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March 21, 2011

Ben and Ryan Explain: Screen Resolution

One of the most common misconceptions about PCs is that the bigger the screen, the more items you’ll be able to pack on it. After all, bigger is better, right?

Well, sort of.

There’s a big difference between screen size and screen resolution, and that’s what Ryan and I are talking about in today’s video. In short, screen size is the actual physical size of your screen – usually somewhere between 11-17 inches on a laptop, and screen resolution, which is the density of pixels on that display, i.e., how much stuff you can see at one time.  Check out the video to see what we’re talking about:

Now that you’ve seen them in action, which resolution should you choose? 

– If you’re doing “regular stuff” like browsing the web, writing email, and watching online video, you’re in good shape with an HD display (1366 x 768).  Because you can get this resolution in anything from an 11” mini laptop to a 15” full-size PC, you’re able to pick the form factor you want, and still know that you’ll be able to see what you want to see.

– If you’re taking your PC to work, check out an HD+ display (900 vertical lines, usually 1440 x 900 or 1600 x 900).  This will give you more vertical space for real-estate intense applications like PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook.

– If you’re all about entertainment and power gaming, go for a full HD display (1920 x 1080).  This will let you experience content like Blu-Ray movies in full HD, and give you outstanding screen real-estate for games.

The key takeaway from this video is:  Remember that screen size is how physically large your display is, and screen resolution indicates how much stuff you can see at one time.  Be sure to consider both when you’re buying your next PC.

Have a question about this video or any of the PCs that we showed? Post a comment, hit me on Twitter, or Ask Ben Anything via email!