On average, Americans spend 8.5 hours staring at screens every day . Considering how much time we spend with our devices, it makes sense that we would want the best computer monitors
to keep us company.
As PCs have evolved, screens have too, taking on new forms and features. The most recent obsession? Widescreen monitors and ultrawide monitors.
By ditching the typical 4:3 aspect ratio of the past, these new, sleek displays allow you to see more, create in better clarity, and work or play with dazzling detail. Let’s break down the top advantages to adding a widescreen monitor to your workstation.
What is a widescreen monitor?
In the early days of personal computing, monitors mimicked the standard 4:3 aspect ratio of a television. The “aspect ratio” describes the ratio between the width and height of the display.
With the rise of high definition (HD) content, the aspect ratio of advanced monitors boasting better resolution began to change to 16:9.
This means the width-to-height ratio took on a longer, more rectangular format versus the usual, boxy display. The elongated widescreen monitor delivers an immersive effect with enhanced picture quality.
Most widescreen monitors use the newly established 16:9 aspect ratio to display its content. Unless the media you’re viewing was created in a 4:3 ratio, all the of the YouTube® channels you watch, movies you stream, and video games you play will appear in the HD format.
Have you ever watched a movie in standard definition and then again in HD? You probably noticed many more details in the sets, costumes, and even the main action because you had a wider visual range.
When media is cropped to conform to a standard 4:3 aspect ratio, you lose many of the details on the periphery.
Resolution versus aspect ratio
When picking out a widescreen display, it’s important not to confuse aspect ratio with resolution. The monitor’s resolution refers to the number of pixels that can be displayed on the screen, and it greatly affects the image quality.
While your aspect ratio will always be 16:9, the resolution changes on each display panel. Be aware as you make a purchasing decision, that just because a monitor may be considered widescreen, this does not mean that it’s inherently capable of supporting HD, Full HD (FHD), or Ultra HD (UHD) content.
What is an ultrawide PC monitor?
For those who want to take their computing experience up a notch, an ultrawide screen monitor
offers an aspect ratio of 21:9. This ratio more closely resembles that of a movie theater screen than a standard widescreen monitor, making it the ideal choice if you want to bring an incredible, cinematic viewing experience right to your computer.
One perk behind ultrawide monitors is the elimination of the black bars at the top and bottom of your media playback. Plus, the larger screen size usually corresponds to a higher resolution, which makes all digital files look crisper than a smaller, boxier display could offer.
5 key advantages of a widescreen monitor
With more screen real estate comes more power. Think of it this way: is it easier to watch movies, send emails, and surf the web on an iPhone 3 or using the latest iPad? The iPad wins every time, thanks to its larger screen space. While the functions of both items might be nearly identical, you simply can’t beat the improved user experience of a display that’s easier to navigate.
Let’s take a look at some of the best reasons why a widescreen monitor should be at the top of your tech wish list this year.
1. Increase your productivity
The great American motto “bigger is better” certainly applies to widescreen PC monitors. When you have a wider screen, more of your documents, media, and games can be displayed at the same time.
With a widescreen computer monitor, you can easily perform side-by-side tasks that would otherwise be impossible with a standard screen. View two documents at once, watch media in multiple separate windows, and set up your workstation to maximize productivity.
Instead of constantly switching between tabs and sifting through several programs, you can arrange the windows on your screen so that everything you need is easily within view.
Creative professionals, like video editors
, photo editors
, graphic designers
, and architects, can greatly benefit from the bigger workspace of a widescreen monitor. If spreadsheets and data sets are your area of expertise, imagine the possibilities of having multiple streams of information visible at once.
Students considering a computer for college can enjoy having their reference documents open right beside their research paper in order to transition seamlessly between reading and writing.
2. Get rid of multiple monitors
Clicking between several different displays can not only be time consuming, but can also take away precious desk space. A widescreen monitor is ideal for users who don’t have a massive workstation and need to consolidate their display panels
Get rid of the gap between monitors, free up physical space for other office accessories, and save money on equipment you don’t actually need. Once you make the switch to a widescreen monitor, you’ll probably realize that you no longer need several displays competing for your attention.
3. Achieve maximum resolution
In most cases, the bigger the screen, the higher the resolution. This rule of thumb is important for anyone passionate about the image quality of their PC.
While it is possible for two screens at different sizes to boast the same resolution, modern, wider monitors usually have the capacity to display a higher number of pixels than their smaller counterparts.
More pixels mean images will be sharper and you’ll be able to see whatever you’re working on more clearly. Have you ever visited an optometrist and had various lenses placed in front of your eyes to see if they made your vision better or worse?
are similar in the sense that they offer enhanced clarity. The bigger the glasses (or wider the aspect ratio), the more pixels you’ll be able to see.
4. Immerse yourself in media
Maximum resolution is incredibly important for creatives who render 3D images with life-like precision and healthcare professionals who need to see an image in the finest detail, just to provide a couple examples.
The advantages provided by a widescreen monitor’s ability to improve workloads are obvious, but entertainment and relaxation also get a major boost when you invest in this type of display.
Enjoy films in the format they were meant to be viewed, scroll through social media and feel like you were actually there, or read books online with less strain on your eyes.
