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Know this: Laptop screens are changing like never before for good

The new year just kicked off, but it’s already been an eventful few weeks for 2021. Thanks to all of the current events dominating the news cycle, CES 2021 was kind of an afterthought this year. The fact that this huge consumer electronics show was virtual didn’t help.

There were plenty of big headliners from the show, though, like robot butlers and brighter TVs with micro-LED technology. However, one of the latest trends basically went overlooked — and that’s the change in aspect ratios on popular laptops. Missed the show? Tap or click for show-stopping smart home tech innovations from CES 2021.

Rather than wide-but-short displays, laptop screens are getting taller again, which means you’ll have more real estate to work with. Want to know why these changes could benefit you? Here’s the information you’re looking for.

Here’s the backstory

For the last several years, 16:9 has been the most common aspect ratio for laptops. While the most common, this standard is also the most cramped, thanks to limited vertical space. However, it appears that gold standard sizing is about to be replaced — and the new display sizes that are rolling out will offer users an upgraded amount of space.

We saw plenty of evidence of new display sizing during CES 2021. Nearly every new premium laptop unveiled during the show — from Lenovo to Asus and LG — had moved away from using the 16:9 standard display to more proportional screen sizes.

These new laptops are primarily slated to come with 16:10 and 3:2 displays. This is the first time in recent history that we’ve seen flagship laptops from large tech companies come with tall and wide screens rather than wide and short displays.

One of the new aspect ratios’ main perks is that they give you more vertical space to work within, so there should be plenty of room for both work and play.

The new rollouts include:

  • HP Elite Folio — 3:2
  • Dell Latitude 9420 2-in-1 — 16:10
  • Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 2 — 16:10
  • Lenovo Legion 7 and Legion 5 Pro — 16:10
  • LG Gram 17 and Gram 16 — 16:10
  • Lenovo IdeaPad 5 Pro — 16:10
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Titanium Yoga — 3:2
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 9 and X1 Yoga Gen 6 — 16:10
  • Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable — 3:2
  • Asus ROG Flow X13 — 16:10

And those are just the announcements from CES 2021. Chances are good that we’ll see other manufacturers follow the same trends as new products continue to roll out.

One thing to note, however, is that there were some holdouts during the show. The majority of the new gaming laptops that were unveiled had stuck with the 16:9 display. That’s because most games are written for the 16:9 aspect ratio, so a change to the gaming laptops’ display sizes would not be ideal.

Why does it matter to you?

While perhaps not the most exciting change, the move away from a 16:9 display is significant for laptop owners. These new sizes are more proportional than old displays. You’ll get more height to work within from the new displays, which will be especially useful for people who are working from home.

One of the main perks of the sizing change is that the taller aspect, whether it’s 16:10 or 3:2, will allow you to see more vertical information on your screen with less scrolling. Considering that most of the information we’re using on our computers for work is vertical in nature, this is a vast improvement for productivity.

It won’t just help you see more; it’ll also help you work more efficiently in word processing documents or websites. Both are vertical, which means the new display sizes will be a better fit for accommodating them.

Plus, the taller display means there’s going to be additional room on the keypad. That extra display space will lead to extra palm rest space or larger touchpads, which can also improve productivity.

What it won’t make much difference for, however, is streaming. Most video content is at 16:9, so if you’re primarily using your laptop to stream shows and movies, you won’t get much use out of the new size. The show will be boxed in the center of the display rather than playing across the full screen.

The other downside is that some of these displays’ resolution won’t be high enough to display full 4K. That isn’t true of all of the new laptops rolling out, but it is the case with some. So, if 4K video streaming is your priority, this may not be the best news.

What can you do about it?

Not all of the new laptops announced at CES 2021 have hit shelves yet. Luckily, there are a few options available on Amazon if you’re itching to get your hands on a laptop with a more proportional display.

Take, for example, the Dell XPS 13 9300 13.4-inch FHD InfinityEdge Touchscreen Laptop. This laptop has a four-sided InifinityEdge display with a 16:10 aspect ratio, which gives you that wide-and-tall display you’re looking for. There’s more room to work and less reason to scroll.

Another option is the Acer Spin 5 Convertible Laptop. This laptop was built with a 13.5-inch 2K screen built on a 3:2 aspect ratio, which is similar to what you’d get with Microsoft’s Surface devices.

This Samsung Chromebook Plus V2 is another solid choice. It gives you a 12.2-inch IPS display with a 16:10 aspect ratio at 1920 x 1200 resolution. And, at less than $400, the price is a steal — especially for that awesome display.

Bottom line

New laptop display aspect ratios are coming, and it’s going to be a huge improvement over the old 16:9 standard display sizes. While that may not be the most exciting news for streaming fanatics or gamers, it’s going to add some much-needed real estate to your laptop display, which will make working from home easier. Since it looks like we’re going to be doing this remote thing for a while longer, you may want to get your hands on one soon.

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