iPhone X The Truth About the iPhone X's Screen Size

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by joeblow7777, Sep 29, 2017.

  1. flat five, Oct 5, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017

    flat five macrumors 603

    flat five

    Feb 6, 2007
    oh.. those pictures of other phones i posted weren't supposed to be about the curved corners/edges.. the point was that they're not 16:9 aspect ratio.. they are longer/taller (or widescreen if viewed in landscape)

    for example, if we follow the suggested logic-- find the unobscured 16:9 ratio within the screen then give the diagonal measurement of that area... with the S8, you're saying we should measure the screen according to the red outlined area:


    ..there's a lot of screen being left out of your calculation since the screen's aspect ratio is wider than 16:9..

    doing the same thing with the X:

    ..that's the 5" measurement you're talking about.. that's the 5" diagonal of a 16:9 rectangle on an iPhone X..

    if you take out the notches/corners of an X, you're left with a 2:1 ratio with a 5.5" diagonal:


    but even if we were to say "find the largest unobstructed rectangle on a screen, regardless of aspect ratio, then give the spec of that"... that's still an inaccurate measurement.. there's still more screen that's being left out of the calculation so it's false.


    or, at least an understanding of why in the past, a diagonal measurement was even used in the first place..

    first, here's why a diagonal tells almost nothing:

    Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.38.50 AM.png
    the square on the left is 12 x 12 with a 17" diagonal... it's area measures 144 square inches (a square foot)

    the rectangle on the right also has a 17" diagonal except its area is only 68 square inches..

    they both have the same diagonal except the square is more than 2x larger.. the diagonal measurement tells us nothing of how big/small a rectangular shape is.

    what the diagonal measurement does tell us requires going into the past.. when TVs had tubes.. the tubes were circular and then a TV frame/bezel was added around that in order to give us a rectilinear view.. in essence, we used a rectangle to crop a circle.. so, when you do that with the above examples:

    Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 8.46.57 AM.png

    ..you see both shapes are encompassed by the same size circle.. both shapes, if it were an old style TV, would require the same 17" tube.. that's what the diagonal measurement means.. that's when the diagonal measure makes sense to use since it's describing an actual piece of hardware.. the tube.

    but with LCD etc? it makes no sense to use diagonal measurements since they tell us almost nothing about the hardware or screen size.

    use AREA.. i mean, that's how we measure anything else..

    if you size up a house, you're going to arrive at a square footage...
    so the house is say, 1500 square feet.. then you decide if you like the layout or not.
    two houses could be identical in size but very different in floor plan/layout.. pick the one you like better but realize they're still the same size..

    do the same thing with phones.. describe the screen size as it's area.. then pick the layout you like better.
    in the case of iPhone X vs 8...
    the screens are the same size.. pick the shape you like better.

    but yeah-- use area instead of diagonal.. that is my suggestion.
  2. DNichter macrumors 604


    Apr 27, 2015
    Philadelphia, PA
    That's fine, I wasn't referring to you.
  3. spac3duck macrumors regular

    Mar 31, 2017
    Thanks for that flat five. The example of the square vs rectangle is a great example and I see what you mean by using the diagonal for comparison. It's the ratio of side:side that ultimately gives meaning to the diagonal.

    With regards to using area in the newer devices, it begs the question, is all area equal? I would propose that anything within the rectangle (regards of the ratio you prefer to use) is of high value whilst the extraneous parts are secondary.
  4. D.T. macrumors G3


    Sep 15, 2011
    Vilano Beach, FL
    Hey, let's just call it 50%! Precision doesn't matter :D

    This is my biggest take away, a little less width, more height, slightly higher PPI, but in a smaller physical package - and in the context of handheld / "pocketable" devices, every mm counts. I think this is going to be a device - because of the rather notable departure from iPhone designs over the years - that you're +really+ going to have to use to get a sense of it.

    The higher density should make smaller details a little more precise, and I'm _assuming_ that X display isn't like the Plus in that the internal resolution is the same as the physical display (i.e., a Plus internally is 1242×2208, downsampled to 1080x1920). I think once that came to light and the drama ended, we just went on as users (and developers) and didn't really think more about it, but as a developer, it always, bothered me a touch.

    Funny enough, there's a number of pretty major 3rd party apps that don't even support landscape [on the iPhone] like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Amazon (store), Paypal, Venmo, Starbucks, including a number of "native" apps, Music, Health, Phone - and even a segment of apps that have a mixed UI (Netflix uses fixed portrait for browsing, allows landscape for video viewing).
  5. bbowser12 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2017
    How can it not have more usable space? You can use the whole screen, and it has more area. Does the X break some law(s) of physics that have been rewritten in the past week or two that I missed out on?

