Among all of the characteristics of a monitor that you should consult before making a purchase, one characteristic on which you should always focus is the aspect ratio that the monitor uses, since it will indicate the geometric form of the monitor. And that is important because depending on the ratio that the screen uses, the monitor may be better for some tasks than others.
The origin of the aspect ratio goes back to the dawn of cinema, when the first moving images were projected on screens that had a format of 4:3. And although Hollywood experimented with different panoramic screen formats, it was not until the introduction of the Cinemascope that a real difference was created between 4:3 formats (which was the format in which television would continue to be broadcast until the beginning of the 21st century, when televisions began to use panoramic resolutions) and the formats used in cinemas.
The aspect ratio of a monitor is the relationship between the number of horizontal pixels and the number of vertical pixels. This is the fastest way to verify whether our new monitor will be more squared or more rectangular in its physical form. And different aspect ratios are more suited to certain activities, independent of the final resolution of the monitor.
What monitor aspect ratio is best for which activity?
Currently, the aspect ratios that can be found in monitors on the market are the following:
- 4:3, is the original standard that the first computer monitors used. This aspect ratio is currently in relative disuse among household users, who tend to prefer monitors with panoramic screens. However, in the business environment, it is the most-used aspect ratio for work in offices, probably because many offices continue using fairly old programs that may not be compatible with panoramic formats.
- 16:10, is the first panoramic screen format to come to computer screens and was the first that began to popularize 1680 x1050 and 1920 x 1200 pixel resolutions when the first 22” and 24” monitors arrived on the market. Currently, this format has been restricted to use in monitors designed for professional use because of the extra vertical screen space that it includes.
- 16:9, is the most widely-used format currently in the world of monitors. In reality, this format is primarily an invention of the monitor manufacturers, who wanted to substitute the 16:10 format with one that could be produced more cheaply. However, it is true that the 16:9 format rates quite a bit higher than 16:10 when it comes to representing images on the screen. This type of format is perfect for all types of activities, from working in the office (since it allows you to have two documents open at the same time), to working with design programs or gaming.
- 21:9, this aspect ratio is the most modern, having arrived on the market only a few years ago. With this format, the manufacturers are trying to emulate the experience of having two monitors with a 16:9 ratio open side-by-side. This enables them to be used mostly in professional design and editing activities. Although there is a clear tendency on the part of the manufacturers to want to sell these monitors for gaming, the reality is that not all of the current games are able to correctly represent images in this aspect ratio.