higher resolution cancel out the difference between an i5 and an i7 out.

    Battery life is a factor but I expect to get 5-6 hours out of the ones I'm looking at, regardless of the resolution - I hope!

    That is interesting about scalling of apps. I mainly use Chrome, Word, Snagit, and Photoshop.

    My main issue is taking decent screenshots that will look good on a WordPress blog.

    I understand the latest version of WordPress can handle "high quality" images better than previous versions. But I don't quite understand how it works in reality.

    If was to take a screenshot at 3200 x 1800, would it look good displayed in a WordPress post with a width of 600 pixles?

    Would there be a difference between taking the images on the 3200 x 1800 screen vs a 1920 x 1080 when used in a WordPress post?

    Do you resize the images down to 700px or whatever size the blog supports, or upload them into WordPress at 3200 or whatever and let WordPress take care of displaying them correctly?

    Also, if I did go for the more affordable 1920 x 1080 model, could I then buy a 3200 x 1800 or higher monitor in the future, and take even higher quality screen shots on the laptop wiht the monitor that I would've without the monitor?

  4. The screen resolution can affect performance as more pixels means more work for the CPU and GPU, however I don't think you will see a major difference.

    You referred to the difference between an i5 and an i7 processor. Remember that i5 and i7 simply refers to the range. There are several generations of i5 and i7 chips and there are many different generations of each version. You need to compare the exact model and the exact generation.

    You need to compare the exact CPUs being used to get a better idea of how they perform. A particular i5 might work better than an i7 in general working conditions but the i7 will trounce it when pushed hard.

    Remember to look at cores too. A quad core CPU will give you a huge performance boost over a dual core. If you ever see yourself doing video editing, you should definitely look at getting a quad core CPU.

    With regards to cropping images, I don't think there is a big difference between a 3200 x 1800 screen and a 1920 x 1080 screen as the 3200 version will simply have more space on the sides.

    I always resize my images down to 650 pixels. I should probably start uploading larger images and scale them down. I've seen a lot of blogs do this.

    With regards to an external monitor, it will depend on how you see yourself using the laptop in the future. An external monitor is great if you see yourself docking the laptop at a desk a lot. Remember to check the maximum output of your laptop. Some lower resolution laptops may be able to output up to 4K on an external resolution, others may not.

    If you post the laptops you are looking at I would be happy to check them out for you and give you my thoughts. :)

  5. Thanks Kevin, I'd forgotten about the different sub-models of the CPUs. There's so many variations of even each model of laptop that its hard to match the reviews up with the options on sale and compare prices online!

    The HP Envy looks like the range that most matches my requirements and budget. They look pretty solid in the flesh with a decent keyboard. Here is my current shortlist:

    The HP ENVY 13-ab003na is the most powerful one I could afford, its got 10% off at the moment.
    • Intel Core i7-7500U (2.7 GHz, up to 3.5 GHz, 4 MB cache, 2 cores)
    • 3200 x 1800 screen,
    • 8GB RAM,
    • 256GB SSD,
    • 10.5 hours of battery
    Then there's the less powerful and cheaper HP Envy 13-d002na which has a similar:
    • Intel Core i7 (6th Gen) 6500U / 2.5 GHz (3.1 GHz) / 4 MB Cache
    • 13.3" WLED 1920 x 1080 / Full HD
    • 8GB RAM
    • 256GB SSD
    • 9 hours of battery
    There's also the Dell Inspiron 13 5000 which is cheaper again:
    • 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5-7200U Processor (3M Cache, up to 3.10 GHz)
    • 13.3-inch FHD (1920 x 1080)
    • 8GB but can take up to 16GB, not sure if the others can
    • 256GB SSD
    • Not sure about battery
    Then's also the affordable ASUS Zenbook UX305CA:
    • Intel Core M3-6Y30 Processor 900MHz
    • 3200x1800 13"
    • 8GB
    • 256GB SSD
    • 12 hour battery
    I'm leaning towards the HP Envy 13-d002na but might regret not spending the extra to get the more powerful Envy. Or maybe I should spend less and go for the ASUS?

    I'm not doing any heavy image editing, gaming, or video work. Just Word, an image editor, and Chrome with loads of tabs open!

