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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:17 PM   #1
SomeDudeAsking
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16:9 Aspect Ratios Don't Work Well For Tablets

Ok, so I'm going to say something positive about Apple products for once as much as I hate Apple. *GASP*. *SHOCK*.

I went and tried out the Microsoft Surface today and the 16:9 aspect ratio does not work well at that 10+ inch size. If you hold it in portrait mode, content in things like web pages do not look right. It looks disproportionate. It is too narrow of a format for anything other than movies. It is also a bit unwieldy to hold in portrait because of how tall it is.

I currently have a Nexus 7 and I also tried out the iPad Mini. At the 7 inch size, the 16:9 aspect ratio looks fine but I have to agree with Apple that a 7 inch 16:9 screen is too small for a tablet. The iPad Mini screen size has much more useful area (both because of it's slightly larger size and different aspect ratio) and looks way better physically.

I believe the Nexus 7 and other 7 inch 16:9 Android tablets can't compete with the iPad Mini even though the iPad Mini costs more and has an inferior screen. I think Apple will see record profits and units of iPads sold this quarter thanks to the iPad Mini.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:20 PM   #2
throAU
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16x9 doesn't work well for anything so it's no big surprise.

16x10 is much better... it is pretty darn close to the "golden ratio", which has been used throughout history as an aesthetically pleasing width/height ratio and is also found throughout nature.

So i'm surprised that 16x9 is so popular.

The 4:3 on the ipad is a lot better than 16x9, also - it too, is close to the golden ratio (4:3 = 16:12, rather than 16.1:10)... if you have a few UI elements on the bottom of the screen, the viewing area is probably close to 16:10 in landscape mode.


I really don't think its an accident that Apple has been one of the last hold-outs of 16x10 on their macbook range...
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:23 PM   #3
maxosx
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I agree. It's the only big failure of the iPhone 5.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:41 PM   #4
zbarvian
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Yes...4:3 is definitely my preference for tablets. For phones I'm also liking 16:10 as 16:9 is too narrow for anything besides video.
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Old Jan 3, 2013, 11:49 PM   #5
SomeDudeAsking
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Originally Posted by maxosx View Post
I agree. It's the only big failure of the iPhone 5.
A 16:9 aspect ratio works well for phone size devices, it's just that the iPhone 5 is way too small. I don't get the same disproportionate feeling when holding my 5.5 inch 16:9 Galaxy Note 2 compared to the 10.6 inch 16:9 Microsoft Surface. In fact, I hated the 3:2 aspect ratio of the iPhone 4/4S because it lacked space when seeing what you are working on when typing in portrait and always destroyed video watching. Different aspect ratios work better at different sizes.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 03:57 PM   #6
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I saw the Surface at a Microsoft kiosk yesterday and agree that it looks odd and uncomfortable in portrait mode.

The camera on the model was broken too and the sales person was trying hard to push the fact that it comes with office. My first impression was a disappointing one though and the awkward ratio was definitely a big negative.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 04:05 PM   #7
Rodster
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The Nexus 7 is 16:10 but I agree that 4:3 is the best aspect ratio and I hope Apple keeps that format.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 04:14 PM   #8
ChazUK
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The nexus 7 at 16:10 and the 7 inch screen is perfectly palmable for me in portrait. I couldn't imagine going much wider on a tablet personally.

Different strokes for different folks though.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 04:26 PM   #9
Internaut
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16:9 is perfect on my Nexus 7. I've not tried it on larger devices but the Nexus 10 looks unwieldy compared to an iPad.....
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:08 PM   #10
Sensamic
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I have a Nexus 10 and I prefer 4:3 for a table too.

I almost got the iPad 4 because of this, but I just couldn't take iOS anymore compared to android, so software made me go with the Nexus.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:36 PM   #11
SomeDudeAsking
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I have a Nexus 10 and I prefer 4:3 for a table too.

