The expected resolution of laptop screens has increased over the past eight years. When The 2013 Surface Pro arrived in February of 2013, the 10.6-inch 1080p HD screen was considered a big deal. Microsoft released their high resolution display right after Apple released the MacBook Pro Retina with a 13.3-inch version that contained a 2880 x 1800 pixel resolution screen.
Since then, the resolution of screens has only become better, even if this new trend has hurt battery life. The 2018 Dell XPS 13 9370 has a gorgeous 4K display. Dell also released their new computer with a 1080p display, which many say adds three hours of battery life. I thought people would want the 4K display, but I know at least three people who have bought the new Dell laptop and chose to opt out on the 4K version. The 4K XPS 13 9370 I use has decent, but not great battery life.
Dell has just released the XPS 15 2-in-1, and I will receive a review unit this week (so stay tuned!). It’s received mostly very good reviews. However, because the battery life is below average, many people on the Dell Reddit forums have opted for the 1080p version, and they are happy with their purchase.
LG has just released their updated version of the LG Gram, a 1080p laptop that comes in versions with a 13-inch or 15-inch screen. HP has just released the 2018 HP Spectre x360, and unlike last year’s version, the only one available now is a version with a 1080p screen. Tech Radar gives the laptop four-and-a-half stars, and notes that the screen is gorgeous. It also has great battery life, unlike the 4K version of the Spectre x360 that was released last year.
Let’s face it, a 1080p screen is not a disability for most people. Most games play better in full HD than 2K or even 4K. The majority of Netflix and Hulu users still stream in full HD or 720p since anything above takes up too much bandwidth. I couldn’t imagine doing professional photo editing with a 1080p screen, but most people don’t engage in professional photo editing.
4K enthusiasts shouldn’t be upset, nor should they believe that the industry is regressing. People still have the choice to buy laptops with Ultra HD screens if they really want to. But for now, most consumers don’t actually need so many pixels per inch on their laptop screens. They just want a computer that will last them all day.