I get more screen real estate with a widescreen display. We use Autodesk Revit 3D architectural software at my office, which has a ribbon interface similar to MS Office. Widescreen is MUCH better as it gives more room for all the tools on the ribbon. I was running it on a 19" 4:3 display at 1280x1024. Now I run it on a 24" widescreen at 1920x1200. Much more screen real estate, even more than the largest 4:3 resolution I've seen of 1600x1200.
patrickGSR94 is incorrect for a given diagonal, the 4::3 yields a larger square inch display.
Initially it was a cost factor, 4::3 was more expensive than a 16::9 as a 4::3 is approx 12% larger panel for a given diagonal as pointed out by WR2. At that time widescreen dvds were still in the minority. As wide screen movies increased in popularity, the 16:9 format, became more popular it dried up the "home user" desire for 4:3
for 20" dia 16:9 = 17.44 x 9.81 = 171 Sq in - 4:3 = 16 x 12 = 192 Sq in
16:10 = 16.96 x 10.6 = 179.8 sq in.
Both are correct
1920 x 1080 (1050) is the 16:9 (widescreen)
1920 x 1600 maybe 16:10 which is also widescreen (my samsung HD240) or 4:3, Referenced Dell UltraSharp 2007FP (as quoted by WR2), normal
(1) use WR2's recommendation
(2) find a 16:10 that allows the screen panel to be rotated 90 degrees and then rotate the display 90 degrees in windows properties. Kind of the best of both worlds.