What’s your screen resolution?

I just took a look at some analytics for the last couple of months on this site and was surprised by one slice of that data. Here’s the first page of the aggregate stats for the default screen resolution used by the most recent 250,000 visitors:


I drilled into the data for a few more pages and found that approximately 59% of all visitors are using widescreen monitors, with aspect ratios between 16:9 and 16:10. Presumably that includes nearly everyone using a notebook, plus a smattering of LCD monitors attached to desktop PCs.

I was surprised, though, to see that 41% of visitors are using old-school square monitors, mostly at resolutions of 1024×768 and 1280×1024 (#1 and #3 on the list, respectively). I’m guessing most of those are CRTs, which tend to last a long time.

I run some virtual machines at 1024×768 resolution, especially when snapping screen shots for a book. It isn’t a lot of fun, especially with XP and Vista taskbars.

What resolution are you using? Are you happy with it? If you could change screen resolutions right now and cost was no object, what would you change to?

40 thoughts on “What’s your screen resolution?

    1. Yeah, now that I think about it I have an old but perfectly good 18-inch Dell UltraSharp LCD in a server closet here. It runs at 1280×1024.

  1. Basically, if it still works, all of my monitors get used (although I did dispose of the CRTs because they were so big!).

    My newer machines (MacBook, work notebook PC) are 13.3″ or 15.4″ widescreen notebooks at 1280×800. I also use a 21″ external monitor at 1680×1050 for digital photo work.

    I still have two 15″ TFTs on my video production PC (my wife has one too) – all at 1024×768 (so that gives me 2048×768 for Camtasia work) and most of my colleagues with older notebooks are 4:3 ratio, although some are quite high resolution (e.g. 1600×1200). Somebody at work “who has been designing websites for 15 years” actually tried to tell me that I should still be considering users at 800×600 the other day – I suggested they checked out their webstats to see if that was still relevant (and nearly suggested that they read some more recent web design books whilst they were at it!)

    Most infuriating is my netbook at 1024×576 – particularly annoying when devs write 600px dialogs that don’t scale!

  2. As mentioned, the 17/19″ lcd’s are 1280×1024. I use one as a second monitor to a 22″ at 1680×1050 for work. On another computer, I have a 1920×1200 24″.

    Depending on what I’m doing, I wish I would have a regular format monitor that did something like 2000×1500. Wider doesn’t gain me anything unless I want to run two programs side by side. If I need that, I can add a second monitor. Taller would gain me much better photo editing among other things.

    Actually, I’d prefer a square monitor at around 1600×1600 for my home computer. Obviously, I don’t watch dvd movies on my computers!

  3. 2560*1600 (30 inch) here. You’ll regret buying it until you hook it up and see the flood of available pixels. Dual screens at a smaller size still give you more pixels and for less money, but there certainly is something about being able to place a window in the middle of your vision field where with dual monitors you would otherwise be staring at bezels.

  4. I’m using 1680×1050 and it’s just OK. I’d replace it with 1920×1080 (I do occasionally watch a DVD or Blu-ray on it, but 1920×1200 would be OK too) which is what my laptop is.

    Anybody know where the monitors with LED backlights are–since we’re talking “money’s no object.”

  5. 16×9 stinks. Most people use it because far too often there is no other choice. 16×10 on computers make so much more sense, unless the computer is 90% or more only for media.

  6. I have less than perfect eyesight and prefer 1024 x 768. My T61 has this, as does my desktop TFT. I do have a T400 with 1400 x 900, but it needs to be easier to increase DPI. Windows 7 works pretty well (including IE and Office 2007), but you need a Firefox addon. Many programs and other things such as gadgets don’t adapt to, say, 115% DPI.
    Vista requires a restart to change DPI, and it needs admin rights, which is nuts.
    Interesting to see Microsoft blog on the need to improve this process, when Windows 7 was announced.

    1. Tom, the first one I found in portrait mode was in 39th place, with a single digit count of visits (out of roughly 250,000). Not popular!

  7. 1920×1200 on the left-hand monitor, 2560×1600 on the other two. If only the desk was big enough for 3 x 30″!

