Dell and Samsung have launched new 23-inch monitors with an ultra-high 2,048 x 1,152 (QWXGA) resolution, ushering in a new era of monitors.
It was only a few days ago that Samsung announced the industry’s first 2,048 x 1,152 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio monitor. The new 23-inch Samsung SyncMaster 2343BWX can provide enough screen real-estate to view two A4-sized documents side-by-side, while still leaving enough room to display the Windows SideBar. Following Samsung’s lead it would seem, Dell has since also unveiled its own 23-inch monitor, the Dell SP2309, featuring the same awkward high-resolution.
While it might be easy to assume the two new monitors use the same LCD panel, according to the specifications for each monitor, there are some differences. The Samsung SyncMaster 2343BWX is stated to have a contrast ratio of 20,000:1 and a response time of 5 ms. Conversely, the new Dell SP2309 is stated to have a contrast ratio of 1000:1 and a response time of 2 ms.
While not much is still known about the Samsung SyncMaster 2343BWX, the Dell SP2309 did appear for a brief time on the Canadian Dell website revealing some added information. The Dell SP2309 has a brightness of 300 cd/m2, offers 160-degree viewing angles, includes an integrated 2.0-megapixel webcam, displays 98-percent of the NTSC color gamut, can be wall-mounted and offers HDMI, DVI-D and VGA video inputs. The Dell SP2309 was listed with a price of $419.99 CAD ($349 USD) and is expected in the US soon. The Samsung SyncMaster 2342BWX was announced in South Korea for ₩389,000 ($293 USD), with there being no mention of a U.S. release date.
While a resolution of 2,048 x 1,152 would seem extremely high, it does not actually offer significantly more pixels than current 1,920 x 1200 resolution displays ; 236k-pixels versus 230k-pixels. The main difference instead appears to be in terms of aspect ratios, where the two new 23-inch monitors offer an aspect ratio of 16:9, while many traditional wide-screen LCD computer monitors offer an aspect ratio of 16:10. With high-definition video content often being offered in an aspect ratio of 16:9, the new monitors would help to eliminate black-bars, image stretching and image cropping that could occur when displaying such content.
The new 2,048 x 1,152 resolution monitors do introduce their own issues though. Full high-definition video content is presented at a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080, which means that to fill the screen completely, the image would need to be scaled up in resolution. Image scaling could potentially result in reduced image quality and it may have an adverse affect on system performance. As such, a powerful graphics solution would be recommended for such a monitor, especially for those wishing to do some gaming at native resolutions.
Another issue with these new monitors is that a 23-inch 16:9 display is actually smaller overall than a 23-inch 16:10 display. Mind you, it is not a noticeable difference, but it will result in a wider, yet smaller, screen. These two new 23-inch monitors also offer very high pixel-densities, because of their relatively small screen sizes and high resolutions. Such high pixel-densities often results with everything on the display appearing very small, including fonts. For those who are okay with reading tiny fonts, high pixel-densities may not be a problem. For others though, the eye strain of trying to read such tiny fonts can often lead an individual to lowering the screen resolution, resulting in blurry text.
Microsoft is aware of this high pixel-density issue however, offering a feature in its Windows Vista operating system that attempts to solve this issue. The feature (DPI Scaling) allows users to increase the size of icons, interfaces and fonts to compensate for the high pixel-densities, keeping the display crisp and sharp. While this feature in Windows Vista is not quite yet perfect, or well known by many users, the upcoming Microsoft Windows 7 operating system is expected to make further improvements to this feature.
Samsung believes that by 2012, 67-percent of the LCD monitor market will be feature 16:9 aspect ratios. If future operating systems are also able to improve high DPI compatibilities, monitors such as these two new 23-inch monitors could be a glimpse of the future.