The real iPhone X screen area vs iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, video binge edition


Man is an animal that can get used to everything, said one of the literary classics, and indeed, the more its owners use the iPhone X, the less annoying does the notch become, to frequent reports that people don't even register it anymore, except as a design quirk that tells everybody they have the latest and greatest iPhone. 

That's all fine and dandy, and, as we showed you in our aspect ratio comparisons with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, the new taller and narrower iPhone X display can often fit more content on one screen while reading, browsing, or using many default apps. Third party apps are also being updated to be on good terms with the iPhone X's resolution and screen peculiarities at lightning speed.

When it comes to watching video, though, the advantage shifts significantly to the cheaper iPhones that Apple came up with this season. Since the iPhone X has a quirky 19.5:9 display aspect ratio, it either blackbars regular formats that, say, form the vast majority of YouTube videos, or clips some stuff out when zoomed-to-fill in compatibility mode, as you can see in the picture on the right. Notice the PhoneArena logo over the lower left corner of the video in zoomed mode? Us neither, as it has almost disappeared now. Here are the hard numbers what you lose when you gain an iPhone X, instead of its humble 16:9 siblings:



The usable area of the iPhone X display is akin to a standard ratio phone with 5.4" diagonal, which is about what the 8 Plus offers, explaining the numbers above. Needless to say, the X is a much smaller phone overall, so that's its added value here. If you want to see a standard definition video in its entirety, though, the iPhone X's usable area shrinks to the one of a standard aspect phone with a 5" diagonal or so - only 12% higher than the iPhone 8, in fact, and 16% less than what the 8 Plus has to offer as screen area while watching video. 

Blowing up he picture with either the YouTube app's zoom-to-fill option, or the iPhone X's own double-tap full screen mode in, say, Netflix, will take away of the footage not only in the notch area, but also will crop the sides down to the screen's aspect ratio. 

Something similar is happening on other phones with the trendy tall and narrow screen aspect ratio, like the Galaxy S8, but the viewable area there remains larger relative to the total, as there are no "horns" to chip into the footage at full screen. If the movie or TV series are shot in the 2:1 Univisium format, though, the power shifts to iPhone X, yet these are still few and far between (sigh, Kevin Spacey all but killed House of Cards). What do you think, are you annoyed by the notch when watching video on your iPhone X, or did you already get used to the cuts?

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20 Comments

10. J2017

Posts: 73; Member since: Oct 25, 2017

How does the 'power' shift to the iPhone ecks when displaying 2:1 content. My G6 displays House of Cards using the entire screen.FULL STOP. With the ecks you still have the notch to contend. Its just amazing how this site can be such a corporate ball lickers for Apple.

17. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Not to mention even on 2:1 content the X will have pillarboxing, since the screen is even taller(19.5:9).

18. Home85Cactus

Posts: 6; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

That doesnt make sense cuz i just did a crop test on the photos, and turns out that they squeezed the sides of the pictures. u can do the same if you crop the image in a 5:3 ratio format, and the iphone 8 and 8 plus screens will fit it perfectly (they are 16:9). so pretty much they fooled you into maing the iphone x look retarded in its 19.5:9 ratio.

16. cmdacos

Posts: 4120; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Ooof, this is brutal... Not what I would expect for premium dollar.

20. pt020

Posts: 160; Member since: Apr 08, 2014

lol the screen is not only bad but also smaller than on the plus.

21. CamNYC

Posts: 1; Member since: Feb 23, 2018

Informative article. But puh-lease, fellow commenters, if you’re still lol’ing the iPhone X’s screen after seeing it live, then it’s hoid you didn’t get it. That way there’s enough for those who appreciate that beauty. Everyone’s happy! I for one have had several iPhones, starting with the very first. And I upgraded from the 7, and the jump in tech feels like no other in the iPhone’s lifetime, even when comparing the tech upgrades from the 3G to the 4, or to the retina of the 5, or to the form factor of the 6.

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