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  • You got cropped! Galaxy S8 and S8+ video display grief comes in stages, here's why

You got cropped! Galaxy S8 and S8+ video display grief comes in stages, here's why


TL;DR


  • Most TV series you'd watch on, say, Netflix, as well as the YouTube content, are meant for 16:9 displays - those get letterboxed on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ by default

  • You got cropped! Galaxy S8 and S8+ video display grief comes in stages, here's why
    You lose about 14-22% of the 5.8" and 6.2" screens' real estate, depending on the video app, if you watch the vids in the default letterboxed regime

  • You'd have to manually add third party apps to the compatibility mode list in Display settings, so that the full screen toggle appears in, say, Netflix

  • Even when you toggle compatibility mode, a 16:9 video will can still be letterboxed, or cropped top and bottom, depending on the app

  • Movies and TV series shot in 2:1 Univisium format are your best bet to use the maximum screen area of the S8 and S8+, but those are few and far between

  • SMILE! - New 2:1 TV series or movies get letterboxed on those pesky 16:9 phones in their turn, how 'bout dat?

Your 6.2

Your 6.2" Galaxy S8+ fits about as much YouTube vid as the 5.5" S7 edge


There were a lot of oohhs and aahhs around the collective tech blogosphere when we learned that Samsung is prepping flagships with 5.8" and 6.2" displays that won't be much larger than their 5.1" and 5.5" predecessors. Boy, did the Galaxy S8 and S8+ deliver on that front. Samsung stuffed no less than six elements in their top bezel, including a face recognizer set, then ditched the home key, moved the finger scanner on the back, and slimmed the bottom bezel in a never-before-seen manner.

All of those tricks resulted in phones with 83% screen-to-body ratio. To wit, this is close to the 84% of the current record holder - the Mi Mix - and more than Sharp's infamous EDGEST display designs. Granted, this number is helped by the curved display sides, too, but the slope here is very minimal, and mostly for aesthetic, rather than any functional purposes. The trimming efforts return a brand new design for the Galaxy S-series, plus the S8 and S8+ are also the smallest phones for their screen sizes as a result. Don't get us wrong, the S8+ is still a biggie, but this time Samsung has put a 6.2" panel in a size that big-screen phone lovers are accustomed to anyway. They were just used to having 5.5 or 5.7-inchers in this footprint.

3rd party apps have to be added to the Full Screen compatibility list manually

3rd party apps have to be added to the Full Screen compatibility list manually

As usual, there is a catch in all that Infinity Display goodness, as Samsung calls it. The LG G6, for instance, was the first announced to utilize a new 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio standard that hasn't even become widespread yet when it comes to creating content, let alone consuming it on a device made with 18:9 display like the G6. The thing is, and nowhere is that more evident than in the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets which come with an even more twisted 18.5:9 ratio, that most things we watch are shot in the current standard 16:9 format. Granted, the writing is already on the wall - blockbuster TV shows aimed at binging and streaming like Netflix's House of Cards are shot in the 2:1 format, and more will be added going forward, so at least these should fit fine on the S8 and S8+ displays, right?

Well, here's the scoop - not only is video watching on the S8/S8+ marred by the slightly curved display sides and the overly rounded screen corners, but also the new aspect ratio is hit or miss. Go to the YouTube app, for instance, and you will find yourself with black bands on the sides of the screen to fit the standard 16:9 aspect, or with slightly cropped footage in full screen mode. Even if you are streaming one of the new 2:1 Netflix series, they still show letterboxed by default, in offline viewing too, and there is no compatibility button in the Netflix app from the box. You have to explicitly go to the Full Screen option in the Display settings menu to add an aspect ratio toggle for the Netflix app. Upon tapping said button, if the series is 2:1, then you lose nothing by making it stretch and fit the whole display, but if it's 16:9, tough noogies, you got cropped, top and bottom.


