Screen size


Marco Arment:

Android phones have been one-upping each other with screen size a lot recently. It’s an interesting tactic that seems to be working, at least relative to other Android phones. When comparing phones side-by-side in a store, the larger screens really do look more appealing, and I bet a lot of people don’t consider the practical downsides.

Apple generally tries to make it instantly obvious which of its products are better — what the trade-offs are. 16/32/64 GB: pay more, get more storage. iPhone 4S vs. 4: faster, better camera, Siri.

Bigger-screen iPhone proponents are telling me via email that they don’t necessarily want Apple to replace the 3.5-inch models with a 4-point-something inch one — just want a bigger screen model added to the lineup. But then which is “better”? I think it’s likely that many customers’ intuition would tell them that bigger must be better, and they’d make a choice they’d come to regret. What appeals to you in-store, side-by-side, isn’t necessarily what will appeal to you in long-term actual use.

[All true. But the point is subtle one. Many people may not care. It’s the same problem being complained about in other threads that the “4S” is not “5”. That somehow all new internals wasn’t exciting enough for the tech press. But here, tech guys are arguing over whether a 4 inch screen is better compromise than a 3.5 inch screen and whether an individual’s hand (specifically the person looking at this issue) can reach the entire screen as get it larger and is that a problem or not. For some, a larger phone with a bigger screen will be a better solution. For others, and I count myself among them, it wouldn’t be. At some point, a device stops being a “phone” a starts being something else. And with that you’ve now entered a very complex space of tradeoffs and design decisions. Size, weight, thinness, pocket sizes, cost, capability, battery life, experience all weigh in on what a device is… and worse yet, you have to live with the decision for a while before you’ll know whether it works or not and why. That is always an expensive proposition for users. It’s why reviewers who review a lot of “stuff” often seem more picayune than the rest of us… it’s not that they’re more opinionated and more demanding although many of them cultivate that belief. It’s that they’re forced to use many more designs. When you do that, you feel the failure in your hand. (“Man. That’s annoying!”). Yes, in the store a larger screen will have a positive impact, but carrying it in your pocket, not necessarily being able to reach across its surface and other issues may not be noticeable at first. It may feel like a cool drink of water in hell, or it may be one of those things that annoys you many times a day.. Hard to say from here. But that sucks.]
Source: Daring Fireball

2 thoughts on “Screen size

    • Exactly. These things aren’t a problem for some. Why would they be? I think the reason Apple didn’t change the screen size is because they didn’t change the phone design. Let’s see what happens with the next case design revision…

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