Oh, size issues again… Size Matters – said yours truly back in April, before returning the very first eee PC after only a day:
I could get used to the screen size, my fingers would learn to deal with the keyboard, but it’s impossible to browse the Net with this thing. The problem is that most websites are designed for larger resolution, and the eee can only display part of a page. Vertical scrolling (a lot) is not the end of the world, but having to scroll horizontally, just to find disappearing action buttons is simply ridiculous.
Asus may have created the netbook mania, but others certainly picked up, and not a day goes by without significant netbook announcements: it’s the single fastest growing (albeit low margin) segment of the PC market. It’s Not Only About Size – I wrote recently, pointing out, the real question was not whether the screen is 8.9” or 10” (7′’s are dinosaurs by now), but how we use these cheap little thingies:
A Netbook is a light mobile computing device that allows you to process information, access the Internet, and that does not store a bundle of bloated programs or data.
It’s really all about device-independent computing on the Web, or, as As Coding Horror’s Jeff Atwood says: The Web Browser is the New Laptop.
Today, we’re revisiting the size issue once again. It’s not about how large the display / keyboard is, but what you can do with them on the Net. Most websites today are designed at a resolution of 1024×768, and guess what: there’s not one single (good) netbook on the market today that that can display that. All of the current crop, including the deluxe Asus S101 max out at 600 vertical resolution. The only exception was the first version of the HP Mini, at a generous 1280×768 on a small screen, but while HP should be commanded for lowering the price on the second generation, they blew it by downgrading the screen to 1024×600. Dell’s new Mini 12 comes with 1200×800 resolution, but they blew it, too, by pairing the sleek machine with Vista: before it even hit the market the judgement was out: sleek, but slow.
So that leaves us with no decent notebook as of now. Yes, I enjoyed the small size and light weight of the cute Acer Aspire One I took to a conference, but the 600 resolution proved to be more of a hindrance than I had expected. It’s not fun when your browser toolbars occupy half your screen real estate (keep on hitting F11), but browsing, reading is not the worst part: just try using any input form or edit window where the action buttons are missing – some at the top, others at the bottom, you keep on scrolling forever.
So I am still waiting for the first really usable netbooks to arrive. But I disagree with Tom Doyle, who recommends web designers
switch back stick to 800 pixel width: you can’t turn time back. Progress means higher resolution, better screens, and the market has already moved on anyway. Rather then downgrading websites, let’ trust manufacturers will soon wake up and start shipping netbooks that are actually net-compliant.
Update: The worst thing about the screens is vertical resolution, which is generally 600 pixels – says TechCrunch.
Update: The title says it all @ CrunchGear: Netbook makers should stop adding fluff and focus on screen resolution