    And don't get me started on having to choose (when viewing 16:9 content) to either have bars all over the damn place, or zoom in and cut off parts of the movie to use the whole screen. Reminds me of watching widescreen on the original iPhone. Either giant black bars, or zoomed in and cropped. Both choices are poor. And I don't recall any movies or TV shows being shot with rounded corner cameras.
  6. Vermifuge, Oct 7, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017

    Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    Look at your desktop PCs. Let’s say you have have two monitors and both are 27” (16:9) (on the diagonal). One of them is a standard 1080p screen and the other is a 4K screen with approximately 4 x as many pixels. Well on the 4K desktop you will have 4 times as much usable space.

    Both monitors may have the same areas but the 4K screen will have more relalestate in the form of more pixel & “usaeable” space. And if you calculate the area of both the iPhone X and the Plus they are nearly identical. (Again I have already done the math in this thread feel free to find it for your self.)

    The X has a higher pixel density with about 700k more pixels (I did the math in another post in this thread, feel free to find that) that’s giving it more usable space. Maybe not in ALL applications but aertainly in games and other apps.
  7. AnthonyG6 macrumors regular


    Sep 13, 2017
    A 4K TV has 4 times the resolution (detail) than a 1080p HD TV. How does that translate to more 'usable space'? The higher resolution on the iPhone X just means the content viewed on there will be sharper. Unless you are saying that because there's more pixels devs will be able to show content at a smaller size (which will still be legable) and therefore will be able to fit more content onto the screen?
  8. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    The X has virtually the same screen area as the Plus and more pixels. That’s more usable area than on the plus. It may be a different aspect ratio but it’s still more.

    Same area
    More usable area
    More pixels

    Have a prefrance of a traditional 16:9 screen? File everyone is allowed a preference but the screen on the plus is extra in just about every way. Plus is just basic now.
  9. Infiniverse48, Oct 7, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2017

    Infiniverse48 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2017
    This is completely false and someone needs to make you aware of reality.

    Pixel density does not net you more ‘usable’ space. It only nets you more clarity in the given space. It gets you technically more information in the sense that it is able to show more detail in images, which would otherwise be lost due to a lack of density to display them.

    Usable space is attained by the physical size of the display, not its pixel density. The iPhone X factually has slightly more usable space than the iPhone Plus. The caveat is that the iPhone Plus can reproduce a 0.5” larger 16:9 image due to the aspect ratio of the display.

    This is the reality...
    --- Post Merged, Oct 7, 2017 ---
    It doesn’t. That guy has absolutely no idea what he is talking about. Pixel density is only ‘usable’ in the sense that it can reproduce more detail in high resolution imagery, but that is patently different than ‘usable’ like anyone would think of it or refer to it in terms of the display. Obviously the iPhone X has slightly more usable space due to its size, but the iPhone Plus has more usable space for 16:9 content, which is the vast majority of video content smartphone users will ever view. This is a very real downgrade for avid video watchers, a 0.5” downgrade in fact.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 7, 2017 ---
    While I fully agree with you on the usable space rebuttal, I do have to say that the black bars are of no issue. A smartphone is a device you want to be relatively narrow, but can be much taller, about 2 times taller than it’s width. Due to this starting point, you then say, okay, well the best possible thing for a smartphone is the display since that gives the user information, which is the point. Naturally we must follow the device size in filling the front of it with display, and because the most intelligent design of a smartphone is roughly 2 times taller than it’s width, we fill the display with a 2:1 aspect ratio, as that’s just dictated by the intelligent physical design of the device.

    Because we have this full front display, we can show users maximal information for everything but media content, particularly video content. Video content unfortunately has to have large pillar and letterboxing due to this, but that’s not really a problem because we have OLED displays which perfectly dissolve the bars into non-distraction. So we gain significant information in a significant amount of the overall experience, just not in media, and specifically video.

    I for one understand this and accept it, it’s simply the most intelligent way humans can make this device we call a smartphone. Now, the notch, is not, but that’s another story.
  10. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2009
    While it doesn't on our phones, that's not an accurate statement in general. My MacBook has a retina display. But when I'm running windows on it, I can get a really high resolution. I forget what resolution it will go up to, but it's using the extra pixels for space, not to present a sharper image at a lower resolution which is all the retina is doing. They certainly could do the same on the phone, but they choose to keep it at a lower resolution which is probably the better choice.
  11. Infiniverse48 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2017
    Resolution can not change. Only scaling of the computer generated content. If a display has a resolution of 1920x1080, that’s the number of pixels that run horizontally and vertically. It’s physically impossible for that to be dynamic. The computer generated content you display within these bounds can take on different ‘resolutions’ in scaling the content such that you see larger and therefore less content, due to its usage of more pixels, but with a degradation in clarity because the device is using the same base image but zooming in on it.
  12. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2009
    I can change windows to be anywhere from 800x600 up to 2560x1600. That's far more usable space than I can get on my Mac. It doesn't look as good as it does on my Mac, but I can see far more of the same website on Windows than I can on the Mac side. That's all I'm saying. More pixels can indeed translate to more usable space.
  13. Infiniverse48 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2017
    You mean the Mac is displaying larger content like larger font etc. How does the same size content fit in less space than other content of the same size on the same display? That’s not possible. The content must be smaller and therefor more can then fit.
  14. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2009
    The mac side does not allow me to set it to such a high resolution. It's closing a lower resolution (X by Y, whatever you want to call it) but using more pixels. That gives things a shaper look. "Retina" isn't magic. It's just a higher resolution screen. More pixels in the same space. Monitor manufacturers were doing that back in the '80s and '90s for PCs. This is just the same thing with a new name. Adding pixels does allow for more screen real estate, but Apple instead chooses to keep the X x Y dimensions the same to give additional sharpness. Just like I can do on any desktop computer or laptop.