  8. Currently 1680×1050 on my work’s Cinema display and my work MacBook Pro is 1440×900. My home MacBook Pro is 1280×800, and my two-monitor Windows 7, Dell desktop is 1680×1050 and 1920×1200. Besides that, my wife’s 17″ Toshiba is 1440×900.

  9. Ed
    Interesting discussion. I have one running at 1680×1050 widescreen LCD and another running at 1280×1024 standard aspect LCD. I am often surprised that quite a few people are still using CRT monitors, even prefer them over LCD.

  10. 1280 x 1024 (on 3 LCDs from ’03) and one 1600 x 1200 on an ’01 laptop. Feeling very old-fashioned except for one PC hooked up to 1080p 48″ Sony

  11. I’m using a 19 inch Acer LCD with a native resolution of 1366×768. I would definately perfer higher res, but it’s actually ok for most stuff.

  12. You know, actually it’s too bad that LCDs are so limited in resolution. They only really work best in their native res, so if you’d perfer something higher or lower it just won’t work. Back in the day CRTs seemed like you could customise the resolution more; of course, they usually maxed out at 1024×768!

  13. If it was in my budget, I’d replace my CRT, and get a multi-monitor desktop with two or three monitors. Unfortunately for me, and fortunately for my cats, it isn’t.

  14. Looks like my resolution isn’t included in the list. My resolution is 1600 x 900. Does that less than one percent of the PC users use this resolution?

    1. 1600×900 was 1.34% of the total sample.

      And to answer Dave’s question: This data is from Google Analytics, which claims that it does not include any spider or bot. The numbers seem plausible to me.

  15. I do a lot of VNC to Windows & Linux servers I maintain – and I find widescreens to be, well, difficult. They rarely match the resolution of the remote hosts especially in the vertical resolution – and I end up scrolling all over the place. I like large “square” monitors, 1280×1024, or even larger for work. But at home, I do have 1360×768 wide monitors which are fine, I suppose.

  16. I just upgraded my desktop to a Win 7 system. I had a dull, 17inch square Gateway monitor at 1024×768, but I had a 19 inch Sharp HDTV Monitor that displays colors much brighter, and is capable of much higher resolution, (1920×1200) but I can’t get it to work with websites and text, so I’ve been using 1366 x 768, which is a good compromise of clarity and the ability to read the fonts. But the thing’s fan buzzes annoyingly on and off, and its hard to get the contrast right. And there’s a small vertical strip of about a 1/4 inch along the right-hand side that is permenantly black when running under Win 7.

  17. Ed, glad you brought this up, I got an Acer notebook last october, with 14″ 1366×768 res. Found it useless for websurfing(which i do a lot), the amount of scrolling I had to do was unbearable. Same goes for reading PDFs. Finally got a beautiful 15.4″ Fujitsu with plain jane 1280×800. Me happy now. And to say Fujitsu build quality is awesome would be an understatement.

  18. Hey Ed,

    I typically read your blog(s) at work on a personal laptop (Alienware), with a 17″ Dell LCD monitor attached via DVI. Max res – 1280 X 1024, which is the res I usually work with. My laptop’s monitor is 16:9, but I don’t have any widescreen standalone LCD monitors in use, personally.


  19. Ed,

    On my desktop I am runnig 3 LCD monitors, (1) 24″ @ 1920×1200 flanked by (2) 19″ monitiors @ 1280 x 1024.



  20. Currently, I use a 1920 x 1200 Dell UltraSharp 2410. I’d prefer a 1920 x 1440, but unfortunately, there’s no such thing.

    Cheers, PW.

  21. I have a HP w2207h monitor, and the factory default resolution is 1680 x 1050.

    I keep IE8 set to zoom everything to 115%.

  22. Hey Ed, it’s the same guy that asked you for help for what to do when my Vista would not start (and you told me to re-install Vista).

