Fans have been waiting for Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League for years, ever since the theatrical version was released. Snyder had to step away from the movie early in its production due to a family tragedy, but he graciously returned a couple years later to complete his own version of the film after petitions and pleas from fans made enough noise to convince studio executives to give Snyder another shot.
Today’s the day Zack Snyder’s Justice League hit HBO Max, and it’s no secret that fans have begun scrambling to sign up for the service to watch the film. However, early viewers have discovered a disclaimer that appears before the movie from HBO Max saying the film will be presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio “to preserve the integrity of Zack Snyder’s creative vision.”
That means if you were planning to watch it on your 16:9 television, you’ll be forced to stare at pillar boxes during the entire four-hour feature. However, if you pick an alternative device to enjoy the movie on, you could have a much better experience.
There are plenty of devices that offer taller aspect ratios to help avoid the black bars on either side of Justice League. What you want is a screen with a 3:2 aspect ratio since 4:3 is pretty hard to come by and 3:2 offers the closest resemblance. Here’s a roundup of a few of them.
Every iPad has a 3:2 aspect ratio which provides the best mainstream canvas for watching a film in 4:3 like Zack Snyder’s Justice League. It’s nice and tall, and the letterboxing on the top and bottom is very minimal. I would say it’s just about the perfect device to enjoy the film since iPad screens can get plenty bright, offer great contrast ratios, and strike the right balance of saturation and accuracy.
Microsoft Surface devices
All of Microsoft’s Windows 10-powered Surface devices come with 3:2 aspect ratios, making them ideal for watching 4:3 content like Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
If you want a big screen to watch it on, there’s the Microsoft Surface Studio. Its 28-inch display has a 3:2 aspect ratio and a 4500×3000 resolution, so watching in 4K shouldn’t be a problem. Of course, it’s insanely expensive at $3,499 and I’m not saying you should buy one just to watch Justice League, but you do you.
There are plenty more affordable options as well like the Surface Book 3, the Surface Laptop 3, the Surface Pro 7, the Pro X, the Surface Go, and the Surface Laptop Go. All of these offer screen sizes between 10.1-inches and 15-inches.
There’s a few other Windows 10-powered laptops that also have 3:2 aspect ratios. Here’s a shortlist.
True 4:3: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold
If you want a true 4:3 screen to watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League, you’ll have a hard time finding something that compares similarly in specs and modern-ness to the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Fold. Yes, it’s insanely expensive, buggy, and a first-gen product, but if it’s a true 4:3 aspect ratio you crave, you’ll have to drop a cool $2,184.99 on this bad boy.
Or… just suffer
Buying one of the devices I mentioned above just to watch Justice League without giant pillar boxes is kind of insane, so you can always just suffer with whatever 16:9 screens you have in your home. I really couldn’t tell you why Snyder decided 4:3 was the right aspect ratio for this movie, but it is what it is.