back to article Smartphone and tablet displays: Reg readers weigh in

In January 2012 we ran a Reg reader survey to find out what you think about your smartphones and tablets, and the results are now in. Given the diverse range of device sizes now on the market we were interested in your take on what size you like your device to be. In particular, we wanted to see whether bigger does equal better …

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WTF?

What do they expect to see?

Not entirely sure what the people who wanted a Full HD 3.5" screen are expecting to see - given that I can *just* make out some pixels on my iPhone, if I hold it as close to my eye as is possible to focus. Presumably this is just the usual "bigger number in the spec list is better" thing...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: What do they expect to see?

Not sure if this applies to iPhones, but typically you can connect current Android phones via an adapter to the HDMI input on your TV. That doesn't explain why you would have 1080 display resolution on such a tiny screen, but it does perhaps explain the presence of hardware and software to handle it.

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Happy

"1020p full HD"? Is that Apple doing their own thing again?

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Coat

You lose 60 to that darn Apple tax...

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FAIL

There is a send correction button, you know.

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Holmes

where is the fun in that? When you can post a comment and make a cheap joke.

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Silver badge
Coat

WE knew this 30 years ago

It was just too expensive then

Phone

More than 4.5" and you need to keep the width the same. maybe 2.4:1 rather than 1.85:1 (16:9) to get any bigger screen and still fit in pocket.

For Tablet overall size including case needs to be about Clipboard / Letter Size / A4, thus the 11" screen.

You need minimum 133dpi on a 11" or larger screen and about 266dpi minimum on a phone as it can be held closer.

Desktop/Laptop minimum either 15" 4:3 or 17" Widescreen, minimum 1200 pixels high, ideally more.

HDTV for 2.4m distance viewing, 42" screen. Needs quite large text and GUI that works without Touch, Mouse or QWERTY.

These need four different GUIs. Trying as per Win98 and WinCE *OR* as per Win8 to use the same "home screen" and GUI on the full range is stupidity.

Mine's the one with a Tablet pouch :-D

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WE knew this 30 years ago

Agree completely mostly we've known for 30 years or more what is desirable, its only recently become possible to build devices with adequate capabilities at mass market affordable prices. I've been keen on the idea of detachable touch evolution from clamshell notebooks since the 90s, taken a long time but getting there now. Hopefully devices will grow even less intrusive and awkward if we can keep shrinking tech, nothing magical about direct to retina projection just a lot of hard work to make it happen.

Theres a considerable variance in individual visual acuity out there so the first thing anyone designing devices or software (or reviewing) needs to do is recognize this and not pontificate on personal observation. Hand size variation. Particularly with phones, the one size fits all model is fundamentally flawed.

However still leaves some good rules of thumb like 4.5" being sweet spot for handheld for the majority of adults.

Nowadays, most of us would benefit from an 7/8" pocket sized screen, an 11" screen and a 16" screen, each is beneficial for some modes of use. There is no perfect tablet size for all uses so a bit daft to ask what size you prefer. For many work and leisure activities, 24" to 32" sometimes multiple screen configurations are useful too. Obviously dpi depends on typical viewing distance and individual eyesight factors but crazy to argue whether clear text is desirable. TV in the lounge context, anywhere between 40" to 60" and higher it all depends on room dimensions and social requirements.

Although the idea of an identical UI can't work over these different sizes, use scenarios, and mouse keyboard touch gesture voice input methods theres no reason a single approach to UX can't work over a wide range of devices, at least avoiding conceptual discontinuities. We don't need a bunch of totally different GUIs IMO. We already see attempts at this in web browsers, Android, iOS and Windows 8 although each has a way to go.

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Bronze badge

Re: WE knew this 30 years ago

Yes. Yes. YES!

Thank god for someone who knows what they're talking about.

Can we please end this one-GUI-for-all-sizes nonsense right now.

Are you listening Mr Shuttleworth? (Love Ubuntu, hate Unity on the desktop.)

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Thumb Up

Re: WE knew this 30 years ago

Mostly agreed, but ...

Desktop/Laptop minimum either 15" 4:3 or 17" Widescreen, minimum 1200 pixels high, ideally more.

For laptops -- laptops that are actually going to be carried around, rather than simply desktop machines that look like laptops -- if the screen is as big as 15" the weight of the device becomes a problem. Lighter components, stronger chassis materials, and better battery technologies are helping ... but I'd say that the ideal laptop is in the 13.3" to 14" and weighs less than 2kg.

Even so, the screen needs to have at least 1200+ pixels vertically. No question.

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Silver badge

for 2.4m distance viewing, 42" screen.

I bet M$ would still claim you need touch even at a 2.4M viewing distance. Otherwise how are you going to compete with the cool kids.

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5.5" phone screen

I've had the Note II since October and been fairly happy with it overall. The size is just about manageable, but lately I've become irritated by it being a bit unwieldy if you want to take a quick pic one handed (while pushing a pram, holding kids hand etc).

So, one extreme to the other, mid way through my contract its going and I'm giving the wife's iphone 4S a go when she upgrades. That'll be interesting after 3 years of using 3 different android phones.

5.5" down to 3.5" screen... I find myself giddy in anticipation of what I'll do with the spare pocket space.

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Silver badge

Re: 5.5" phone screen

I recently had to use my old Nokia 5230 touchscreen phone that I keep in the car for the satnav (free maps and low battery drain) instead of my Galaxy Note (I'd left it in in the house whilst I popped out to the garage, not intending to need to go out). I had exactly the same thoughts as you, but the other way around - the tiny phone was just soooooo unwieldy. The buttons were hard to find and use, and it just didn't sit comfortably in my hand like the Note does.

This thing about "one-handed-use" in the article - is that really such a big thing? I certainly never use a phone one-handed, regardless of size. Firmly grip with one hand, press buttons with fingers on the other hand - sensible, no?

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Re: 5.5" phone screen

" I've become irritated by it being a bit unwieldy if you want to take a quick pic one handed (while pushing a pram, holding kids hand etc)."

"Pushing a pram"? I've never heard it called that before etc.

Seriously is life so full of occasions that must not escape unphotographed that this is a genuine irritant?

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Re: 5.5" phone screen

It's not the only irritant, but yeah... I like to take a lot of pictures. Although most get deleted later.

To be fair the Note is tired now. It's had very, very heavy use since early January. I've been in and out of hospitals fighting the good fight against cancer. It's probably had two years regular use in 3 months. Frankly the sight of the thing reminds me of the smells of the hospital and the nausea of the chemo.

Also, I kinda wanna scratch the iOS itch while I can do it for free.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

January 2012?

"In January 2012 we ran a Reg reader survey" Really? Nobody noticed? Is it just me?

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Silver badge

Re: January 2012?

Maybe not just you, given the number of respondents, but I saw it and took part. I do remember thinking that the newsletter heading could have been a bit less opaque, though.

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Gold badge
Trollface

Re: January 2012?

And indeed the results are finally published 15 months later? Was it done by the same people that the government use?

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jai
Silver badge

Re: January 2012?

@Intractable Potsherd

I think he meant the "2012" which probably should have been 2013 for the results to have any relevance. I'm assuming it's a typo and not that it's taken them over a year to collate and draw anything useful from the data.

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Re: January 2012?

Let's hope so! 15 months is long time in smartphone technology - in fact it's pretty close to the duration of my own 'refresh cycle'.

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