Is a 13,3'' screen big enough?
Thread poster: Csaba Ban

Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:53
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Nov 18, 2006

Now I have a notebook with a 16,1'' screen, and I am quite satisfied with it - but at times I feel that even a smaller screen could do the job.
Now my favourite manufacturer came out with a new series of notebooks, and I am considering buying one - but they come with a 13,3'' screen.
(Well, they produce notebooks in all sizes, from 10,1" to 17", but now I have a craving for this all-too-powerful new series with 13,3" screens.)

Does any of you use screens of this size? Is it sufficient for a full-time freelance translator? Typically, I have one CAT tool open, an Adobe Reader, a couple of Office applications, a couple of browser windows and my e-mail client. I am quite used to switching between application views, so not it's enough to have one application visible at any one time.

Any feedback on this?

Csaba


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Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 17:53
Member (2006)
English to Greek
+ ...
In answer to your question Nov 18, 2006

Hi Csaba,

I think it all depends on your personal circumstances and preference. I also switch between applications (alt+tab), which is a very efficient way of doing it, but the screen size is relative to quite a few factors. For example, a 13.3 screen would no longer be suitable for me, because I prefer to be able to see the whole page in a reasonable size and 13.3 is prohibitive (failing eyesight comes with age...). I assume this is not a factor for you!

If, on the other hand, it is essential for you to be able to work from anywhere, then size (and weight) are important and a smaller screen also means less weight to carry.

I believe it is subjective! Hope this helps,

Lina


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Andrzej Lejman  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:53
German to Polish
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An external monitor should solve the problem Nov 18, 2006

provided that the graphic adapter supports extended desktop feature.
When working with ttx files it's often very helpfull to see the source file with pictures etc. I have been alway using two monitors and I cannot imagine a more comfortable way of working (maybe a third monitor for mails, Internet browser etc.).
You can obtain a 20" flat panel for as much as some 300 € and I'm sure it's worth that money.

Regards

Andrzej


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Tadej Kokalj  Identity Verified
Slovenia
Local time: 16:53
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Dual view Nov 18, 2006

Hi!

I am using desktop computer with 2 (two) 17" LCD. One landscape and one portrait (normal monitor rotated for 90°, so called Pivot function)).

Portrait monitor (secondary) is optimal for Word/TE, while on my primary monitor (landscape - normal) I have dictionaries, Acrobat, internet and all other stuff).

Check if your notebook's grafic adapter supports dual view (Win XP function), and supported resolution. It is nice to have small, practical notebook, while for profesional work 13.3" LCD is just not enough - IMHO

Cheers,
Tadej

[Edited at 2006-11-18 11:10]


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:53
Member
French to English
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Two monitors works for me too...! Nov 18, 2006

Andrzej Lejman wrote:
I have been alway using two monitors and I cannot imagine a more comfortable way of working (maybe a third monitor for mails, Internet browser etc.).


I can but concur!

When I recently went over to my laptop, screen size was a worry for me; I now have a 16:9 format screen, which is ideal for viewing the full width of a normal A4 doc with marginal notes etc., and a reasonable chunk height-wise (including enough space to split the screen into 2 panes if necessary)

Then alongside it I have my 'old' 15" 4:3 monitor, which is invaluable for e-mail, browser, IM, etc. etc.

Personally, with my poor eyesight, I wouldn't be able to go down to a smaller screen (gone are my days of working on my old Mac Classic!), I tried for a time but found the eye-strain became a real problem.


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:53
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
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TOPIC STARTER
A trade-off Nov 18, 2006

I tend to move around quite a bit, so I would prefer a lightweight, compact size notebook. The one that I have now is a "desktop replacement" notebook, and it can be quite cumbersome to carry.

Basically I am trying to find a size that is compact enough to travel with, yet big enough for professional work.
And, of course, it should be very powerful. If I get into the hassle of buying a new notebook, it should be at least Core Duo 1024 MB, 2 GHz, 100 GB HDD, etc.

Maybe I should go for a 14" screen?
Or wait a few more years to see if a fold-out screen is invented...

Csaba


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Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:53
Member (2005)
German to English
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Think of your eyesight and the pixel resolution Nov 18, 2006

Csaba Ban wrote:
...snip...
Now my favourite manufacturer came out with a new series of notebooks, and I am considering buying one - but they come with a 13,3'' screen.
(Well, they produce notebooks in all sizes, from 10,1" to 17", but now I have a craving for this all-too-powerful new series with 13,3" screens.)
...etc...
Any feedback on this?
Csaba

I suggest that the following considerations are significant:
1. What is the screen's native pixel resolution? It might be 800 x 600, but 1024 x 768 or even 1280 x 1024 would be desirable to be able to display a useful amount of text for translation work. The notebok may be able to display at different resolutions, but the "native" one, which is the number of physical pixels that the screen is made of, should give the clearest image.
2. Are you able to work satisfactorily on your usual computer using the pixel resolution that is the same as that of the notebook?
3. If your usual PC has a 19" monitor (=48 cm diagonal), the 13.3" (=34 cm) screen is 0.7 of that size (linear dimensions, not area), so to see the same amount of text and number of windows that you expect, each will have 0.7 times the height and width of the one on the 19" screen. Does your eyesight enable you do read such text sufficiently easily?
These questions don't answer your question but they might help you to decide the answer yourself.
Oliver


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Csaba Ban  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 16:53
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
notebook is my "usual" PC Nov 19, 2006

Thank you for all of your input.

I do have a desktop, but it's a bit dated now (6 years). Ever since I bought my notebook over 3 years ago, I use it as a primary computer.

Yes, I should be aware of the impact of a small screen to the eye: my eyesight is quite clear, but only with the help of my glasses, which are -4 dioptries on both sides. (At least this value has been stable in the past 20 years.)

In any case, I still have some time before I would buy any new notebook. The one that I like very much based on specifications is still way too expensive. I would wait for the price to drop by at least 20%.

Csaba


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Angeliki Papadopoulou  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 17:53
Member (2006)
English to Greek
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Hi again Nov 19, 2006

Csaba, this is why I asked you whether the object of the exercise was being mobile (therefore laptop versus desktop) whereby the smaller screen would make it eminently portable.

For me the eyesight thing is very important so the small screen is out of the question. If yours is good, then...

Lina


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Alexandre Coutu
Canada
Local time: 09:53
English to French
2 screens Nov 19, 2006

I also use my laptop as my main computer. It has a 15.6-in screen and I plug in a second 20.1-in screen to create an extended desktop.

I look at those screens all the time so this is important to me. I personally would never want to work on a 13-in monitor.


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CathyFS  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:53
German to English
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I'd find it too small (both eyes -5) Nov 19, 2006

Hi Csaba,

I switched from a 15" monitor to a 17" widescreen laptop a year ago (plugging in the 15' monitor whenever I need to reference a software system, graphics or PDF files). I find the 17" widescreen far better for Trados than the 15" monitor.

With -5 in both eyes, I feel that my eyesight is already bad enough and my neck gets quite strained - I'd never go down to a 13" monitor. Though I did consider it, but I bought the 17" laptop because the screen a great size for work, and because it's also a great size for watching DVDs in bed! However ... my 17" widescreen laptop is far too big, and therefore too heavy, to be easily portabe. Think about how often you actually need to carry your laptop versus how much time you'll be sitting in front of it potentially squinting to see the screen ... and figure out what suits you best. I only bring my laptop between my office 2 floors up, my bedroom 1 floor up, and the kitchen/dining area on the ground floor, and whenever I need to transport it I travel by car. However, if you're taking your laptop around with you by foot or on public transport, then I imagine it would be very important to get one that's easily, and painlessly, portable!


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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 16:53
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Mobility vs. visibility Nov 19, 2006

The bigger the screen, the better the working comfort - I think this is as obvious as it can only be.
The smaller the screen, the mobiler the laptop - this is obvious either.
Now you have to decide, if you need a mobile device, which will be also convenient to work with, or do you need a convenient working device, which also can be mobile.
In the first case, when you will travel a lot and work wihle travelling, you need a handy portable thing, so 17" or bigger is to big. In such case consider a 15" screen, but not a wide one (this means 4:3 and not 16:9).
The other way round, when you only need to travel from A to B and not work while travelling 17" (they are always widescreen nowadays) will be just that what you need.

This is your individual decision - just make a test and try to place all programs you need on a 13,3" screen and look if you can arrange windows in a way, that you can easily work with them. I´m afraid it will not be sufficient, when you start using any CAT...
I started with 14", than moved to 16" and found it highly recommendable, but as the laptop were now 4 years old, I switched to another one with 17" widescreen. The quality of the newest one is very good, however the old one was slightly better due to the screen in 4:3 instead of 16:9.

Best regards
Jerzy


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xxxIreneN
United States
Local time: 09:53
English to Russian
+ ...
No, it's a killer Nov 20, 2006

If you insist, try to check light-weight wide-screen types, I have one from Gateway and it is very good and powerful, great for traveling and decent for Word/PowerPoint jobs. I also have been using (actually, forced to use) it as a prime computer for a while, but not any more - the new office space in now in order and a desktop with the 19" monitor is back in place. A world of difference, even in the speed of work and overall productivity. Not even mentioning my eyes, they thank me every time.

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xxxNMR
France
Local time: 16:53
French to Dutch
+ ...
No Nov 20, 2006

I have -4 too, but when I was 46 I needed bifocal glasses and I couldn't read small characters anymore. I didn't see punctuation anymore and had a big problem for reading PDFs, especially on a small screen where there is no place to move around. My laptop is also my desktop computer. If you buy a small laptop, plug in a big screen.

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