If you have used an Android device with a display larger than 3.5 inches, and then picked up one with a screen smaller than that, you must have immediately been shocked at how underwhelming Android feels on the smaller display. I remember also that my first experience with Windows Phone 7 was on a 4.7-inch display and what a superb experience it was. Handling a 3.7-inch display Windows Phone later was a mess. It just didn’t feel the same.
Using Android apps on a small display just feels cramped. Stabbing at those huge icons on such a tiny screen…. I can’t explain it. One would have thought that the bigger icons would translate to ease of use on small displays, but they don’t. It just feels cramped. Take a look at the WordPress app screenshot below. It is from an Android smartphone sporting a 2.6-inch, 320×240 pixel display.
Here’s the thing, the older OSes appear to deliver relatively good user experiences on smaller displays. Of course, that should not be entirely surprising. Mobile platforms like Symbian and BlackBerry were created in the days of small displays. Back then, a 2.8-inch display was huge! Now, when I pick up a device with that screen size, it feels really tiny.
With the newer platforms – iOS, Android, Windows Phone, everything feels cramped on a small display. Yes; if you are on a budget, you will have to bear with the inconveniences of stabbing at huge icons on a tiny display. But if you really want to enjoy the newer mobile platforms, if you can, please do save up and get yourself something with at least a 3.7-inch display. Push it up to 4.0 inches and you’re cruising nicely. Anything above that is modern mobility heaven.
Still, all this might just be me and my own perceptions in my own little world. What has been your experience on this phenomenon?
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.