    I checked your math for the post, because it seemed not to be- looking at the percentages in the picture- the same as in the er… article? post? well, anyway…

    You say: “I drilled into the data for a few more pages and found that approximately 59% of all visitors are using widescreen monitors”(…)

    Yet when I counted together the ones that make up 59% in Windows Calculator, it’s the very same ones that you say are: old-school square monitors, mostly at resolutions of 1024×768 and 1280×1024 (#1 and #3 on the list, respectively). Which is when we also include the one that looks much bigger: 1680×1050, and which is not part of your old monitor list (which is 1-3). 16+16+15+11=58, and 59, when we include the tenths of percents (0.6 and such) in it.

    When we do count only the ones that are on the old monitor list, 1-3, we get 47% which is still not the 41% you have here: “I was surprised, though, to see that 41% of visitors are using old-school square monitors, mostly at resolutions of 1024×768 and 1280×1024 (#1 and #3 on the list, respectively).” (..) 16+16+15= 47.

    The ones that do make the resolutions you say are widescreen, 4-10, are 37,66%. Which also doesn’t match 41% or 59%. If I count exactly like the picture says, even including the hundredths of a percent.

    This is after counting with the Calculator more times than I can count to make sure it wasn’t I that was wrong. Checking and checking the picture.

    It looks as if it is switched- 59% stands for the old monitors AND the first widescreen resolution.

    The one that stands for the old monitors- 41% – is not 41% but 47%.

    The ones that are widescren in your list (4-10, I think) are 37%.

    I hope you correct this as it would make it nicer to read.

    So it’s also wrong for a reason I don’t know…

    Anyway, for the actual comment: I have 1280×1024. I usually don’t comment because I find it too much effort. I just read. But this one I did, because it’s so easy I can answer.

    I don’t need anything bigger, as this one is enough and I can’t think of any advantages of getting a bigger resolution.

    Though I have heard high-definition movies require 1920×1080 (or was it 1920×1200?). Do you really need a screen that can do 1920×1080? And on that resolution? To watch high-definiton movies? I think to limit to one resolution would be something I couldn’t understand. They do work on screen with lower resolutions… right? Or is 1920×1080 when they look best? I think a requirement of 1920×1080 is absurd, as it’s such a high resolution I can’t imagine what it looks like. And I don’t know anyone that has it.


  23. Tom, thanks for the math correction, but you were working with an incomplete data set (you must have missed where I wrote “Here’s the first page of the aggregate stats…”), so you can’t come up with the same numbers I did. I posted the graphic as an example and then crunched the numbers using the full set, without boring everyone with a long list of tiny numbers. Also, #2 on the list is a widescreen monitor (16:10 aspect ratio), so it gets added to the “new” group, not the old. Of the 10 items on the list, only #1, #3, and #10 are old-style square monitors (16.42+15.16+1.47=33.05%). But again, there’s a bunch more data. If you add the totals for the top 10 data points you’ll see they only add up to ~84%, so if you just use that data set you need to normalize to 100 (33/84*100, or roughly 39%). I just rechecked the math and it’s good.

    As for HD, the spec is 1080 lines of vertical resolution (that’s why you see 1080i and 1080p. So a 1920×1080 monitor will run perfectly at HD resolution. If you play an HD video on a 1920×1200 monitor you will get black bars at top and bottom, 60 pixels each.

    On a large enough screen, it does make a visible difference.

  24. I have an inexpensive Toshiba laptop that runs at a paltry 1280 by 800, as I recall, but my desktop is attached to a 24-inch flat-panel monitor running at 1920 by 1200. But it’s not big enough.

    If money (and nonexistent technology) were no object, my monitor would cover two walls, ceiling to desk height, with my desk pointed toward the corner. Or perhaps it could be curved in such a way that it would still look flat wherever the eye fell. I fear, however, that it would probably soon look frightfully similar to my physical, paper-stacked desktop…

  25. Hi Ed,
    My desktop PC is 2 Samsung 2343’s. Each running at 2048×1152. Visual Studio uses so much real estate, anything smaller means compromise

  26. At home and work I have 14 monitors. All LCDs, none more than 6 years old…and only one is widescreen. The one I’m using right now is 1600×1200.

    I don’t think our small biz is atypical in this regard. After all, LCDs just keep on working, and get replaced less frequently than PCs.

Comments are closed.