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efficient laptop computing display

Korporal Posts: 3
edited February 2012 in Monitors

How can I buy a new laptop with a 4:3 aspect ratio for computing? Is it not just as well (better) to connect a second monitor for multimedia functions (like watching movies) and keeping the laptop as a mobile computing device?


  • Goineasy9
    Goineasy9 Posts: 1,114
    Most Laptop monitor are perfectly fine for watching multimedia. I connect my flat screen TV to my laptop with an HDMI cable if I want a larger screen. I see no difference in resolution using either, just a larger picture.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    At my work, all the engineers have laptops for their main workstation, but at the office we have a docking station, keyboard, mouse, and 24" HD display. We usually set up our systems so we can use both the HD display, as well as the laptop display, giving us the use of 2 screens, which both Linux and Windows support. Also, our laptops are 17" HD displays, so they are also good when not at the office.
  • The 4:3 aspect ratio is much better for most computing applications, and some even connect a 2nd monitor on their desk that is rotated into portrait orientation. The 4:3 display aspect for laptops should be returned as a common option. The "wide-screen" displays distribute the display aspect wrong: A 17" wide-screen displays less document text than a 15" display with 4:3 aspect. This adversely affects overall size, weight, and cost. We should revive the 4:3 monitor aspect for computing. One can still display wide-screen format on a 4:3 monitor, or they might use a tablet device when multi-media viewing is the primary function.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    The effect depends entirely upon the resolution of the monitor. The one on my Lenovo laptop is 1920x1080 - full HD, so that one would provide two pages at 960x1080, and given that most 4:3 laptop displays (like the 15" one on my older Dell D630) will have, usually, a maximum of 1400x1050, and commonly more on the order of 1280x768 or so, . More pixels, more display to work with and better font rendering. In any case, when people rotate a large display from landscape to portrait, it is usually because they are doing serious compositing/typesetting or page layout work and need to see the entire page as it will be sent to the printer. Anyway, it is a personal preference thing, just like some people like the glossy laptop displays that are common today, and others of us despise them! I'm happy to say that the Lenovo is non-glossy, and is very nice to work with if you don't have a larger monitor at hand. When I use it in 2-display mode, I use the laptop for stuff like my email and scheduler, and the bigger one for my system modeling and software engineering tools.
  • Thanks Rubberman,

    I too have a 15" 4:3 laptop display (IBM R52 running 1024 x 768) and only recently realized that it is no longer an option on new laptops, which all seem to use a 16:9 display ratio. Pixel resolutions and display size can be scaled for any aspect ratio, but I think most computing applications indicate 4:3 display aspect is much better than 16:9. We should have that standard restored as an option for new computers, and especially for laptops.
  • woboyle
    woboyle Posts: 501
    That I would not disagree with. Unless you get a laptop with a really high-end (read expen$ive) display, you are better off with the same resolution in a 4:3 format. I remember getting an IBM thinkpad around 1999-2000 with a 15" 1900x1200 resolution, 4:3 aspect ratio, display - it was HUGELY expensive, but then I was the most senior engineer in a company with 3000 engineers... :-) Sometimes seniority has its privileges! For the time, it was a glorious system. I could process photo negatives that were scanned at full resolution (4000+ pixels per dimension) and 48-bits of color (very big files!), then photoshop them on that system better than on my 21" CRT monitor (big for the time). The color on the CRT was better, but the resolution on the laptop was better. Now, I use 1920x1200 24" wide-screen displays on my home workstation (2 of them), and I think that if my desk were bigger and my budget was unlimited, I'd upgrade to some newer, bigger, and higher definition displays. However, $$ is currently the limiting factor there. :-) I've had one of these displays for about 6 years, and the other for 4 years - both Dell models. They've been totally (knock on wood) reliable, reasonably priced (I was able to afford them), and they fit on my desk. I got the second one when I started consulting again 4 1/2 years ago and built my current home workstation with a dual-dvi nVidia 8800GT card. First time I had a system which would easily support dual displays at that resolution. Honestly, I could use this setup for the rest of my career and not be dissatisfied.

    So, yes I agree that smaller laptops should stick with 4:3 aspect ratio displays. 17" models, I think that is open to disagreement.


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