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I have a 13" MacBook Pro (mid-2012) but it is limited to 1280x800. The other resolutions available to me, when I go to system preferences, are 1152x720, 1024x768, 1024x640, and 800x600.

Presumably, the 13" MacBook Pro is a popular laptop.

The reason I am asking the question is because I saw someone on ux.stackexchange.com mentioning 1366x768 as the standard widescreen for modern laptops.

See Common screen resolution?

Is it possible that they were referring to PC laptops which are a larger percentage of the laptop market?

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It's rather anecdotal, but the statistics I have for a fairly 'mainstream website' (not technical audience) has the following common screen widths in order: 320, 1366, 1280, 768. So it would appear that 1366 is the most popular. –  Brendon Jun 27 '13 at 17:33
    
I don't recall there every being a standard. –  DA01 Jun 27 '13 at 18:16
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Mac accounts for only 1/10 personal computer sales. But even for PC, laptop now outsells desktop, which is why the browser statistics is dominated by 1366x768 (the most common laptop resolution). As for why it is the most common resolution, please see my answer below. –  Jung Lee Jun 27 '13 at 20:29

5 Answers 5

This report was generated 05/31/2013 based on the last 15,000 page views to each website tracked by W3Counter. W3Counter's sample currently includes 66,635 websites. The browser market share graph includes data from all versions of the named browser families, not only the top 10 as listed below.

Screen resolution in 2013 (by W3Counter)

Macs are quite costly and their market penetration in the developing countries is quite low (growing, but still low). The cheap laptops which are mainly using Windows are the ones with the largest market share.

It is the same thing as Android vs. iOS. Apple just makes 1 version, whereas Android has hundreds of versions from different manufacturers.

Summary: the lowest most common resolution currently is 1366x768. As time passes, this will increase, like it did from 800x600 to 1024x768 to 1280x800/1366x768.

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But the above applies to all monitors and is not necessarily specific to laptop resolutions? So, just as an example, it could be that 1280x800 is the most common resolution for laptops while 1368x768 is the most common for desktop monitors? –  user33033 Jun 27 '13 at 19:35
    
@user33033 While true, I would still not jump to that conclusion. Mac laptops (prior to retina) were quite low res compared to the windows decent ones (cheaper than mac but not dirt cheap). And 1368x768 is a good standard for Windows widescreen laptops. –  rk. Jun 27 '13 at 19:38
    
So if I am designing for the lowest common denominator for a Windows app (not a web app) to be used primarily for a laptop, then designing for 1024x768 would be the way to go. Then this covers 1024x768, 1280x800, and 1366x768. 1366x768 just has the largest percentage of users. For my user set, I have been told that some users will run the Windows app on a MacBook using bootcamp or parallels so the 1280x800 is still pertinent. The 1024x768 is still a consideration just to be on the safe side in case a user is using an older laptop. –  user33033 Jun 27 '13 at 20:09
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Thank you for the advice. Unfortunately, I can't go responsive since this is a graphing app that must retain its fixed size. But you make a good point about trying to avoid shrinking it down too much if I don't have to. I am losing a lot of real estate by going down to 1024x768. I guess I could go for 1280x800 and still be okay -- I should be able to cover most current laptops. Thanks again! –  user33033 Jun 27 '13 at 20:21
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@rk not necessarily. Just pointing out that screen resolution stats aren't directly related to preferred browser viewport sizes. –  DA01 Jul 1 '13 at 19:09

This answer might surprise you, but the reason why 1366x768 is the most common laptop resolution is because a dominant notebook LCD-panel manufacturer called AU Optronics (AUO) makes vast majority of their panels in 1366x768, regardless of the actual size. Many of their 11'6", 12.5", 13.3", 14", 15.6" panels only come in 1366x768.

These panels can be found in sub $500-$600 laptops, which accounts for majority of laptop sale. Hence 1366x768 being the most common screen resolution. (yes, even most of 11" macbook air panels are supplied by AUO)

Sources:

Other than high-resolution and high-priced panels, lower-to-mid tier panels are dominated by AUO.

http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/laptop_panel_parts.htm

This is AUO notebook panel line. note the prevalence of 1366x768

http://auo.com/?sn=149&lang=en-US&c=34

AUO is the third largest lcd panel makers after samsung and LG, but the latter two are absent from inexpensive laptop display market, as seen by the first link.

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Can you provide some links for references? –  rk. Jun 27 '13 at 19:23
    
sure, the post has been updated with some links I was able to find. I wish I can find old info on panel prices and sales data, but I think the above two links should suffice. –  Jung Lee Jun 27 '13 at 20:41
    
Is the WS after the screen size for Wide Screen? Since all the models they have listed seem to be Wide Screen. –  rk. Jun 27 '13 at 20:44
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@rk yes. almost all laptop panes are now wide-screen, and have been for a few years. The days of 4:3 ratio laptop screen is long behind us. –  Jung Lee Jun 27 '13 at 22:10

A commonly used 4:3 resolution of LCD screens was 1024x768 before "widescreen" became common. Once the 16:10 and 16:9 displays became more "mainstream," extending existing production tooling to 1366x768 was the least expensive way to spec HD (720p) widescreen productions and keep costs down. The other common 4:3 resolution, 1280x1024, didn't quite make it to 1080p by stretching the existing production. So, basically, the cheapest way for a fabrication to switch to "HD" was to migrate their 1024x768 production to 1366x768. Everything else required retooling and thus be more expensive.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_display_resolution

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Oh that makes sense. 1280x800 being 16:10 would explain why it exists as a widescreen alternative to 1366x768. –  user33033 Jun 27 '13 at 18:43
    
As well as 1280x720 (16:9) but including 1280x768 (15:9) which are other variants of WXGA per that wikipedia article. –  user33033 Jul 3 '13 at 14:42
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Yes, but neither of those could be produced in existing fabs, short-term. –  mawcsco Jul 3 '13 at 14:50
    
Yeah, I suspected as such, these being older less commonly used resolutions. So WXGA resolutions are not being produced anymore? –  user33033 Jul 3 '13 at 15:00
    
I'd stick with "less common" over "not being produced." I'm pretty sure there is still a plethora of budget tablets in the WXGA realm. –  mawcsco Jul 3 '13 at 15:01

I hear the economics, and the history. But how about the mathematical reason for 1366 x 768?

Multiply the two numbers, you get: 1.049.088 -- pretty darn close to one MegaPixel. How close? Calculate 2^20: you get 1.048.576. Remember computers are binary machines, and memory addressing is most efficient in ranges of 2^n.

(1366*768)/2^20 = 1.00048828125

(1366*768)-2^20 = 512

Now will somebody answer what is the system doing with these 512 extra pixels?

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probably the screens does not contain the exact 1366*768. maybe they have just 2^20 pixels. –  Ormoz Oct 20 at 14:11

Microsoft on 1366x768

The resolution that supports all the features of Windows 8, including multitasking with snap, is 1366x768. We chose this resolution as it has enough horizontal pixels to fit the 320px width of a snapped app, next to a main app with a 1024px width.

The reason is Windows 8 - 1028 plus 'snap'

From Scaling to different screens

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