Another Low Quality TN Panel

Stop me if you've heard this one before. AnandTech receives a notebook for review from a vendor not named Sony or Apple, and that notebook features a cut rate 1366x768 TN panel with poor viewing angles, poor color, poor contrast, and just poor quality all around. While I don't take issue with that resolution on a 13" screen, everything else only continues to be aggravating, and it's a situation notebook vendors just don't seem to be in any great rush to correct.

If you'll forgive my soapboxing for a second, this wasn't quite as aggravating before the tablet boom. At that point in time, there wasn't any device we could really point to and say "why can't we have that on a notebook?" You could argue that tablets necessitate IPS panels, but high resolution ones like the ones that are beginning to proliferate? And how do they really necessitate them any more than a notebook would, when you're still going to be looking at the screen from roughly the same angles? Yet tablets continue to enjoy excellent quality screens while notebook users are being left out in the cold.

LCD Analysis - Contrast

LCD Analysis - White

LCD Analysis - Black

LCD Analysis - Delta E

LCD Analysis - Color Gamut

The Sony Vaio Z2's high resolution screen runs roughshod over the competition, while the XPS 13 ranks only as one of the best of a bad bunch. It's incredibly difficult for us, as consumers, to demand better or vote with our dollars when there are virtually no notebooks out there with good panels for us to vote for. Dell is theoretically a big enough vendor to get good panels in the kind of bulk order needed for economy of scale, and I can't help but wish they'd throw that weight around.

Viewing angles are adequate, but the sweet spot is hard to find as is often the case with TN panel notebook screens in this size class. Really, we just need better screens.

Battery, Noise, and Heat Conclusion: Excellent Starting Point
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  • JojoKracko - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    That is it. I'm never buying another laptop until they start making them with screens at least as good as on a $500 tablet.

    Who is with me?

    Fight the manufacturers idiocy!
    Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed!

    I'm strongly tempted to say the same about desktop monitors, too.

    ;)
    Reply
  • cptcolo - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    I could not agree more. It is absurd that a $500 iPad3 can have a great screen that has 3,145,728 pixels yet a $1500 Ultrabook has only 1,049,088 pixels and in terrible 16:9 layout at that!

    I am with you all 1440 x 900 for 13 inch screens! They need to follow the MacBook Air all the way.
    Reply
  • xenol - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I have this problem with the laptop industry in general. Why is it that the basic panel is 1366x768? How come there are few intermediaries available (not that they don't exist in theory, but in stock) between that and 1920x1080? I had to spend weeks looking for a new laptop because I refused to have a "720p" laptop and nobody stocked bigger resolutions until I got to 17" Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    It's why I still purchase MBP/MBA and just run win7 on them: The screens rock. The touchpad is another area that I don't understand why PC manufacturers can't at least match Apple in function. I'm still forced many times to use an external mouse when I get on a PC laptop. Reply
  • Pneumothorax - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    To Dell: It's ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC that my circa 2005 Dell Inspiron 6000 15" WUXGA 1900x1200 screen has a higher resolution than your WHOLE current consumer line of laptops in 2012! Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    "To Dell: It's ABSOLUTELY PATHETIC that my circa 2005 Dell Inspiron 6000 15" WUXGA 1900x1200 screen has a higher resolution than your WHOLE current consumer line of laptops in 2012!"

    I agree that 1366x768 is useless, but its not like your 1900x1200 was standard. Back then on a 15 insher 1280x800 was standard, 1920x1200 was an upgrade option, just like 1920x1080 is today.

    Still though, this is one thing (and the only one thing) I like about Apple, they still offer 16x10
    Reply
  • peterfares - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    The thing is a big part of Dell's lineup used to have upgradable screens. I would like it if that was still the case. Instead, we usually only have one screen, and if it's 14" or smaller it's 1366x768. ASUS did announce they will have an IPS 1920x1080 option on the refreshed Zenbooks so that should be pretty awesome. Reply
  • KoolAidMan1 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Exactly. The screens, trackpads, and keyboards on most notebooks are garbage. It would be great if more were as good as Apple's, but then that would jack up their prices further and nerds who only see pricetags would complain that they are "overpriced".

    Racing to the bottom has destroyed quality except among premium brands.
    Reply
  • retrospooty - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    "The screens, trackpads, and keyboards on most notebooks are garbage. It would be great if more were as good as Apple's, but then that would jack up their prices further and nerds who only see pricetags would complain that they are "overpriced""

    Alot of people dont care about those things. That is the good thing about PC's. You can get low end or high end and only pay for features you care about.
    Reply

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