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Top netbooks with HD displays

By Mark , updated on June 4, 2014

In order to properly run HD (high definition) content, you need an appropriate HD display on your computer. This type of display needs to have a minimum resolution of 720 px on the width of the screen in order to deal with 720p videos, which is the entry level type of content for the HD standard, but still offers much more detail and video quality than standard, 480p videos.

When it comes to netbooks, very few come with a HD display. 10 inch netbooks usually have a 1024 x 600 pixel resolution, which fits the 10 inch standard like a charm- not to say they’re cheaper to acquire.

These machines are built to run basic apps which don’t require a high resolution display, like browsers, text editors and similar apps- OK, they could benefit from a HD display, but their use is not hindered by the lack of such a panel. The programs that need a higher resolution, like games or HD clips, are not supported anyway by most netbooks, considering these devices have modest hardware.

Also, Windows 7 doesn’t look too good at a higher resolution on a 10 inch display. Icons are anyway pretty small and on a HD display they would look even smaller- not to say that the same would happen with web pages, text editors and any other app that uses relatively small icons/characters.

The Samsung NF310 packs a HD display that allows for stills like this to trully look awesome

The Samsung NF310 packs a HD display that allows for stills like this to trully look awesome

This doesn’t mean that some 10 inch netbooks with HD screens didn’t make it relatively big this last year or so.

The Samsung NF310, for instance, is a pretty successful 10 inch netbook, packing a 1366 x 768 display with a matte finish. The display can run HD clips properly, so it’s almost a shame Samsung put in a relatively modest dual core N550 Atom processor, that comes with integrated GMA 3150 graphics. The netbook can run 720p clips pretty decently, but 1080p content will be very problematic to play.

Still, for a machine going right now for $369 (although currently out of stock), the NF310 has a good thing going for itself, as it offers a superior experience in comparison with most 10 inchers out there.

A cheaper alternative is the Acer Aspire One 522, which has a wide screen HD display with a 1280 x 720 resolution, that fits 16:9 and 16:10 native movies like a charm. The AO522 is powered by a Brazzos C-50 Ontario dual core 1 GHZ processor which comes with bundled HD Radeon graphics. It might sound fancy, but the setup is not very stellar- the netbook can run 720p clips fairly well, although dynamic sequences and 1080p videos might stutter sometimes. Still, this config is way superior to that one regular Atom powred netbooks when it comes to dealing with HD movies and even games. [easyazon-link asin=”B004PYD7AC”]And for 289 bucks[/easyazon-link], this HD able netbook is definitely an alternative to keep in mind.

Other 10 inch netbooks, like the HP Mini or Dell Mini 10 also offer HD displays, but only as extra options which will make the devices cost in the area of 500 bucks, but for that kind of money you can go for 11.6-12 inch netbooks, which offer a better experience overall. This is only normal considering the extra real estate and the better hardware that these devices employ.  These larger netbooks, with screens up to 12 inches, come with HD displays anyway, so you might look for one of these from the get go.

The Acer AO 522 has a great HD display- too bad it's so glossy

The Acer AO 522 has a great HD display- too bad it’s so glossy

Netbooks like the Assus Eee PC 1215B/N or the Lenovo X120e come with dual core processors, strong video cards and enough RAM to deal with 1080p content without too much fuss.

Oh, and there one more thing: should always keep in mind when buying for a netbook with an HD display is that it should have a matte screen, which is much more comfy to use outdoors or with the lights on, in comparison to a glossy one.

Drawing the line, you can count the netbooks that offers a 10 inch HD display on the fingers of your left hand. That’s basically because netbooks are not usually able to run properly HD content or even the basic OS and tasks in a larger screen area.

This will for sure change in the near future, as the hardware gets faster and Windows 8 will kick in, with a new interface optimized for high resolutions on small panels. But that’s still future talk and I expect only by 2013 HD screens on mini lpaptops to become mainstream, if not even later.

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Mark is an Editor here at tlbhd.com . He's studying Screenwriting and Production in "sunny" London and in his spare time, he works as an IT editor for a couple of mobile publications, like this one.
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