Why larger screen with lower DPI is better

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by eaglesteve, Oct 2, 2011.

  1. eaglesteve, Oct 2, 2011
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2011

    eaglesteve macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    Ive heard over and over again why it is better to retain 3.5 inch screen and have 326 dpi instead of 4 inch screen with 288 dpi. I disagree with this, and would like to explain to you why, by comparing an iPhone screen to a partially covered iPad screen.

    Our iPad screen has 768 pixels in 148 mm on the short side, and 1024 pixels over 197 mm on the long side. To make our iPhone 4 (which has 640 pixels on the short side and 960 pixels on the long side) comparable to iPad in total pixel count, I'm going to ask you to cover up 25 mm on the short side and 12 mm on the long side

    Now, you tell tell me which screen you would prefer to use? The uncovered portion of the iPad screen having 960x640 pixels left, or the iPhone screen which also has 960x640 pixels count?

    To me, it's a no brainer, iPad screen is better. Tying is easier, buttons are easier to press, pictures are more fun to look at, and text are so much easier to read, despite the fact that I can see the dots.

    Agree? Disagree?
  2. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    As I've previously explained: As the screen size increases, you naturally hold the device further away from your face and therefore largely negate the effect of a lower density.
  3. eaglesteve thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009
    Indeed the option is there. Yet, keyboard is still easier to use at that distance on the bigger screen.
  4. MaxBurn macrumors 65816


    Nov 25, 2010
    If I understand you right you are talking about a screen that would measure 123x7.28 or 4.84"x7.28" which diagonal is about 8.75" approx. I get that right?

    If so that is physically way too big and has pixels that are too big, personally I think the ipad screen is a touch rough on text.

    But you take the same pixel count and shrink it down to anywhere between 4"~5" diagonal suitable for a phone and now we are talking. This is what I am hoping for in iphone 5.
  5. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    Agree with OP.

    I don't see anyone asking for a smaller iPhone screen so that pixel density will go up. Nor do I see anyone with a large computer monitor asking for the same resolution in a 5" screen so that they can have the winning pixel density number. Nor should they.

    From an interface standpoint a larger screen with the same resolution is an upgrade. The questions marks hover over battery life and overall device size.
  6. bordway macrumors member

    Oct 2, 2011
    Do you think that Apple will ever go away from having a retina display now that it's made such a big deal of it on the i4? Seems like they can't.
  7. Dangerous Theory macrumors 68000

    Jul 28, 2011
    But retina is defined as pixels being almost indistinguishable by the eye at a certain distance from your eye. Increase the screen size, you increase the distance from your eye, therefore retaining retina.
  8. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    My largest disappointment with the iPad 2 screen is how bad text looks, as well as many websites. I am spoiled with the iPhone 4 Retina.
    I do not want the new models to be less.
    I am fine with the 3.5" screen size.
    Maybe Apple finds the sweet spot in bigger screen size and like some of you pointed out maintaing the 'Retina' classification, or use a new term to mask the loss.
    Apple has done things like using poorly processed plastic materials in the MacBooks and got away with it, then using poly carbonate and still giving the impression that is better but actually still having cracking issues.
    So, the display might be LED instead of LCD...or any other gimmicks to disguise the loss into a gain.
    Whatever they come up with, will be sold as the breakthrough first in the market.
    I have high expectations on how they pull this one off.
  9. Fernandez21 macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2010
  10. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    And yet, if you need to do some extensive web browsing, would you pick the iPad or iPhone.

    I'm guessing iPad.

    And this is why a larger screen on the iPhone is a big usability improvement. The decrease in pixel density would be nominal.
  11. GnillGnoll macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2009
    I don't think Apple would have to reduce pixel density. Instead they could keep pixel density the same and increase the resolution. E.g. 720x1080 at 4" has the same 326 ppi.

    Existing applications that can't handle the higher resolution could run windowboxed to 3.5". Apple would of course have all built-in applications ready for the higher resolution, and many apps, especially those using the standard UI elements, would need very few adjustments.

    It's not like increasing just the size is free from issues. After all, some UI elements are optimized for a specific physical size. If you make, say, an on-screen D-pad 15% bigger it doesn't feel the same way any more.
  12. eaglesteve thread starter macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2009

    You understood what I said 100%.