Takeaway


What all of that means is that you either lose a portion of the original footage, or don't use the whole real estate of the screen, which on top of that is not as large as it sounds, since in terms of screen area the 5.8" screen with 18:9 ratio is more akin to one of a phone with 5.2" display in the common 16:9 format. How much canvas do you lose if you want to watch your vids as their creators intended? Well, we calculated that about 22% of the screen goes to letterboxing a video that is not in full screen compatibility mode in Netflix, while the black bands in the YouTube app waste about 14%, so on the 6.2" panel of the S8+, you are watching in an area that is about the size that a 16:9 handset with a 5.5" display offers, at best, or 5.1" on the S8, respectively. Coincidentally, exactly the screen diagonals of the S7 and S7 edge.

Oh, well, “those ahead of their time will have to wait for it in the designated places,” as one cuneiform clay tablet in prison states. On the other hand, the 2:1 Netflix "Frontier" series gets letterboxed on all those pesky 16:9 phones, and there is no full screen compatibility toggle with those retro critters. Don't you feel vindicated already?

115 Comments
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posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:28 20

1. kiko007 (Posts: 4978; Member since: 17 Feb 2016)


Might as well just have bezels if the black bars are gonna be there anyway...

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:27 4

21. kent-gaga (Posts: 547; Member since: 10 Apr 2012)


These are some wise words

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:34 29

6. L0n3n1nja (Posts: 245; Member since: 12 Jul 2016)


That makes no sense, do you watch video on your phone 24/7?

16:9 is a good aspect for televisions, I don't like it for phones, computers, or tablets. It's less productive.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:36 32

7. ibend (Posts: 6429; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


there is a difference between
"bezels that always there"
and
"bezels that only appear at some video"

"bezels that always there" is just waste of space
"bezels that only appear at some video" is much better since people will rarely see it anyway, and at worse case it will just look like any normal phone when you watching videos..

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:38 40

8. afrohoxha (Posts: 25; Member since: 13 Mar 2014)


What about web browsing or list view content on apps, or more useful area during multitasking? Scenarios which may have more usage than watching couple of videos a day.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:40 37

9. Cat97 (Posts: 195; Member since: 02 Mar 2017)


You can turn screen into bezels, but never can you turn bezels into screen.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:41 23

10. ibend (Posts: 6429; Member since: 30 Sep 2014)


we all know that he'll change his mind as soon as his beloved iPhone use this same screen ratio, lol...

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:46 16

13. UglyFrank (Posts: 1877; Member since: 23 Jan 2014)


Exactly!

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:50 7

15. notfair (Posts: 126; Member since: 30 Jan 2017)


I hope you enjoy your 4:3 content on the ipad.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 09:53 2

16. QWIKSTRIKE (Posts: 1259; Member since: 09 Mar 2010)


This happens with all large phones so what's the point. I have to stretch video frames from movies to work edge to edge on my og nexus 6. It all depends on when the movie was made.... Old black and white movies are 4:3..... What do you have to say about that..... Really.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:17

19. torr310 (Posts: 1038; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


I spend most of time using my phone for web browsing and chatting, so a wider screen is easier to view the web content and type.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:19

20. torr310 (Posts: 1038; Member since: 27 Oct 2011)


Why turn the bezels into screen if we couldn't make a good use to it?

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:37 8

24. sgodsell (Posts: 4518; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


Wise words from a moron. Kiko007 is either ignorant or just flat out can't read. The black bars as he puts it. Is not there all the time. On the home screen it's not there, settings, and if you use YouTube, Netflix, and a number of others you have an option to go full mode which will crop the top and bottom slightly. Also if you use split screen multitasking then it takes advantage of the screen real estate. Something that iPhones still cannot do to this date (split screen, or real multitasking).

So once again how wide is kiko007? Not very wise!

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:40 10

25. sgodsell (Posts: 4518; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


iPhone arena, you purposely move my posts down. I guess you hate the truth. You let liars like kiko007 post comments which prove he is a liar. This site really is iphonearena. Pure garbage.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:43 6

26. kiko007 (Posts: 4978; Member since: 17 Feb 2016)


Tinfoil is abundant with this one...

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:44 5

27. kiko007 (Posts: 4978; Member since: 17 Feb 2016)


Bruh, WTF are you even talking about?

