Screen "Native Resolution"

"Native Resolution is THE most important and most misunderstood part of TFT Monitor Specifications"

So important, that we give Native Resolution its own pages here, in fact.
Native resolution is NOT complicated - but the implications and side-effects of a screens native resolution ARE.  It is these side-effect and implications that are most commonly mis-explained, mis-understood or glossed over completely.

As an example, is it native resolution that explains why a 15" TFT monitor has larger text then a 17" TFT monitor and the SAME size text as a standard (non-widescreen) 19" monitor.   If this sounds wrong to you, then read on and learn all about "Native Resolution"

OK - so what IS a TFT Monitors "Native Resolution"?
This is the easy part! Is it simply the actual number of dots that the monitor can display, for example a 15" screen would almost always have a native resolution of 1024 x 768 - That's 1024 dots or "Pixels" horizontally and 768 vertically.  A 17" screen would usually be 1280(H) x 1024(V).

OK - So if it's that simple - What's the big deal?
Well, unlike a CRT monitor, which has NO Native Resolution - only a "Phosphor Dot Pitch" which is completely different - The native resolution of a TFT is the ONLY Resolution at which the display can be correct and sharp. - This is MOST important - The display on a TFT monitor is ONLY correct when the PC is configured to display at the monitors "Native Resolution"

OK - I get it - I have to set the PC to the monitors Native Resolution - SO?
The (crucial) side-effect of this is that it determines the Size of the displayed Text. So, to be clear - the size of the text displayed on a TFT monitor is determined by the monitors "Native Resolution" and because that cannot be changed - the displayed text size is effectively fixed.

You may have noticed that we've not mentioned  "Pixel Size" or "Dot Pitch"
These terms refer to the actual size of the pixels (Pixel Size) and the actual spacing between Pixel centres (Dot Pitch) and are frequently confused with the CRT specification for "Phosphor Dot Pitch".

Errm - are these not all almost the same thing?
No! as we said, a CRT Monitor has NO "Native Resolution" - so there is no correlation between the number of dots displayed by the PC and the Phosphor dots on the screen.  Hence a CRT monitor with a smaller "Phosphor Dot Pitch" had a finer resolution than one with a coarse Phosphor Dot Pitch.  Unfortunately, the Phosphor dot pitch was usually shortened to "Dot Pitch" and the term was carried over to TFT Displays where is has a different meaning.  On a TFT Display the "Dot Pitch" - or more accurately the "Pixel Size" (which excludes the tiny gap between Pixels) is the size of a single dot displayed from the PC, typically a full stop or the dot on an "i" is exactly one single pixel when displayed by a PC - and should appear as such on a TFT monitor.

So it is ACTUALLY the Dot Pitch on a TFT Monitor that determines the Text Size?
Yes it is - but this is determined by the Native Resolution of the screen for a given screen size - and it is FAR easier to determine the Native resolution of a monitor than its Dot Pitch. 
What is MOST important is to understand that whereas with a CRT monitor a smaller (Phosphor) Dot Pitch usually meant a clearer display, on a TFT Monitor a smaller Dot Pitch equates to smaller displayed text.

Does it really matter if the text is smaller?
Not if you can read it without eye-strain, but you may be surprised HOW SMALL the text can be on some displays.  Knowing and understanding the native resolution for the display size you want will avoid making the wrong purchase.