News 3:2 Displays Are Great, and Laptops Should Never Go Back

Jul 1, 2020
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We had 4:3 displays for a long time, which mirrored CRT desktop monitors. Those were taller than they were wide.
No, they weren't taller than they were wide. In fact, they even weren't 4:3 but 5:4.

If you hate letterboxing on videos, maybe stick with 16:9.
I never understood what's the deal with those black horizontal stripes. They are black after all, aren't they?
 
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hotaru.hino

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While yes, I believe there's such a thing as too little vertical space, I don't seem bothered to want more after 1080p or close to it. I have to deal with 1680x1050 displays at work but when I go home and do some coding work on the side on my 1440p screen, I don't go "man, I wish I had this at work." If anything, I just scroll the content I want to see more or less to the middle.

However, I don't think 3:2 displays are going to take off any time soon since most consumers still consume wide screen content. I mean heck, there are people demanding content creators to make 21:9 videos.
 

Xenophage

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No, they weren't taller than they were wide. In fact, they even weren't 4:3 but 5:4.



I never understood what's the deal with those black horizontal stripes. They are black after all, aren't they?
Correct they weren't taller than wide (what the heck??), but 640x480 is 4:3 not 5:4. Not sure where you get 5:4 from.

They aren't horizontal stripes. If you're trying to display an image formatted in 16:9 on a 4:3 medium, you have three choices: You can zoom the image in to fill the whole space, clipping off the sides (this is what most movies "edited to fit your TV" in the 80's and 90's did), you can stretch the image vertically (more popular in the 60's and 70's, looks pretty weird), or you can zoom the image out which leaves blank space on the top and bottom.
 
Jul 1, 2020
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Correct they weren't taller than wide (what the heck??), but 640x480 is 4:3 not 5:4. Not sure where you get 5:4 from.
In it's time, most LCDs were 5 : 4. For example, 1280×1024, the most popular resolution for years, is 5 : 4. The author wrote about displays "mirroring" CRTs so he must have been thinking early LCDs.
 

Kamen Rider Blade

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But I think Computers in general need to embrace a variety of Aspect Ratios.

It's boring having everything in one Aspect Ratio, we need a diverse set of Aspect Ratios for LapTop designs based on Form Factors and design & usage goals.
 
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hotaru.hino

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But I think Computers in general need to embrace a variety of Aspect Ratios.

It's boring having everything in one Aspect Ratio, we need a diverse set of Aspect Ratios for LapTop designs based on Form Factors and design & usage goals.
The problem with this is now UI design has to account for these aspect rations. And designing UI that's effective across multiple resolutions and aspect ratios can get annoying really fast.

Look into web page design as a starter. You have to contend with people using any arbitrary resolution and aspect ratio.
 
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Jan 12, 2021
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I am very excited to see that 16:10 and 3:2 laptops are becoming more normal. While I liked when widescreen became a thing, I always thought 16:9 was too wide for computers. Some of the earliest laptops we had at work that were widescreen were 16:10 Dell Inspirons. The ugly ones that were black, white and gray and thick AF. But the display resolution was nice. Some 15" ones were even 1680x1050. But then everything went 16:9 and we've been stuck with that for too long. Especially annoying was this idea that 1366x768 was considered "HD" and sold as if that was a good thing. Those crappy low resolution displays stuck around for WAY too long before 1080p become more normal. It will be nice when I can get a Thinkpad Yoga with 16:10 or 3:2 and not pay a crazy price for it.
 
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I find the comparison of the "extra space" with 3:2 and 16:10 a bit confusing, since the screen size does not seem to be taken into account, or am I missing something?
For instance this figure. Would not a better comparison use the same screen size like this?

Nothing seems to "go missing" on the sides in e.g. the figure showing lines of code, so 3:2 looks better than it would in practice, does it not? Same goes for the web page figure, with simply just more lines without any lost space on the sides.

Hehe, the same argument works the other way around, how much smaller the 3:2 is compared to 16:10 or 16:9 if the height would be locked instead of the width. Then 16:10 and 16:9 would have so much space on the sides, but again that is impossible with the same screen size.
 
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Kamen Rider Blade

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The problem with this is now UI design has to account for these aspect rations. And designing UI that's effective across multiple resolutions and aspect ratios can get annoying really fast.

Look into web page design as a starter. You have to contend with people using any arbitrary resolution and aspect ratio.
Every UI I work on or develop is designed to be flexible from the get go and allows end user to modify and adjust all elements.

I don't believe in hard locking any UI element.
 

coolestcarl

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I prefer widescreen formats, because i can put multiple windows side by side. I understand that you could get more lines of text vertically if screens are oriented the other way, but surely a high resolution display with high ppi achieves the same effect. The advantage of viewing multiple documents side by side is very invaluable for me without having to resort to multi monitor setups (which although admittedly I already have a multi monitor setup, is not always available).
 

hotaru.hino

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Every UI I work on or develop is designed to be flexible from the get go and allows end user to modify and adjust all elements.

I don't believe in hard locking any UI element.
It's not about hard coding elements. It's about making sure the elements are in a proper layout, the presentation still works, and the interactive parts aren't annoying to use.

Try making a web page that has to cater to a canvas size of 760x340 (as many cellphones report around this canvas size) up to 1080p that still looks good and is still usable across all ranges.
 

Flyfisherman

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I for one have been waiting for someone to bring this up.
I used to have a 16:10 screen and I really missed it after this ridiculous 16:9 era.

I play games yes, but I´m also doing some office work, photo editing etc.

And what is to say that great games like GTA V, Read Dead Redemption 2, Assassins Creed Valhalla or Far Cry series could not be fun to play in 16:10?

Best regards from Sweden
 

kaalus

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It's amazing, I have been dreaming of the day when we can get rid of the idiotic 16:9 aspect ratio on laptops for 10 years or more. Now the manufacturers have finally figured this obvious one out. To save time, let me enlighten them further:
  • Stop making phones so ridiculously big and tall. Hordes of people would kill for a 5.0" Android phone with 16:10 aspect ratio and no bezels.
  • Stop making phones of metal and glass. These are cold, brittle and block radio. Masses of people prefer substance over style, and would love a soft plastic phone that is pleasant to hold and hard to crack
  • Start making 8k/60Hz monitors (with 4k/144Hz), preferably at 32". DP 1.4/DSC has been around since 2016, no excuses here! 400% scaling in Windows for the sharp win.
  • Start making compact uATX PC cases without these idiotic, mandatory HDD bays that make the case double the size it could be
  • Make a perpherial wireless connection standard that is low latency & low bandwidth, and uses massive redundancy coding at a lower radio frequency band to achieve 99.999% reliability for mice/keyboards/speakers. Unlike the Bluetooths and other assorted 2.4GHz c**p.
No need to thank me.
 
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