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?

Related phones

iPhone X
  • Display 5.8 inches 2436 x 1125 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic 3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2716 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x
iPhone 8
  • Display 4.7 inches 1334 x 750 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Single camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic 2GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 1821 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x
iPhone 8 Plus
  • Display 5.5 inches 1920 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Dual camera) 7 MP front
  • Hardware Apple A11 Bionic 3GB RAM
  • Storage 256GB, not expandable
  • Battery 2691 mAh
  • OS iOS 13.x

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