    My current laptop has a i7-4510U 2.00GHz 2.60GHz Dual Core and 8GB or RAM and the only problem seems to be the RAM which causes an error message to be displayed when I have too many Chrome tabs open and sometimes crashes Chrome. CPU-wise it seems OK, but the screen is too low res and the battery life is terrible.

    Do you mean scale them down in WordPress using the edit image feature or upload them as larger images and then changing the size they are displayed at?

    Incidentaly, I like the way WPMU Dev are displaying their images now, with them breaking out of the width of the post column: https://premium.wpmudev.org/blog/ecommerce-trends-2017/

    Thanks for your help!
  6. From reading the reviews, there are mixed reports on the battery life of the ENVY which would be a shame.

    The battery of the ASUS Zenbook UX305CA with the lower power Intel Core M3-6Y30 Processor 900MHz does last very long however, and could be a better option.

    I am out quite a bit, working from place to place.
  7. You can tell a lot from the CPU name.

    7500U, for example, means that it is a seventh generation chip. 6500U means that it is a sixth generation chip.

    The U means that it is an ultra low voltage (ULV) processor. They normally draw around 15 watts of power instead of 50+. This means extra battery life, but performance is reduced.

    Apart from the Dell, it looks like they all have 8GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard. I'd be inclined to go for 16GB of RAM if you can. 8GB will be fine in the short term, but in a few years it might feel sluggish (depending on how you are using it). It sounds like 8GB is quite slow for you already so I'd maybe lean towards one where you can at least upgrade to 16GB.

    It all comes down to usage. The M3 processor isn't very powerful, but it is designed to draw very little power so you will get great battery life from it.

    Would you not consider buying second hand?

    My last two laptops were both bought second hand from CEX. They were both in mint condition and and were only a few months hold. I saved a huge amount of money going down that route. The Surface Pro 4 cost me around £900 when it was being sold at over £1,500. The HP ZBook Studio G3 was just over £900, but the version I have retails at £2,200. Both laptops had the remainder of their warranty left and CEX give you a two year warranty too.

    I bought my Sonx RX100 III there too. It was in perfect condition and I got it for £320 when it was being sold on Amazon for £575.

    I know CEX has a bad reputation for it being a place where junkies sell stuff.....and it is...but there are some good deals to be had. I highly recommend at least looking at this option. Seriously, you can save a huge amount of money. As you would expect, there are few deals going with Apple computers because they are sought after, but you can get some amazing savings on Windows laptops.

    Where are you based? If you tell me the area you are in I can have a quick check and tell you what laptops are there. You can order from CEX online, but I always go into the shop where the laptop is being sold and check it for myself. I look around for scratches, play around with it, check the system info to see all the specs are correct etc.

    If you can email me your postcode or city I will have a quick look for you. As long as you buy a relatively new laptop that still has warranty left I think it is very low risk.

    With scaling images, I was referring to plugins that will display an image according to the resolution of the user i.e. it is scaled down when someone is using a lower resolution.
  8. Thanks for the offer, Kevin. I'll take a look in my local CEX and see what they have. I'm not too excited about buying a 2nd hand one but if its nearly new then it could be OK.

    I know what you mean about being able to upgrade the RAM. Starting out with 16GB is out of my price range from what I can see. It takes things up a whole other level.

    I'm keep looking around and see what I can see.

  9. Are you anywhere near Barnsley?

    They have the same laptop I have for £870. It's a beast.


    I'm doing a full review soon but the video below gives you a quick look.

    Battery life is poor but performance is amazing.

    Perhaps a 13" Dell is more up your street.

    £525 for:

    Dell E7270 / i7 6600 / 16GB
    Ram / 256GB SSD / HD520 / 13"
    Windows 7


    Remember that you can haggle too. I've gotten around £25 to £50 off each laptop purchase just by haggling a little with them.
    Joe F likes this.
  10. I don't think you really need more than 1920x1080 for screenshots. Most WordPress blogs use an image width of ~600px.

    I have 1920x1080 and I always have to resize windows to be smaller to get a screenshot that contains all the information I need while still being visible at 600px. If you take a full screen shot at 1920x1080 it's going to be almost impossible to see anything when you resize it down to 600px.

    Most people use 1366x768 so I doubt readers will notice anyway.

    Just my two cents. I absolutely agree with Kevin that working on a better resolution is much more pleasant - I just don't think it's very important for screenshots.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  11. Thanks Colin.

