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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  • speculatrix - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    given that the majority of people can't tell 720 from 1080 on their TVs as it is - it's simply not possible for the human eye to resolve the detail at their sitting distance - I think 2K and above will not catch on except for professional installations or the richest early adopters. Reply
  • cheinonen - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    No matter how many numbers people throw out on what resolution makes a difference, looking at the 8K set that Sharp had on display (never coming out, of course) and you'd see a huge difference from a 2K or 4K set. However, I'd still take the OLED or CrystalLED sets for their better viewing angles, contrast ratios, motion, and black levels than the extra resolution. That said, you can see the difference in resolution, but bandwidth concerns mean we won't get to see that for a long time. Reply
  • Fanfoot - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I don't know why I'd want the print on my monitor to look better. I can read it perfectly fine as it is. In fact I don't know why all those printer manufacturers don't stop making printers at 600dpi or even 1200dpi. That's stupid. Who needs anything that readable? Everything should top out at 150dpi or so. Anybody who suggests otherwise is being unreasonable. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    Printers use the higher resolution to get better gradations and color blending. Apparently you've never seen print out from the early 360dpi printers from the early '90s. 720dpi, 600dpi, 1200dpi, 1440dpi, and 4800dpi printers have gotten noticeably better with each upgrade in resolution from those early 300 dpi versions.

    Perhaps some people can see finer resolution than others.
    Reply
  • EnerJi - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I think you missed the sarcasm... Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    Pretty obvious it was a sarcastic comment. Reply
  • adonn78 - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    i would love to know the aspect ratio of the 4K displays. Also were there any curved displays. I remember the Ostendo CRVD that was awesome from back in CES 2009. They have not updated the display have they? Would lvoe to see a high res curved display for gaming rather than a bunch of panels with their bezels. Reply
  • pixelstuff - Tuesday, January 17, 2012 - link

    I wrote Ostendo Technologies about the CRVD last September asking them about a higher resolution version. Something like 3840x1200 (two 1920x1200 monitors), because 900px high is practically useless on a desktop computer.

    They said they were out of stock on the current model and had no plans to build more. However my request for a higher res version had been noted, and I could get their newsletter to know about future announcements.

    Maybe if enough people email them about a high res version they will try again with something more useful.
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    As I mentioned in the text, the 4K display I saw ran at 4096x2160, so it's a 1.896 AR (compared to 1.778 for 16:9 and 1.6 for 16:10). I've also seen some info saying we'll see 4096x2304 4K displays (16:9), and I neglected to get a picture of the resolution but I swear there was at least one 4K display that I saw that had a >2.0 AR. Reply
  • jjj - Wednesday, January 18, 2012 - link

    I hate TN panels so yay for non TN but i view the resolution game in phones and tablets as mostly marketing BS and it creates additional problems.Prices go up (and this is why the industry likes the idea) gaming gets slower and battery life is lower (or ,for tablets,you shove in a bigger battery and then the price goes up some more).Is it really worth it?
    4k TV's sure but i would rather see prices for 30" monitors come down a lot.
    Thin laptops with the CPU perf of systems costing half as much,GPU perf lower than terrible,poor battery life .... no thanks.Funny how intel tries to do what they already did years ago with the ULV line except this time they added some more shine and doubled the price.Touch screens on laptops,folks should realize how much that will add to the retail price before getting too excited.
    Reply

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