Samsung QX410: Decent Design in Need of a Good Display

Engadget:

The 14-inch, 1366×768-resolution edge-to-edge display is very nice on the eyes. (What is it about a flush displays that just makes things on screen look even better?) A 720p Burlesque trailer looked incredibly crisp and bright, though we do wish there was an option to pay a bit more for the system with a higher resolution display. Viewing angles weren’t terrible actually – sharing the screen with a friend didn’t require much adjustment, while tilting the screen backwards a bit when watching a few YouTube clips didn’t cause too much color distortion.

Edge-to-edge is pure marketing and quite misleading: the LCD does not go edge-to-edge, but only goes about 1/2-inch to the edge.

Edge-to-edge means there’s a cover glass, which has two functions: it protects the LCD and improves aesthetics. There are two disadvantages too: lots of reflections due to the glossiness and added weight. There is work being done to get to anti-reflective glossy displays, but nothing compelling has been commercialized.

Because the cover glass is another piece of glass on top of the LCD the edge-to-edge look weighs more. There’s one more downside: the air gap between the LCD and the cover glass will trap dust. Once dust gets trapped in there it is permanent. If you open up the cover glass only more dust will get in. The fix is optically laminating the cover glass onto the LCD, something Apple did for its iPhone 4.

The Samsung QX410 looks like a high-end 14-inch notebook PC but starts at just US$799. There are reasons; I’ll focus on the display. The pixel format is limited to just 1366×768. On a 14-inch it should be 1440×900. Display quality is ho-hum, maybe even bad: Engadget thinks viewing angles “weren’t terrible”. That is terrible. Let’s read that last sentence again:

[…] while tilting the screen backwards a bit when watching a few YouTube clips didn’t cause too much color distortion.

The screen was tilted backwards “a bit” and there was noticeable color distortion, not too much though. This is a characteristic that poor displays exhibit.

Smartphones, tablets, and notebook PCs are all about the display. You don’t need the fastest processors and you don’t need “edge-to-edge displays.” What you need are good displays. And good displays lead to happy customers.