What is the difference between 16:9 and 16:10 aspect ratios? Are there any benefits to using one over the other? Let’s take a look.
If you’re looking to buy a new monitor or laptop, it’s important to understand what aspect ratio means.
Certain people can benefit from screens with specific aspect ratios!
Aspect Ratio Explained
For starters, the aspect ratio is the ratio of the width and height of a display. The dimensions can be measured in various units, such as pixels or inches, as long as either side fits the aspect ratio.
Most displays today have similar dimensions with the same aspect ratios.
There are many different aspect ratios but the most popular in modern displays is 16:9. The most common resolutions (720P, 1080P, 1440P, and 4K) are all based on the 16:9 aspect ratio.
To give you an idea, 1080P is 1920 x 1080. You can divide 1920 by 16 to get 120 and 1080 by 9 to get an even 120.
16:9 is by far the most common aspect ratio for games and media. However, there are displays with many other aspect ratios.
The 16:10 aspect ratio has a slightly higher display, so more vertical content is visible in certain applications. The screen space on a 16:10 display is also larger overall.
The resolution on a 16:10 is a bit different than what you might be used to. For instance, instead of 1920 x 1080, a 16:10 screen will have a resolution of 1920 x 1200.
Currently, the 16:10 aspect ratio is common on laptops, the most notable being the MacBook Air, 2560 x 1600 resolution.
16:9 vs 16:10 for Monitors
Monitors with a 16:10 aspect ratio provide some benefits over monitors with a regular 16:9 aspect ratio. There aren’t that many 16:10 monitors on the market.
Screens with a 16:10 aspect ratio are better for productivity due to the added vertical space. Particularly when working with documents. You can see more lines of text on a 16:10 monitor.
Websites can also display more content at one time. While it’s not a huge difference, the extra vertical screen real estate on a 16:10 display is noticeable.
Most people agree the 16:10 ratio is much better than 16:9 for office tasks. It’s also practical for programmers who need to review multiple lines of code at one time.
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As for gaming, it’s usually better to stick to the 16:9 aspect ratio.
A monitor with a 16:10 aspect ratio is not the best for gaming because most games don’t have important vertical content.
For example, in first-person shooters, it’s more important to have a wider screen than a taller one because enemies are more likely to be on the sides.
So the extra vertical real estate of a 16:10 display doesn’t help that much in games.
On another note, some older games do not support 16:10 resolutions. If you’re trying to game on a 16:10 aspect ratio and running into issues, you may need to change the in-game resolution to one that has a 16:9 ratio.
When using a 16:9 aspect ratio resolution on a 16:10 display, the display will downscale and cut off the extra size to make it fit.
You might notice black bars on the top of the screen. It won’t be completely fullscreen.
16:9 vs 16:10 for Projectors
Since projectors don’t have an exact fixed projection size, you can play around with different aspect ratios.
Most projectors support 4:3, 16:9, and 16:10 aspect ratios. Since most media is filmed with a 16:9 aspect ratio, it’s better to stick to that ratio when watching movies and shows on a projector.
For gaming on a projector, 16:9 is still recommended because there’s not much benefit to having extra vertical space in games.
However, for productivity tasks, such as PowerPoint presentations, using a projector set to a 16:10 aspect ratio is a good idea.
When it comes to projectors, you also want to consider the projection size and brightness. Each projector has unique brightness capabilities, so you’ll have to test to see what works best for you.
16:9 vs 16:10 on Laptops
Should you buy a laptop with a 16:10 aspect ratio? It might seem new to you.
Overall, how you use your laptop. If you do a lot of office work (writing, research, editing, programming, etc) a laptop that has a 16:10 aspect ratio will benefit you.
Most people don’t think much about the aspect ratios of laptops but it can make a big difference.
Moving from a laptop with an aspect ratio of 16:9 to 16:10 might not seem like a huge improvement. However, most people who made the jump agree that 16:10 laptops provide a significant productivity advantage.
In short, if productivity is important to you, buying a 16:10 laptop such as the MacBook Air is a good idea.
Does Aspect Ratio Affect FPS?
The aspect ratio of a display doesn’t directly affect FPS but the resolution does.
For example, resolutions that use a 16:10 aspect ratio are usually a bit more demanding than those that use a 16:9 ratio.
To give you an idea, the standard resolution, 1080P, uses a 16:9 aspect ratio which is 1920 x 1080, for a total of 2,073,000 pixels.
The 1080P equivalent resolution in a 16:10 display would be 1920 x 1200, which has 2,304,000 pixels.
Naturally, the resolution that outputs more pixels will be more taxing on the hardware and could affect FPS.
However, you can always lower the render resolution in games, so it’s not a big deal.
The Bottom Line
To summarize, the default aspect ratio that 90% of displays use today is 16:9.
However, moving from a 16:9 display to 16:10 can offer significant productivity improvements.
For games and movies, the aspect ratio doesn’t matter that much. The only downside is 16:10 resolutions may not be supported by certain video games.