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John Paul Cook

finding a WUXGA or matte laptop

UPDATE: As I mentioned in a later post, the 17" MacBook Pro is the only current technology laptop with a 1920x1200 display. It is a great platform for running Windows. If you decide to get one, order it with a matte finish display for $50 extra. It is worth it. Battery life is a true 4.5 hours or better. I would not hesitate to buy another MacBook Pro today if I needed additional hardware.

Lenovo, Dell, Sony and Sager do not sell a 1920x1200 (WUXGA) laptop. I understand that manufacturers provide what there is market demand for. I also understand that HDTV and the 1080p standard is heavily influencing both monitor and laptop screen resolutions. But I do not understand why there is so little demand for a WUXGA laptop. Nor do I understand the popularity of glossy displays. I really don't like to look at my laptop and see the reflection of the overhead lighting.

Most laptops have 1366x768 (HD) screen sizes. HD is fine for watching videos. It's difficult to get serious work done on such a puny screen resolution. For those who think size matters, it's really the number of pixels that matters. My desktop has two monitors, a small HP ZR24w monitor and a large HP LP3065 monitor. Yes, I called a 24" WUXGA monitor small. I have it in portrait mode, 1200x1920, to minimize vertical scrolling on spreadsheets. My 30" HP monitor is portrait mode of 2560x1600. It allows me to see legal documents life size without scrolling. Scrolling is not something I want to waste my time doing. Productivity is definitely higher with larger screen resolutions. The color quality of the S-IPS panels in my HP monitors is superb.

Some people will take an older laptop and replace the display with a WUXGA screen to get the 1200 pixels they want. I considered that, but I don't think it makes financial sense to buy an old laptop and then spend more money on replacing its screen. It is more practical to go with a new laptop and an FHD display (1920x1080) even though it doesn't offer 1200 vertical pixels. Why did I write this today? Because my 1600x1200 laptop died permanently after I turned it on at school this morning.  :-)

Some people say they can't go paperless. Sometimes that is true only because they have a monitor with too few pixels. I purchased my nursing school textbooks as ebooks whenever possible. They are great on my 30" monitor and terrible on HD screens that are the norm on Widows laptops these days. With an ebook, I can make the font whatever size I want. Even better, I can use the ebook search feature and quickly find whatever I need to.

HP last offered a WUXGA display as a configurable option on build to order Elitebook 8740w models. As an older model, it isn't state of the art and finding one may be difficult.

Published Thursday, June 9, 2011 6:26 PM by John Paul Cook

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Erik said:


I have not bought a new laptop, but have been shopping for several years.  The display continues to be a deal-breaker for me.  It *must* be matte, and it must be >= 1080p -- WUXGA preferred as a minimum.

I'm not looking for a $500 Dell.  I want a high-quality, $2000 machine.  Why can't we find one is a mystery to me.  I can't believe people actually *want* that glossy crap, but merely tolerate it.

June 9, 2011 8:48 PM

Thomas Rushton said:

Well, quite.

I am struggling to replace my personal laptop with something that has the same resolution (1600x1050) for a sensible price, let alone get something approaching the laptop with which the office has provided me.

The Lenovo W510 I have from work does have a matte screen, and it's 1920x1080, and I love it.  What I don't love is the price!  And this is going to cause problems when this contract ends and I have to hand it back, because I'm going to want to buy something similar.

June 10, 2011 3:35 AM

Steve P said:

Errr.. MacBook Pro 17". Its £2k but it has the res you are looking for. better still you can load it with 8Gb RAM and watch your VMs fly. I run Windows inside MacOS with a coupole of servers and my dev environment going and its plenty fast enough but you can boot it into Windows directly if you really need the extra oomph!

Its not cheap but it trounces all the other laptops I've seen and the whole aluminium case thing means its utterly bulletproof. Mine has taken a real pasting in and out of various bags and no bits have fallen off at all. Wish I could say the same for the DELL it replaced. It had fallen to bits in 18 months. Even DELL were sick of repairing the dman thing.

I reckon on getting 2 to 3 years out of my laptop so £1k a year isn't that bad as a price point.

