Librem 14 screen resolution polls

More resolution is always good, but it does cost money to build and energy to run. (Using lower resolutions while on battery can be helpful, but requires conscious effort.) If we define the 1920x1080 (FHD) as having a $0 price premium, then how much more would you pay to have 2560x1440, assuming at least 60 Hz refresh rate?

  • $0
  • $50
  • $100
  • $150
  • $200
  • $250
  • $300
  • $350
  • $400
  • $450
  • $500

0 voters

Same question but for 4K UHD (3840x2160).

  • $0
  • $50
  • $100
  • $150
  • $200
  • $250
  • $300
  • $350
  • $400
  • $450
  • $500

0 voters

With these discussions please also keep in mind that higher resolution also has a major impact on the GUI. Many things do not scale well up or down. For the longest time fractional scaling was (and in part still is) not supported so you could only have 1x or 2x (or 3x etc.). So if you crank up the resolution and do not scale at all you end up with smaller UI elements. If you cram 4k into a 14" display this gets to a point where the GUI becomes way too small and where 2x scaling factor may not help either, you would need a fractional scaling factor like 1.6 or 2.xx or everything gets out of whack - but that, as I mentioned before, is not supported (yet) by the GUI. GNOME/GTK e.g. is just starting to support it with IIRC GTK4.

Now of course I understand that there are power users out there that do not care, that can live with non optimal GUIs, that can tweak arbitrary settings to their liking and live with it. But our goal is to create products that are convenient to use right out of the box and ATM 14" with more than fullHD 1080p will break this - besides that it is actually hard to source such displays.

And finally, yes, of course we hear you :slight_smile: Higher resolution is of course a super nice thing to have and we will bear this in mind when looking into future hardware development.



In this poll there is not an option for me: I’m OK with FHD.
Some text output will be hard to read not only in a GUI, for instance in a CLI before loading an OS or after an OS crash.

Yes. I created the poll on behalf of a new user. I wondered about that too.

I just put $0 for that case. If you are totally OK with FHD then put $0 on both polls.

Yes. This definitely is an issue. I’m using one 4K UHD display.

In some cases the application itself supports configurable UI elements e.g. one set of high res icons and a config parameter to zoom them down on lower res displays. However that might not be in any way dynamic (i.e. manually adjusted by user) and might not work well with some of the multi-display scenarios.

I think the upside of the higher res display as mentioned by the original requester is that the customer hopes to own and use the laptop for many years and the higher res display goes somewhat towards future proofing and some of the software limitations will get sorted out during the lifetime of the laptop.

So, buy now as 4K UHD even if it has to be used FHD for the next year or whatever while the software catches up.

Personally, I’m happy with FHD on the laptop’s built-in display.

On a screen of this size, 2560x1440 pixels is of marginal benefit, even for people with exceptional eyesight, even if all the UI problems were to be ironed out. 2560x1440 is really for displays 24" or larger.
To do proper rendering on a high DPI screen is a software development nightmare, especially if you start getting into fractional scaling – even the biggest companies struggle with this. To expect volunteer-driven FOSS (free open-source) projects to deal with varying DPI is unrealistic.


i don’t see the benefits of more than 1080p resolution outweighing the costs when talking about laptops 13-17 inch in size. 1080p or more is great on external monitors that are also used for their higher-brightness, HDR specs, color depth, color fidelity, etc.

a laptop should do it’s job well and have a good battery life - it is primarily a portable machine so it should be treated as such …

many people use their laptops as desktop replacements but that is highly problematic for many reasons … the most obvious to me is the fact that a laptop does NOT easily lend itself to the proper ergonomic principles that we NEED to REMAIN healthy as individuals …

this is one of the reasons why i’m SO looking to see what the convergence will be like with the L5 … i can just use an external monitor with it + a keyboard and voila much better than a laptop.


This has been discussed extensively in this forum. :slight_smile:

See, for example

basically anything about the Rayleigh Criterion.

Thanks to @kieran for posting this poll.

While on battery, one could just run a 4K screen at FHD and save power while maybe also increasing the refresh rate.

True, 2560 isn’t much above 1920, but then again it’s close to practical perception limits, so it does make an outsized difference to some of us, and a little moreso with 4K.

There’s just something innately unsatisfying with the notion that we have cheap 4K/60 cameras nowdays, but can’t hope to play it back on a much beefier device.

In the thread linked below, @amosbatto found a source of 2560x1440 LCDs for a modest premium, which judging by the polls thus far, might constitute a reasonable compromise.

As to fractional scaling factors, desktop aspect ratios are all over the place: 16:10, 16:9, 4:3, etc. They all suck for coding, for the most part, so I don’t see things getting much worse if we’re stuck with integer scaling. Even so, if this became an issue, one could just drop the resolution to FHD.

Fractional scaling relates more to the actual resolution numbers (width and depth) than to the aspect ratio (ratio of width to depth).

Fractional scaling relates to a Day 0 design decision with X i.e. that it is resolution dependent or, in other words, that UI elements are measured in pixels, not in a real world unit. X is over 30 years old now. The design decision made sense back then. Reasonably displaying an arbitrary UI application on a wide range of screens, varying in physical size and resolution, is not easy.