    One of the sites I write for uses 1400px images and I expect more will follow soon. My current setup is only 1368 so isn't suitable for that size. 1920px should suffice but having the extra pixels of a 3200px display should make it easier to get screen shots that display the right info.

    I doubt I'd be resizing down a full browser window screen shot down from 3200px to 1400px at any point

    Find the right options ceratinly is a conundrum. Lots of 13" laptops are FHD 1920x, while not many 13" ones are QHD 3200px. It seems to be more common to find 15" screens that are QHD 3200px.

    15" is too big for me unless its got a small form factor like the Dell XPS 15" which is physically smaller than my current 13" but that is mega bucks!

  12. These are two more possible options:

    ASUS ZenBook UX310UA-FB097T 13.3-Inch Notebook - (Quartz Grey) (Intel Core i7-6500U, 8 GB RAM, 500 GB HDD, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10) 3200x1800 £800

    Review: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/review/laptops/asus-zenbook-ux310ua-review-3647223/?p=2

    ASUS Zenbook UX330UA-FB025T 13.3 inch Notebook (Intel Core i5-6200U, QHD 3200 x 1800 Screen, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD, Windows 10, Bluetooth 4.0) - Grey/Metal £800

    Review: http://www.trustedreviews.com/asus-zenbook-ux330ua-review
  13. Just to clarify, I don't simply resize larger images down to 600 pixels. A larger resolution just gives you a bigger canvas area to play with. You have more space to crop everything and once cropped you can resize it as you normally would :)

    Those look OK, but I'd be inclined to lean towards one with 16GB.

    The Dell 13 5000 you talked about earlier is a good bet in my opinion.

    They have it on Amazon for £799


    Dell Insprion 13 5000 Series Convertible 13.3" Touchscreen Laptop (Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD, HD TrueLife) - Silver

    A seventh generation i7 with 16GB and a SSD for storage is a good package. An SSD really helps with performance.
  14. Thanks Kevin. That Dell looks good.

    I saw a 15" Dell Inspiron in the shop and they are actually the same size as my current 13" laptop in terms of the physical size of the case. I can't see it on their website now though!

    As an aside, if I got a FHD 1920x1080 or QHD 3200x monitor and plugged it into my 1368x768 laptop, would I be viewing websties/content in FHD or QHD or is the output limited by the low capabilities of the laptop?

    I'm just thinking about how useful the old laptop will be once I've replaced it. I'd quite like to use it to setup a home working station, if its up to the task.

  15. It will depend on the laptop in question. The GPU should be the main factor in determining what the maximum output is for the laptop.

    The Dell 13 5000 has the Intel HD Graphics 5200. According to NotebookCheck that GPU can power up to a 4K monitor.

    See http://www.notebookcheck.net/Intel-HD-Graphics-520.149940.0.html for more info on that.

    My new thunderbolt 3 docking station may be arriving this week so I need to have a think about how I am going to set everything up. I will need to look at the options available to me.
  16. Thanks, Kevin, I will take a look at the GPU of my old computer.
    Kevin Muldoon likes this.
  17. Thanks Kevin. I finally made a decision and went for an Asus Zenbook with QHD 3200x1800 display.

    It seems really good so far, so very please with it!

    On your laptop, how have you set up the display?

    Are you using the native resolution or have you set it to a lower setting to make things more readable on the screen? If you aren't using the native resolution, are you noticing any problems with blurry text?

    Or are you using the Windows zoom settings (screen shot here)?

    If you are using the Windows zoom settings, how are you taking screen shots for blog posts? Noticed any issues with the zoom?

  18. Nice one. You will appreciate the additional pixels at your disposal.

    I have my laptop on 4K. All apps are being scaled so from a resolution point of view it feels like I'm working on a 1920x1080 screen. I don't see any blurring. The only time resolution becomes an issue is when an app has been designed specifically for full HD.

    My zoom is set at 250% by default. My resolution is higher than yours which would explain why the zoom is a little higher.
  19. Thanks Kevin. I'm loving it so far. I went back to my old one yesterday to get some files and was suprised by the low quality of the screen!

    If you actually change the resolution setting, rather than use the zoom/scaling feature, do you notice any blurring? That is when I see the bluring. Looks fine in zoom/scale mode.
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