I almost got the iPad 4 because of this, but I just couldn't take iOS anymore compared to android, so software made me go with the Nexus.
Yeah, I can't stand iOS either, so stagnant and convoluted for many tasks. I hope Samsung brings new tablet designs to CES with Android.
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Old Jan 4, 2013, 10:39 PM   #12
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Yeah, the aspect ratio looks strange in portrait mode, but it makes sense in landscape mode when you consider what MS is trying to achieve with having multiple apps open on the screen at one time. The 16:9 ratio allows a small portion of the screen to be dedicated to one app while still having a decent amount of screen area left for displaying the main app. Can't wait to get mine.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 06:04 PM   #13
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I always use my Android tablet (16x10 AR) in landscape mode. It looks fine for me. My beef is that some apps have no landscape mode, so I avoid using them on my tablet.
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Old Jan 10, 2013, 07:48 PM   #14
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I like both, just depends on what I'm doing. I much prefer my Nexus 10 for games and watching movies/YouTube/Netflix/HBO/etc. But I like my iPad for reading PDF files, I just wish iOS didn't make saving and viewing/editing pdf's a hassle by not saving them to a normal file system.
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Old Jan 11, 2013, 05:42 PM   #15
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I like the aspect, but its both better and worse. Landscape is MUCH nicer, browsing the web, especially watch g movies, running apps side by side, etc are all much nicer. Portrait mode web browsing sucks, but things like note taking with a pen and working with documents is super nice. Overall I prefer it, but I can see 16:10 being very nice as well.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 07:36 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeDudeAsking View Post
I believe the Nexus 7 and other 7 inch 16:9 Android tablets can't compete with the iPad Mini even though the iPad Mini costs more and has an inferior screen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Internaut View Post
16:9 is perfect on my Nexus 7.
16:10*
That's why it doesn't look as weird as 16:9, because it isn't 16:9.
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Old Jan 12, 2013, 04:15 PM   #17
SomeDudeAsking
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Originally Posted by MF878 View Post
16:10*
That's why it doesn't look as weird as 16:9, because it isn't 16:9.
Hey, you are right. The Nexus 7 has a 16:10 display at 1280 x 800. I just tried searching on Google for info about the Nexus 7 display and there are a lot of journalists that have the wrong information.

No wondern the Nexus 7 doesn't look weird to me like the Microsoft Surface does. The Surface is actually 16:9 at 1366 x 768. It looks like all the major Android Tablet makers use the good 16:10 ratio. I wonder why Microsoft chose to be weird.

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Old Jan 12, 2013, 11:24 PM   #18
Technarchy
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I for sure like the near omni-directional usability of the iPad. 4x3 works so well.

16:9 and 16:10 both suck as larger tablets. The Surface and Yoga are both horrendous in portrait.

I had an Asus Transformer long before my first iPad, and it always "felt wrong" in usage. The aspect ratio was a big part of it, but so was the crap operating system.
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Old Jan 13, 2013, 03:45 AM   #19
RetepNamenots
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SomeDudeAsking View Post
Ok, so I'm going to say something positive about Apple products for once as much as I hate Apple. *GASP*. *SHOCK*.

I went and tried out the Microsoft Surface today and the 16:9 aspect ratio does not work well at that 10+ inch size. If you hold it in portrait mode, content in things like web pages do not look right. It looks disproportionate. It is too narrow of a format for anything other than movies. It is also a bit unwieldy to hold in portrait because of how tall it is.

I currently have a Nexus 7 and I also tried out the iPad Mini. At the 7 inch size, the 16:9 aspect ratio looks fine but I have to agree with Apple that a 7 inch 16:9 screen is too small for a tablet. The iPad Mini screen size has much more useful area (both because of it's slightly larger size and different aspect ratio) and looks way better physically.

I believe the Nexus 7 and other 7 inch 16:9 Android tablets can't compete with the iPad Mini even though the iPad Mini costs more and has an inferior screen. I think Apple will see record profits and units of iPads sold this quarter thanks to the iPad Mini.
Windows 8 devices pretty much have to be 16:9, because the idea is to multitask easily. So if you're web browsing, like you say, and you snap the email app to the left or right hand side, you're effectively left with a 4:3 window for the web browser.
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