Debate over bigger is always better and Apple’s stance on iPhone screen size has I think a reason to stay the same.


As a designer I always liked bigger flagship displays since the nineties, like this SONY Trinitron Sun Microsystem monitor which I used for many years. Fast forward a decade and what you get on Samsung Galaxy S4 handheld (Is it really a mobile?) which display I love is almost the same pixels crammed up to 5 inch of that 21′ SONY behemoth of the past. On contrast still Apple’s latest iPhone 5s have lesser pixels and smaller 4 inch size regardless of critics but it doesn’t really mean any less usability for practical reasons. So here is the facts.

PLEASE NOTE: I tinker every OS, explorer most gadgets I get just for fun, but the only practical use I get from any of these smartphones is making calls and browsing web other than occasionally play a game. That’s it. So this may differ with your actual usage. But smartphone’s sheer success was due to desktop class mobile browser before the App era. And this isn’t necessarily a technical rundown, rather a routine I observe everyday from early Android Froyo days to today 4.2 Jelly Bean. On iPhone front this has been almost the same from iOS 1.0 to iOS 7 now from 320X480 3GS to today’s iPhone 5 retina display. Rendering size is always the same while retina bump-up the crispiness of the text. There is a significant way Apple handles the screen in iOS and Mac OS X. iPhone screen size still remains in the 4 inch region without any practical usability hindrance.

So millions of millions iPhonions have seen everyday bigger screens doesn’t necessarily yield any usability breakthroughs on a mobile. So if you filter the critics, it’s always Android fans who complains iPhone has a small screens. Not iPhone users. This differ when you move up from phone to a phablet or tablet and that is a different use case.

I have picked up http://www.redmondpie.com and http://www.androidpit.com blogs to showcase this

iPhone 5 Galaxy S4
640 x 1136 px 4 Inches 326 ppi 1080 x 1920 px 5 Inches 441 ppi
iOS 6.1 with Safari 6 Android 4.2.2 with Chrome 31.0

Check out the real captures.

Native rendering of http://www.redmondpie.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Actually native loading size of fonts are more readable on the iPhone. Both phones can bump up font size as accessibility feature.

Single double tap zoom to fit-to-screen. This is where the beauty. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4? Single double tab on iPhone makes the site text quite readable and fill the whole full screen in iPhone you just have to scroll down to keep on reading. Where as on S4  you have to fiddle with pinch, zoom, find a fit, loose your read location and make it readable size and then scroll side-ways and up and down side ways to find your location back. This is a pain. For me, this makes a whole world of difference. Of cause you get used to the for both scenarios over the time, but can Android claim this IS better usability? This is worse with the famous Android Screen Lag even with the latest Samsungs flagship S4 and Note 3. Google is trying to fix this with Nexus new 4.4 ART runtime.

Native rendering of http://www.androidpit.com as it loads. Is it any “MORE” readable on bellow S4?


Double tap zoom-to-fit the screen. For my aging eyes iPhone is still “MORE” readable. Anyone?


The whole point is here there is no point you seeing more (more lines or content) if you really can’t make use of it. It only helps when you do view pictures or videos on a mobile but never with text. You read one line per round. Perhaps Apple will go 5 inch in the next year iPhone. But it is still a long way from iPhonions clamming to a bigger screen yet. For me Samsung S4 5 inch draws the upper limit of a mobile. Note is out, Next Samsung S5 should get the S Pen. Or what if Apple too will join with my decade older famous Wacom Tablet (S Pen maker) which I have been using since 1998?


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