When is a bigger screen not a bigger screen?

Jules

Distinguished Member
That is the question.

I've become a fan of larger screen phones since my iPhone 4/5 days. I reckon anything above 5 inches is easy enough for me to read messages without squinting... but I always imagined larger would be better, either by presenting larger print or more of the same at once.

However, in my opinion there is much more to screen size or resolution on a mobile phone, and sometimes a larger screen brings almost no benefit.

Take my Oneplus 3 for example. It has a 5.5inch display and is actually pretty great.
But, I still wanted something a little bigger.... so I purchased a Sony Xperia XA Ultra (with a 6 inch display). The lack of side bezels on the Xperia XA Ultra is impressive. Its genuinely hardly any wider than my Oneplus 3. It is a lot taller though.

Anyway... here's the thing. The 6inch screen isn't giving me anything more. Let me explain:-

- The Oneplus 3 has capacitive buttons and a physical home button below the screen. So when you take the space required for the onscreen equivalents on the Xperia, you are left with the same screen height on each device.

- The scaling of items on each phone is also different and the same web page will render differently on each device. I actually find the smaller Oneplus3 shows more content per screen than the Xperia with equivalent text sizes. The Xperia seams to just spread things further apart.


For me, the ideal is a device thats no bigger than a OnePlus3, but with tiny top/bottom bezels like on an S8 or LG G6, and the almost bezel-less sides of the Xperia XA in a 16:9 ratio.

But I'm realising its much more than that. I'd also like full control of both system text size and object scaling. The Oneplus 3 gives me both these controls, while the Xperia only allows system text size adjustments.

I think what I'm saying is don't always assume a larger screen phone will give you what you're looking for. Sure, videos and photos that fill the screen will be bigger, but for every day tasks that bigger screen may not actually be any more useful or easier to see.
 

shango

Member
The size of the screen or it's resolution is not primary what controls how much content it can fit.

If your one plus's smaller screen is showing more content it's because it has a smaller dpi value.

If you want more content on you Sony look at setting the dpi lower
 

Johnmcl7

Distinguished Member
I had a similar issue when I changed from the 6.44in Sony Z Ultra to the 5.7in Note 4, the Sony was using tablet scaling and the Note 4 was using phone scaling meaning in terms of the content on screen the Sony was like a smaller tablet while the Note 4 was just a bigger phone. I can understand your frustration as it annoyed me that the Note 4 screen didn't actually fit on any more content than a 4.3in S3 Mini, just bigger like some high visibility mode.

As @shango has recommended, I changed the system DPI of the phone which is possible on the Note 4 at least without root, I followed this old thread but not sure if it's still valid and whether it works on Sony:

No root and want to modify your DPI? You can!

It did cause some issues with most of the Samsung software as the launcher, camera app, dialler etc. so had to put a custom launcher and similar although Nova Launcher is great and far better than the stock Samsung one anyway.

I'd have a look and see if there's any similar options for your Sony.

John
 

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