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Screen Size Ratio
Ken in Regina
I hadn't really given much thought to screen size ratios until today. I've been using my Microsoft Surface Pro 4 almost exclusively for a couple of weeks now. Today I pulled out my 14" laptop to update a couple of things on it.

I found myself getting a little frustrated with what seemed like extra scrolling and being able to see less on the bigger screen of the laptop (14") versus the smaller screen of the SP4 (12.3"). When I switched back after I was done with the updates my feelings were confirmed. I can see more - vertically - on the Surface Pro.

Then I remembered that the Surface Pros are unusual beasts compared to the majority of portable devices out there. They are like the iPads, with a screen size ratio (width:height) of 3:2. The vast majority of laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1s are 16:9. So the Surface Pro products are more nearly square than the rest, giving more vertical screen real estate. I find it especially nice when viewing maps in Mapsource, Basecamp or Google Maps.

I think that 16:9 silliness began when some product designer got it in their head that loads of people use their laptops to watch HD movies on and didn't like to see the black bands above and below the movie, so they decided to make the screen ratio an HD ratio, like TVs.

Whatever ... I guess I'll just stick with the Surface Pro products going forward, as long as Microsoft keeps making them and sticks with the 3:2 screens.

...ken...
tcassidy
Being a 16:10 person for years I never liked the 16:9 ones but this was more to do with devices that could switch from landscape to portrait. I do like the Surface 3:2 aspect ratio.

My understanding at the time was 16:9 panels produced more units per wafer than other formats. This was years ago and I don't know if there was any truth to it.

Presently I have only one 16:9 laptop/ 2 in 1 left. All the rest are either 16:10 or 3:2

Terry
Boyd
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
They are like the iPads, with a screen size ratio (width:height) of 3:2. The vast majority of laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1s are 16:9.
Not sure what kind of iPad you're talking about, but the original iPad had a 4:3 screen (1024x768) and the current 2018 iPad also has a 4:3 screen (2048x1536). The large iPad Pro also has a 4:3 screen but new 11" iPad is a bit slimmer.

For laptops, my 11" MacBook Air has a 16:9 screen but that is an oddity (and was discontinued several years ago). AFAIK, all other Apple laptops have 16:10 screens. Is 16:9 really the default for Windows laptops? I assumed 16:10 was pretty standard these days.
Ken in Regina
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
Not sure what kind of iPad you're talking about, but the original iPad had a 4:3 screen (1024x768) and the current 2018 iPad also has a 4:3 screen (2048x1536). The large iPad Pro also has a 4:3 screen but new 11" iPad is a bit slimmer.

For laptops, my 11" MacBook Air has a 16:9 screen but that is an oddity (and was discontinued several years ago). AFAIK, all other Apple laptops have 16:10 screens. Is 16:9 really the default for Windows laptops? I assumed 16:10 was pretty standard these days.
Picky, picky...

Yes, I worded that poorly.

The Surface Pros have 3:2. I meant to observe that that's a size ratio that is more similar to iPads (and much more sensible) than to the majority of Windows portable devices.

As for the slip regarding the 16:whatever ratio, I was referring to the wide, vertically narrow HD-ish shape of those Windows devices that are really quite awful for normal computer use rather than watching videos.

I was uncertain of the precise ratio, 16:9 or 16:10. In my local sample of three - a 14" and two 15" laptops - all were 16:9 so I went with that. 16:10 is so little different from the point of non-movie-watching computer use that it's pretty much a non-issue, to me, which is newer or more common. Both suck. For me.

...ken...
Boyd
I get your point, but I think 16:10 is pretty nice. I have a 23" 16:10 monitor that is 1920x1200. For some reason, those 176 extra pixels really make a difference!

If you are watching a newer movie with a Cinemascope aspect ratio (2.35:1), it looks really bad on a 4:3 screen. On my iPad, it looks like a bandaid! I do think 4:3 is a nice aspect ratio for other things, and it was the standard for television for many years, plus the original standard for PC's (640x480 then VGA at 1024x768).
GoneNomad
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken in Regina
I found myself getting a little frustrated with what seemed like extra scrolling and being able to see less on the bigger screen of the laptop (14") versus the smaller screen of the SP4 (12.3"). When I switched back after I was done with the updates my feelings were confirmed. I can see more - vertically - on the Surface Pro.

Then I remembered that the Surface Pros are unusual beasts compared to the majority of portable devices out there. They are like the iPads, with a screen size ratio (width:height) of 3:2. The vast majority of laptops, tablets, and 2-in-1s are 16:9. So the Surface Pro products are more nearly square than the rest, giving more vertical screen real estate...
SP4 is 2736x1824 (4.99MP) is a lot more pixels than 1920x1080 (2.07MP), assuming that's the max for your laptops. Even moreso if your 14-inch is only 1366x768 (1.05MP)

But a 15.6" laptop with a 4K display (even in normal landscape orientation) would compare favorably against against a 12.3-inch 2048x1536 SP4, and have more viewing area too:

14" HD (1366x768) ~12.2"6.86" = 111.9 PPI
15.6" FHD (1920x1080) ~13.6"7.65" = 141.2 PPI
15.6" 4K (3840x2160) ~13.6"7.65" = 282.42 PPI
SP4 is 2736x1824 ~10.23"6.82" = 267.34 PPI
(~ approx display width & height, based on square pixels)

Of course, a tablet offers the advantage of being usable in portrait orientation, something that isn't too practical with a conventional laptop.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Boyd
...I do think 4:3 is a nice aspect ratio for other things, and it was the standard for television for many years, plus the original standard for PC's (640x480 then VGA at 1024x768).
Yep, all the way up to 1280x1024 & 1600x1200, the latter of which has almost as many pixels as 1920x1080. (In the late '90s, we had a couple of (insanely expensive by today's standards) CRT monitors that were promoted as "23-inch" that were capable of 1600x1200 (but only barely). I still have a couple 19" 1280x1024 LCD monitors gathering dust that will probably end up being donated). Pogress.

The 4:3 aspect ratio was a compromise, due what was possible with CRTs.
The wider aspect ratios were intended to be a better match for the human field of vision, and started to be implemented around the same time that flat panel displays became practical.

1920x1200 actually predated the 1920x1080 standard by at least a few years. We bought our first 1920x1200 monitors because that was the next larger commonly available display size up from 1600x1200.

Actually, on any device that can easily be rotated (like a tablet), it's easy enough to switch to portrait orientation for easier reading of long articles. But that's not practical with a laptop.
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