Doug over at CrunchGear has written a commentary about the state of netbooks and display resolutions. It’s more of a plea to netbook makers, and I agree completely. We’ve reached a point where outside of a new platform (NVIDIA Ion) or new CPUs (dual-cores), there’s nothing else that’s really going to shake up the netbook market. You can only change the style or the placement of the buttons so many times.
Right now, the state of any resolution higher than 1024×600, but with a display smaller than 12″ is this:
– Dell Inspiron Mini 10: 10″ Not available yet, will do 1280x720p at some point.
– Gigabyte M912/912v: 8.9″, 1280×768, not available in the US.
– HP Mini 2133: Some of the earlier models had 1280Ã—768 displays, but this line is being discontinued at some point in the near future (and some later models had the lower resolutions).
– HP Mini 2140: Either in March or April of 2009, there should be a jump up to 1366×766.
– Sony VAIOP P – 1600×768, not available yet, and priced out of the range of many buyers.
We do have these 12″ and 13″ netbook-like devices:
– Asus S121: 12.1″ 1280×800
– Dell Inspiron Mini 12: 12.1″ 1280×800,
– MSI X-Slim X320 – 13.4″ 1366Ã—768 display. Not available yet.
– Samsung NC20 – 12.1″, 1280×800, not available yet.
This last group of 12″ and 13″ devices – they start to fall well out of the netbook category either because of size or price (or both).
For those of us who would be using a netbook for word processing or other such text-related pursuits, Doug makes a very good case for a higher resolution display:
“Why donâ€™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 Iâ€™m cobbling together. My life is almost entirely â€œin the cloudâ€ so donâ€™t need a big hard drive, a fancy OS, or lots of RAM â€” just a decent screen. Watching me type up a post on a netbook is like having front row seats at Scroll-Down-a-Palooza or Scroll-a-Thon-2009 or Scrollerblade Camp.”
I’ve been thinking about this myself – out of that group of devices listed above, the HP Mini 2140 looks like it will probably be the best choice if you want 10″ or less. I really want an Asus Eee PC T91 tablet/convertible (or something similar), but I could probably get a lot more use out of a 2140.
My perfect netbook at this point, putting aside the T91, would be an HP Mini 2140 with a dual-core Atom and the 1366×766. Those two things would sell me instantly on such a device. Should the 2140 be under $600 with that display, even with the current single-core Atoms, I think HP will find a winner on its hands among those of us who need a higher resolution and a good keyboard.