1366x768 vs 1920x1080 screen on 15.6" laptop

antobag

Junior Member
Feb 26, 2013
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I am thinking about buying a 15.6" laptop for university work and gaming, and am currently deciding between getting a 1366x768 and a 1920x1080 screen. I'm afraid I have no option of a 1600x900 screen. I'll be using a GT 650M graphics card, which won't allow me to play most games in native resolution on the 1080 screen, but would probably be okay on the 768. I know I can get the 1080 screen and use a non-native resolution (768) for gaming, but I'm unsure about the ramifications of this:

1) Would the performance be the same as a 768 screen running at native resolution?
2) Would the screen quality be worse? Some people say that using non-native resolution causes blurring, while others say that a 1080 screen will look better even at non-native resolution.
3) Bearing in mind that the 1080 screen obviously costs more, would it be worth buying it (knowing that I wouldn't be able to use its full potential on most games)?
4) Games aside, I'm used to a 1280x800 screen and have never had the experience of a 1080 screen for applications such as Word etc. Do the smaller icons and larger workspace make the experience that much better?

I've had a look around and I know there are similar threads to this one, but I couldn't find exact answers to my questions. Apologies if I'm bringing up old questions, I'm quite new to the forums. Any help would be much appreciated.
 

mikeymikec

Lifer
May 19, 2011
17,690
9,533
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Running an LCD screen at a non-native res always looks worse. The better quality the screen is, the less bad it looks, generally speaking. 1024x768 warped to 1920x1080 will look painfully bad IMO. I would check that non-native resolutions get displayed natively rather than warped (so you end up with big black borders), personally.

You might find 15.6" @ 1920x1080 rather squinty for apps usage btw. Playing with the Windows DPI setting will help.

I find 1080p an improvement over 1280x1024 in some situations during apps usage. Wide spreadsheets and comparing content between two windows is easier on 1080p.

I'll leave the gaming questions for someone else.
 

Sleepingforest

Platinum Member
Nov 18, 2012
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I'd go for the higher resolution. Just make sure you turn down the resolution while gaming (and thus get black bars around the edges of the game). Anything lower than 1080p is genuinely harder to work with because there's so little room for stuff on your screen.
 

PingSpike

Lifer
Feb 25, 2004
21,732
561
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Non native resolution games will always look worse, but if you keep the aspect ratio the same when stretched they won't look as bad since at least then images won't be distorted.

In theory if you use half dimensions for your gaming resolution there will be no interpolation of pixels resulting in a "perfect" low resolution image. But 1920x1080 half pixel dimensions is 960x540 which hasn't been considered a high resolution image since maybe the voodoo2 days. Its still an option that may provide a nicer image to some people although I suspect in a lot of cases the UI is not designed to work well with that resolution in newer games.
 

Hubb1e

Senior member
Aug 25, 2011
396
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You can game at 768 or 720p. Images will be blurry on your screen but it's workable and since 15" is still pretty small it's not that bad.

I personally can't see 1080p text on a 15" screen well and windows DPI scaling doesn't work that well for all content so I'd save the money and go with the 768 screen considering it will game better and I don't multitask on my screen much, but I'm probably in the minority.
 

raildogg

Lifer
Aug 24, 2004
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532
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I have used both of these resolutions but for my personal use, I have a 15.6" 1920x1080 laptop. The screen quality is great for a laptop and everything is crisp. Big difference between the two resolutions in terms of image quality and sharpness, not to mention how much you can fit on the screen.

Since 1920x1080 is a higher resolution, I have set the zoom options to 120% or 125% for both Windows and web browsing. Initially, I was concerned about the small text size but this fixes that problem. Utilizing the full 1920x1080 is not possible due to scaling. That is fine with me though.

As for gaming, I cannot comment much on that though I've seen people game on Intel 4000 graphics. I'm sure your graphics card will be more than adequate for most games.

So after trying several different laptops, for me, 1920x1080 provides a great combination of usability along with a sharp screen. So I would go for that.
 
