For most displays that I had the native resolution was the highest supported resolution. However I have one display that has a different native resolution from the maximum one. Does that mean that the panel is NOT of that highest resolution?
The native resolution is best resolution the display can use.
The display itself has so many horizontal and vertical pixels as the native resolution. The display does support higher resolution, but by selecting them, they compensate by simply not displaying all pixels.
For example, your display has a native resolution of 1280x720, but can display 1920x1080. It will accomplish this by removing 640 columns of pixels and 360 rows of pixels. The image will look different than when you have 1920x1080 as native resolution, but at least you can view higher pixels. This is essentially only useful to at least be able to see in this resolution, because displays that offer this are usually cheaper than displays that natively support it.
If you can get a display that natively supports the larger resolution and the price is not that much bigger, you will want to go for that display.
It is common for beamers to offer support for higher resolutions, but not actually have that resolution natively. Also, this is commonly seen in older LCD TV's.
When is this downscaling going to be a problem?
- When you want to read text in a small font. Important pixels will be missing and it will make reading text hard.
When is this downscaling okay?
- Video content (real life) will still look great on either resolution, because the content itself does not have much sharp lines or corners close to eachother where such detail will matter.
- If you have large text, the downscaling will nog have a significant effect, and the text is still readable. In essence, this can allow windows to appear smaller than if the native resolution is used, while still have readable text. It creates more real-estate on your desktop, but sacrefices clarity. Again, a monitor that natively supports the high resolution will always do it much better.