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Is 1280x800 resolution really that bad on 10 inch tablet?

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by westbros, Jul 1, 2013.

  1. westbros

    westbros Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Hi. I need some advice to help me make a decision on buying my first tablet. I would like a Samsung tablet so go along with my Galaxy SIII. I am looking at the new Galaxy Tab 3 10.1. I have been following news and previews on these tablets for the last few months, and nearly everything I have read criticises the 1280x800 screen resolution with 149 ppi density.

    I would like to know whether this resolution and pixel density is really as poor as these reports are suggesting. I have seen the Galaxy Note 10.1 which has the same screen, and I have to say to my eyes it looks great. I can't see pixels unless I get up really close to the screen. It also seems to me that probably 50% of people who own an iPad still have a 1st or 2nd generation device which has a similar resolution, as the retina display didn't arrive until the iPad 3, and you don't hear them moaning about how poor their display is. The iPad Mini doesn't have the retina display either (yet), and while I understand that that device is more comparable to an 8 inch Galaxy Tab, you don't hear people moaning about that display either.

    I intend to use my tablet for surfing the Internet, YouTube, maybe a few movies and games, and for showing photos taken on my separate camera. A 1280x800 screen is still HD and can display in 720p. Any movies I download would be in 720p, as full HD 1080p files are likely to be huge. Do I really need to have full HD on a 10 inch screen? My photos come up at 3264x2448, so I realise that the tablet will have to downscale these, but they will still look better than on my laptop which has a worse resolution.

    So do I really need to go for a high end tablet with something approaching retina display? The only

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  2. LilBit

    LilBit Extreme Android User

    For what you say you will be using the tab for, 1280x800 should be just fine.:)
  3. Mostly Harmless

    Mostly Harmless Android Expert

    1280x800 on a 10 inch tablet can really hinder the user experience. I really can't believe Samsung is on their third 10" tab and are still using that same resolution. I have an original Galaxy tab 10.1 that I don't use anymore, and I booted it up a while ago and coming from my Nexus 7 the screen looked terrible.

    For the money I think you would be better off with the Nexus 10. It's really tough to beat that tablet at it's price point. And no one complains about that screen.

    If you are someone who holds on to a product for a while (aka you don't get a new device every year) then I would suggest you wait to get something with a better screen.

    Will 1280x800 do what you intend to use it for? Sure. Would you get a better user experience out of a higher resolution screen? Absolutely. Seeing review after review that criticizes the screen would be a big red flag for me.
  4. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Honestly? The whole review thing about how the screen is bad etc isn't really true. Especially since I've actually seen the Tab in person and have played around with it. If you think about it, a lot of laptops with bigger screens have the same or even less resolution, making it even less of PPI. The 1280x800 screen on a tablet is only bad compared to others with higher resolution. But for normal usage, its good. Heck, the 1280x800 screen reolution is better than an iPad2's resolution, and that thing still sells a lot. The reviewers are just being too demanding. However there is an advantage to using a screen that is "just enough" for usage, instead of using a WOW AWESOME screen: performance. On the same hardware, a tablet with a lower resolution screen would perform faster and cooler than a tablet with a higher resolution screen, and this also leads to enhanced battery life since there are less pixels needed to be pushed. But some may point out that the Nexus 10 does have a better chipset and battery than most other tablets.

    Also note that many apps haven't been updated for the high resolution screens. So when that happens, sure videos, pictures and web pages look awesome on that screen, but some games and apps won't. The Facebook page for example would be a huge expanse of white with very few text.

    If you have a 2 or 3 year old laptop, chances are its screen is the same PPI as a tablet with 1280x800 resolution. You can compare, there's a PPI calculator on the web. And you'd see all this HD kaboodle isn't as defining as what some reviews say. Heck, personally I'd take a Note 10.1 over a Nexus 10 any day. Not always having the latest updates doesn't bother me. What bothers me more is the lack of storage expansion. 32GB isn't enough for me on a tablet. What's the point of a 1080p screen if it can only hold one or two 1080p movies? Also the S-Pen is awesome. It makes highlighting text on ebooks a lot easier.
    Hadron likes this.
  5. westbros

    westbros Android Enthusiast
    Thread Starter

    Thanks for the replies so far. Keep them coming! This is precisely the sort of discussion I wanted to start.

