That I would not disagree with. Unless you get a laptop with a really high-end (read expen$ive) display, you are better off with the same resolution in a 4:3 format. I remember getting an IBM thinkpad around 1999-2000 with a 15" 1900x1200 resolution, 4:3 aspect ratio, display - it was HUGELY expensive, but then I was the most senior engineer in a company with 3000 engineers... :-) Sometimes seniority has its privileges! For the time, it was a glorious system. I could process photo negatives that were scanned at full resolution (4000+ pixels per dimension) and 48-bits of color (very big files!), then photoshop them on that system better than on my 21" CRT monitor (big for the time). The color on the CRT was better, but the resolution on the laptop was better. Now, I use 1920x1200 24" wide-screen displays on my home workstation (2 of them), and I think that if my desk were bigger and my budget was unlimited, I'd upgrade to some newer, bigger, and higher definition displays. However, $$ is currently the limiting factor there. :-) I've had one of these displays for about 6 years, and the other for 4 years - both Dell models. They've been totally (knock on wood) reliable, reasonably priced (I was able to afford them), and they fit on my desk. I got the second one when I started consulting again 4 1/2 years ago and built my current home workstation with a dual-dvi nVidia 8800GT card. First time I had a system which would easily support dual displays at that resolution. Honestly, I could use this setup for the rest of my career and not be dissatisfied.
So, yes I agree that smaller laptops should stick with 4:3 aspect ratio displays. 17" models, I think that is open to disagreement.