Report: 2560×1440 display coming to ultrabooks

We’ve long complained about the lack of high-density displays in modern laptops. Just about everything from 11.6″ ultraportables to 15″ desktop replacements seems to be stuck with a display resolution of 1366×768. According to VR-Zone, help is on the way. The site says 13.3″ panels with 2560×1440 pixels will start appearing in ulrabooks early next year.

We heard during the Intel Developer Forum that the 10″, 2048×1536 display rumored to grace the next-gen iPad is indeed available but very expensive. With a similar pixel density, the purported 2560×1400 13.3-incher probably won’t be cheap, either. If it does appear in ultrabooks, expect the panel to be confined to premium models that live above the $1,000 mark.

Expect a hit on battery life, too. Slides shown at IDF suggest that the panel electronics and backlights needed to drive higher-resolution displays will suck more wattage than existing designs. At least they’ll be thin; VR-Zone says the screen destined for ultrabooks is just 3 mm thick.

I expect folks will have to mess around with font sizes to make a 2560×1440 resolution usable on a 13.3″ screen, but photo editing should be a joy. There’s no mention of whether the display uses IPS, TN, or another panel technology, though. Fingers crossed.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    Wouldn’t text be too small to read on a small 15.6″ screen at this resolution? And if you’re just gonna zoom in anyway, what’s the point? I personally don’t use high resolutions except for gaming, but I imagine ultrabooks wouldn’t have enough graphics punch to drive games at high res’s.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      Sharper text and (if they’re set up for it) images is the point.

      Although, for me, it’s not too small, so I’d set everything up to be normal pixel sizes.

    • cygnus1
    • 8 years ago

    my only issue with screens at those resolutions on those sorts of laptops is that they will have no where near enough GPU performance to drive the native resolution for anything other than the desktop and video. 3D at that resolution with the GPU in those laptops will be a slide show. this will require dropping to a non-native resolution, hopefully that doesn’t look like garbage like it does on so many LCDs.

      • Zoomer
      • 8 years ago

      Just run it at quarter rea, 1280 x 720. It’ll be pretty much the same as a low res panel of the same size.

        • cygnus1
        • 8 years ago

        at that ppi, that actually might not look terrible. probly better to go with that than the slide show that the native res would be

      • demani
      • 8 years ago

      Well, given that tablets will be able to support this in short order, and that AMD has solid integrated graphics, I could see that being a pairing. And Intel may need to come strong in order to have it’s integrated graphics not suck poo at that resolution.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    Too bad its going to be mucho expensive and available on only a super high end model, and then the manufacturers will say ‘Well, no one bought it, so we discontinued it’.

    • Chrispy_
    • 8 years ago

    [b<]Ultrabook or not: Hell. it's about time....[/b<]

    • jpostel
    • 8 years ago

    The biggest concern I have with any display tech is the effect on battery life. If you look at the power charts in the article, the panel and backlight for those 2560×1440 would use nearly double the power from 1.75W up to 3.25W.

      • 5150
      • 8 years ago

      I’d sacrifice 1.5W for screen real estate that would far increase my productivity.

        • drfish
        • 8 years ago

        I could have it either way… What we have right now is crap. Either make the display worth the power it draws – or make it draw less power to begin with… Where are you Pixel Qi???

      • grantmeaname
      • 8 years ago

      That’s beans. That’s a small enough difference that it’s barely meaningful.

        • smilingcrow
        • 8 years ago

        That depends on the battery utilised; the smaller the battery the bigger the difference.

    • 5150
    • 8 years ago

    I love high res screens (have 1080p on a W520), but I hate Windows crappy text magnifier. Looks like arse.

    • BlackStar
    • 8 years ago

    Indeed, you’ll have to increase font size to compensate, at least on legacy non-resolution independent OSes, but the increased pixel density will make text a joy.

    96 ppi is really not enough for proper text rendering. 220 ppi is a *huge* improvement, especially since pixels are small enough that you can use subpixel AA without color fringing (effective 660 ppi on the horizontal!)

    Can’t wait for these screens to come. They will be the single biggest improvement to mobile computing since the introduction of the SSD.

      • bhtooefr
      • 8 years ago

      Apple’s approach to “resolution independence” will be cheap and restrictive, but effective, even for legacy apps. (Apple actually has a truly resolution independent framework, but even Apple’s own software broke in it.)

      Basically, a 2560×1440 high density display will have the same desktop area as a same size 1280×720 display.

      Microsoft’s approach to resolution independence is the right way to do it (it supports arbitrary density), but getting developers to actually listen to Microsoft isn’t going well, and most apps to this day are not resolution independent, and probably won’t be.

      Me, I only care about resolution independence as a way to make this hardware practical to produce. If it’s practical to produce, I can buy it and use it without any form of scaling – my main laptop is a ThinkPad that I just dumped a ton of money into to get to a Core 2 Duo 2.6 and 8 gigs of RAM, so that I could keep my 2048×1536 15.0″ screen, with no scaling settings set on Windows.

    • zdw
    • 8 years ago

    Hopefully developers will get with the program – the highDPI modes work well in MS’s own apps on Windows 7, but 3rd party apps look pretty bad, especially when fonts get scaled.

    There are API’s for this in recent versions of both OS X and Windows. OS X tends to have a bit of a lead in terms of mindshare as many developers write for both iOS and MacOS, and on iOS you’ve had to render normal and 2x graphics for support of both older and newer iPhones for a while now, and thus already are used to doing this.

    Linux and other Unix vendors are way ahead – there have been SVG graphics themes for Gnome/KDE for a while now, and they look great even scaled way up.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]the highDPI modes work well in MS's own apps on Windows 7[/quote<] You've obviously never used MS-Project....

    • sschaem
    • 8 years ago

    I would prefer a 1920×1200 display (16:10) … << stress on the 16:10

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      I’m sure those (or at least a 1920×1080) will be available too.

        • bhtooefr
        • 8 years ago

        Sony’s already done 1920×1080 at 13.1″, so that is available.

      • riviera74
      • 8 years ago

      Either way, it is time to reject the tyranny of 1366*768 screens on notebooks. 1600*900 displays would be a major upgrade, but ODMs and notebook sellers are too damn cheap to put in 16*9 or better displays consistently throughout their notebook lines.

    • ModernPrimitive
    • 8 years ago

    This is the best mobile hardware news I’ve read in a good while… It’s just my opinion but I would like to see them outlaw 1366×768 on anything bigger than a 10″ screen. I’m trying hard to remember how I survived those 14 hour 800×600 14″ CRT days not too awfully long ago.

    • drfish
    • 8 years ago

    Wow, thats exciting… I was fearful that all the new display tech was going to be stuck into tablets.

    I’ll be in the market for an Ivy Bridge ultrabook or [hopefully] similar Trinity offering from AMD next year… A massive amount of resolution in a 13″ form factor would be a tempting upgrade… I was thinking more seriously about 11.6″ though… Hmm…

      • hubick
      • 8 years ago

      Well, and I’m hoping it is stuck into other tablets!

      Specifically, I would like an upgraded version of my EP121 ( [url<]http://www.asus.com/Eee/Eee_Pad/Eee_Slate_EP121/[/url<] ) with one of these in it! *drool*

        • drfish
        • 8 years ago

        I want it in tablets [i<]too[/i<] - just not exclusively. It's silly to me that it took [i<]smaller[/i<] screens to get your average person thinking about PPI... I'm still looking for that res in a monitor less than 27"...

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