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Hardware Thread, Widescreen vs 4:3 in Technical; What are people's opinions on the best aspect ratio for education? I've done some searches and found surprisingly little info ...
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    Widescreen vs 4:3

    What are people's opinions on the best aspect ratio for education? I've done some searches and found surprisingly little info on the web (specifically relating to education or in general).

    I'm not a fan of widescreen for the following reasons;

    1. You get between 8%-12% less LCD for the same size (diagonal length) display (depending on whether it's 16:10 or 16:9).
    2. Not particularily well suited to word processing because pages tend to be portrait (not landscape).
    3. Not well suited for webbrowsing for the same reason.
    4. The top of the monitor is usally lower in height than on 4:3, which could increase kneck strain if the monitor is placed directly onto the desk (H&S guidelines say that your eye should be level with the top of the display).

    The only advantages I can see are:

    1. Can use double page view in Word
    2. Good for widescreen video
    3. Cheaper than 4:3

    I personally think that they are a bit of a con by the manufacturers, they are being pushed not because they are better, but because they are cheaper to manufacturer (due to less LCD being needed). But you get less for your money.

    Thanks,

    Bruce.

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    broc's Avatar
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    I agree with you; smaller widescreens are a 'fashion' statement......

    I have a 17" widescreen laptop in front of me, with a 19" 4:3 external monitor attached; depending upon what I am doing I will open windows in one or other screens. Most of the time I use the 19".....

    I also have a desktop PC used for controlling the network; this has a 23" widescreen monitor attached, this is great for most purposes. It is big enough to view two pages of A4 at a time.

    In my opinion if you get a decent (>22") sized widescreen monitor, then many of the disadvantages you describe become less significant and the advantages become more apparent.

    So maybe widescreen is a cunning plan by manufacturers to sell much bigger monitors

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    SYSMAN_MK's Avatar
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    Not particularily well suited to word processing because pages tend to be portrait (not landscape).
    Get a monitor that has a rotating stand then you can use your display in portrait.

    Not well suited for webbrowsing for the same reason
    I find widescreen better for browsing with 2 windows side by side.

    The top of the monitor is usally lower in height than on 4:3, which could increase kneck strain if the monitor is placed directly onto the desk (H&S guidelines say that your eye should be level with the top of the display).
    Again a monitor with a decent hight adjustable stand will solve this issue.

    Also another thing to add is that resolution is just as important. I use a 15.4" UWXGA (1920x1200) most of the time and i find it more usable than the 17" 4:3 monitors at work (1280x1024)

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    broc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SYSMAN_MK View Post
    Also another thing to add is that resolution is just as important. I use a 15.4" UWXGA (1920x1200) most of the time and i find it more usable than the 17" 4:3 monitors at work (1280x1024)
    A lot depends upon how good your eyesight is too.

    Most of our students cope perfectly happily with 15.4" UWXGA (1920x1200) but many staff say it causes them eye strain.

    I have to wear varifocal lenses for everyday purposes & find such a high resolution hard work. A 22" monitor running at 1680 x 1050 is best for me.... I can cope with a 17" widescreen monitor at 1440 x 900 but any finer & my eyes hurt after a while......

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    IrritableTech's Avatar
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    Except for one order for ten monitors made in error, all our monitors are 4:3. This is mainly because of a lot of them attach to interactive white boards. We have to set our resolution to 1024x768 due to the old projectors that can't handle anything higher too.

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    OllieC's Avatar
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    As a student at the school also I find it annoying when restricted to the 15" tfts that are in some of the business rooms instead of the 19" widescreens in the IT rooms. I find it really is a lot nicer using a widescreen, even when just working with a few programmes and windows the extra width makes it a lot nicer.

    There is the obvious issues around the widescreen teacher computers, trying to find a res that's useable on the monitor and the projector is an annoying task 'cause it's going to look rubbish on one or the other whatever you do lol.

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    User3204's Avatar
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    I personally prefer using a 4:3 ratio screen (or as I keep referring to them, as fullheight, just to annoy sales people). But staff and students seem to like the widescreens, so I am leaning that way, when I can afford it.

    But you have to remember that because the widescreen is 10% smaller, if you have a 15" fullheight, you need to change to a 17" widescreen if you want the same size. So I compare the cost of either a 17" FH to 20" WS, and 19" FH to 22" WS.

    I've just bought a load of 22" WS to make it look like I upgraded the ICT / ICT suite. at 100x30 it was cheaper than 350x30... and I get more whhooohs from the students when they can see the screen is new (and they don't notice the machine is old -er).

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    OllieC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by User3204 View Post
    I've just bought a load of 22" WS to make it look like I upgraded the ICT / ICT suite. at 100x30 it was cheaper than 350x30... and I get more whhooohs from the students when they can see the screen is new (and they don't notice the machine is old -er).
    This is similar to what I want to do to some of our older machines. :P

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    We've just been lucky enough to be donated 60 17" 4:3 TFT screens from one of our sponsors, so we're 'upgrading' some of our older machines with these, as well as doubling the RAM in them to 1GB to make them last that little bit longer. (If I can get another 2 years out of them I'll be pleased!)

    Our newest machines we've just brought with 19" wide-screen monitors because they were a lot cheaper than their 4:3 cousins. For teachers machines we try our best to buy laptops with 4:3 screens, but these are getting rare now, so we're going to have to upgrade our ageing projectors at some point which is annoying as most of them still work more than adequately, but such is life.

    Wide-screen monitors are here to stay whether we like it or not, so we may as well get used to them. I don't think it will be too long until 4:3 screens don't exist any more, or become specialist items of kit.

    Mike.

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    FN-GM's Avatar
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    Someone on here made a post a while back. They purchased some new machines for the IT room and they com with widescreen displays. They couldn't get them to fit well on the benches because each one was taking just that little but extra space.

    Myself for a desktop i would rather have 2 x 4:3 but if only one monitor is an option it would be a single widescreen. I would rather use widescreen laptops than 4:3

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    SimAda00's Avatar
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    I am currently shopping around for a new monitor and im not sure what to do really. Although i have noticed it seems increasinly harder to find non widescreen monitors.

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    Either way TFT is definitely progress over CRT, I don't think anyone disagrees here. As for 16:9 over 4:3 I don't find it easier using one over the other, however, in saying this I could understand using a small widescreen could squash things up a bit.

    Me personally I use an LCD-TV which is 23" as my computer screen. At this size I can do a lot with my desktop.

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    mac_shinobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimAda00 View Post
    I am currently shopping around for a new monitor and im not sure what to do really. Although i have noticed it seems increasinly harder to find non widescreen monitors.
    Liyama ones are pretty good

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    SpuffMonkey's Avatar
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    I just bought some 24" ws from Dabs for 150 - they are great - as tall as my old 4:3 - but getting on for twice as wide

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