Apple iPhone X's 5.8-inch screen is actually smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus display


The Apple iPhone X has a 5.85-inch display, the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5-inch screen.

So... the iPhone X has a bigger screen, right?

Wrong!

What these display measurements do not take into account is the aspect ratio of the screen, and the iPhone X has a taller and narrower display with a 2.17:1 aspect ratio and a big cutout at the top, while the iPhone 8 Plus has a 16:9 screen. This is a crucial distinction because when you actually get to calculate the screen area, you will see some surprising numbers.


Let's go ahead and do just that. Here is a look at the two displays in numbers:

  • 1125 x 2436 pixels = 375 x 812 points (3x)
  • 1242 x 2208 pixels = 414 x 736 points (3x)


Apple uses points as the absolute reference number, so we will also use the points number as a reference, since the difference in resolution is a topic of another discussion. Today, we only look at the sheer size of the screens.

First, we simplify things and take the point numbers to calculate the screen area without taking into account the big cutout and the curved edges of the iPhone X (we also add the iPhone 8 for more context)...

  • iPhone X approximated screen area: 375 * 812 = 304,500 points
  • iPhone 8 Plus real screen area: 414 * 736 = 304,704 points
  • iPhone 8 real screen area: 375 * 667 = 250,125 points

So... even without taking into account those numbers, it's clear that the iPhone 8 Plus has a bigger area than the iPhone X. But how much bigger exactly?

To understand that, we need to do some further calculations. We now know the size of the iPhone X cutout in exact point dimensions as well as the radii of the curves. Let's roll up our sleeves and do some simple maths.

Maths time!

You can just skip to the conclusion if you don't care about the calculations.


1. Calculating the cutout size

First, the cutout area. If it was a rectangle with no rounded corners, we would have had an area of 209 points by 30 points, or 6,270 points. But we have a rounded rectangle at the two bottom edges. Let's account for that:

We first calculate the area of a 40 by 40 square, and then take out the area of the 40-pt radius circle inside. We get the area of the four leftovers in between the square and the circle, and we have two of them. Here are the calculations:

Square area: 40 * 40 = 1,600 points
Circle area: π * 202 = 1256.6, ~1257 points
Leftovers = Square area minus Circle area, or 1600 - 1257 = 343 points. A quarter of the leftovers is 85.75, ~86 points, and we have two of them for a total of 172 points.

We now have to add the tiny edges at the top.

Again, we add two squares, this time with 12-point sides, so we have 2 * (12 * 12) = 2 * 144 points. Then, the area of each 6pt circle: π × 62 = 113 points. We only need to add that quarter of the rectangle shaped by the circle, so we take out the circle area from the rectangle area and divide by four: (144 - 113) / 4 = 31 / 4 = 7.75 points, which we round up to 8 points. We have two such quarters, so it's 2 * 8 points, or 16 points.

So! The total area of the cutout is thus: the area of the rectangle minus the edge at the bottom plus the tiny edge at the top, or 6270 points - 172 points + 16 points = 6,114 points.

2. Calculating the rounded edges

We use the same trick to calculate the rounded edges: a square with an 88-point side, with a 44pt radius circle inside it. The leftovers are the four edges. Let's calculate:

Square area: 88 * 88 = 7,744 points
Circle area: π * 442 = 6,082 points
Leftovers = Square area minus Circle area, or 7744 - 6082 = 1,662 points, we have four quarters at each side, so the we take the full 1,662 point number.

3. Calculating the total iPhone X screen area in points

First, we deduct rounded edges from screen rectangle size: 
304500 points - 1662 points = 302,838 points

Secondly, we deduct the cutout at the top from the number we have just gotten:
302838 points - 6114 points = 296,724 points

And voila! We finally have the one number we need: the total screen area of the iPhone X is exactly 296,724 points. High five!

The grand total


Let's look at the grand total of all those calculations: the screen area of the iPhone X is exactly 296,724 points. The screen area of the iPhone 8 Plus is 304,704 points.

  • iPhone X real screen area: 296,724 points
  • iPhone 8 Plus real screen area: 304,704 points
  • iPhone 8 real screen area: 250,125 points

This means that the iPhone X has 97.38% the area of the iPhone 8 Plus, or simply put, its screen is 2.6% smaller.

And when compared to the iPhone 8 and its 4.7-inch display, the iPhone X actually has an 18.6% bigger display.


And that's how the 5.8-inch iPhone X display is smaller than the 5.5-inch iPhone 8 Plus screen.

Display InfoiPhone
X
iPhone
8
iPhone
8 Plus
Aspect ratio2.17:116:9
or 1.78:1
16:9
or 1.78:1
Display size5.85 inches4.7 inches5.5 inches
Resolution1125 x 2436 pixels750 x 1334 pixels1080 x 1920 pixels
Screen area
(in points)
296,724 points250,125 points304,704 points
Screen-to-body
Ratio
82%65.7%68.2%
Pixel density458 pixels per inch326 ppi401 ppi
Scaling3x 'true' Retina2x 'true' Retina3x 'true' Retina

reference: PaintCode

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35 Comments

1. sgodsell

Posts: 7186; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

This bs stuff you went through. Especially when I see the iPhone X physically side by side with the iPhone 8 plus. The iPhone X display is larger, even with the cut out. As far the iPhone 8 with it's lower resolution and smaller display to me is not worth $700.

7. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

Moar pixels : yes.. Bigger display : no.. This long article is calculating pixels count.. Not the screen area as cm² .. Quick comparison of screen area is as simple ashttps://www.phonearena.com/phones/Apple-iPhone-X_id10414/size#/phones/Apple-iPhone-X_id10414/size/Apple-iPhone-8-Plus/phones/10411

19. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Again, it's not pixels, it's points. If you count pixels, you'd get an inaccurate number.

22. ibend2

Posts: 159; Member since: Mar 16, 2016

So, "points" is like Apple's unit to count area size? You get points from simplifying pixel resolution right? What about converting that "points" to metric (cm²)

27. Guaire

Posts: 885; Member since: Oct 15, 2014

'Points' are not a metric you can use for actual screen measurement. What happened good old hypotenuse?

33. blogo11

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 07, 2017

I get it. I went to Apple store and was a bit shocked how small the x “seems” to my 7 plus. Quite A bit disappointed. The 5.8 screen is a bit of trickery to me. But but it will hold in the average hand much better than a plus. So I might upgrade.

9. Leo_MC

Posts: 7190; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You never liked math, did you? A square and a rectangle with the same diagonal have different area.

12. WPX00

Posts: 511; Member since: Aug 15, 2015

We already went through this when the S8 launched. The new 18:9 ratio means we can forget about diagonals being a reliable point of comparison for screen sizes anymore, because diagonal =/= surface area. Take this: a 3 inch x 4 inch rectangle, diagonal 5 inches, 12 square inch area. a 2.5 inch x 4.45 inch rectangle, diagonal 5.1 inches (BIGGER), but only 11.13 square inch in area (SMALLER)

15. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Absolutely, diagonals are just not a good representation. But it's even more complicated now because of that cutout, and that's what we have calculated here as well.

2. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3097; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Hohoho

6. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Lol !!

3. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

I skipped the math...just like I did in school. I'll just apply simple logic and common sense.

4. Wickedsamaritan

Posts: 77; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

Finally someone found the value of X X = Bull

5. twens

Posts: 1172; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Note 8. Lol

8. TerryD

Posts: 544; Member since: May 09, 2017

Why not just calculate the 'useable area' of the screen, which would be the largest rectangle you can have without cutouts f**king up your picture?

18. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

In this train of though, why did not Apple make a display without a cutout? :)

20. buccob

Posts: 2963; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

I think gsmarena already did and it was something about 4.9 and 5.1" in a diagonal 16:9 that you would be able to use... So in the end, my Xperia XZ with fat bezels has a bigger usable area than the iPX for movies and certain apps

10. Modest_Moze

Posts: 184; Member since: Mar 23, 2015

WOW, THIS IS NEWS!!!

11. Avieshek unregistered

Display size is measured from the corner to it's opposite corner. The notch itself consumes the screen. The 2.17:1 minus the notch would become the industry standard 2:1, the usable part. Hence, physically it's 2.17:1 to literally provide 2:1 of usable screen.

16. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

Not quite true. It's 2.17 to 1 with the ears, 2.09 to 1 minus the notch area at the top.

13. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

I actually knew this prior to all the math. The iPhone X is actually a lot closer to the 5.5 inch screen than I thought. Remember the rumor was that the screen would be 5.1 inches of usable screen. It sounds like it's a it closer than that. It's probably more like 5.3 or 5.4. The phone has more than enough for me. I've gotten tired of the massive phone over the years. This is what you suppose to do. Give us a smaller phone with a similiar or same screen size, not a larger phone with larger screen. And yes, I understand they are rumored to be coming out with a 6.5 inch variant next year. They can keep that!

14. Sloiz

Posts: 25; Member since: Jul 21, 2017

That would be truth If pixels on both screen are of the same size. Calculate the size in square inches or milimeter.

17. Victor.H

Posts: 1055; Member since: May 27, 2011

That's why we calculate in points, not in pixels.

21. Pabliell

Posts: 179; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

Shame you did the math half a year too late. When the stupid trend of 18:9 and 18.5:9 started, the educated part of society already stated that "bigger, taller screens" are a lie. Just when the LG G6 was released we already knew, that its 5.7" 18:9 screen was same size as 5.5" 16:9. It's just narrower, which makes an illusion. But that's all what it is - an illusion.

23. jjface

Posts: 229; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

if it is wider then it is bigger. Screw the cut out part which is waste.

34. Mumblefluff

Posts: 6; Member since: Jan 06, 2018

It's not a waste, that's the point, notch is used to not waste front of the phone.

24. Telemike

Posts: 43; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

Why in 2017/2018 is Apple only 750p!!!!!!!!! That's super low budget resolution. My Moto G5 Plus is 1080P and $250

25. Cat97

Posts: 1858; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

It's hilarious that many people realized this only now, when the S8 is out for like 6 months now. The diagonal of the S8, G6, etc. doesn't mean anything compared with 16:9 screens, you can't compare screen sizes by diagonal size anymore. It's actually better to compare screen widths (from left bezel to right bezel). That will tell a lot more information about word wrapping, video size, and overall size of the image.

26. Siralf

Posts: 2; Member since: Apr 12, 2017

Yep, good point that indeed was covered frome the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus release. I really don't mind bigger real state, so my dream is that Apple come up next year with same body to screen ratio but same size as the Plus model, think about the screen size!

28. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 715; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

THE MATH!!!!!!!!! IT HUUUUURRRRRTTTTSSSSS!!!!!!

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