Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'm currently moving away from living five years only on laptop to a desktop setup. I'm currently browsing for monitors and I've noticed something strange.

On my laptop I have 1920x1200 on 17". To get the same resolution on a monitor I have to get Dell U2410 24" or Samsung SM2443NW 24". I do not need (or want) 7" more inches of screen, I just want the 1920x1200 resolution.

Why is this setup (big resolution on less inches of screen) available on a laptop but not on a regular monitor?

I'm setting this as a community wiki beacuse I think that there is no right answer here...

share|improve this question
1920x1200 on 17"? Your poor eyes! – Phoshi Oct 26 '09 at 13:20
You'd be surprised. I have no problems at all working at 1920x1200 on 17". On the other hand, everyone who glances at your screen asks you "How do you see anything" :) – Vnuk Oct 26 '09 at 13:25
I envy your vision. Did you sacrifice another sense to empower it? – Phoshi Oct 26 '09 at 13:30
None that I know of :) – Vnuk Oct 26 '09 at 14:06
I have 1920 x 1200 on my 15" – Xetius Oct 26 '09 at 14:38
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I think it is probably due to cost and low demand. Manufacturing a high DPI LCD panel costs more and majority of people like to have 1920x1200 resolution on 24" monitor, so most LCD panels are manufactured to that size (and new trend seems to be 1920x1080) and that means cheaper prices. On laptops you really cannot make the screen bigger, not many people would be happy to haul around 24" monster laptop (I think Dell has one). So manufacturers are forced to put high DPI screens on laptops, but usually can also ask for higher price for these devices. Which is a shame as I really would like to have 24" monitor that does 4096x2560 and costs under 1000eur.

share|improve this answer
24" monitor that does 4096x2560 and costs under 1000eur - OH YES I'll take two please :) – Vnuk Oct 26 '09 at 13:43
Monitor like that would also be great for playing games with weird resolutions like 360x240. More pixels to do scaling. – Raynet Oct 26 '09 at 14:31
High DPI is not more expensive. It's the size that makes the price, then the technique like SIPS or TN. – bert Oct 30 '09 at 7:44
On the other hand, a high DPI panel's pixels will be smaller, so you'll be less likely to notice bad pixels. I did the math once, and I think the pixels on a 15" 1680x1050 screen were only about 0.3 microns. I thought this was interesting, because HEPA air filters usually only claim to remove dust particles down to 0.3 microns in size. – rob Mar 13 '10 at 2:28
@e100: Ok! Ok! I must have, I must have put a decimal point in the wrong place or something...I always do that! I always mess up some mundane detail! :D Thanks for the correction, although now I quickly redid the math and came up with closer to 0.2mm...see? I always mess up some mundane detail! – rob Apr 26 '11 at 0:01

Keep in mind that a laptop's screen is usually much closer to your eyes than a regular desktop monitor.

share|improve this answer

Resolution is dependent on both your graphics card capabilities and your monitor.

Graphics cards can handle a wide range of different resolutions and refresh rates. However it is good to know they too can limit your desktop resolution.

As for monitors things are a little more involving.

CRTs: The technology allows for a wider array of supported resolutions without loss of image quality.

LCDs: LCDs technology is... not emerging anymore, but limited in this regard. The monitor native resolution is for the most part the only resolution capable of displaying a clear and crisp image. Changing resolutions on most of these monitors to anything other than the native resolution (even while maintaining the same aspect ratio) introduces blockyness or fogginess into your image.

This is why, you see LCD monitors more demanding in terms of screen-size. The LCD technology has this limitation.

share|improve this answer

Actually, on laptops things differ as well. So I'd expect you to be able to find a good monitor with more pixels per inch as well.

(For example, there was this Microsoft Laptop Hunter advertisement that got quite some bad critics as some Sheila insisted on getting a 17" screen and ended up buying a 17" HDX 16t that has a 1366 by 768 resolution, which is worse than the 1440 by 900 of a 15" MacBook.)

share|improve this answer

The bigger the screen, the better the viewing angle, contrast and colour stability. So you small eye paining laptop screen is mostly loosing on image quality compared to a decent 24 inch panel with the same amount of pixels. Making a desktop monitor with the notebook panel, and put it in the same rack in the shop as the 24 inch ones, would make it look ridiculous image quality wise.

share|improve this answer

I think you're absolutely right, Vnuk. Though there are may be other considerations for mass producing these things which other people mentioned in other answers, there's really no good reason why you can't easily (or at all) find that type of screen. I suppose they are on sale in China / Japan, possibly also South Korea, though. I am guessing, but I'm nearly sure at least one of those lands offers a good version of what you are looking for.

The demand really ought to be seen to be there in some identifiable, significant amount. Sitting back at my laptop typing, I realise there is little difference at all between the physical dimensions involved, my body set back, my hands out front on the keyboard and my eyes going to the screen. It's all more or less the same dimensions as when I use the big desktop when I'm at my parents. Except, as usual, I am looking down substantially at my laptop screen, even at a table, the one disadvantage to the greatly versatile and portable machine. Just now, since you've mentioned it, I'd rather the flat screen be flat on the wall, and very slightly above my eye line.

I have come across 15 to 17 inch digital photo frames which are also digital (H.D.) video film players and have U.S.B. and memory card inputs, made for hanging on a wall. Here is hoping, for one solution other than the most obvious solution to the problem (and not giving up on that - let's have the small monitors, please), that these might develop some kind of H.D. computer monitor input ability not too long from now. Perhaps it has happened already. It takes a lot of searching through The Web network sometimes to keep up to date.

(There were a number of Full H.D. 1080p versions of the digital photo frames, I remember, and some were 720p. But I've never seen a 1200p video and photo frame at 17 inches. It's a good idea to remember that such definition, 1200p, for that small size in inches is pretty phenomenal in terms of what we're used to. It must be amazing for photos. Does your monitor upscale or fill-out films?)

share|improve this answer

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .