The screen is a 15.4″ WSXGA+ (1680×1050) with a matte finish. You may have heard the horror stories about sparkly screens on this laptop. I can confirm that there is some ‘sparkling’ effect on solid colors, but it’s not very noticable. The only reason I noticed it was probably because I heard a lot about it and was looking for them. It’s much like the fine lines you see in [find type of] CRTs. They’re definitely there but you don’t see them after using the screen for a while. I’ve had this laptop for 4 days now and I don’t notice them anymore during normal usage. It’s really not as big of a deal as some make it out to be. I was truly worried before purchasing this system, but since I don’t do anything too visually intensive, it doesn’t bother me. For people who require as accurate color and image reproduction as possible, I can see it being annoying. Aside from that, it should be fine. Colors are nice and everything looks crisp. I had the Toshiba M40 which was a WXGA TruBrite screen and I can’t really say I miss the reflective type screens much. The WXGA resolution was also too low for my liking; the 1680×1050 resolution of the Z71V is just perfect.
One thing I notice more than the sparkles is actually backlight bleeding/screen brightness uniformity. There is a bit of bleeding from the bottom of the screen. (nothing as serious as some of those Dell screens that had the bleeding though) Then there seems to be a slightly darker band. The rest of the screen is uniform. I notice this mostly on whites or near whites, such as when typing this review. You can see pretty clearly that there are two darker areas at the bottom left and right and connecting them seems to be a band slightly darker than the rest of the screen. I’d say this is much more annoying that any sparkling that I have. (picture adjusted to what I actually see)
I have no dead pixels. Generally speaking, the Toshiba M40 had a better screen aside from the fact that the resolution was too low. Put that screen in WSXGA+ resolution on this laptop and almost all of my complaints would be corrected.
UPDATE [Sept. 18, 2005]: As I’ve used this laptop now for more than 3 months, I’ve gotten even more used to the screen ‘sparkles’. In fact I’m looking closely and I can barely even see the sparkles on solid colors. I guess what I said previously still stands; if you’re not a graphics designer or something else that requires very accurate color representation, the screen problem shouldn’t, in fact, be a problem.
On the plus side, I’m loving the WSXGA more and more with each passing day. I’m finding with the website design I’m doing as well as the programming for my classes here at university, the extra desktop space is very welcome. It’s very nice to be able to place two decent sized apps side by side and work on them. If not doing that, I have the Konfabulator RSS reader on the left side of the screen and I can open a browser towards the right and it makes my daily internet surfing much easier and efficient. I honestly don’t think I can go back to a lower resolution screen after using this. I personally don’t find the fonts too small, however I have been asked how I read some of this stuff by others. So to each their own in that regard.