Frank Azor: Dell mulling 3:2 and other aspect ratio screens for future XPS notebooks

The Dell XPS line could soon offer a 3:2 aspect ratio display like the Microsoft Surface Book. (Source: MobileTechReview on YouTube)
The Dell XPS line could soon offer a 3:2 aspect ratio display like the Microsoft Surface Book. (Source: MobileTechReview on YouTube)
Dell could be looking at offering new aspect ratios aside from the standard 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio in future notebooks. This was confirmed in a conference call by Frank Azor during the new XPS and Alienware reveal. Opting for non-standard aspect ratios can greatly enhance the tablet mode experience especially in 2-in-1 notebooks.

Dell is considering aspect ratios apart from the standard 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio that is being offered across its lineup. This was revealed by Dell's VP General Manager of Alienware, Gaming and XPS, Frank Azor, in a post-presentation Q&A session with the media during the XPS and Alienware unveiling earlier this month. Azor replied that Dell wasn't just considering the new 3:2 aspect ratio made popular by the Microsoft Surface Book series but also looking at other possible aspect ratios as well.

A 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio is something we've all gotten used to by now. Resolutions currently in vogue such as 720p, 1080p, and even 2160p are all 16:9. 16:9 has successfully replaced the 4:3 and 16:10 aspect ratios we've seen on older monitors and laptops. With the advent of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 the 3:2 aspect ratio became popular, which allowed for more vertical screen space. Following this, all Surface products to date including the Surface Studio, the Surface Laptop, and the Surface Book 2 sport 3:2 displays. 

While a 16:9 aspect ratio works for most movies and gaming content, it is really not a very good choice for productivity. The Verge's Vlad Savov echoes similar feelings feelings in his article and says, "lateral space is simply not as valuable as vertical space in desktop apps or on the web" as most of the user interface elements across Windows, macOS, and Linux are more vertically stacked than horizontal. He notes that, therefore, a 3:2 screen with the extra vertical space will offer enhanced enhanced productivity and still can be used for media consumption.

If we were to give into speculation, Dell could probably have different aspect ratios for different use cases. For example, an XPS geared towards productivity would probably feature a 3:2 display while something targeted towards media consumption and gaming would be the standard 16:9. Another probable aspect ratio could be 256:135 in accordance with the DCI 4K standard that offers a resolution of 4096 x 2160 unlike the traditional 3840 x 2160. Video content creators and editors could be the target demographic for monitors featuring this aspect ratio.

Would you prefer product segmentation for different work loads based on the display aspect ratio? Let us know in the comments below.


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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 04 > Frank Azor: Dell mulling 3:2 and other aspect ratio screens for future XPS notebooks
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-04-22 (Update: 2018-04-22)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.