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


View All Comments

  • Taft12 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    and a Core i7 CPU. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I really don't put much stock in the opinion of someone who posts like this. The only "steaming pile" I smell here is Shadowmaster's flame.

    Can we have the option of voting posts down? Not something connected to Facebook, just for this site.
  • bji - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    What, you don't like his opinion and you want to suppress it? Lame. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    What I want is for people to treat each other civilly, have some sense of decency and not call companies "steaming piles". What I want is for people that post like this to get that it's not cool, all it does is irritate people and create a bad impression.

    If he doesn't like Dell or one of their products, by all means post the reasons he doesn't like them, but keep the name-calling out of it, please. I wouldn't down-vote anyone for disagreeing with me, but I would anyone for making a stupid, foul, or pointless post. (Stupid usually means, to me, a post showing that the person didn't even bother to read the article.)

    The fact is, most people that talk like that don't even have any personal experience with the company they are bad-mouthing. They are just flapping their gums.

    Also, I said nothing about hiding posts that have a high negative vote count. Tomshardware does that, and I don't like it. To me, voting a post down is about telling the person his post was unacceptable, please do better next time, not about hiding it from anyone - that's censorship, and that I don't go for.

  • kevith - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I must say, that if I were to work on a 13" computer, with a screen-res of 1920x1080, I would not be able to see or read anything at all.

    It was better they redefined the ultra-book dogme to include a larger chassis carrying a 15" screen instead.

    Then we could have ful HD AND be able to actually see something as well.
  • LOL__Wut__Axel - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I don't understand how mid-40s idle and low 80s are unacceptable for Sandy Bridge notebook CPUs. Those numbers seem like what you'd expect; the problem with the XPS 13 is that due to the bad ventilation the chassis gets hot and the fan gets loud.

    I have an SB Core i5 laptop and even under the most stressful test, IBT, it turbos to the max 2.7GHz on all threads even with a temp. in the low 80s. The difference is it has good ventilation and doesn't get loud or hot.
  • smithme08 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I agree that its a very valid point to mention that many/most other ultrabooks have a memory card reader, while this model does not, however I would argue the level of importance attached to having one in general.

    Yes, cameras and phones still use these cards, however practically all of them ALSO support attachment via USB. Personally (and tastes may vary), I'd much rather plug in a USB cable than open up the device and remove the memory card. That does mean you have to carry a cable, which might be a slight negative to some. However, removing the card reader and ADDING one or two more USB ports would seem to serve people better in general considering the wide variety of USB devices out there.

    That said, this machine does NOT add any additional ports so it seems like they went with the worst of all possible scenarios and that's a shame :(

    I'd like to do a friendly informal poll :) Maybe I'm seriously in the minority. How many people would prefer additional USB ports versus a memory card reader, and how many would prefer the reader?
  • AmdInside - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Frankly the lack of SD card reader doesn't bother me. My DSLR cameras use CF cards and that is what I prefer since it is a bit harder to lose/drop CF cards than SD cards. Since no laptop includes CF card reader, I am used to having to carry with me a CF card reader. Reply
  • dagamer34 - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Plus, unless that CF card reader is hooked up to USB 3.0, it's speed is wasted. Reply
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Weight is good. CPU and graphics suck. Price is absurd @ $999 let alone insane at $1500.

    This crap is why AMD Trinity is going to kill Intel with $500 ultrathins with more performance for hundreds less.

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