Except for me. :slight_smile: I want FHD or 4K UHD and nothing in between.

I’ll be honest with you. If I were Purism and I had just announced a new revision of the Librem “13” and committed to getting it out the door “early in Q4” … I wouldn’t be changing the panel now. I would take it as feedback for the following revision.

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Looking on eBay, a matte 1080x1920 14" screen costs $79, whereas matte 1440x2560 14" screens costs $145 (both screens for the Thinkpad X Carbon). Based on that, I would guesstimate that that Purism pays about $50 for a 1080p screen and $100 for a 1440p screen. I have no idea what BOE would charge to make matte 4K 14" screens, but it is probably something like $300-$400 per unit, if BOE would even make it at low volume just for Purism. Now, if Purism wants a glossy 4k 13.3" touch screen, there are lots of devices using that part and plenty of manufacturers who make it, so it wouldn’t be that expensive.

I have a Thinkpad T450s with a matte 1080x1920 14" screen, which is the same screen as the Librem 14 will have. I can see the individual pixels when my eyes are less than 12 inches away from the screen, but when my eyes are at a normal distance from the screen (around 24 inches), I can no longer see the individual pixels.

I have myopia and need bifocals to see clearly, so I’m probably not the right person to judge, but my poor eyes can’t see much difference with higher resolutions. I was comparing my 1440p phone with my girlfriend’s 1080p phone, and she could see that the display looked sharper in 1440p, but I couldn’t see the difference. What I really notice in displays is the maximum brightness, uneven brightness, and wide viewing angles. I found a couple bad pixels on the T450s display, but I never see them, except if I get up close and hunt for them, so I know that I’m not very sensitive compared to other people.

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To those who can’t see a difference at higher resolutions, fire up a YouTube nature video at 4K on an external panel, then back off progressively using the gear icon. At least to me, even FHD vs 2560 is night-and-day, even though they seem visually similar if I just look at individual pixels.

Glossy would be a total deal killer. Apple seems to have embraced it because it’s physically tough and OLED in particular has greater nits than matte. Dropping from 1000 to 400 nits is fine with me if it means I don’t see reflections.

I agree that any better panel would be aimed at the next spins. Purism is too far into the 14 launch to swap out the panel, although perhaps an upgrade option would still be viable at this point. @nicole.faerber : looks like the data here supports that.

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Hope I’m not too late to the party, but was just wondering if anyone knew if the plan is for “all of these screens” to have a 60 Hz refresh rate, and if anyone knows what the response times might be. I was thinking it could be nice to have a 144 Hz display with a low response time. But that might also not be of the utmost importance to most people.

I think a 2560x1440 would be wonderful but 1080 is also very nice.

Referring to Purism Launches Librem 14, Successor to Security-focused Librem 13 Product Line

the L14 will be able to drive two 4Kp60 displays simultaneously

(one via HDMI 2.0 and one via the DisplayPort alt mode of USB-C)

That may not answer “all” because you may be including the built-in display but the built-in display isn’t 4K UHD anyway (it’s FHD).

PS Welcome to the Purism community.

to put it into a more modern context - if you (the random reader) happens to own a 1000R curvature external 2560x1440 monitor then you would have to sit at an exact 1meter range from the CENTER of your monitor in order to have full ERGONOMIC benefits.

that is assuming that the retinal theories they market theses EXPENSIVE monitors are actually true … if not you end up staring at a snake oil external monitor that you’ll likely want to RMA and get a refund as soon as possible …

4k with 2x upscaling would be identical GUI sizes as the 1080p display shipping in the librem 14 without needing fractional scaling. Also software is software and can be trivially replaced[1], but I can’t download additional pixels.

[1] For example, I use sway which supports fractional scaling.

I’d be happy to buy the 4k screen as a separate additional purchase and install it myself if it was shipped as the full display assembly. I’ve already replaced the screen on my xps 13 multiple times.

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As of the time of this writing, 18 out of 30 (that’s 60%) respondents want a higher resolution vs 12 (40%) who wants to stick with the 1080p in any case.

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I want a $-50 option, seriously.
I don’t like high PPI, for many reasons.

A couple of additional considerations though:

  • There can be costs to Purism over and above the hardware cost of the different panel i.e. the manufacturing / logistics / assembly considerations. Hence:
  • It depends on whether the (hypothetical) decision from Purism is to offer a choice or to offer only the higher res panel. If the latter then you can see from @Jenny that there is then a further consideration that is not captured in the poll.
  • How many of those 18 (or 30) will even be actual purchasers of the Librem 14? More precisely, how many will decline to purchase if the only option is FHD but will purchase if something higher res is offered?

(Yes, so I am criticising my own poll. :slight_smile: )

All that said, it gives some idea of what people generally think about what res they would like.

If you have average eyesight and at my laptop viewing distance, you can’t justify anything more than FHD on a 14" laptop.


i’m not saying i wouldn’t be interested in a higher than 1080p res panel. i’m saying i wouldn’t BUY a Purism laptop in such a small form factor.

4k panels have a respectable place in OLED TV screens or high-end photo/video manipulations at a PRO level but i don’t want to confuse the average reader further …

another interesting aspect is like you said - what if the MINORITY ends up buying MOST of your products ? :sweat_smile: