Netbook Tip — Drive a High Resolution Monitor


Steve Rubel and I have been chatting quite a bit lately about netbooks. Steve is a “cloud guy” like me — he constantly uses web-based services and applications in lieu of software clients. For folks like us, devices such as the netbook and smartphone are our best friends.

Earlier today, Steve was asking me if I could drive an external monitor from my new Toshiba NB205. More importantly, he asks what resolution and color depth is supported. Although I use my netbook more on the go than in my home office, I explained to Steve that the ol’ VGA port on most netbooks might look paltry compared to today’s DVI and HDMI outputs, but don’t be deceived. Since the majority of netbooks run the Intel GMA 950 chipset, you can actually pump a resolution 2048×1536 at 32-bit color from that little netbook! In the above picture, I’m using the Toshiba NB205 on my external monitor at its native resolution of 1920×1200. There’s plenty of room for multiple browser windows, and of course, I have several tabs going in each.

Now this situation still isn’t ideal for video intensive gaming or enjoying high-definition movies. But from a productivity standpoint, it works extremely well. And if you don’t want to use the smaller keyboard and trackpad of a netbook in a case like this, it’s simple to add a wireless keyboard and mouse. The NB205 model I bought supports Bluetooth — the less expensive models don’t — so I have the option.

We tout the mobility of these little laptops all the time. But there’s something to be said for the immobile benefits as well. Why constrain yourself to a 10″ display at 1024×600 if you’re sitting still and have an external monitor to use?