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 10:52 5

29. kumar1234 (unregistered)


Oh, great, Now Samsung phone has ON-SCREEN bazel. LOL.

2:1 or 18:9 aspect ratio is stupid and gimmicky. Samsung always present their gimmicky features as if they are useful. Well, it works really well for them. Their idiotic fanboys always fall for their gimmicks.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:03 4

31. Hoggington (Posts: 349; Member since: 23 Feb 2016)


It's true. This new aspect ratio makes zero sense. Tall and skinny isn't better than 16:9. Nope.

Not liking mine at all.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:12 2

33. Mxyzptlk (unregistered)


Screengate strikes again?

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:23 1

34. Feanor (Posts: 830; Member since: 20 Jun 2012)


I checked the S8 together with my 5.5" Xperia Z5 P. The whole thing is pretty much a fad; the S8 has a nominal screen size of 5.8" but in reality you get smaller, letterboxed videos and images and also website content appears smaller (because screen width is smaller). However the screen is so tall that pulling down the notification bar is more difficult than on my Z5 (despite the minimal bezels) because the screen is just so tall. So, you get smaller content everywhere with the additional discomfort of not being able to reach the top corners of the screen. If I want the same size of content with my Z5, I have to go for the S8+ (which has comparable screen width) but this is bigger and the top part of the screen approximately a mile away from my thumb. So, you get this futuristic feel at expense of real ergonomy and real useful size.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:32 2

39. Plasticsh1t (Posts: 1763; Member since: 01 Sep 2014)


@kiko007 I believe he wants to measure your width maybe?! I'm lost.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:40

43. ebilcake (Posts: 880; Member since: 16 Jul 2016)


Yes, with Stereo speakers.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:46 4

46. omnitech (Posts: 643; Member since: 28 Sep 2016)


Lol you sheep slay me. That's your one of your most retarded comments and you had plenty .

That's like saying might as well not have money if you cant spend it yet.

Eventually a lot of media will support this and there are already plenty of situations where it does.

And because it's an OLED display that's pitch black, go right ahead and assume they are bezels or keep using the one hand mode if it's still there. The rest of us will use the entire display in the most used app, the browser. Lol

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 11:53 4

48. sgodsell (Posts: 4518; Member since: 16 Mar 2013)


I guess like APPLE FANBOYS always fall for Apples overpriced under spec iPhones, and will believe it's the best out there.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 12:17 8

53. Mr.Pussy (Posts: 75; Member since: 16 Feb 2017)


Keep on whining about this new screen soon your favorite brand follow and you will feel like a stupid moron. Remember those day when you whin about android phones are too big? Well why not just stay at 4"? Remember amoled screen? Soon you will copy that too.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 12:53 1

59. sissy246 (Posts: 3516; Member since: 04 Mar 2015)


But they are not there all the time.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 12:59 7

62. Tech_fan (Posts: 92; Member since: 28 Mar 2017)


Super Stupid Article, and the two most Stupid ikids(kiko,kumar) come so early...by the way PA and its iwriters look so BUTTHURT about S8 sucess...lol

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 13:11 2

69. ebilcake (Posts: 880; Member since: 16 Jul 2016)


You could say the same about Samsung fanboys, pretending their any different is foolish.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 13:23 5

70. Finalflash (Posts: 3431; Member since: 23 Jul 2013)


Yea, games, text, web, general UI, etc will be far more common, but no....Let's call it grief or just have bezels instead....Until Apple releases it of course. Then it's the best thing Apple ever invented.

posted on 20 Apr 2017, 13:37

71. zenun12 (Posts: 146; Member since: 31 Oct 2016)


Most tablets are much more convenient to use on a 4:3 aspect ratio.It offers more screen real estate than it's 16:9 or 18:9 counterparts, and is much more manageable with two hands. A 16:10 tablet on the other hand like the Xperia Tablet series, are much more meant to be used in landscape while they're pretty much clumsy to use in portrait mode. 4:3 aspect ratio on tablets make them manageable whether portrait or landscape.

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