Display resolution is a numeric description of the number of pixels rendered on a computer display.
If you find your way to the display settings in the control panel of your computer, you will find a setting called “resolution” with a handful of options. Each option will consist of two numbers that look like this: 1366 x 768, 1024 x 768, 800 x 600, and so forth. Each of these sets of number describes the number of pixels that will be displayed on the computer display if selected and applied to the display.
For example, if you select 1366 x 768 as your display resolution your screen will be divided into a grid of pixels that is:
- 1366 pixels wide
- 768 pixels tall
If you do the math, that means that your screen will be divided into 1,049,088 individual pixels. The more pixels your screen displays, the higher the resolution and images will appear much sharper on your computer display.
Also See: Pixel
Frequently Asked Questions
How are display resolution and display size different?
Computer displays can be measured in two different ways: resolution and size.
- Size: Size is a measure of the physical dimensions of a display. For example, the average laptop screen is around 15.6″ when measured diagonally from corner to corner.
- Resolution: Resolution is a measure of the number of pixels displayed on a device display. Most displays are capable of supporting a range of resolutions. As the resolution increases, the size of each individual pixel decreases and more pixels are squeezed into the same physical space.
What are the most common display resolutions for computer monitors?
The current standard display resolution for entry-level laptops is 1366 x 768. The minimum acceptable resolution for rendering modern websites and applications is 1024 x 768, but there are instances where that resolution will leave your screen feeling inadequate and cramped.
While those two resolutions are common, there are dozens of different screen resolutions used by computers today. However, more than 50% of all displays are designed to render one of four resolutions: 1366 x 768, 1024 x 768, 1280 x 800, or 1920 x 1080.
What is a Retina display and what resolution does it offer?
“Retina Display” is a marketing term used by Apple to describe computer displays that support a pixel density so high that the human eye is incapable of making out the individual pixels. Today's average computer display supports screen resolutions up to around 1366 x 768 pixels. On a typical laptop screen measuring 15.6″, that translates to approximately 100 pixels lined up end-to-end to cover a distance of one-inch.
In this scenario, the screen resolution would be described as 100 pixels or dots per inch (100ppi). Retina displays offer resolutions at least 3 times as dense as a standard laptop screen. This means that the resolution of a Retina Display is capable of supporting a pixel density of at least 300ppi.
It's worth pointing out that while the term Retina Display has all of the buzz, the screens offering the highest pixel density are often found on Android smartphones, some of which boast pixel density in excess of 500ppi.