    "Mostly Harmless", you make a valid point about buying something better if you intend to keep the device for more than one year. Yes, longevity is a consideration, and I would also want to buy something which hopefully will receive OS updates. But you haven't explained how or why 1280x800 on a 10 inch tablet would hinder the user experience.

    "chanchan05", this is precisely my thinking on the subject. I have the feeling that there is an element of snobbery in many of these reviews - if the retina display didn't exist, there would be no complaints about 1280x800. The reviews claim that the 1280x800 display is grainy and that you can see the pixels. How close to the screen are they getting to spot them?! They all claim that the tablet should have a higher resolution, but virtually none of them explain why, or how the performance or user experience will be degraded if you have a lower resolution.

    I agree that the main gripe against the Nexus 10 is the lack of storage expansion. And why would I buy a product which I cannot see and feel with my own eyes and hands? I have yet to see a single Nexus 10 in the stores, and so I have no way of experiencing the benefits of its display.

    I realise that there is Sony's Xperia Tablet Z, but while that does have a higher resolution, it doesn't have retina display. I have seen this once in the stores, and I wasn't impressed with the feel or look of the device, and it certainly is a fingerprint magnet because of the black colour and the very dark default wallpaper.

    I have considered the Note 10.1, but I am not convinced that I need the S-Pen functionality. I also prefer the physical buttons on the Tab 3. I will be intested to see how the Tab 3 performs on the benchmarks - there are rumoured benchmarks for the Tab 3 10.1 that suggest that this thing could be a beast and faster than the Note 10.1.

    And what about the rumoured high end Galaxy Tablet? Does anybody think this will see the light of day? I cannot believe that Samsung wouldn't want to compete against Apple, Sony and Asus in tablets. Obviously I don't want to buy a Tab 3 10.1 and then find out a month later than Samsung announces something much better.

    "chanchan05", what is your opinion of the Tab 3 10.1, as you have played around with it? Thanks.
  6. LeoRexus

    LeoRexus Member

    I am kind of with you here. My laptop's native resolution is similar to this, and the times I've watched any HD video on it, it looks pretty crisp... and I am the kind of person who will get annoyed if he sees a messed up pixel on my wide screen desk monitor. And typically, screen resolution is often not even the main factore when it comes to video quality. On a screen that is only 10', is that pixel density really worth it? It all sounds like when I used to hear some car nuts I knew argue over their cars' coefficient of drag, with one guy claiming that since his was .02% better, clearly he had the better ride.
  7. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    Doesn't the nexus 7 also run at 1280x800?

    It may not be iPad quality but it looks fine to me, my Galaxy Tab 2 looks great and has excellent color saturation. Maybe it's just the LCD density tweak I got via CyanogenMod 10.1 but it looks fine
  8. LeoRexus

    LeoRexus Member

    The dpi on the n7 is tops in its class at that resolution, but the screen is 3 inches smaller, which is significant..

    Still, true HD on a 10 screen is like putting Z rated tires on a Camry.
  9. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Initially I wasn't convinced either that I needed sPen functionality until I got annoyed at how much more accurate that is compared to standard styli. Lol. Anyway, I haven't played around with a Tab 3 10.1, that was a bit of a mistake since what I have played around with is the Note 10.1. But the resolution is the same so it shouldn't matter. Anyway, whatever Samsung will release down the road that is better than the Tab 3 would be the Note's tablet successor. If you don't want the SPen, the Tab 3 is your choice if you're getting a Samsung device.
  10. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    I still cannot see myself using a stylus. I'd feel like a Palm Pilot dinosaur from the 1990s
  11. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    Think it depends on your uses, if you're just poking at large on-screen buttons or a virtual keyboard(with good auto-correction and text prediction), using a finger is fine. But if you need to do fine control or manipulation or drawing, or are entering CJK* characters, a stylus is probably much better. Pinching and zooming using multiple points, would obviously be rather hard to do with a single stylus.

    Try doing good handwriting or say technical drawing with a kids crayon or using your finger dipped in ink, and compare that to using proper pen. ;)

    Thing with the Palm Pilot and Windows CE as well, they weren't really designed for fingers. Everything was just too small and fiddly, and so you had to use a stylus.

    *China, Japan, Korea.
  12. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    A new tablet using a stylus is like driving a new Buick. Just cannot shake how old you look doing both.
  13. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    Depends on how you use the tablet. I read a lot of lecture notes, reports and books, and highlight a lot of text, as well as draw stuff on them.
  14. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    I don't think so, especially when many other people around me are using stylii to enter their hanzi into their phones and tablets. Because it's more efficient and accurate then using fingers. Sure it's one reason why the Galaxy Notes have become so popular here, because of the S Pen.

    BTW we do have Buicks in China, and Chevrolets as well. Those are what GM calls their vehicles here.
  15. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    Say what you will, but whenever I see someone using a stylus in this day and age, if not me having an ugly reminder of the Windows Tablet PC fiasco, I'm usually seeing someone who still prefers the stylus over finger, like the first person who bought an iPhone coming from Windows Mobile and bought a capacitive stylus because they were too afraid to try something new. The stylus is something made obsolete with the disappearance of resistive touch screens. Tablets should be moving forward, not backwards into the 1990s.

    Besides, the Note 10.1 is just a Tab 10.1 with a stylus, can't understand just how that makes it $200 more expensive than the latter...

    Just how many graphic artists have tablets vs. Average tech users? Isn't attempting to cater to the lowest common denominator one of the largest economic blunders a business can make?

    When I bought my Nexus 7, the Staples rep asked me if I wanted some Tablet accessory kit, of which he boasted "it's got a stylus". Amazed, I reacted "who the hell uses a stylus these days?" His answer was "some folks prefer a stylus over the finger when using a touchscreen"

    What's next? Return of Zip drives? Floppy disks? I'm sure some still exist who prefers those too.
  16. mikedt

    mikedt 你好

    That sounds like personal opinion and preferences, which we're all entitled to, and I presume you're not entering Chinese characters on a regular basis Nick? Unlike many people around this part the world. :D
  17. nickdalzell

    nickdalzell Android Expert

    I think it is safe to assume that not many folks here in the USA enter Chinese letters.
  18. chanchan05

    chanchan05 The Doctor

    The Tab 2 10.1 rocks the same dual core chipset as the GNex. The Note 10.1 has the same quad core chipset as the S3, but overclocked. The stylus isn't what makes it more expensive. But the SPen is more accurate than any stylus you can get.
  19. codral

    codral Well-Known Member

    I have a note 10.1, one of my coworkers has an Ipad 2 and side by side you cannot notice any difference in the resolutions. His is a little more lustrous but that might be because I use a screen cover.

    On True HD stuff I'd expect some loss (but it looks pretty fresh to me tbh) but on most of your icons, interface etc, you won't notice any difference at all, maybe on HD games you might?

    I was under the impression that only the note had the lower res screen, and it was because of functionality with the S Pen (which, having used, I'd never turn down) but if the non S Pen models have it, might be a money saving thing for Samsung, or they've got one in dev.

    As for utility of stylus, It is a case of horses for courses. It's great for taking notes on your lap as one often does in class etc, the hand writing is almost perfect and it's also great for doing little designs. The maths part is great too for schooling. I also find browsing easier with a stylus because of the fine point... It negates quite a bit of the inherent clumsiness in using a big point of contact like your finger. Things like spreadsheets are much better suited.

    Your average user probably does not need it, but i'd pay an extra $100-$150 for the utility any day. As for a stylus being a step backward... Considering the main limiting factor for interactivity on tablets is the size of your finger print, I'm of the opposite direction, you can do much more detailed operations with a stylus (which obviously only applies to a specialised one like the note stylus) with that tiny little point
  20. Slug

    Slug Check six!
    VIP Member

    As I suggested in another topic, go out and actually use an S-Pen device rather than assuming it's just a simple stylus. Especially on the Note 10.1 & Note 8, it allows you to do much more than can be accomplished with just your fingers. It's not required to use the device, but has very real advantages in some situations.

    I'm pretty sure there are several million US residents of SE Asian descent who might take issue with that. ;)

    FYI half the contributors to this topic are outside the US, which probably mirrors the membership of AF itself.
    mikedt likes this.
  21. buchrob

    buchrob Lurker

    And if you've ever worked in fine detail on a computer workstation with a wacom tablet where time is $$$, you'll gladly embrace the Note pen.
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