My wife recently bought an ASUS Zenbook, which is an astonishing piece of hardware; a fast, sleek featherweight that runs forever on a charge and basically pegs the sexy meter.
Aside from a keyboard that requires a direct hit on the key to activate, it sounds like the perfect writer’s toy.
Still, I laid it out next to my anchor-like, recently-revived-after-the-cat-threw-up-on-it 17″ Dell laptop, and realized I won’t buy one anytime soon (yes, my wife got one, so in the interest of spousal equivalence, I was considering one too).
I knew the Zenbook screen crammed 1600 horizontal pixels into a 13″ display. Meanwhile, my Dell wildly underachieves by comparison — its mammoth 17″ display only supports 1400 horizontal pixels.
The Zenbook wins, right?
In the rush to ever-higher screen resolutions, I think we’re reaching some practical limits, at least if you’re a 51 year-old writer with a lot of miles on your eyes.
Windows allows you to dial up the Zenbook’s type size, but the user interface very quickly looks wrong, and the whole thing looks silly.
And while I knew intellectually type was shrinking in higher-resolution displays, I had to see it on my wife’s Ultrabook to truly grasp the reality.
(I’m purposely ignoring the issue of higher-resolution “Retina” displays, which maintain type sizes while increasing overall pixel density. They’re gorgeous, but the Intertubes have largely operated on one resolution, and as that changes, well, let’s say web developers have my sympathies.)
So while I may still buy an Ultrabook (no, I won’t let her win), I’ll find one with a low-tech, elderly friendly, 1366 pixel display.
Maybe a Dell Project Sputnik — their XPS 13 Ultrabook loaded with a developer’s version of Ubuntu Linux.
Writers can get a little quirky about keyboards and text processors, but when you push away from the desk at the end of a long day, your monitor determines how your head feels.
Keep writing (but not squinting), Tom Chandler.