$600 college laptop, budget is 100% firm

Discussion in 'What Notebook Should I Buy?' started by ZRock, Sep 7, 2011.

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  1. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    Not all 12.1" laptops are the same. According to Lenovo, the X200s has a full-sized keyboard. I haven't checked the Dell E4200 yet.

    Not at all, because Windows works differently. In Windows, each line of text takes up a fixed number of pixels. So, if a 1024x600 screen can display 40 lines of text, a 1920x1200 screen would be able to show 80 lines. Thus, the low-res screen forces you to scroll much more.

    For watching videos on an HDTV, resolution only affects clarity. But on computer monitors, it affects how much info can be displayed at once and hence your productivity.
     
  2. ZRock

    ZRock Notebook Consultant

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    Any thoughts on a T410 piano? I could get one fairly cheaply, within my $500 budget, or would you still recommend an elitebook 14?
     
  3. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    The T410 is a very good laptop. However, if this particular unit is only 1280x800, I would rather get a 12-incher with the same resolution.
     
  4. Robisan

    Robisan Notebook Consultant

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    Displaying video on a computer screen is different than text. Unlike text, videos will display on the full real estate of the screen regardless of display resolution. I don't question that 1080p is higher quality that 720p -- I only question whether the human eye can distinguish the difference on small laptop screens. From what I've read, it can't see the difference on small TV screens.
     
  5. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    The human eye can resolve about 70 cycles (or pixels) per degree of the visual field. Let's say you place the laptop screen 18 inches away from your cone photoreceptors, i.e. about 17 inches from the cornea. At this distance, 70 cycles per degree corresponds to 223 pixels per inch on the screen. The vast majority of laptop screens are between 100 and 160 pixels per inch, and thus can be readily discriminated by the human eye at a corneal viewing distance of 17 inchs. The highest laptop pixel density that I know of is the Sony Vaio P Series, which has an 8" 1600x768 screen of 221.85 DPI, roughly matching the human visual acuity when viewed at 17".

    Now, how about an HDTV in a living room that's viewed 10 feet away? At 10 feet, the human eye can resolve only up to 33.4 pixels per inch on the screen. Let's say it's a 32" HDTV. If its res is 1366x768, it's 48.97 DPI, whereas if it's 1920x1080, it's 68.84 DPI. Both exceed our visual acuity, and so we wouldn't be able to tell the difference. At 10 feet, 768p versus 1080p look different only for 48" or larger HDTVs.
     
  6. Robisan

    Robisan Notebook Consultant

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    Well, first, you learn something new every day. Didn't know anything about visual field cycles per degree etc., so thanks for that. After a little Googling it appears the theoretical limit is 50 cycles, not 70, and for 20/20 vision it may be closer to 30 cycles. While at this point I still don't understand the math formulas, I do recognize that the short distance from eye to laptop screen increases the ability to distinguish image clarity (compared to HDTV sizes and distances).

    (Sorry for the thread diversion. ;) )
     
  7. pianowizard

    pianowizard Notebook Evangelist

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    Welcome to the world of biological research, where it is extremely common to find different researchers reporting a wide range of values. I have seen a study reporting this value to be as high as 77 -- see Clarkvision Photography - Resolution of the Human Eye .

    The math I used is simple, just tangent (1 deg) = opposite / adjacent .
     
  8. Bronsky

    Bronsky Wait and Hope.

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    Argggggggg! Trigonometry!

    If Acer still made the 3830TG like my 3820TG, I would recommend it as a 13" ultralight. But, really, 720p is fine for a 13.3" display. I do everything on my unit (which is a bit tweaked) including video editing without a glitch.

    I don't know what 12" keyboard you used but a Thinkpad X220 keyboard is full sized and quite comfortable.
     
  9. ZRock

    ZRock Notebook Consultant

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    Yeah, it was some hansspree hansbook one... But I found a T410 w/ the upgraded display and 4gb of ram for $525... I'll throw my SSD in it and should be good to go.
     
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