Friday, April 27, 2007

Wide screen

In recent years, there is an increasing trend to advertise "wide screen" on laptops. It seems that a wider screen shows more than a narrow screen. But it's all relative. One can say that a wide screen is a short screen, and a narrow screen is a tall screen. And I personally prefer tall screen over wide screen on a laptop. Why? The price of a LCD display is approximately proportional to its size and the number of pixel. For example, Dell 2007FP (20.1", 1600×1200 = 1.92 megapixels) is US$379 on PriceGrabber, and Dell 2007FWP (20.1", 1680×1050 = 1.764 megapixels) is US$369.95 on PriceGrabber. So if I'm paying roughly the same amount, I'd like to have as many pixels as possible. The number of pixels here is not really the simple product of the height and the width. It's how many are actually utilized. Most websites are built to be 800×600-friendly, and most sites have vertical scroll. If my screen width is larger than 800, then it is likely that I'm "wasting pixels" on the left and right, although enough websites are multi-resolution-friendly. Most blogs are fixed width. By the same token, many contemporary DVDs video have a aspect ratio of 1.85:1 or 2.35:1. On a screen that is 4:3 (or 1⅓:1), there would be black areas on the top and bottom. These are the two major cases where the pixels are wasted. And I have to ask myself, which one scenario is more common for myself? It's websites. When I'm reading a web page, what good is the extra 80 pixels on the horizontal axis, while I could have 150 extra pixels on the vertical axis, and possibly avoid some scrolling?

You may have a different use case. But you have to think about it for yourself. Marketing people do not have your best interest in mind.

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