A few months ago, I received an Ultrabook as a prize for a Windows Phone app contest. It was a sweet prize, but the resolution of the screen is the same as the Surface RT, specifically 1366×768. I tried to use this Ultrabook as my daily driver, the screen looks great, plenty of storage, and an i5 CPU. The one problem was the screen resolution, but I thought I could deal with it.
After a couple of weeks I gave up on it and switched back to my work laptop. The sole reason was the vertical resolution, and the fact that many web sites didn’t provide a reasonable experience at a vertical resolution of 768 pixels.
Since the beginning of the web, developers coding to the resolution of their developer PC’s screen has been a common occurrence, but generally they’ve been forced to support either 800×600 or 1024×768, the most common resolutions of the time. Both of those resolutions fit into the resolution of my Ultrabook, so what’s happened since then? Are higher resolutions the norm now and my Ultrabook is relegated to the domain of Netbooks of the past where if you want to use one you’ll get by but you won’t have the ideal experience.
Let’s look at current statistics for the web. I think w3schools.com is a bit skewed but if it is, it’s skewed higher, so if anything these numbers are low.
At first glance, if you combine 1024×768 with 800×600, you’re looking at 14% of the market. This is much smaller than the number a year ago but still pretty big.
Now if we go to the “Higher” category, 1366×768 is at 18.7%, and 1280×800 is at 10.7%. Add the other resolutions 800 vertical and under and that’s another 3.3%. The total percentage of 800 vertical or lower is 14+18.7+10.7+3.3 or 46.7%. So almost half of the computers hitting the internet have 800 pixel vertical resolution or lower. Given this big percentage, more web developers should take a step back and not ignore this part of the market.