XGA or WXGAphoto credit:triplewidemedia.com

Wide resolution screens have made its way into becoming the preferred choice for monitor manufacturers. Most if not all current laptop and PC monitors are in wide format, commonly known as WXGA or 16:10. Some has even gone on to HD format, 16:9.

Similarly for large screen industry, we are seeing an increase number of WXGA format projectors but demand for the old XGA or 4:3 resolution projector is still strong despite the market shift, why?

To help users better understand the difference, the following comparison table should give a good idea on the pros and cons between the XGA and WXGA format projectors:

Performance XGA, 1024 x 768 pixels (4:3) WXGA, 1280 x 800 pixels (16:10)
Image quality If the image is generated from a WXGA format source, it will be ‘force down’ to fit as XGA format. Hence the projection will look elongated vertically and sharpness will be affected. Some projector may support 16:10 without distortion of the image, instead, the projector will block off a certain amount of pixels to make the image resolution match that of a 16:10 ratio. This method will actually deprive users on maximizing the pixel available on the projector and image quality will too be compromised. WXGA native resolution projectors will have an option to go down to XGA, hence a change of settings will help ‘sync’ the projector screen to match nicely with your older version PC/ laptop monitors.
Image Size Despite having fewer pixels than a WXGA format projector, it will have a larger image when projecting side-by-side with a WXGA projector on a screen with the same width. This is due to the advantage from the 4:3 ratio, giving more height to the entire image. Despite a larger screen size, its image sharpness will not be comparable to WXGA. Disadvantage of a wide format image is the wastage of projection space. Image size is confined to the limitation of its width. If there is insufficient width for projection, a WXGA image will look a lot smaller than that of a 4:3.
Cost Generally XGA projectors will cost $200 – $400 cheaper than a similar specification WXGA projector WXGA having more pixels uses a ‘larger’ chip hence a heftier price tag.

It really boils down to the individual requirements of each user to get the right resolution projector to better suit his/ her budget. The following points should help you look out for the right consideration when deciding between XGA or WXGA.

1. Type of image source

Are you buying the projector for purely presentation or playing video? Is your existing source (i.e. Laptop, DVD Player, Cable TV Setup Box) for 4:3 or 16:10/ 16:9?

2. Size of image

How big (width and Height) are you prepared to project up to?

3. Budget

How much are you willing to spend? (not forgetting cost incurred on installation)