What's your preferred phone screen aspect ratio? (poll results)


If it ain't broken, don't fix it - that seems to be the takeaway from our latest poll on mobile phone screen aspect ratio preferences. In the year when flagship phone displays from most major brands grew taller and narrower, shifting from 16:9 aspect ratios to 18.5:9 (Galaxy S8), 19.5:9 (iPhone X), or straight up 2:1 Univisium standard (LG V30), we wanted to ask you if that's ok with you, and whether you miss the older standard. It turns out that the new format is somewhat forced on users, as more than half of our 2530 respondents prefer the standard 16:9 ratio that is compatible with most everything out there. Sigh.

What's your preferred phone screen aspect ratio?

Legacy 16:9
54.56%
The new ~18:9 tall and narrow screens
45.44%

The thing is, the 2:1 ratio or the ones gravitating around it, is shifting downmarket to midrangers, and next year we might see most phones moving to the tall and narrow paradigm. There are downsides and advantages to both formats, but, needless to say, the old one of, say, the iPhone 8, is compatible to every app and video out there, whereas on the iPhone X those have to be rewritten, or clips run in stretched-out and cropped or black-barred modes. Ditto for the difference between the Galaxy S8 and S7, for instance. 

The advantage of 2:1 (or 18.5:9, or 19.5:9), is that it allegedly can fit more content on one screen while browsing or reading, but something tells us that once the first manufacturer went tall and narrow, allowing them to boast a 6" display in a heretofore 5.5" body, everyone felt obliged to follow, regardless that the screen area remained largely the same in both formats. Watching YouTube vids, for instance, makes you lose up to 20% of your screen real estate in black bars on the new display format, or stretches it out of proportion, cropping some content in the process.


Furthermore, whether or not there will be more content shown on the display of the tall and narrow phone depends more on the scaling and fonts used, so the iPhone X often doesn't show much more of it compared to, say, the iPhone 8 or 8 Plus, even though it uses seemingly smaller fonts, as you can see in out UI comparison above.

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20 Comments

1. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Almost splitting in half.. Huawei did the best move then, by releasing mate 10 in 2 variants :v

2. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

And removing headphone jack from one of them because hmm

3. Nathan_ingx

Posts: 4769; Member since: Mar 07, 2012

Yes, the mate pro with a headphone jack would've been the perfect one

4. WingMan unregistered

The only thing better on the pro is that the display is OLED :). If you check the specs, the regular Mate 10 actually has a better screen to body ratio

20. chenski

Posts: 770; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

That, and water resistance

15. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Because of the evolution.

5. Furkan

Posts: 552; Member since: Feb 25, 2017

I loved my Note8's wider cooler screen. you cant know it is better without using it(I said for 16:9 voters)

7. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

Maybe not now. Mainstream media is still on traditional formats. I should consider buying a 2:1 screen when it's time.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17365; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Movies are closer to 2:1. Less wasted screen real estate with 18.5:9. 16:9 content can fill the screen height with bars on the sides, and movie content won't have huge top and bottom bars.

16. Settings

Posts: 2943; Member since: Jul 02, 2014

I saw the Justice League earlier, it wasnt on 2:1. It will eventually come to that format, I know but not anytime soon.

17. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

The other two movies out right now that I saw (Thor and Murder on the Orient Express) are both 21:9, and it's only gonna be more common next year, as most movie theatres being built now are in the "wider screen" format also. 16:9 will remain for a while (they made DVDs along side Bluerays, VHS along DVDs, etc.), but the tide has already shifted. A lot of YouTubers are making their content in a 18:9 (or wider) format also. Now that Apple went with a 19.5:9 aspect, prepare for a lot more Youtube videos to start coming in the new formats in the coming months as well. Netflix is talks of shifting as well slowly, so if it's not time to switch phones to 18:9 in 2017, it will be in 2018. Just thought I'd share.

19. sgodsell

Posts: 7384; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

2:1 or 18:9 is also great for multitasking and split screen multitasking. Plus if you use your smartphone for VR then the longer screen gives you a better VR experience, and more FOV.

6. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

Apple one for sure.

8. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

As speak today and now, i prefer 16:9 until all media and movie format getting on board with the new 2:1 then I prefer 2:1.

11. tedkord

Posts: 17365; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Pretty much all movies already are a bit over 2:1.

9. KeyserSoze

Posts: 387; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

18:9 screen is a good thing and a welcomed improvement for smartphones. It should be the new standard for TVs as well. It's not a good fit however for tablets, PC monitors, laptops, and car nav consoles. Those screens should stay at 16:10.

12. phonearenarocks

Posts: 606; Member since: Mar 26, 2015

Sigh! I think even the smartphones should stay at 16:10, here is hoping the Note 9 to come with bezel less 16:10, If it means one hand usage is compromised, so be it.

13. Fellwalker

Posts: 538; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

I checked my Huawei Mate 9 in store against a Samsung Note 8 today. The actual lit screen on the note is about a quarter of an inch narrower than mine. The curved edges reduce that still further. It is physically nearly the same length, but the screen is longer than mine. Looking at a Web site felt cramped. Looking at the games I've got on my mate, I cannot see how they would play well on the Note. I cannot see any reason to choose the tall and narrow note (despite wishing for a stylus). My best tablet is even squarer - the Samsung galaxy Tab S3 - and it suits general use far better, and is even good for videos. The Note 4 remains the best designed of the Notes, IMHO. A boot loop left mine unusable - hence the Mate 9.

14. rowlin

Posts: 50; Member since: Jun 14, 2012

I think 2:1 is the best size, it gives you more vertical viewable area for example on web browsers with all the headers, footers and ads taking up space on the top and bottom. I have 5" vertical space on my phone and with all the bs on some web pages the vertical readable area is only 2.5-3". 19.5:9 on the iphone X is too long and skinny, the image is too small, and it defeats the purpose of a larger screen, width is also important.

18. deleon629

Posts: 463; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Ummm...no screen ratio/stretch screenshots?

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