Will Richardson

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Advanced Phone Maths

September 27, 2014Will Richardson

So, the iPhone 6 sports a revolutionary new 4.7” display. This upgrade was completely unexpected. I personally didn’t expect Apple to enter the ‘phablet’ market - instead thinking they’d keep with their model of targeting the average consumer, which is now someone who wants a slightly larger phone.

The increased screen size is definitely a big improvement. Games can worry less about your fingers covering up all the action and videos can be watched in their full 4.7” glory. However the phone is too big. It has the same footprint as my Galaxy S3 - from 2012 - a phone that when you take a step back from and look at the whole device it actually has a fairly small screen. Samsung even squeezed an extra .3” into the S4, while keeping the same footprint.

This led me to wonder how the iPhone stacked up against the other flagships of the last few years, in terms of the ratio of screen area to the area of the device. After some trips to GSM Arena and some spreadsheet-foo, I’d come up with an answer:

Graph of phones

Calculating the screen area was a bit tricky, in the end I calculated the number of pixels along the diagonal length of the screen and used this and the screen size to calculate the pixel density of the screen. Knowing the pixel density I could easily convert the horizontal and vertical resolutions to lengths and then calculate the area.

I chucked all this into a spreadsheet and bam, graph! The dark lines show the ratio of the screen size to the physical phone size, and the lighter grey line shows the device’s screen size. As you can see no iPhone model has a particularly large screen relative to the size of the device, which is obviously because of the massive chin for the home button and matching ‘forehead’.

So basically I just made this to illustrate that the 2013 Moto X is a really compact phone, with a nice sized screen. And the LG G3 is the phone you want to get if you don’t have time for bezels.


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