Netbooks need better resolutions for browsing, not text entry

Crunchgear and BBG are basically J.O. buds in the vortex-fantasy of professional gadget blogging, but I’m not sure I understand their argument that netbooks should forego other improvements in favor of screen resolution.

Not that higher resolution is a bad thing: it’s part of what makes the Vaio P so gorgeous. But this argument doesn’t make a lick of sense:

Why don’t I buy a regular notebook, you ask? I arrange letters into words for a living. I could do this with a DX2/66. All I need is a cheap, light, portable computer for word processing that lets me see most or all of the three or four paragraphs I’m cobbling together. My life is almost entirely “in the cloud” so don’t need a big hard drive, a fancy OS, or lots of RAM – just a decent screen.

The word processing experience is not significantly improved by higher resolutions. It’s part of why I’m totally fine with netbooks current resolutions: I agree, netbooks are primarily writing machines. It would be nice to see them amped up for better browsing, but most of my time in my netbook is spent in DarkRoom anyway.

Opinion: Netbook makers should stop adding fluff and focus on screen resolution [Crunchgear]

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13 Responses to Netbooks need better resolutions for browsing, not text entry

  1. devophill says:

    Crunchgear and BBG are basically J.O. buds

    You guys should join the club!

  2. Rob Beschizza says:

    +1 software issue. Windows is OK at 600 lines, but most apps aren’t.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I could do this with a DX2/66 … My life is almost entirely “in the cloud”

    Run a javascript-capable browser on a d2/66 recently?

  4. dargaud says:

    What do you need a GPS for in that thing ? Draining the batteries faster ?

  5. Rajio says:

    Sounds more like a software issue to me. My wind runs at 1024×600. Sure 768 would be nicer but 1024 is plenty wide enough for most things. Sometimes it can help to configure your software to make better use of screen real-estate though. If you set things up so that your screen isn’t full of toolbars etc and has minimal interface, theres plenty of room on the wind’s 10″ screen for word processing et al.

  6. pork musket says:

    Yeah, that doesn’t make sense. Text entry was fine on cell phones ten years ago, and what were those? 40×20?

  7. Halloween Jack says:

    Crunchgear and BBG are basically J.O. buds in the vortex-fantasy of professional gadget blogging

    The hothouse fecundity of your prose style has just passed the Squick Event Horizon.

  8. Anonymous says:

    I want 80 googol bazillion by umpty 11 googol quadrillion screen resolution. I don’t care if the screen is 2 inches by 3 inches as long as it has enough resolution.

    With the demise of glass tube monitors, you just put the device right up next to your earballs and watch movies on your pocket mp3 player.

    CRTs were too heavy and promiscuous with the X-rays to put close to your head… that’s why the screens needed to be big… now it’s no longer necessary except in shared theatre-style viewing.

    Also, it seems like 99% of web page designers aren’t competent enough to make text-based web sites (BB is pretty good (most of the time (except for the embedded videos of course))) so you need resolution to be able to navigate, for example, HP’s disgusting web site. Or Ebay. Or Amazon.

  9. Charlie Stross says:

    I’m in my forties. Predictably, I’m beginning to succumb to presbyopia — long-sightedness — which hits most people with age.

    I just ordered an HP mini 1000 with a 10.1″ display, replacing an older Mininote 2133 with a higher resolution 8.9″ display. Why? Because a netbook is no use whatsoever if you can’t read what’s on the screen — I was finding that there’s a limit to what you can achieve by tweaking menu text size and zooming on web pages, and the extra inch’n'a bit of diagonal size was worth far more to me than the extra pixels.

    Higher DPI counts are an active deterrent to older folks (read: anyone much over 40) buying netbooks, and those of us who grew up with computers age, it’s going to become a major problem.

    Until we start seeing decent wearable head-up displays, of course. But I digress …

  10. Eliot says:

    If only there was something with the low cost of a netbook that had a 1024×768 screen. Oh save us crunch network! :P http://www.techcrunch.com/2009/01/19/techcrunch-tablet-update-prototype-b/

  11. Ronald Pottol says:

    I run 4800×1200 (6m pixels) at work, only 1600×1200 (2mp) at home and the last laptop I bought. I used to have a Toshiba Libretto 50ct (how much computer you could fit in two pounds a decade ago) it ran 640×480 (0.3 mp), I ran text 43 lines by 80 columns, and it was no where near enough.

    1024×600 is just not enough, 43 lines at 480 pixels high was not enough, and meant using a nasty font.

    I find 1024×768 cramped, but even 1152×864 (a full mp) to be ok, so I figure I could live with the old mininote (1280×768).

    Right now I use an OLPC XO, which is about 1200×900, and that’s ok (damn membrane keyboards).

    I’m mostly about text, be it web, chat, or editing.

  12. iandavid says:

    Run a javascript-capable browser on a d2/66 recently?

    And at a resolution higher than 640×480?

  13. musicalwoods says:

    I want a 1280, but I’m picky. I don’t expect that many people are willing to pay the premium for the pixels.

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