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

  • snuuggles - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I'm confused, is the intel cpu $500 more than the equivalent AMD cpu? I agree that the price is high, but I doubt the cpu price is the only thing pushing it. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Look at prices on 256GB SSDs and you'll find a major culprit for the price hike. Reply
  • silverblue - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Agreed. It's a little unfair to lay the blame squarely at the feet of the i7. Besides, Trinity will be very hard pressed to have clocks at that level with a discrete-class GPU and still only fit in its purported 17W envelope. Reply
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    When Trinity arrives and delivers the goods people will just laugh at the Ultrabook and the absurd pricing and lack of performance. Reply
  • fic2 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Is that an echo from Bulldozer I hear? Reply
  • KitsuneKnight - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    I doubt remember the Bulldozer fans sounding so hilarious... Reply
  • tecknurd - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    Let us see the i3 processor performs better than any A8 processor that AMD has to offer. Sure Intel graphics suck, but what kinds of people are going to use this notebook. Mainly people that are casual users and not gamers. Intel graphics is overwhelming plenty for casual users. The i7 processor is high performance processor, so Intel is still better when Trinity comes out. The cost is related to the SSD, so any AMD system will cost the same. Trinity have to be at least 30% faster or even better 50% better because the highest model of the first generation Bulldozer is just as fast as an Athlon II. Intel's Sandy Bridge i-series processors a much faster than Athlon II and Phenom II processors, so AMD has a lot of work they need to do to catch up. Really AMD have to introduce the third generation of Bulldozer to equal the performance of Sandy Bridge. When that happens Intel has already introduced Haswell. Say all you want but Trinity will not beat Intel's offering even you troll hard enough. It just not going to happen. AMD's arrogance is getting in their way of making highly competitive processors. Reply
  • Autisticgramma - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Its a pc with Aesthetics. Otherwise known as a wannabe apple. The reason it sucks so much is, what dell is attempting to produce is a product with apple's margin, via apples looks. Again no dice. I'd be happy if Dell stuck with what made it the behemoth it is. Ugly office hardware that works. There's a reason office PC's look like crap. So you don't stea - I mean 'misplace' them.

    What ever happened to computer parts on anandtech? I mean tablets and phones, share parts with computers. If I want a real part review sadly I must visit another site these days. I mean for an apples to apples comparison. "Today were testing the Samsung Galaxy S II against the nVidia 580, in direct x 11 applications...."

    (Hyperbole may have been used to convey the feeling of disappointment with the declining quality of my favorite site.)

  • Sabresiberian - Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - link

    Anandtech runs "computer parts" articles all the time.

    They have more editors than they used to, so there is more room for other types of hardware.

    Of course, I don't expect you to understand that even after it's pointed out, because the first part of your post demonstrates that you "wannabe" a person who can think.

  • tipoo - Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - link

    "Its a pc with Aesthetics. Otherwise known as a wannabe apple. "

    What? There are plenty of "wannabe" Apple products out there, but you're only criteria is good aesthetics? That makes no sense. This looks like a good original design to me, ventilation aside.

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