Well, you’ve probably seen a lot of talk about 1080p (Full HD) screens and if not, it’s time that you’ll hear some because there is a considerable difference between the two in practice, however the small difference in name that doesn’t tell us anything besides the native resolution of the screen.
This article is aimed mainly to talk about 1080p screens compared to 768p because these are the most common resolutions in 15.6″ gaming laptops. Most 15.6″ laptops will have 768p. Some will have 1080p screens as an upgrade option or just as another model. Most or even all 15.6″ or 17.3″ gaming laptops, will have either 768p (15.6″) / 900p (17.3″) screen or 1080p screen – you’ll find it hard to see 15.6″ laptop with high gaming capabilities with 900p screen for example and you won’t see a 17.3″ with 768p screen, probably. About 14.0″ gaming laptops – if you find one with 900p screen, you should be happy.
So, we are really talking here about the difference between the default screen most gaming laptops come with and the 1080p screen option.
1080p plus the same screen size means more details
You squeeze more pixels into the same area. That means that the pixels themselves are smaller, so details look look more smooth. Moreover, you simply get more details as you have more “detail units” at your service – and just to illustrate the point, instead of having 40 pixel to show a nose, you have about 80, so more refined details can be show, like the little hairs and all the vicious microorganisms and stuff. As a rule of thumb, the higher pixel density you have, the more fluid/smooth the image would look.
However, much higher resolution means many things will look smaller by default. You’ll have to set the font and icons to a bigger size in your OS.
More pixels will give you more space – more working space, more movie space, more anything space. You’ll be able to use more windows comfortably (good, for example, for programmers) and movies in 1080p formats will fit the screen which is awesome because it will look better.
Beyond the resolution – 1080ps’ higher quality
Well, that’s the part you can’t just get and calculate by understanding the math. In practice, you see, the 1080p screens used by the manufacturers usually of higher quality in various aspects. The manufacturers tend to use higher quality panels in their 1080p option or maybe more accurately, they use lousy 768p/900p screens (the 1080p screen options aren’t that more expensive even if you buy them yourselves).
In what aspects do the 1080p screens are better?
- Viewing angles are usually better.
- Contrast and brightness are usually better.
- Color coverage is higher.
- Blacks and white are better.
For example, see this list from Anandtech: All higher contrast LCDs are 1080p ones, maybe except one. If you check notebookcheck reviews for laptops with high gaming capabilities (say even GT 630M/ 7670M and up) that also have a good screen by their measures, you’ll find that almost all are 1080p screens and those which are not probably have some very low gaming performance.
Now, not all the 768p screens are like that, but the thumb rule is that 1080p screens you’ll get will be better. If you want to check specific model – either go and see it with your eyes and decide if it’s good enough for you or check the reviews / ask in the forums over the web. For example, the Asus UX32A has several versions and cheapest ones are the ones with 768p screen which is not as awful as other 768p screens because it has good brightness and contrast levels (review - read the “display” section), but the color coverage is narrow and the viewing angles are something like bad.
Why should it matter to me?
The most problematic part with most 768p screens might be the viewing angles. Usually you’ll find that rotating the screen horizontally or vertically will quickly result in faded image and colors. That is really irritating – whether you are a gamer or just want to read, surf the web and watch movies, this issue could be very annoying.
But that’s not all. The contrast in many cases is low making the black colors look pale and unconvincing. It also impacts the reading experience because the fonts will be less distinguishable from the background.
Color coverage is less important for most. Unless you need it for photography or something like that, it won’t really hurt you.
Don’t really have much to say – try grabbing the higher quality screens models. In 15.6″ and 17.3″ gaming laptops it will probably the 1080p screen option. Sometimes, like in the case of the HP dv6t, you can change the panel yourself, but usually you won’t have such an option as the manufacturers themselves make it hard to do, like in the Lenovo Y580 case.
If you have an external monitor, for example, you can save money and get one of the none-1080p screens, like the HP dv4t-5100 which gives you a lot of power for the money or the dv6t-7000 without choosing the 1080p screen option.