Apple Retina rivals emerge: Asus display goes 4K, Sharp 8K

Asus is getting ready to market a 15.6-inch laptop with lots of horsepower and a 4K display. Should Apple be worried?

Zenbook NX500: it has a 15.6-inch 3,840x2,160 resolution display. That trumps -- by a longshot -- the 2,880x1,800 resolution of the 15-inch MacBook Pro. Asus

Apple's Retina is about to get one-upped. Asus has slated a laptop with a 4K display for later this year, while Sharp showed off a prototype 8K display.

The Zenbook NX500's 15.6-inch 3,840x2,160 IPS (in-plane switching) display will use a new technology called Quantum Dots, according to Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies.

"Only the second mobile display to ship with Quantum Dots," Soneira said in an email.

"That increases the color gamut, brightness, and power efficiency all at the same time," he added. And it's a technology that Apple is also rumored to be looking into.

By comparison, Apple's 15.4-inch MacBook Pro has a 2,880x1,800 resolution display (about 3 million pixels less than Asus').

"The display...delivers lifelike color reproduction with a wide color factory-calibrated color temperature, making it perfect for photographers and other professionals who need accurate and consistent color fidelity for their workflows," Asus said in a press release.

To push all those pixels around (4K denotes having a horizontal resolution of 3,840), the NX500 will run on an Intel-Nvidia platform. That includes up to a Core i7 quad-core processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 850M graphics card.

While the NX500 is expected to ship late this summer, Sharp's 8K display is just for show.

Done jointly with the Semiconductor Energy Laboratory, it's a prototype 13.3-inch 8K display based on OLED technology that was demonstrated at the SID (Society for Information Display) conference, according to Nikkei Technology.

What is 8K exactly? In this case, its' a 13.3-inch 7,680x4,320-pixel display. That comes to a whopping 664 pixels per inch. As a yardstick, the 15.4-inch MacBook Pro has a 220 pixels-per-inch display.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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