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Laptop Screens XGA, SXGA, WXGA, WSXGA+, what do I choose?

There seems to be more than a few options when it comes to LCD screens these days. I often get asked, which one should I get? The answer actually depends more on the size of the screeen than what you actually “choose”.

Standard Resolution Typical Use
XGA (Extended Graphics Array) 1024×768 15- and 17-inch CRT monitors
15-inch LCD monitors
SXGA (Super XGA) 1280×1024 15- and 17-inch CRT monitors
17-and 19-inch LCD monitors
UXGA (Ultra XGA) 1600×1200 19-, 20-, 21-inch CRT monitors
20-inch LCD monitors
QXGA (Quad XGA) 2048×1536 21-inch and larger CRT monitors
WXGA (Wide XGA) 1280×800 Wide aspect 15.4-inch laptops
LCD displays
WSXGA+ (Wide SXGA plus) 1680×1050 Wide aspect 20-inch LCD monitors
WUXGA (Wide Ultra XGA) 1920×1200 Wide aspect 22-inch and larger LCD monitors

As you can see from the chart, your monitor type is actually a function of the size more than anything else.

LCD monitors are built with a “native” resolution. Plainly put, it stands for the resolution it was built to look best at. Usually you can change it to whatever you like, but they say it will not look as good. So when you see an “ad” telling you you get this one or that one,  just remember its not which one is best, it’s how big is your screen?

The only real choice these days is do you want glossy or non-glossy. Non-glossy or “matte” is what screens have been almost forever. Just recently (the last 3-4 years) you have had the option of getting a glossy screen. The glossy screens have a special coating that  is
supposed to reduce glare and ambient light reflection and provide a brighter, more vivid picture. Almost looks like you waxed your LCD.

Most people do not like the glossy look. It is very hard to see in the sunlight. Actually, it’s hard to see in almost any light. The glossy screens are brighter, but you seem to miss out because of all the additional glare.

So which one should you choose? If you often view your laptop in dark places, then get a glossy screen. If you want a multi-use screen, stick with the traditional “matte” finish. It will work the best in most situations.