When you first go shopping online for projectors, you’ll likely find many terms in the descriptions that you won’t have any idea what they are or mean. Such terms include SXGA, XGA, WXGA, WUXGA, FHD, and 4K resolution. You’ll also come across ratios such as 4:3, 16:10, and 16:9 along with the resolutions.
In this post, we’ll be discussing the different types of resolutions that exist in the current projector market. At the end of it, you will be able to tell apart various projector models based on their resolution and what purpose they best fit. Let’s get started.
What is Resolution?
In layman’s terms, resolution is the number of small dots that make up an image. The more dots an image has, the higher the clarity of the image will be, and vice versa. It’s typically expressed in terms of the number of small dots or pixels on the horizontal axis by the number of small dots or pixels on the vertical axis.
Keep in mind that what we’ve described above is the native resolution. There’s also maximum resolution which is different from a native resolution. Maximum resolution is the largest signal resolution that a projector can handle or display.
Now, if the content resolution differs from the native resolution, upscaling or downscaling will occur. That means that if the content resolution is lower than the native resolution, the signal will be enlarged and the opposite is also true.
What is Aspect Ratio?
A projector’s aspect ratio, put simply, is the ratio of the width to height of the displayed image. The most popular aspect ratios are 4:3, 16:9, and 16:10. As I’m sure you can tell, the first one is more like a square whereas the others are rectangular.
Types of Projector Resolutions
SXGA stands for Super Video Graphics Array and came first amongst the most common projector resolutions. It has a resolution of 800 by 600 pixels, adding up to 480,000 pixels (or tiny dots), and produces images with an aspect ratio of 4:3.
SXGA projectors are good at displaying the most basic videos, charts, and data. They are also affordable compared to higher-resolution projectors.
Example: BenQ MS536
XGA stands for Extended Graphics Array. And as the name implies, it’s a better version of the SXGA resolution. It has the same aspect ratio as SXGA (4:3) but with significantly more pixels. XGA offers 1024 by 768 pixels which add up to around 786,000 pixels, beating SVGA by over 300,000 pixels. That means you get crispier images.
Since most computers have an XGA native resolution, pairing them with projectors that share that resolution is typical.
Example: Optoma X400LVe
WXGA stands for Wide Extended Graphics Array and is an improvement of the XGA resolution. It offers 1280 by 800 pixels which adds up to 1,024,000 pixels and a 16:10 aspect ratio. As you can tell, the images displayed are wider due to the horizontal pixels being almost double the vertical pixels.
Now, most entry-level projectors have WXGA resolution and fit the budget of most people. They offer decent-quality images which are sufficient for most uses.
You’ll also find this resolution in notebooks, mobile phones, and computers, which makes pairing a bit easier.
Example: ViewSonic PA503W
FHD stands for Full HD and is often referred to as 1080p. It offers a resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels which is equivalent to around 2,000,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:9. As the numbers suggest, its clarity is better than WXGA resolution but the projected images will be a bit shorter.
FHD is the standard for modern projectors and you will find plenty of options at different price points in online and offline marketplaces.
Example: BenQ GS50
WUXGA stands for Widescreen Ultra Extended Graphics Array is an advanced version of the FHD resolution. It delivers 1920 by 1200 pixels, which equates to about 2,300,000 pixels and an aspect ratio of 16:10.
If you pay attention to the aspect ratio, you will discover that it’s similar to WXGA resolution but in terms of pixels, it’s way higher. Compared to FHD, WUXGA is better in regards to both aspect ratio and the number of pixels.
Devices that share this resolution include high-end computers and notebooks.
Example: ViewSonic PG706WU
The likes of XGA, SVGA, and other resolutions we’ve discussed in this article are good for entry-level buyers. Not only are they budget-friendly but also widely available. But with the entry of technologically-advanced projectors, they will continue to diminish in market share. And who knows for how long they will be available.
Hopefully, this article has been insightful and you have a better understanding of projector resolutions.