Ask Dave Taylor: Tech and Business


What do XGA, SXGA, WVA and "Wide Angle" mean?

What are SXGA and (WVA) on monitors? I'm looking for a new laptop and one of the sites I'm checking out described some laptop monitors as "LCD : 15" SXGA+ (WVA) ". Another site described a laptop screen as "Wide Angel": is that just a misspelling of "Wide Angle", and does that mean wide-screen?

As someone who spends more time with Macintosh systems than PCs (though I own two PCs and am getting a new IBM Tablet PC this week!) I have to admit that if there's one area where techies have made it incredibly hard for customers to figure out, it's PC screen resolutions. There are seemingly hundreds of different variations on "GA" ranging from VGA to SVGA, XGA, SXGA, and on and on and on.

Why manufacturers can't just say "up to 1024 x 768 with millions of colors" and make our lives easier is beyond me. But they don't and instead speak in codes. So, here's a basic table for your edification...