Understanding The Differences Between SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA Projectors

Understanding The Differences Between SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA Projectors

Whether you are watching movies, playing video games, or watching football with your friends, it is nice to project the content on the big screen, is it not? Allowing everyone in the room to enjoy the audiovisual content, and seeing that everyone is happy with the setup is indeed a blessing.

However, this is possible only when you pair the right projector with your needs. Here, we discuss the vital part of any projector, the resolution. Specifically, we’ll talk about the difference between SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA. More importantly, we’ll discuss which is best for what, ensuring that you buy the right one should you decide to purchase it.


What Is What And Which Is Which?

SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA; what do these weird symbols even mean? And what is the difference between them? Well, these are some of the answers we intend to provide in this section. Yes, there are differences between these acronyms, and yes, you should understand them before you make your purchase. So, let’s go through each of these terms and see the meaning behind them, shall we?


The SVGA stands for Super Video Graphics Array. Sometimes, people also refer to it as the Ultra Video Graphics Array, but we don’t want to go into that right now. What’s more important is the fact that SVGA is a general term, specifically a standard term used by computer geeks that include a vast array of computer display standards.

An SVGA is the oldest one in the books, featuring a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, which adds to a total of 480000 pixels. However, the term “oldest” doesn’t necessarily mean “outdated,” especially in the world of computers and technologies. Just take programming languages as an example; the C language was developed almost a century ago, and we use it to this day to create fast system applications. Given these points, don’t think that just because a technology is old that it means it isn’t satisfying.

The 800 x 600 resolution translates to a 4:3 aspect ratio, with 4 referring to the width and 3 to height. Though the SVGA resolution is low (compared to today’s 1080p standards), modern SVGA projectors are compatible with modern devices, including PCs, Macs, and other devices. More often than not, they connect via standard methods of data transfer, including VGA, HDMI, mini USB, etc.

Depending on the model, some can transcend their native resolution. For instance, an 800 x 600 projector can project a movie that is in 1024 x 768 resolution. Understandably, there will be some loss of quality in the process, but if the device is quality made, you’ll still enjoy your movie in HD quality. Plus, you’ll save some money in the process because low-res projectors often cost less than high-res ones.


The XGA features 1024 x 768 pixels, also spread in a 4:3 aspect ratio. These projectors were neglected at first because people were happy with their SVGA devices. However, with the rise of technology and advanced computers that featured 1024 x 768 as their native resolution, people started leaning towards the XGA technology.

You, dear reader, are probably aware of the fact that you need to pair your projector with a compatible device. What this means is that, if you don’t have an AV device that is compatible with your XGA, it is more or less useless to you. Even though the XGA offers an advanced resolution, you still need a device that can utilize this resolution to its fullest.

The good news is that most of today’s devices transcend the 1024 x 768 resolution and are compatible with the XGA projectors. When it comes to sheer numbers, XGA is better than the SVGA. However, it’s not just the XGA resolution that is higher; the price is too! By how much? Well, that depends on the model, the manufacturer, and other features that have nothing to do with the resolution (durability, lumens, color gamut, and so forth.)

But, the XGA is cheaper than the WXGA, but more on that later. What’s important to understand is that, as with the SVGA, it all depends on your needs as well as on compatibility with your AV devices. We also said that some SVGA devices are able to display 1024 x 768 content; does that mean that the XGA can display 800 x 600? Absolutely!

More importantly, no quality is lost in the process, at least no loss in pixels. Then again, there will be a loss in overall quality, due to the scaling process. Another great thing is the fact that both of these projectors feature a 4:3 ratio, which means that you won’t have to adjust it manually or change any settings at all.


Last but not least (certainly not the least) is the WXGA. It features 1280 by 800 pixels in a somewhat unusual 16:10 display aspect ratio. Why rare? Well, most displays and displaying devices feature 4:3 or 16:9 ratio. The 4:3 is a standard ratio, used in TVs and classic computer displays. On the other hand, the 16:9 ratio is mostly embraced by modern computer screens, especially in laptops.

16:10 is commonly used by LCD screens, generally in 1280×800, 1680×1050, and 1920×1200 resolutions. The WXGA resolution features, as we mentioned, 1280 x 800, which is a total of 1,024,000 pixels; now that’s a lot of pixels! WXGA stands for Wide Extended Graphics Array and is by far the most advanced of the three.

It was developed due to the increased need for a more detailed image and video display. The gaming industry played a massive role in this too, for gamers wanted a clearer and clearer gaming experience. Note that some of the older input devices aren’t even capable of displaying the 1280×800 resolution, which is why you need to make sure that they are compatible with running it should you decide to go with the WXGA.