    My only point is that if they wanted to, they could use the extra pixels for more usable space. They choose not to.
  15. Vermifuge macrumors 68000


    Mar 7, 2009
    For the GUI maybe. But when it comes to custom games and apps, that’s more pixels for the developer to use. Thus more usable space / real estate.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 7, 2017 ---
    Yup I use RDM (an application) that gives me an option of running 2560x1440 on the Mac and allowing me MORE REALESTATE on the screen to do my work. That means more windows open side by side or even editing full 1080p video with plenty of room for all the co tells in final cut.
    --- Post Merged, Oct 7, 2017 ---
    Let me clarify what I’m saying. Yes higher PPI means you can fit more in less space if you have a device with hire PPI over another. For example the X over the Plus.

    What I’m saying is the X has 700k more pixels to play with over the Plus. That’s a heck of a lot more room to play with, even though the X has only slightly less screen area (depending on how you calculate the notch and rounded corners everyone has a different way of looking at it. To me every pixel is fair game.) To me that’s more relestate to work with. Does the GUI scale to the device allowing for a sharper interface? Sure. But developers are still free to use that space (reguardless of guidelines) as they see fit. It’s a guide not a set of rules. You willl see many custom games and apps taking advantage of this new form factor as the device matures.
  16. Infiniverse48 macrumors 6502a

    Jun 28, 2017
    That’s not how it works, and I’m not going to bother quoting the other guy because he will read this anyway. Yes you get far more pixels to put ‘stuff’ but that’s governed by the points at which Apple allows a developer to place content in. This using 3x so 3 pixels per point. You can’t use more pixels per point if you wanted to. And more pixels doesn’t mean more content. If you have a 5.5” Display and another 5.5” Display with 2 million more pixels, you can’t fit more content unless one of them has much smaller content. Ignoring pixels on the display, if a letter A is displayed at X size, then it doesn’t matter how many pixels are displaying it, if it’s the same number of pixels on both displays then it will be physically smaller on the display with higher resolution because the pixels are smaller and comprise less space than the other display, so you’d end up with a physically smaller A.
  17. roeiz macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2010
    So the images will be sharper..
    is this visible to our eyes on a phone screen?
    HD looks sharp enough on a + screen.
    If what you guys talk about results in smaller content on an phone screen it will be too small to be comfortably seen..
    so there’s a usable limit to that, no?

    Unless i’m missing something.
  18. subjonas macrumors 65816

    Feb 10, 2014
    Don’t fight, guys. That’s exactly what Apple wants.
  19. Gathomblipoob macrumors 601


    Mar 18, 2009
    The conspiracy theorist runs strong in this one. :D
  20. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2009
    Things will appear to be the same size as always. Same as when we switched to retina screens originally. 4x the pixels, but you still only had 4 icons across, not 8. Yes, it will be sharper.
  21. roeiz macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2010
    so after all the endless talk of the differences in pixels and all that crap,
    the screen will only get sharper? (which is kind of limited to our eyes at that size anyhow)
    so there's no screen real estate advantage at all?
  22. Diorama macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2017
    You keep saying that the resolution has already hit some kind of eye limit, but have you actually seen a Samsung flagship recently? They are pin-sharp, there is no way you could confuse it with the current Plus screen.
  23. roeiz, Oct 8, 2017
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017

    roeiz macrumors 65816


    Sep 13, 2010
    really? that much of a difference? is there a need to hold the phone close enough to see it?
    maybe it's mostly the screen's better contrast?
    or maybe my eyes are too old ;)
  24. Diorama macrumors 6502a

    Oct 6, 2017
    I need glasses for long distance, so for me at a few metres I can’t tell a 1080p tv from a 4K tv, but whenever my friend shows me a photo on his note 8 :eek: crispy fresh.
    Unless it’s more about the OLED contrast, but I think the pixel density definitely helps.
  25. MEJHarrison macrumors 6502a

    Feb 2, 2009
    There is a change in screen real estate. But it’s not because of the pixels so much as it is because the physical screen is a different size and shape. It will also be shaper. Because of the pixels.

Share This Page