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antobag

Junior Member
Feb 26, 2013
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Hmm... judging by what people say here and elsewhere, it seems like a very subjective thing. It's hard to know whether I'd prefer the 1080p screen for general use until I've had a look myself, so I'll go into a few stores and see for myself. To be fair, I'm used to a low resolution screen and I've never noticed any problems (although I'd probably notice them more after using a 1080p screen for a week or so).

In terms of gaming, I don't know whether I'd notice the blurriness inherent with displaying non-native resolutions - again, I'd have to check it out for myself. So it seems I just need to have a look around and get a feel for it, and then make my own decision. Thanks to everyone for all your help.
 

Zeze

Lifer
Mar 4, 2011
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1,021
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Do people still use monitors outside of their native resolution?
 

antobag

Junior Member
Feb 26, 2013
24
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Do people still use monitors outside of their native resolution?

If I bought a 1080p monitor, I'd only be using a non-native resolution when playing games that are too demanding to be played at full resolution on my graphics card. I'd like to play at native resolution but it would often be too taxing for my computer. For all other intents and purposes (eg. for work, for web browsing, etc), I'd use the native, full-HD resolution.
 

mfenn

Elite Member
Jan 17, 2010
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www.mfenn.com
Regarding running at a non-native resolution in games, think of it as free anti-aliasing! :awe:

But seriously, there are just not that many sharp corners in most games (pixel art games notwithstanding), so you won't notice the blurring effect as much.
 
Aug 11, 2008
10,451
642
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You can game at 768 or 720p. Images will be blurry on your screen but it's workable and since 15" is still pretty small it's not that bad.

I personally can't see 1080p text on a 15" screen well and windows DPI scaling doesn't work that well for all content so I'd save the money and go with the 768 screen considering it will game better and I don't multitask on my screen much, but I'm probably in the minority.

A lot of people totally bash 768p on a laptop, but it is usable to me for general use. I have never gamed on a laptop so I cant address that.

One thing I will say though, is that I would have a hard time doing productivity work like Excel on a 768p screen. Yes the print is small at 1080p, but I would much rather deal with that than having such a small area of view with a low resolution.
 

antobag

Junior Member
Feb 26, 2013
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Such a hard choice! I wish there was some way I could try out both for a day or so. Looking at laptops in stores won't let me get an in-depth feel for it, nor will it let me see the blurriness in gaming. I'll be stuck on this one for a while...
 

M0RPH

Diamond Member
Dec 7, 2003
3,305
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I had a 15.6" 1080P laptop and felt the res was a bit too high. DPI scaling is not perfect, you'll run into some issues and some programs just don't seem to scale at all. Photoshop CS5, for example, the toolbars and dialogs were tiny and hard to work with. I personally feel like 1600x900 would be perfect for a 15.6" screen.

I always gamed at 768P and never felt like I was missing much, it's slightly less sharp but not too noticeable in games.
 

raildogg

Lifer
Aug 24, 2004
12,811
532
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I had a 15.6" 1080P laptop and felt the res was a bit too high. DPI scaling is not perfect, you'll run into some issues and some programs just don't seem to scale at all. Photoshop CS5, for example, the toolbars and dialogs were tiny and hard to work with. I personally feel like 1600x900 would be perfect for a 15.6" screen.

I always gamed at 768P and never felt like I was missing much, it's slightly less sharp but not too noticeable in games.

I understand where you're coming from. I had the same concerns but I have come to like this resolution. DPI scaling is not an issue in most cases. On some websites, the graphics look a bit out of place but it is not frequent. The plusses outweight the cons I believe. For instance, the screen looks much sharper at this higher resolution - that means that the text will be sharper and might even be easier to read. Of course if everything was zoomed at 100% then that might be a problem but I find 120% or 125% zoom levels to be great for majority of things done on the laptop.

I think if one zooms in at 125% at 1080P resolution, that might be a similar resolution to 1600x900 but the screen would look better. The scaling might not be exactly perfect as it would be on 1600x900 screen but it won't be too far off.