While the WXGA offers the highest amount of pixels, it is often the most expensive option. It is also best if you seek HD quality and full-detail display. The best examples of using these types of projectors are video games, especially modern ones. Any gamer will tell you that there’s nothing worse than playing a 1280 x 800 game on an 800 x 600 screen (with all due respect to the 800 x 600 screens.)

Which Is The Best?

So not to choose between SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA, though you may not want to hear it, each of these options is the best one. Now, we aren’t saying this to lure you into buying any of these projectors; we have some evidence to support our claim! The first thing you need to ask yourself is this:”Do you need a projector with the highest resolution?” If you do, skip this article immediately and go for the 4k ones. If you don’t, here’s how you can solve this dilemma:

The SVGA Application

This projector is excellent for people that seek a budget solution for their projecting problem. If you need a simple projector for images, PowerPoint presentations, and projecting videos in SD quality, go with the SVGA. Why? Well, you could go higher if you feel like it and if you have the money for it, but there’s no need to buy a WXGA if you only use it for PowerPoint presentations in schools or offices.

Sure, you’ll have a fantastic, HD projection, but what for? As long as your students and coworkers can see the images clearly, why bother with the HD? For starters, no one will even notice the HD quality. And if they do, they probably won’t care.

However, never underestimate the power of a quality SVGA projector. Remember, the resolution isn’t the only factor that affects projection quality. Companies like to throw the word 4K around even though their devices aren’t capable of delivering 4K resolution.

The XGA Application

The XGA is an ideal pick for people that seek HD, but not too much HD. Does that make sense? For example, you want an HD projector to watch movies or observe photography, but you aren’t that interested in the WXGA. If you’re going to watch Netflix or play XBOX, then XGA is a better choice when it comes to WXGA vs XGA.

You will, however, pay a lot more for it, but that is to be expected. If you look at these devices as an investment, it is always better to go for the ones that feature higher resolution. With an HD device, you solve your problems for today and for the future, which is always preferable.

Then again, if you don’t have the money for it, and if you think that you’ll use a projector only for simple SD content, skip the XGA and WGA and go with the SVGA.

The WXGA Application

Everything we said about XGA applies to the WXGA. We are talking about the best ones on the list, at least in terms of resolution and pixel number. It is a perfect solution for watching HD movies and for video gaming. Yes, any serious gamer should get the WXGA.

Of course, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to play video games in a low resolution, but, try playing some modern high-end games in an 800 x 600 resolution, and then switch to the WXGA. It’s needless to say that gamers should look for 1080p quality, but if you had to choose one of the three (for gaming), it would be the WXGA.

Note that the WXGA emphasizes horizontal resolution, due to the 16:10 aspect ratio. This is an excellent setup for watching movies, much better than the 4:3 one (if you ask me.) Of course, you can use it for running PowerPoint presentations, but come on, do you really want to?

Last Piece Of Advice

What is the most important thing you need to consider when you are buying a projector? Resolution? Sure, the resolution is essential. As we mentioned a couple of times in this article, it plays a vital role in the quality of the displayed content. Then there’s the overall quality of the device, right?

The design, durability, lumens, and all that jazz; those thighs are essential too. Then there is the price! I mean, you have to act within your budget and make sure that you don’t step out of line. Your needs are critical too, and you need to make sure that the projector meets them.

However, non of these things is the most important thing! Instead, it is the compatibility. Here’s the golden rule for you: “The best resolution is the one your input device is capable of working with!” If the native resolution of your PC is 800 x 600, you should go with the SVGA. That way, you ensure that no quality is lost during the process of projection.

You also need to make sure that the projector has the appropriate slot for your device, whether it is USB 2, USB 3, or USB Mini. Most modern ones have these slots, but we recommend that you check these things out nonetheless. Once you determine the compatibility, then you can examine other features, such as the item’s durability, price, and overall quality.

Final Words

Technology can be confusing, especially if run into complicated abbreviations such as the SVGA vs XGA vs WXGA. However, you should never be discouraged by such things when you want to learn more about new technologies. Feel free to be frustrated, but never give up, especially if you intend to buy the mentioned technology.

It is even more frustrating to buy a device, wait for the shipment for a week or two, unbox the package with a big smile on your face, and then find out that the device doesn’t work. You then curse the distributor, the manufacturer and agitate everyone around you. And then someone tells you that you bought the wrong machine.

To avoid this problem, go through this article as many times as you need, for it will help you decide not only a device that is compatible with your appliances but also the one that fits you the best!

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt

Andrew Wyatt has been a tech geek for as long as he can remember. Whether it's laptops, cameras, or projects, he's obsessed with it all. When he's not researching the latest tech products, he likes to go on long hikes with his dogs.

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