Market Insight

[Display Dynamics] The 16:10 aspect ratio with a new size and resolution has emerged for notebook panels

June 04, 2020  | Subscribers Only

Jason Hsu Jason Hsu Senior Principal Analyst, Display Supply Chain

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Key Findings

  • Displays with 2K+ resolutions are also considered high-resolution. With the increasing penetration of LTPS and oxide panels, more notebook brands are willing to use high-resolution panels.
  • Several new solutions between FHD and UHD are under discussion, including the 3,072×1,920, 2,880×1,800, 2,560×1,600, and 2,240×1,400.
  • Brands would like to upgrade to the 2,880×1,800, especially the product for which they would like to fit a 14-inch display into a conventional 13.3-inch chassis, thus providing a larger display with a similar pixel per inch (ppi).
  • A resolution of 2,240×1,400 is a reasonable upgrade from the 1,920×1,200. The additional cost is acceptable, and the production yield will not be challenging on an a-Si production line. It also has the marketing appeal of a 2K resolution.
  • Some brands believe that since the aspect ratio will change, shifting 15.6-inch products to 16-inch displays will be acceptable to users, especially after Apple refreshed its flagship MacBook Pro and gave the product a 16-inch display.

Massive new panels are under discussion

After retina displays became valued by users, high ppi numbers became an important selling point for premium notebooks. In general, a retina display is 267 ppi in a tablet and 226 ppi in a notebook, but displays with 2K+ resolutions are also considered high-resolution. With the increasing penetration of LTPS and oxide panels, more notebook brands are willing to use high-resolution panels.

UHD panels have been on the market for some time, but the overall production cost is high. The bill of materials (BOM) cost is high because of the cost of the panel, as well as the graphics processing unit (GPU), CPU, and RAM. Therefore, the penetration of UHD displays has not increased significantly. Displays with resolutions of 3,840×2,400 are considered flagship panels. Several new solutions between FHD and UHD are under discussion, including the 3,072×1,920, 2,880×1,800, 2,560×1,600, and 2,240×1,400.

Apple pioneered the 3,072×1,920 resolution with the new 16-inch MacBook Pro. From a marketing perspective, the 3K panel is easily accepted by the market and considered premium. The ppi is good enough and the panel does not cost as much as a UHD one.

The 2,560×1,600 resolution is not new, but some brands perceive the specification as old and would like to upgrade it to a higher resolution of 2,880×1,800. Brands are especially keen on upgrading the products for which they would like to fit a 14-inch display into a conventional 13.3-inch chassis, thus providing a larger display with a similar ppi.

A resolution of 2,240×1,400 is a reasonable upgrade from the 1,920×1,200. The additional cost is acceptable, and the production yield will not be challenging on an a-Si production line. It also has the marketing appeal of a 2K resolution.

Full-screen design extended to larger displays

In China, 13.3-inch FHD models are very popular and they are priced competitively. Strong sales have affected the shipments of traditional 14-inch laptops. Thus, a manufacturer with a large share of the 14-inch segment must provide competitive specifications to maintain shipments. For business users or students, larger screens still offer a better experience. Therefore, the 1,920×1,200 14-inch laptops are expected to gain a substantial share at mainstream price points.

The 14-inch Lenovo ThinkPad X1 is a well-established notebook PC series, and the flagship models feature 2,560×1,440 displays. It is reasonable to upgrade the display to a higher resolution like the 2,880×1,800 and adopt the 2,240×1,400 on basic models.

The 15.6-inch segment has always been the most competitive battlefield for manufacturers. Narrow bezel designs make it feasible to fit the new 16-inch display into a 15.6-inch chassis.

Some brands believe that since the aspect ratio will change, shifting 15.6-inch products to 16-inch displays will be acceptable to users, especially after Apple refreshed its flagship MacBook Pro and gave the product a 16-inch display. However, some brands prefer their product plans to remain consistent, particularly for premium commercial laptops, and they do not like to change sizes too much. Such changes will result in a fragmented legacy 15.6-inch segment.

Research by Market
Displays
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