    From pockeability viewpoint I don't want anything larger than 4.3 inch too, which is your second point. I believe the sweet spot that balances useability and portability is between 4 to 4.3 inch, and iPhone has the potential of achieving that without increasing the phone size too noticeably because currently it has too much top and bottom bezel still.

    If we can raise the pixel density to compensate for the dropped DPI caused by screen size increase, so much the better. But a 4 inch 288 dpi screen beats a 3.5 inch 326 dpi screen anytime in my book.
  13. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    Actually I do prefer my iPhone instead of the iPad. It is very portable, one hand browsing, light to hold for long time, and very compact to travel with it.

    I wish the new model give us the customization of locking the screen in Landscape mode, this is something I do not understand why it is available for the iPad and not for the iPhone.

    If the website uses flash for videos, Skyfire with it.

    But if the website is a no-no, then I use my Mac.

    I haven't set up any connect to my Mac yet.

    The iPad 3 will get me, if it has Retina display, better cameras for video chatting, and more comfortable to hold for 1 to 2 hours.
  14. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008

    I can accept this. But in terms of screen viewing, it is a poorer experience, despite the high pixel density.
  15. McGiord macrumors 601


    Oct 5, 2003
    Dark Castle
    With all due respect, poor for you.
    Private in an airplane, and the greatest image for a portable device.
    Would I like to watch all my movies on it? Hell no! My large screen TV and HiDef all the way! BluRay
    Surround Sound...etc
    Some might even say 3D...
    Reading, I do prefer my iPhone.
    And a real book or magazine, specially while on an airplane waiting for them to allow me to use the forbidden devices with an On-Off switch.
  16. Lukkee24 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 20, 2011
    But not everyone has both an iPad and an iPhone.
  17. elistan macrumors 6502a

    Jun 30, 2007
    Denver/Boulder, CO
    I specifically DON'T have an iPad because of the screen, compared to the iPhone 4 screen. And I have no interest in acquiring an iPad until the resolution matches the iPhone 4. Website text on an iPad looks pretty bad to me compared to an iPhone 4. (Pictures do look decent though.) I have no idea if I'd be able to tell the difference between 288 dpi and 326 dpi, my eyesight might not be good enough, but if it's noticeable enough I'd much rather have the 3.5" screen with higher dpi. (My ~108 dpi computer monitor works well enough, but that's two to three feet away.)

    Just my opinion. YMMV. <shrug>

    ps - I also wouldn't want a phone any physically larger than the current iPhone. It'd come more unwieldy and uncomfortable to carry around.
  18. accessoriesguy macrumors 6502a

    Jul 8, 2011
  19. Jimmy James macrumors 68040

    Jimmy James

    Oct 26, 2008
    The person to whom I was responding has an iPad.

    And the point here was - which is better for web browsing:
    1. A large screen with low pixel density.
    2. A small screen with high pixel density.

    The purpose of making the point was to determine if an iPhone would benefit from having a larger screen with the same resolution.

    I'm afraid you missed the point.
  20. Virance macrumors regular

    Oct 1, 2011
    You have to remember that the question is not "What makes for better [x]?" It's "What makes for a better overall mobile phone that appeals to the largest number of consumers?"

    Until Apple decides to release two different sized products, expect the screen to not grow much -if at all. "Large screen" devices are still relatively niche, and Apple absolutely goes for mass appeal.

    I think 4 inches is doable, but I wouldn't expect anything larger than that (and I would only anticipate that if they manage to reduce the wasted horizontal space).
  21. trajen macrumors 6502a

    Oct 2, 2008
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_3 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8J2 Safari/6533.18.5)

    The iEye? Hahaha
  22. 0x000000 macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2011
    I doubt this is true. Right now I have my MacBook at the same distance I hold my iPhone. You keep it at a distance comfortable to you, just like you read books always at the same distance and not at close distance if it's a small book and further away if it's large.

    I also wonder about that... I doubt it's noticable. Maybe you'll see it once you've got both devices right next to each other, but you don't even actively notice how pixelated e.g. a 3GS is compared to the retina display, if you're using only that. You're just using the device, reading the content, you don't focus on pixels.

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