Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

What's the point of widescreen monitors?

There's a new PC on offer at ALDI next week... and two widescreen LCD monitors.

They've had widescreen monitors the last couple of times, too, but I don't like them—I don't really see the point, since I typically don't use all that much horizontal screen estate anyway (if the lines of text get too long, it gets harder for the eye to skip back exactly to the start of the next line) and would prefer more vertical space, but the widescreen ones have less vertical space than "standard" ones.

What's the point, really? Perhaps for watching 16:9 movies, but who really uses their computer monitor primarily to watch movies? I'd have thought that it would make sense to optimise monitors for what people do most, not what they do occasionally.

And what I do most is browse the Internet and play the Sims; your average user would probably add email (which is included in "Internet" for me, since I use webmail most of the time) and word processing, also text-oriented things which would probably benefit from a squarer or maybe even a portrait (taller than wide) monitor setup. (As for the Sims, I think the best monitor configuration is square, so that I can see as much as possible in each direction rather than having the screen subtend a wide angle horizontally with no corresponding benefit vertically.)

What do you use? Widescreen, "standard", portrait (widescreen or standard), maybe even a multi-monitor configuration? How do you arrange your windows on the screen? And what would your ideal setup be, and why?

(For example, I heard from a colleague who had two monitors for a while that she found it extremely convenient to have code and documentation open on separate windows. And perhaps that's some of the appeal for widescreen monitors? But I still think that the decreased vertical size is a handicap.)

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