Looking Forward to WUXGA and QXGA Tablets

In a similar vein to the 4K displays, it looks like many tablets are getting a serious resolution bump in the next few months. When I complain regularly about the state of laptop displays (I can count the number of good laptop LCDs we saw in the last year on one hand), it gives me hope to see tablets pushing for higher quality, higher resolution panels. Amazingly enough, ASUS has announced that the Eee Prime Transformer will receive a 1920x1200 update in Q2 this year (and for the record, they’re not the only ones planning on using such a panel). Rumors suggest that the iPad 3 will go one step further and offer a QXGA (2048x1536) panel, sticking with the 4:3 aspect ratio of previous iPads—though of course Apple hasn’t officially announced anything yet—and there's even talk of some QSXGA (2560x2048) and/or QWXGA (2560x1600) tablets shipping later this year.

I had the chance to play with the upcoming Eee Prime Transformer TF700T, and I loved the increased resolution. Surprisingly, the Tegra 3 chipset appeared able to handle WUXGA quite well, though I didn’t get a chance to test any games. Gaming at WUXGA is going to really stress current SoC GPUs, however, at least if you want decent quality settings. Many desktop users—even those with high-end cards like the GTX 570/HD 6970—run at 1920x1200, albeit with significantly higher quality textures and geometry than seen in tablet games. Even so, pushing ~2MP on a tablet at decent frame rates will very likely need more memory bandwidth and faster GPUs; I expect many games will run at a lower resolution and simply scale the image to the screen size. Outside of gaming, however, higher resolutions can be very useful. Browsing the web at 1280x720 is doable, 720x1280 not so much; 1080x1920 on the other hand is wide enough for all the 1024-width websites that you won’t have to zoom out to see it. Plus, text and images in general will be improved.

What really irks me is that all of this comes in a 10.1” IPS package, exactly what I’ve been asking for in laptops for the past several years. What’s more, the price point for these is in the <$600 range, and we’re still getting 16:10 aspect ratio panels instead of being forced into 16:9. I asked several manufacturers, "How is it we're getting 16:10 aspect ratio tablets with IPS WUXGA displays, and you still can't put anything better than a low quality 1366x768 TN panel into your laptops?" Naturally, they blamed the display manufacturers and consumers for not being willing to buy better quality laptops.

There's certainly some truth to that, but it's also a matter of supply and demand; if ASUS for instance were to order a million ~13.3" 1920x1200 IPS laptop displays, I'm sure they could get prices down to <$1000 for a quality laptop. Naturally, they're worried that the laptops wouldn't sell well enough and they’d get stuck with a bunch of “too expensive” laptops. With all the $500 Best Buy laptops floating around they may be right, but I wish I could convince more people to stop settling for low quality displays in their laptops. That brings me to my final top-three device/tech that impressed me at CES.

I Have Seen the Future, and the Future Is 4K Ultrabooks Everywhere and Wrap Up
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  • marc1000 - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    thanks Jarred! it's nice to know anything, even if it is a "not yet"... lol

    i will keep waiting for that card, if it gets only 1 PCIe power connector it will be my next card. if not, I will just wait until this level of performance fits this power envelope.

    ty,
    Reply
  • maglito - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I was genuinely excited about ultrabooks too. Crap (sub 1080p resolution) is a deal breaker.

    I guess I'll start looking more seriously at sticking it out longer on my core2 ULV 11.6" and look towards the 2XXXx15XX resolution tablets.

    What a disappointment.
    Reply
  • Roland00Address - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    The problem is they only off this resolution on their signature sony Zs so it is about 2.8 to 3k for price Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I believe the base model Z starts at under $2000 and includes the dock, but still, it's an expensive (and beautiful I might add!) display for sure. I had one company suggest that such displays add $700 to the price of a laptop right now, and they might be right. Or they might be trying to make excuses for using crappy displays.

    Incidentally, did you know you can buy a 1080p 95% NTSC matte 15.6" panel online for under $150? I'm not sure how a 13.1" display would cost four times as much to make; it's just a matter of getting enough supply and demand.
    Reply
  • Roland00Address - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    The base sony z is 1600x900
    You can find the base sony z for 1.8 to 2 k

    To get the 1920x1080 sony z you need to upgrade to their "signature" models which cost 2.8 to 3k
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Oh, you're right... forgot about that. Sony pricing is as "good" as Apple! :-) Reply
  • mckirkus - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    4K makes sense for movies if they're broadcast on a giant screen at a theater. Not at home on a 50'' screen 12 feet away from the viewer.

    I'm a lot more excited to see OLED displays. We need to refocus on color gamut, contrast, refresh rates, not more pixels nobody can see. On a tablet two feet from your face higher resolutions matter.

    As for YouTube, 4k is a joke because the bit rates aren't high enough to take advantage of the resolution.
    Reply
  • Fanfoot - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    Sorry, but I don't agree. If you think the TVs we've got now are as big as they're going to ever get, you're wrong. I sit some 8-10 feet from my 65" TV and it actually seems quite small. The number of degrees of arc isn't actually that great. If you want something that seems more like the experience of watching in a theater TVs need to get MUCH bigger.

    Already last year we saw that 80" Sharp LCD TV at $4999, way below anything we'd seen at that size previously. And with LCD TV manufacturers seeing a glut in production and prices crashing below $1000 you can't really blame them for looking forward to even larger TVs.

    A "wall size" unit is still a long ways off.
    Reply
  • mckirkus - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    The TV size sweetspot right now is 46 inches. Even for high end TVs where price isn't a concern. A lot of people apparently find massive TVs kind of tacky (have a look in a home design magazine). That may not apply to you but it means 80'' TVs will remain a niche market, regardless of how cheap they get. Which means 4k will remain a niche technology, which means it will remain expensive.

    Blu Ray needs 40Mbits a second to drive 1080p. If Blu-Ray is the last physical media before we're all streaming, and 4k is 4x the resolution of 1080p, then we need 150-200Mbps internet connections before this is even feasible.
    Reply
  • EyelessBlond - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    You know where gigantic displays will eventually find a home in the, er, home? Windows. And no, I don't mean the operating system:

    http://www.theverge.com/2012/1/13/2705599/samsung-...

    The future is a large picture window being replaced by a TV that can switch from window to giant display with a push of a button. The other alternative is advancements in flexible displays that will allow very large TVs to roll up into the ceiling, but that kind of already exists for projectors and nobody uses them, so it's not likely to be very big in the future either.
    Reply

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