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HiDPI test: High resolution Windows, a complete nightmare

How usable are Windows and the most commonly used software on state-of-the-art ‘HiDPI’-screens?

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Introduction

Windows laptops and tablets with a very high resolution are finally making an appearance. The pixel density of 4K-monitors is also quite a bit higher than what we are used to. The million-dollar question is whether Windows itself is ready. We looked into it.


In June of 2012, Apple introduced its first MacBook Pro Retina, fitted with a 15.4" display with a 2880x1800 pixel resolution. The clarity of the screen was (and still is) mouth-watering. Although the system didn't come cheap, at least Apple had a device with a high resolution display available. In the world of Windows, 1366x768 was the dominant resolution and still is to this day. Although there is an increase in notebooks with Full HD displays, it's still only a small part of the market.

A while back, however, Samsung's Ativ Book 9 Plus arrived in our test lab. This 13.3" notebook has a display with an exceptionally high resolution of 3200x1800 pixels, even higher than the MacBook Retina. Lenovo's upcoming Yoga 2 Pro will feature such a screen as well. It doesn't end there though, as Sharp has already started producing 15.6" panels with a 4K-resolution (3840x2160). It seems that high resolution displays will finally make a breakthrough in the Windows world as well. Unfortunately, Windows, as well as various commonly used applications, are not ready for it.


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