When Google released its Nexus 10 tablet earlier this week, we saw a continuing of an obvious trend: high-resolution displays. It all started when Apple released its iPad “3″, featuring a 2048×1536 10-inch display, and was followed-up by ASUS with its Transformer Infinity TF701, sporting 1920×1080. Now, we have Google’s Nexus 10, another 10-inch tablet, but this time featuring a resolution of 2560×1600.
To help put that into perspective, when we purchased a 30-inch monitor in 2008 for the sake of benchmarking, we bought it because of its 2560×1600 resolution. Now, the same exact resolution can be had in a mere 10-inch tablet. Crazy, isn’t it?
Well, more crazy might be a good point that Linus Torvalds brought up on his Google+ page, “So with even a $399 tablet doing 2560×1600 pixel displays, can we please just make that the new standard laptop resolution? Even at 11″? Please. Stop with the “retina” crap, just call it “reasonable resolution”. The fact that laptops stagnated ten years ago (and even regressed, in many cases) at around half that in both directions is just sad.“
While I admit that the crispness of these ultra high-res displays is nice, I still don’t see a real need for them on either a notebook or a tablet. It basically boils down to caveats. When I take a screenshot on my 2560×1600 tablet, it’s going to look foolish on my 1920×1200 desktop monitor. And I can’t help but wonder if all of the extra work the GPU has to do to churn out all these extra pixels couldn’t instead be used to simply make the content look better.
But Linus makes a good point. If we are seeing resolutions like these on tablets, then why on earth are we stuck with 1366×768 on many notebooks? This is something I have to agree with, even if I don’t see the need for something as extreme as 2560×1600. On a 13″ notebook, 1366×768 is just far too restrictive. That resolution would have been great in 2002, but it’s horrible today unless you’re focusing on only one thing at a time (like a tablet). Cost really can’t be an argument, either, because if $400 tablets can feature a 2560×1600 display, then surely a 13″ notebook can, too.