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What display to look for when buying a Chromebook

by Dan Millward
What to look for when choosing a Chromebook display

When it comes to buying a new Chromebook we often overlook the display. Yet the display is often one of the most important aspects when buying a new laptop. This article explains everything you need, so you know what display to look for when buying a Chromebook.

THE SIZE OF THE DISPLAY

We generally have an idea of the size of Chromebook we are considering when looking to buy a new Chromebook. Some of us are looking for the smallest compact Chromebook. While others are looking for a Chromebook with the biggest display on offer.



Small displays under 14-inch

Many years ago having the smallest laptop was an important factor for most people. This was generally because they were much easier to take with you when you were out and about. However, small laptops used to be extremely expensive, so most people opted for a larger version to save money.

When it comes to Chromebooks you can get your hands on a small laptop without spending much money. However, you need to be aware, as there is a catch. Small Chromebooks, which we would consider anything with a display under 14 -inch are usually of poor quality. This is because the resolution is usually sacrificed on a small display to cut down on costs.

what display to look for when buying a chromebook

There are always exceptions though. For example, the Asus C302 Flip, which we all know and love comes with a 12.5-inch display that provides excellent quality and 1080P resolution.

If you are looking for a Chromebook with a small display, but want to ensure you get a decent display. You should always consider the price of the Chromebook. If you buy a budget Chromebook in this size category, you will almost certainly end up with a poor display.

Medium-sized displays between 14 and 15-inch

This category is where most Chromebooks fit. For most people, this is the ideal size for a display. They are not considered too big, but they are big enough to provide a good quality image.

14 inch display is ideal for a chromebook

This is also the size category where you will get the best value for your money. Most displays in this size range come with 1080P as a minimum without it costing too much money. When looking for a display of this size you should be looking for a resolution of 1080P and nothing less. A laptop above 14-inch without 1080P is not going to offer you a decent image.

Large displays above 15-inch

There is not much of a market for laptops with a display above 15-inch. This is true whether you are buying a Chromebook or Windows laptop. This is mainly because they are big and bulky and are not going to be easy to manage if you need a laptop to take out and about with you.

Large displays are rare on a Chromebook

However, there have been Chromebooks launched recently that come with a display size of 15 inches or more. The larger the display, the more resolution you should expect to see. You should definitely only consider a display in this size range with 1080P as an absolute minimum.

THE RESOLUTION OF THE DISPLAY

The resolution offered by the display is an important thing to consider when buying a new Chromebook. This is because it has a direct impact on the quality of the image you will see on the screen. It also dictates how many pixels the display has. The higher number of pixels provides a better quality sharper image.

1,024 by 768 resolution

This is the resolution you would expect to find in smaller Chromebooks with a display size below 13-inches. Although this resolution is not fantastic, it’s perfectly fine for someone who would prefer a small Chromebook and are happy to sacrifice on display quality.

However, if you are looking to buy a Chromebook with a display of 14-inches or more. Then you should definitely avoid a display offering only 1,024 by 768. A 14-inch monitor displaying 1,024 by 768 would look pretty poor.

If you are on a budget and would prefer a small Chromebook then you’ll be fine with this resolution.

1,920 by 1,080 resolution

The 1,920 by 1,080 resolution was the must have resolution a few years ago. Especially when looking to by a new television. Today, 1080P is considered an absolute minimum. This is the resolution that offers true full high definition (HD).

Most Chromebooks come with 1080P and it’s a perfectly acceptable resolution for a display below 15-inches. When looking for a Chromebook this should be the baseline. By ensuring the display offers 1080P you should get decent quality images in full HD.

4K

This is the must have for anyone looking to buy a new television for the home. When it comes to Chromebooks though, 4K is still considered out of the reach for most people. This is for two reasons. There is only one Chromebook currently available that offers 4K, and the second reason being the cost.

A laptop offering 4K is not going to be cheap, so unless you desperately want to get your hands on a Chromebook with 4K. You may want to wait until the cost has come down a little. In a few years from now it will most likely be the case that we will see more Chromebooks being released with 4K.

4K offers a resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels. That is a huge jump from what 1080P offers. This means you get amazing visuals from a display offering 4K.



BRIGHTNESS OF THE DISPLAY (NITS)

This is a really important factor when looking to buy a new Chromebook. Although you may not set the brightness of your display that high when at home. You will soon realise having a display that does not offer enough brightness becomes a problem when you are out and about.

The first issue is with reflections. Reflections when looking at a display are usually more noticeable when you are outside. Whether you are trying to watch a film or doing some internet surfing. Reflections can be really frustrating. The best way to combat this is by making the display brighter.

Using a Chromebook in the sun can be challenging if the display is not bright enough

This is also true when it comes to direct sunlight. We all love the summer months, but the sun can have a huge impact when working with a Chromebook outside. Again, the only way to combat this is by turning the brightness of the display to the maximum setting.

The technical way to check the brightness of a display is by checking the NITS rating. On a Chromebook you should be looking for a NITS rating of between 200 and 300 NITS. The higher the NITS the brighter the display.

DISPLAY PANEL TYPE

This is something that most people overlook when considering the specification of a display. The panel is important because it makes a big difference in quality. There are lots of different panel types available. However, the only panel that offers amazing results is IPS.

If you are buying a budget Chromebook then you may have to settle for whatever is offered. However, if you are buying a Chromebook in the mid to high-level price range. Then you should definitely be checking to ensure it offers IPS.

IPS offers richer colours than any other panel type. It also offers the best viewing angles. If you have bought a Chromebook previously and the viewing angles were poor. It will most likely because it lacked an IPS panel.

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