I saw a new sandy bridge 15" model with a high res screen recently, 8Gb RAM and an SSD running 3 windows VMs in a setup similar to my dev environment. The VMs it was running were insanely quick. But a big SSD pushes the costs out into deep pocket territory.

Big Screen + good performance = Big price alas

June 10, 2011 6:29 AM

Ismail Al Bulushi said:

Check out

Not sure how many of those laptops are dockable (the other deal breaker for me now along with SSD), but I've shopped with them before, and they have pretty good service. I like them because they always have great screen options, and cheaper options for SSDs.

I'm trying to get my boss at work to buy our team HP Elitebook Workstation 8560w. Those machines look really good.

June 10, 2011 9:49 AM

John Paul Cook said:

I called and they told me they don't sell any WUXGA laptops.

June 10, 2011 6:13 PM

Dmitry said:

And to think of that all this idiotic craze is so the movies don't have tiny black bars on top and bottom into which video controls used to fit nicely, as if the bloody laptops are for watching movies. If you are after a WUXGA monitor there is nothing less than 24" - a whopping jump from 17" - I'd need to move away from my desk or get a super wide one. Almost it's like a world-wide conspiracy to deprive us of choice and shove down our throats what the Asian display makers think is OK for us, and we are stupid not to understand that "Full HD" robs you of 10% of vertical space, which is at a premium with new Microsoft bum interfaces of tall status bars and "ribbons", and it is a standard for movies for butt's sake and not for with day-to-day computing, which needs space, the more the better. Not mentioning the common mistake of confusing "Full HD" with WUXGA in order to make a sales pitch.

June 12, 2011 12:06 AM

Jason said:

Have you checked Alienware?  I know they have 1920x1080 displays for some of their mid-level laptops.  They are well known in the gaming industry, but there's no reason a busy developer or DBA that might be doing a lot of testing using VM's couldn't justify it to their boss.   Pricing certainly is a lot more than a business class laptop, but it's got more screen, processor, disk, and memory than a business class lapper.

June 13, 2011 12:06 PM

Steve said:

Did you find a WUXGA laptop?  I'm looking to replace my 2006 WUXGA Inspiron - I believe I paid $1500 which included the works and a 4-yr warranty.  5+ years of heavy use, traveling, etc, - it's been a great system.  I had to have the screen replaced at 3.5 yrs.  Anyway, finding a laptop is wearing me out.... why do vendors insist on profiling me as a student, gov't worker, traveler, etc. just to steer me to a system?

June 19, 2011 2:00 PM

John Paul Cook said:

Yes, I've found a WUXGA laptop, the HP Elitebook 8740w mentioned above. But I can't afford it as a full-time student. I'm going to keep limping along on my 1400x1050 Pentium III. I get to class early so it has a few minutes to fully boot and load my documents.

I considered getting a FHD display (1920x1080), but all of those I've found are glossy and pricey.

June 19, 2011 2:36 PM

Shaun said:

I have a 1920x1200 Dell Studio 17.  I love the resolution on this older laptop; however, the plastic case is now falling apart after two years of heavy use.  

I use the laptop for development in Visual Studio -- gotta have those extra pixels.  I develop for XBOX/Windows and given the lack options I am am now buying a Macbook Pro to get 1920x1200 resolution.  DELL and HP have lost their mind to not offer a high-end option.

July 5, 2011 3:51 AM

Vitali said:

Same here - have been looking to replace my 2004 Dell Inspiron which has 1920x1200. It's a great machine with beautiful screen but unfortunately its plastic case is falling apart after 7 years of intensive use. It's really idiotic that Dell only offers 1920x1080 now on its high end notebooks - it's been a deal breaker. I regret very much I missed the train when they replaced the previous models last December - those did have WUXGA resolution.

I'm looking right now at HP 8740w EliteBook; there are still a few offered online though HP discontinued it. My great concern is that HP abandoned this series, as they very often do, by the way, and so there will be no support - no drivers updates, no replacement parts. Dell is good at this but HP is not known for that kind of customer support.

So, it leaves essentially only MacBook Pro...

