This is some beginners advice when choosing hardware. Whether you use a desktop or laptop, you can often filter based on the screen size. However, you should know screen size in no way determines a good experience, we also need a good resolution.

Laptop Screens

There are a lot of screen resolutions good and bad with any size – this heavily impacts the screen cost. You can get a nice laptop with a 15" screen but if the resolution is poor, it's not good. We want virtual real-estate.

  • Screen Size: Physical Size of Screen from 45 degrees corner to corner. Laptops are often from 12" to 17".
  • Screen Aspect Ratio: 19:1 is quite common for widescreens, 4:3 is more square (Surface Pro).
  • Screen Resolution: The virtual real estate of what you can fit on your screen, much like have a physical desk and your supplies are smaller or larger. Smaller looking is better and more expensive.

Physical Screen Size

With a laptop I almost always go for a 14" screen because I get what I want most of the time. Anything smaller, to me, can be too hard to read on. Any larger, on a laptop will often have a number pad which off-centers the touch pad and ruins a laptop in my opinion.

You'll see many 15" laptops with FHD (Explained below), yet a 14" with WXHD that costs significantly more for a smaller screen. This is because WXHD compacts a higher pixel density and allows for far more virtual space rather than a 15" screen with far less (Screen Resolution).

I've had a 34" Dell Ultrawide Desktop Monitor (link to actual item) that had a very good screen resolution, it was a whopping curved screen with a 3000x1600 resolution. This was extremely expensive for a desktop screen. If I could afford one again I might consider it but I'm not certain because the cost is quite high. Premium? Without question.

Your screen size does not matter unless it's complimented with a good screen resolution. Curved screens are not necessary but it's rather nice using one.

Screen Resolution

Here are a few resolutions suppliers throw you off with, as HD sounds good but it's terrible. Cheap screens may be large but terrible resolutions meaning the actual Screen Real-Estate is very poor. If it's big it doesn't make it good and that's why prices vary so heavily.

  • HD: Usually the bare minimum and never worth it at a lousy 1366x768, I would never suggest buying an HD display.
  • FHD: "Full HD", or 1024x768, or 1080p. I prefer widescreens.
  • WXGA: 1280x720 is a good resolution on a wide screen.
  • WXGA+: Something a bit larger than above at roughly 1440x980.
  • QHD: 2560x1660, this is popular among X1 Type ThinkPads.
  • 4K: 3840x2160
  • 8K: 7680x4320

With QHD and above often (not always), you will have a denser PPI (Pixels Per Inch) if you use a smaller resolution. Apple refers to this as Retina. Using a 4K Resolution on a 13" Screen makes everything impossible to read.