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View Poll Results: Do you prefer 4:3 or 16.9 aspect ratio - and why?
4:3 42 42.86%
16:9 31 31.63%
No preference 10 10.20%
Other - please explain 15 15.31%
Voters: 98. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-12-2011, 09:38 AM   #1
Wetdogeared
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Question 4:3 vs 16:9 aspect ratio - what's your preference?

I see a lot of comments from members about their dislike of the 16:9 aspect ratio on viewing devices. Can someone please explain the reasoning behind this dislike? Is it just a preference or ease-of-use issue for surfing the web or viewing web content or what?

My HDTV has 16.9 ratio, which I assume is better to view full 1920 X 1080 HD, so why wouldn't I want this ratio on *all* my devices?

What's all the fuss about aspect ratio on your devices. I am somewhat naive in this area so a simple explanation may make me see this controversy in a whole new light. Please enlighten me.
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:48 AM   #2
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On smaller devices the non-optimal uses for the particular ratio are just that much more annoying, 4:3 content is fine on a nice big tv or monitor, not so much on a small widescreen netbook or tablet screen.

Personally, since I don't use my tablet much for browsing I would be fine with a ws ratio even if the ideal would actually be something more like 3:2 that was closer to matching the ratio for magazines without being too bad for either 4:3 or 16:9 content.

Maybe adding an option to the poll for an intermediate option would be good?
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Old 02-12-2011, 09:51 AM   #3
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16:9 is an excellent ratio for video, but it's wrong for books; it's too tall and narrow. 16:9 has sides in the proportion 1.78 to 1; standard "A" paper sizes obviously have sides in the ratio square root of 2 to 1 (1.414 to 1). A 4:3 screen, with an aspect ratio of 1.33 to one is much closer to the aspect ratio of paper books than is a 16:9 screen.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:05 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetdogeared View Post
My HDTV has 16.9 ratio, which I assume is better to view full 1920 X 1080 HD, so why wouldn't I want this ratio on *all* my devices?
If you plan on using *all* your devices primarily for viewing video I suppose you would. But most of us here use our devices primarily for reading, so X2 everything Harry said. (Even though my PD Novel is an excellent little internet tablet - especially with the latest firmware - I use it 99% of the time strictly as a reader.)
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:17 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
16:9 is an excellent ratio for video, but it's wrong for books; it's too tall and narrow. 16:9 has sides in the proportion 1.78 to 1; standard "A" paper sizes obviously have sides in the ratio square root of 2 to 1 (1.414 to 1). A 4:3 screen, with an aspect ratio of 1.33 to one is much closer to the aspect ratio of paper books than is a 16:9 screen.
Okay, this makes sense. If your primary use for the device is reading, the 4:3 ratio would be preferable.

With all these new multi-purpose tablets coming out that offer a lot more functionality than just reading, would anyone still prefer the 4:3 ratio?

And Harry, if you can, could you please add another option "Other - please explain' to the poll options?
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:32 AM   #6
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For general work (writing, browsing, programming, image editing...), I prefer 4:3, I have no need for an overly wide screen. For watching a film, I guess 16:9 would be fine. For an ebook reader, I prefer 4:3 or similar too.

What I really, really dislike is when the image is distorted (stretched/shrinked) to fit in the screen, with no care for aspect ratio. I'm sick of seeing 4:3 content stretched to 16:9 screens in bars and pubs, commercials with long faces, TV shows with a black border all around the image...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wetdogeared
And Harry, if you can, could you please add another option "Other - please explain' to the poll options?
Done
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:44 AM   #7
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I voted 'other' for the exact reasons stated above - 16:9 is great in landscape mode but lousy in portrait; on a multi-purpose tablet I don't want to be restricted to landscape, simple as that.
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Old 02-12-2011, 10:55 AM   #8
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Yes, I'd still prefer 4:3. It doesn't matter so much what it does, as what I want to use the device for.

Narrowscreen (for those of us who use portrait mode primarily) ,means that a 7" Nook Color will display a full page PDF at a physically smaller size than a 6" Sony Reader because most of the larger screen size is in the wrong direction. It defeats the purpose of a larger size.

Sure, it's better for video -and some times for web surfing - but those uses are less important to me than reading. So even a multi-purpose device is better for me with the 4:3 aspect ratio.

It's the double whammy of what's more important to me as a user, and that the drawbacks of "widescreen" on PDF outweigh the benefits it brings to video.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:13 AM   #9
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It doesn't matter.

When I first got my JE100, I was afraid the 16:9 might throw me off. But, after a few pages of reading, you hardly notice it anymore.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:16 AM   #10
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It doesn't matter.

When I first got my JE100, I was afraid the 16:9 might throw me off. But, after a few pages of reading, you hardly notice it anymore.
It doesn't matter with reflowable text - it does with PDFs and other fixed formats.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:33 AM   #11
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I prefer 4x3. One of the reasons I chose a PB IQ as my Android toy.
For multipurpose devices, the best compromise would be 16x10 but even that will have issue.
Ergonomically speaking the key driver is why 4x3 is preferable for portrait reading (and why sigle column landscape is sub-optimal) is scan-width, the distance the eyes have to track on each line.
Where single column landscape requires relatively large font sizes to maintain a comfortable reading experience, 16x9 displays require *smaller* font sizes.
Aother way to put it is that 16x9 displays behave as if they were physically smaller than comparable 4x3 displays.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:40 AM   #12
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While I have no preference, 4/3s IS

the same aspect ratio as the photos from my Olympus cameras. That would enhance the symmetry of my life and make the angels sing.
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:49 PM   #13
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Video is what I use my iPad for the least, so I'm pretty happy that it's 4:3.
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Old 02-12-2011, 12:55 PM   #14
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I voted 'other' because I like 16:9 for watching movies on my TV, and 4:3 for pretty much everything else, for the reasons others have given. I wish I could find a 1600x1200 20" LCD to replace the CRT that I can't fit on my desk.
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Old 02-12-2011, 01:17 PM   #15
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I read in portrait, so 4:3.
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