Over a year ago, I went out and purchased for myself the Samsung S8003 Jet, a feature phone that was marketed as “smarter than smartphone”. It had a 3.1 inch, AMOLED resistive touchscreen that I felt was large at the time (this was January 2010, you know). 3-inch displays were beginning to get in vogue at that time, so the Jet was a display champion of sorts at the time.
Late last year, I had the joy of playing with a 4.3-inch display HTC HD 7, a Windowsphone device, and I was particularly intrigued by the WP7 user interface. While the WP7 UI retains its merits, little did I know that much of the WOW factor was due to the size of the display. How did I arrive at this conclusion?
AAfter the HD7, I got my hands on another WP7 device, the HTC 7 Mozart, this time sporting a 3.7-inch display. There was no WOW this time. The UI was still as fluid and exactly the same, but it just didn’t mesmerize me as it did on the 4.3-inch HD7.
Fastforward to early March 2011 when Nokia West Africa presented to me a Nokia E7 for keeps. Remember that I had been using an N8 since November last year (courtesy of Nokia as well). The N8 has a 3.5-inch display, and the new Symbian UI looks good on it. But…
When I powered on the 4-inch display E7, everything just looked better by far. Same user interface, same icons, but looking much better. Text is more readable. Images are clearer.
Of course, the Nokia E7 has the famous and superb ClearBlack AMOLED display that trounces the N8’s, which lacks the ClearBlack technology. Blacks are really, really black, sunlight legibility is excellent, contrast and sharpness are stunning. The E7’s display simply reminds me of the venerable Nokia E90’s stunning display.
After my experiences with two separate mobile platforms, it seems very clear to me that a phone’s screen size does make a difference. Does that mean “bigger is better”? Not necesarilly. In my opinion, beyond certain sizes, a phone becomes uncomfortable to use as… well… a phone.
I am thinking that a display of 4.0 to 4.5 inches is optimum. Anything beyond that, and I am not so sure.
What do you think? Does display size make any difference in your books? What’s your ideal phone display size?