By and large, tablets are available in two types. There is the square-ish look which the iPads have. And there is the longer rectangular look, which tablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note Tab have. So which of these is right for you?
To understand, you need to know about something called aspect ratio. Aspect Ratio is the comparison of the longer side of a screen to the shorter side of a screen. So for example, the ratio of the longer side to the shorter side on the iPad is 4:3. On the Galaxy Note Tab, it’s 16:10. On most Android smartphones, it is 16:9.
Two more terms you need to know: Portrait mode and Landscape mode. Portrait mode is when you are holding the tablet in a way where it is longest from top to bottom; landscape mode is when you are holding the tablet in a way where it longest from left to right.
There is no objectively superior aspect ratio, it depends largely on what you use your tablet for.
Where 4:3 Is Better Than 16:10
1. For web browsing, the 4:3 aspect ratio works far, far better than the 16:10 aspect ratio. Most mobile websites are made with responsive design i.e. they adjust to the width of your screen. Browsing a site in portrait mode on a 4:3 tablet is wonderful and you won’t need to zoom in to read stuff clearly.
2. For reading books and magazines, the 4:3 aspect ratio is again better than the 16:10. With books, it is less noticeable, but with magazines, you will find it to be a much better reading experience. Magazines fit better on a 4:3 aspect ratio screen than on a 16:10 aspect ratio screen. You won’t be scrolling up and down as much, nor will you see black bands above and below.
Where 16:10 Is Better Than 4:3
1. For watching movies and TV shows, the 16:10 and 16:9 screens are ideal. This aspect ratio is the same as what you get when you hear of resolutions like “HD” and “FullHD”—so just like you don’t see black bands on your HD TV, you won’t see them on your tablet. It’s a proper full-screen experience.
2. For reading comic books, the longer aspect ratio is perfect. A comic book page fits perfectly on a 16:9 screen and you won’t need to scroll around either.
Where 4:3 and 16:10 Are Equal
1. For playing games, it hardly matters which aspect ratio you go for. Most games fill the screen irrespective of your aspect ratio, and look good doing it.
2. For chatting and social networks, both aspect ratios have their pros and cons. When used in portrait mode, the 16:10 ratio shows you more info on your screen when they keyboard is open. But when the keyboard isn’t open, the 4:3 aspect ratio looks better to browse your Twitter or Facebook timelines.
Largely speaking, 4:3 and 16:10 is not going to be a huge difference. However, knowing what you use your tablet for most and matching it to the above scenarios should help you make a choice that is better value for money.