Mobile Screen Size Matters
Screen size is a highly debated topic among smartphone users, and this year’s smartphone models are bigger than any previous phone by far. The trend seems to be phones that are growing larger each year. As the smartphone edges closer and closer to the size of a small tablet we here at 3Seventy ask the question, does a bigger screen mean a better phone?
The user experience for surfing the web on your smartphone depends largely on the content that you are viewing. For example a high resolution display phone with a 5 inch screen will allow you to view a non-mobile website better than a smaller low resolution phone. However, if you are viewing mobile websites that are optimized for a smaller phone you will notice a good amount of wasted space on your larger displays. As web development technology continues to become more mobile focused this type of issue will become a distant memory, but for now it does remain a factor in this debate.
When it comes to gaming the bigger the display the better the experience. You play most games with two hands so the size factor of the phone isn’t an issue, and gamers want to play on the largest, most high-resolution platform as possible. If a company designs a mobile game without the mobile screen size in mind, they may ruin the user experience and lose out on players.
This may be the most important factor in the debate of the phone screen size. Apple’s iPhone has stuck to the same device width since its first release in 2007. During that time we have seen Android phones get larger and wider. While a bigger screen seems great in theory the principle behind Apple’s decision to keep their phone small is simple. It is the usability of the device with only one hand. The image to the right demonstrates the arch of the average thumb while holding both an iPhone 5 and a Galaxy S4. You can see from the image that you can touch practically any area of the iPhones screen with your thumb while holding the device in your hand. With the larger screen size you lose 60-70% of the top of your device screen as well as a good portion of the far right and bottom on your screen. Because of this a great amount of the base functionality of a large screen phone becomes a two handed experience. One Android phone, the Droid DNA, is so large that the company has released a Bluetooth accessory called the HTC Mini for it. The HTC mini is essentially a Bluetooth phone handset complete with a T9 texting number pad. Their phone is too big to use as a phone so they released a phone accessory for it. It sounds like an article from “The Onion” but it’s a real product.
So is a bigger screen better? It really all depends on the preference of the end user. If you use your phone on the go often and need quick one-handed access then a smaller smartphone is probably your best bet. If you mostly use your phone in a two-handed operation for web surfing, video watching and gaming then perhaps the larger screen phone is for you.