If you think 16:9 is wide (1366×768, 1600×900, 1920×1080 etc.) then you’ll be shocked by 21:9. Toshiba recently unveiled a 14 inch, 21:9 ultrabook, with a resolution of 1792 x 768 – the normal vertical amount for an ultrabook, but the horizontal amount nearly meets a desktop display. Here’s a pic (credit: The Verge):
The selling points are that it is the first laptop display to play widescreen movies without black bars, plus that the extra-wide aspect ratio should make fine use of Windows 8′s ability to run apps side by side (though why they showed Windows 7 on it, and not the Windows 8 Release Preview I have no idea). The extra horizontal space should be great for multitasking, but there are some downs to it.
Firstly, there is no number pad. My Mum’s 17 inch laptop, with quite a low 1600×900 resolution, fits a number pad in. So why can’t a laptop with a 1792 x 768 resolution fit that in? Secondly, there really isn’t much vertical space – a lot of websites scroll down (it’s only really Windows 8′s metro-style apps that go across) and you will end up with a lot of white space, and a lot of scrolling. We really don’t mind black lines when watching movies, and it wouldn’t be that hard to make it 16:9 so we:
- Have a little less scrolling
- Have no black lines on iPlayer etc.
While the extra wide display will be amazing for snapping Windows 8′s full screen apps (coming from someone – me – with a 1920×1080 monitor, it really is great), a little more down space would be great.
It’s targeted, I think, as a back to school laptop, and we’ll see whether it sells well later this year. If they get the price right, I can see movie enthusiasts buying it, and maybe a few Windows 8 extremists (though I’m one, and I wouldn’t buy this), but it overall being somewhat of a gimmick. Well, then again, it could be the move away from 16:9, just as we moved away from 16:10 and earlier 4:3 (I hope not, though - I just bought a new 16:9 monitor!!).