Coffee Break: 18.4-Inch Notebook Goodness


Taken with Palm Pre

This coffee break is not the kind I usually take. I simply wanted a change of scenery while working, something I recommend all home workers do from time to time. So I’m working in the breakfast nook at home, but I am using the Acer Aspire 8940G. This beauty has the 18.4-inch high-resolution screen that is a joy to use. I can run two programs side-by-side using the Windows 7 Aero drag feature, and neither window requires horizontal scrolling to view everything. It’s also a performance beast with the Core i7 processors on board. Throw in the 4 GB of memory and the 500 GB hard drive and it’s like a high-power workstation. One I can carry into the kitchen to work. :)



That’s a pretty sweet notebook for folks that are into big screens, and the blu-ray playback is a nice addition too. The keyboard layout is also done perfectly – something I rarely see on big notebooks.

Mind you that 720 isn’t the fastest quad-core on the block, and neither is that GTS250M GPU. It’s good for casual gaming and older games though. My current machine is a 17″ Toshiba with QX9300, SLI graphics, SSD and 5-speaker sound. The fun I’ve been having with this one system is beyond incredible.

James, may I recommend trading up in size! Toting these big babies around is fun :)


For people without Win 7, there’s still Winsplit Revolution – great piece of software for machines with many and/or several screens especially. Quick button presses to tile windows where you want them, can even have one take up 2/3 of the screen width and another 1/3 with ease.


only 18 inches? asus (maybe acer) had a 21 inch monstrosity available at some point. it was 15 lbs.


Annoyingly, that 18.4″ 16:9 screen is actually lower resolution than the best 15.4″ and 17.0″ 16:10 screens – 1920×1080 instead of 1920×1200.

And my laptop is a 3.5 year old ThinkPad T60p 15.0″ 4:3 with a 2048×1536 screen (essentially the same as one that IBM sold in the ThinkPad R50p, so it’s one meant for laptops) swapped in.

And people think this thing is progress. Sure, it’s got a lot of power, but it’s not as hot as people think on the screen resolution, and my ThinkPad (admittedly, being three years out of date, it’s not got anywhere near the power) weighs over 3 pounds less.


That’s because, thanks to xp and before, it has been impossible to have a high dpi screen because everything would be ‘small’. Now, windows vista and 7 can handle this correctly (in apps written with the new gui code), but everyone has this idea that “high resolution = impossibly tiny text” burned into their minds. LCD makers these hardly even make large high-dpi screens, I think, so manufacturers have to add that premium into the cost of the device.

some of the “best” laptop and desktop screens now are around 120dpi, while many of the best cell phones (iphone, droid, nexus one) have 160-200dpi. high dpi (high resolution) isn’t for “screen real-estate”–that’s only a product of the past screw-ups with xp and predecessors. high dpi gives you increased detail at a particular display size, such as finer lines, more detailed icons, and smoother text.

sorry, just putting that out there. dpi issues are one of my hot buttons.


I haven’t tried it, but I have heard that pre-WPF programs are raster scaled (although, fonts being TrueType, they’re vector scaled) in Win7.

Anyway, I’ll admit my vision is a bit abnormal – I have a lazy right eye that requires me to wear bifocals, but my left eye is 20/20. Combine that with bifocals, and… yeah. The 171 PPI of my ThinkPad’s LCD is quite comfortable at most viewing distances. (The 204 PPI of my IBM T221, at desktop viewing distances, is pushing it, but on a laptop would be fine for me.)

(I use high resolution for more screen real estate, not for finer detail. Although, PDFs are quite nice to read with the window maximized…)


Yea, older programs will simply have the whole window area raster scaled to the appropriate size. It fixes the problem, but looks like crap in my opinion. I disable that functionality of vista and win7 by checking “use XP style dpi scaling” (in advanced settings) when I set my dpi. Some windows will end up looking weird, but I’ve found that most are tolerable if not just fine. I also don’t use a lot of older programs though. The main programs that “break” are ones that stupidly use their own dumb skins or drawing methods, like almost anything from Adobe (paintshop and ADE, though acrobat reader is ok). I’ve noticed that even some MS programs don’t handle dpi correctly, which is really annoying to see.


Sweet Lord. How much does that beauty weigh? And is there a backpack/messenger bag big (and sturdy) enough to transport that thing?

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