When media fills up the screen to deliver edge-to-edge display, you’ll enjoy a higher quality experience with all of the content you interact with.
5. Get ahead of the curve
Typically only available on ultrawide screen monitors, the most recent development in the design landscape comes in the shape of a curved monitor
. Featuring a gentle slope inward on either side, curved widescreen monitors are becoming increasingly popular among casual and power PC users alike.
Why opt for a curved monitor? Distortion levels decrease, you can utilize a wider field of view, and your eyes exert less effort to absorb an image presented on a curved screen. Because the screen naturally wraps around into your peripheral vision, you don’t have to focus as intensely on taking in the entire display.
Not to mention, the larger viewing field will make everything feel larger than it actually is. You no longer experience the disruption of a flat screen (which simply drops off at the edge of the display), so your brain is tricked into thinking the on-screen images are bigger since they cover a wider field of view. For immersion addicts, this is the Holy Grail of PC displays.
Level up your gaming skills with a widescreen monitor
One benefit of widescreen monitors not yet mentioned: ultra-enhanced video game play. As serious gamers may know, this benefit deserves a category all of its own. Widescreen monitors allow you to become more aware of your surroundings and fend off enemies by expanding your field of view (FOV).
Revel in the exquisite details that game creators added for extra flare, and take advantage of the extra image data by exploring more of the digital world than ever before.
FOV can mean the difference between life or death in many survival games. Imagine you’re in a haunted house and are only allowed to look straight in front of you.
and ghouls lurking on the edges of the room can easily sneak up on you on a 4:3 ratio, but if could see a little more down the sides of the corridor, it’s much less likely that these game-ending creatures will have the upper hand.
For those who like to stream games and chat with online opponents, a widescreen gaming monitor makes all the difference. Easily keep a Twitch.TV
, YouTube channel, or other window open on the side of your screen to interact with players as you duke it out in the game.
The larger screen size, HD aspect ratio, and enhanced resolution will leave you impressed when it comes time to make a critical move.
The disadvantages of a widescreen monitor are slim
There are always two sides to every coin, and some users may find a widescreen display isn’t the right fit for their workflow. The most common complaints revolve around a personal preference for keeping multiple programs separated on several different monitors.
Other possible drawbacks include:
- Less vertical space for reading than on a standard monitor with a 4:3 aspect ratio
- Websites not optimized for a 16:9 aspect ratio will have more blank space on either side of the page
- The sheer size of some widescreen PCs can be overstimulating and difficult to command
However, in comparison to the benefits a larger display has to offer, it’s likely that a few small setbacks will not overrule all the advantages of a widescreen display for the standard home or work desktop user.
Widescreen monitors work across industries
Ready to take the leap? Take a look at some of the best widescreen monitors to help you excel in your area of expertise.
The HP EliteOne 800 G4 AiO Healthcare Edition
is designed to streamline the process of medical professionals and elevate patient care. Sanitize this PC with germicidal wipes, log in with biometric authentication, enable video chats with dual-facing cameras, and protect sensitive patient information with integrated security protocols.
Plus, the 8th Generation Intel® Core™ processor will keep all systems running smoothly so your complex scheduling software never bogs down the workflow of your practitioners.
2. Creative professionals
Lose yourself in your work with the stunning, micro-edge curved design of the HP ENVY 34-inch curved PC monitor
. The color contrast and incredible resolution will bring your work to life, and exceptional built-in speakers ensure a listening experience worthy of the opera house.
Whether you’re editing the next Oscar-winning film or designing the cover of a magazine, the 34-inch screen will deliver crystal-clear results with each new project.
3. Data-driven jobs
Track stock prices, email high-profile clients, and keep an eye on the news all at the same time with the HP EliteDisplay S270N 27-inch 4K monitor
. This widescreen monitor offers a clean, modern design that blends in with any office environment, and several ergonomic adjustments can be made to ensure late nights don’t leave your neck aching.
With multiple input connector ports, you’ll be able to transform your workstation into a hub of productivity.
4. Full-time gamers
With the right skill and lot of hard work, it’s possible to make a living off your talent for video games. Snag an HP OMEN X 35-inch curved gaming monitor
to boost your winning streak to an all-time high.
The curved display immerses you in the digital world you’re exploring, and a 100 Hz refresh rate ensures screen tearing is a problem of the past. The line between gaming and reality just got a little blurrier.
5. Home office use
Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or work remotely, a widescreen PC can boost your workflow exponentially. The HP 22er 22-inch PC monitor
is incredibly thin and light so you can move it from room to room depending on your day.
Vivid colors make each picture pop off the screen, and the edge-to-edge display creates the perfect entertainment environment for calming restless children.
As our lives become increasingly dependent on computers, it’s important to have a display that maximizes your experience.
Widescreen monitors, and their ultrawide screen counterparts, open the door to a digital experience that just isn’t possible with standard displays. Once you go widescreen, there’s no going back.
 L’Atelier BNP Paribas; The Average American Spends 8½ Hours a Day Staring into Screens
About the Author: Megan Edwards is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Megan is a digital content creator based in Southern California and specializes in creating multimedia content for various industries, including technology.
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