HDR laptop display and beautiful typography

Manuel FantoniManuel Fantoni Posts: 3
edited February 2018 in Technique and Theory
I'm going to buy a new Windows 14" ultrabook: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th Generation.
I have to choose between two display options (both 14" LED backlight IPS):
  1. WQHD (2560x1440), matte, 300 nits, 700:1 contrast ratio, 72% gamut
  2. HDR WQHD (2560x1440) with Dolby Vision, glossy, 500 nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 100% gamut
I read long articles and books on my laptop (pdf, epub and doc files; web pages) and I write/code a lot. Above all, I really love to see sharp and crisp typography on screen.

I know that the HDR display is quite superior when watching movies or pictures; is the HDR display superior for text rendering too? Is it the right choice for people working with text (programmers, writers, journalists)? What display option should I choose?



  • I don't expect that the HDR display is better for text. Is it so much more expensive?

    What I’m more consort with is that the trackpad is not in the middle. I can’t imagine that this is comfortable.
  • Manuel FantoniManuel Fantoni Posts: 3
    edited February 2018
    The price difference is minimal (probably about 70 dollars).

    Anyway, the HDR display has other superior features too (500 nits, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 100% gamut). My only fear is that HDR could result in worse typography on screen...

    As for the trackpad, it is located under the space bar, almost in the middle of the keyboard.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 1,856
    edited February 2018
    Higher contrast generally increases legibility, but there is almost certainly some point of diminishing returns on that—and also a point at which more brightness is not a plus for text. Specifically, you don't want your screen to be considerably brighter than your environment, for prolonged work. So, if you envision using your laptop outdoors or have a lot of direct sunlight in your work area, maybe more brightness is good. Otherwise, a brighter-than-typical screen is actually of no help for prolonged work—it is actually a negative. Of course, you can turn brightness down, so it’s not a real problem, per se.

    My other concern would be the glossy screen. Not something I would want in a laptop meant for work and text, but great for watching movies and gaming. I have had several glossy-screen laptops and many matte-screen laptops over the years. The glossy-screen laptops were brighter, but also more tricky to avoid glare. I am unlikely to ever own one again.
  • raverave Posts: 1
    Hi Manuel,  

    Did you make a decision on the WQHD matte or HDR WQHD glossy. I'm looking to upgrade to the X1C6 and curious to know your experience with the screen? Like you, I also write, code a lot and moving from a MacPro 2015 so need something thats high resolution but also easy on the eyes.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    edited May 2018
    I have a laptop with a very high resolution screen, it is 3200 x 1800.

    High DPI screens can be a bit of a mixed blessing.  Not all programs take advantage of the high resolution and not all programs can cope with the screen scaling factor introduced by Microsoft with Windows 10.

    If the program takes advantage of the high resolution then the typography on the screen can be superb, very sharp and clear.  True Type, Open Type and Postscript fonts are vectors so they should appear sharp whatever the resolution of the screen

    But some programs address the screen through a GUI toolkit that doesn't take advantage of the high resolution, it draws the screen in a lower resolution and blurs the pixels to map it onto the higher resolution so the effect is as if you are looking at a lower resolution screen.

    You will probably need to set the screen scaling factor so that things don't appear microscopic.  Currently I have mine set to 250%.  But some programs ignore the scale factor and just use the native resolution of the screen, in particular programs written with Java Swing will fail to scale.

    You can sometimes fix scaling problems, there was a major update to Windows 10 about six or eight months after it was rolled out which introduced some extra parameters into the properties settings for a program which can fix problems programs have with screen scaling.

    If you select the executable file, it's probably in "C:\Program Files (x86)\<MyProgram>\" or "C:\Program Files\<MyProgram>\.  If you have an icon on your desktop then right click and select the 'Open file location' option.

    Once you have located the executable then right click on it and select properties. then in the dialog box that appears select the tab marked 'Compatibility', this tab has changed a lot with the update to Windows 10.

    Your box will probably appear like the image attached to this post.  You need to click in the checkbox marked 'Override high DPI scaling behavour' and in the dropdown called 'Scaling performed by' set the option to either 'System', 'System (enhanced)' or 'Application'.

    The first one 'System' is faster, the second one 'System (enhanced)' is slower but sometimes works better.  The third one 'Application' may work if the other two didn't but often seems to mess up a lot of the screen rendering.

    If you have problems with a program rendering things microscopic on a high DPI screen then try these three settings and see if one of them fixes the problem, some programs aren't fixable, most notably the programs which use Java Swing.


    High DPI screens are generally very good but be warned they are not without problems.

  • Paul MillerPaul Miller Posts: 236
    The image in the previous post didn't come out very well.

    It should have been :-

    Sorry about that, I didn't notice until it was too late to edit it.
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