August 2, 2011 5:16 PM

John Paul Cook said:

As I pointed out in a later post, I bought a 17" 1920x1200 matte Macbook Pro with a SSD. It works great. It's the best hardware available for running Windows.

August 2, 2011 10:40 PM

Guest said:

Yeah.  I have an old WUXGA laptop.  I plan to switch to 17" mbp because it's the only wuxga option available for laptops, unless you want a refurbished laptop.

Regarding the disappearance of WUXGA laptops on pcs.  This, I believe, has to do with the price fixing case brought successfully against display mfgs.  After that case, I noticed that the plethora of screen resolutions diminished as display mfgs streamlined their assembly lines to support just a handful of resolutions.  This streamlining is probably a cost cutting effort as margins were reduced as a consequence of the price fixing case.

Anyways, I'm glad you've found it.  I've been holding out going to mac books just yet.  I'm still hoping a blu ray drive will appear on mac books sometime.  But, I may have to jump ship now, because the rumor is that apple will be getting rid of even the dvd player that are in their laptops, which really sucks.

December 31, 2011 1:33 PM

dino said:

I wonder what idiot made decision to set us all 7 yrs backward at least???  In 2005, you could by 1920x1200 laptops anywhere you look.  Today, they sell only these crap laptops they like to call "hd" or 1080.  WTF??? Do we all use laptops for messaging, blogging, watching movies, fb???

YOU F.... RET..DS!!!

January 29, 2012 8:51 PM

konstantin said:

Well, there are still Macs. I have a Mac and I run windows on it precisely for the same reason - I need a good screen and it is nowhere to be found except macs.

March 5, 2012 9:50 AM

Andy Burton said:

I've been hanging onto my Lenovo Z61p with 1920x1200 for quite some years, but it's slowly falling apart and the hardware limited RAM at 2GB is an absolutely killer these days. I really can't understand why there isn't a modern equivalent with up to date cpu/ram.

March 31, 2012 1:03 PM

Tom said:

I think I got the last HP EliteBook 8530w off of their factory line. 15" with 1920x1200 screen back.

I'll probably use this one until Win15 comes out in 2030 and newer software forces an upgrade... My biggest fear is if the screen goes HP will not be able to service it, even if I'm willing to pay.

May 26, 2012 10:10 PM

John "S" said:

I still use my trusty old ThinkPad T61P with its gorgeous WUXGA screen.  My work issues Dell Laptop with its beefy I7 and 8GB of memory makes a nice platform to run an OS on, its goofy track pad and miserable display leaves me using my T61 running BSD as a terminal to connect back into it.  

September 12, 2012 4:50 PM

Stick said:

How about this?

It's 1080p on a FIVE INCH SCREEN. Now, someone tell me again why I can't have WUXGA or much, much better on a decent 13" laptop?!

November 14, 2012 4:28 AM

Mark said:

Let me add some spice on the theme...

I'm also looking for WUXGA laptop for some time as I'm in CAD and really appreciate 1200 display height.

But does anybody wonder why laptop manufacturers constantly refuse to even add WUXGA as an preorder option no matter the cost?

I cant fight the feeling its on purpose, but not on behalf oh making FHD the absolute standard. WUXGA ratio is 16:10 which, if you think about it more widely is very close to golden ratio (fi) about 1.618. Now, someone might laugh on this, but, everything in nature grows geometrically close to this ratio and even freemasons used it to construct buildings on its base. I'd say it is more natural to look at screen with natural ratio than any other, just feels more comfortable. This might seem as conspiracy theory and as time goes I'm more convinced that its actually some kind of corporate deal not to make 16:10 laptops rather than making FHD standard, or claming 16:10 is more costly to mnufacture, or any other poor excuse. Although, there are other displays you can get with 16:10 ratio, such as tablet or a phone even a monitor, but actually most people today use laptops at home. Obviously, its important to sell computers to people so they can watch movies on laptop 16:9 screen.

December 27, 2012 5:57 AM

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a database and Azure specialist in Houston. He previously worked as a Data Platform Solution Architect in Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse currently studying to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Connect on LinkedIn

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