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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am going to be purchasing a Dell Inspiron 8500 widescreen(15.4") laptop this week. I need some advice on which screen to purchase. It comes in 3 flavors, wxga, wsxga, and wuxga.


I would automatically opt for the more is better approach but I am concerned with having to deal with tiny tiny text on the web and in email, etc.


Can someone give me some solid advice on this???
 

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Go with what you can afford. You can always change your desktop resolution (or text size) if the resolution is too high.


However, if you dont think you will ever use the full wuxga resolution, save a couple bucks and go with a wsxga.


Simple as that.
 

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I disagree. I depends on how good your eyes are. You will only really want to run this with desktop resolution = native resolution. At the high resolutions you will have difficulty getting it set up so that windows standard type stuff is readable. Scaling back the desktop resolution will make your head hurt because of the blur.


I had my choice of a 1024x768 or 1600x1200 Dell laptop (not even my money) and choose the 1024x768. This is because windows is really optimized around those types of resolutions. Now, if you are doing stuff like graphical design or some other applicaiotn which is image oriented then the choice might be different. One of my buddies opted for the 1600x1200 and he likes it for 3D CAD design but admits its a pain for day to day Windows stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for the advice. I think there is alot of misunderstanding when it comes to laptop screen resolution. I would venture to say that 90% of first time buyers do not know thay the screen only has ONE default resolution where everything is crisp.
 

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This is definitely true. I didn't realize it until I got my 1600x1200 Inspron 8200.


Honestly though.. I love 1600x1200 and hate having to scroll on the smaller resolutions. It's really sad when 1280x1024 is just too BIG now.. :D


Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Josh, thanks for the feedback. A few questions if you will...


How long did it take for you to get used to the tiny text on most applications and the web?


What advantages, besides scrolling, have you found. ie, do DVDs look better?


Do you have your display set on "Extra Large Fonts"


What other workarounds, if any, have you found to minimize the fact that everything is built for XGA 1024x768?
 

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Scott, it took me about a week to get used to the differences and for my eyes to adjust. It has totally spoiled me for every other display though.


I have not found that DVD's look better, but I don't play DVD's on my laptop very often. Honestly, haven't noticed.


Nope, I use normal fonts, if I used large fonts it would take away the advantage of fitting a ton of things on the screen.


I haven't really found any workarounds. Most programs work perfectly and display a ton more information. Some web sites have issues if they are set to a certain static width and some adjust to the screen, it just depends.


The reason I really like having such a large display is that I can have a ton of things open and see them all. Also,I really hate to scroll when I'm looking at something, I like to take in the whole page at one time.


Just my 2 cents, though I must admit, most people look at my display and ask me if I"m going blind! :D It really comes down to a personal preference like most things. I would suggest, if you've never worked on 1600x1200, go to CompUsa or some other store and try to find a laptop that displays that resolution and play around with it.


Josh
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
update:


If anyone is considering these issues, the answer is ClearType. You can enable cleartype on the desktop control panel under "Appearance > effects".


This, coupled with the "Large fonts" setting is perfection.
 

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I bought the Dell 8600 about 2 weeks ago with the 1900x1280 wide screen.

I love the screen and can easily read all the text. However, web pages where the text is really graphics have some strange artifacts. The vertical lines are variable width. So it might be drawn as a single pixel on one letter and two pixels wide on the next. This is still readable, but I don't know why it is happening.


I also got the 128MB graphics card so i could play games on the laptop and find that the 1900x1280 resolution can tax the Geforce 5650 graphics chip so I have to run it at a lower resolution.


If you want to see multiple web pages and/or documents at once then the larger screen is the way to go.



On another note: I would recommend getting the 8600 instead of the 8500. I find that the 8600 is very quite, the fan doesn't run all the time and it can take 30minutes of operation before the fan turns on the first time. Additionally, I easily get 4hours of battery life unless I am playing a 3D game.

If you look at some of the benchmarks, the Pentium M 1.6GHz is about the same performance as the Pentium 4m 2.2 GHz.


--Eric
 

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Second opinion: Cleartype stinks for LCD's. I couldn't figure out why my laptop was so blurry on delivery from Dell. I finally figured out that cleartype was enabled, I disabled it and the font became clear. One mans silk purse is another mans cows ear. I just turned it back on and am about to have a siezure...
 

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Yeah, I have probs with clear type on LCDs too. I think that it's probably because the resolution on the screens isn't high enough.


I would definitely recomend getting the highest resolution you can get. You can always get a program like Liquid.

http://personalcomputing.portrait.co..._overview.html

http://personalcomputing.portrait.co..._overview.html


I got a laptop with 1024x768. I really wish that I'd taken the option to go up to 1400x1050


btw, after running the ClearType tuner, everything is acutally much much much better!!! Thanks for the link.


kiwi
 

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It would be a shame to not get a 1920 pixel wide display, considering that 1920 is the highest HDTV spec and a nice multiple of most the others as well as of DVD. You are in the AVS forum after all.


My understanding of is that video graphics display everything as if all the pixels were in one spot. Because LCDs have all their pixels in different spots, in a sort of lattice, you can get a better picture if you know exactly where the pixels are. My understanding is that this is what ClearType does, while using the color shading to fake black and white shading. Because there are different matrices used for different LCD processes and manufacturers, if you enable it yourself you should try all the settings to see which is for the matrix your LCD has.


That said, I would have thought that factory notebooks enabled with ClearType on would have gotten it right.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the feedback guys!


The Dell should arrive today - just in time for a business trip to Boston.


I'm pretty psyched about the screen. I opted for a happy medium wsxga+ screen @ 1680x1050. Its not full HD res, but it will apparently be awhile before HDTV tuner cards are available for laptops (hopefully MS's Media Center PC marketing will help increase the likelyhood of this happening sooner than later, but I doubt it).


I would highly recommend using Netscape 7.1 to anyone with a high rez screen that does alot of web surfing. You can size a web page's text with keyboard shortcuts (CTRL +/-) and it remembers your settings for every site you visit. It even works on pages where the text has been set via CSS to fixed pixels. Also "tabbed browsing" is a Godsend compared to IE's "open link in New window alternative). You can right click on a link, select "Open in Tab" and it loads the link into a new tab withoout you having to leave the page you are on. To access the tabs, you just click on them (or you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate between each tab (CTRL+TAB for next tab and CTRL+SHIFT+TAB for previous tab)
 

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You'll love the Dell.. I have my 8200 and it's been the best laptop I've had. Only thing I hate about my laptop is that it weighs about 10lbs.. :D What can you do?


Enjoy and make sure you use the Clear Type utility online. It makes a world of difference.


Josh
 
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