What's your preferred phone screen aspect ratio?


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. 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. That is why we wanted to ask you what remains the screen ratio of choice for your phone screen, the legacy one, or the new crop?

What's your preferred phone screen aspect ratio?

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

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36 Comments

1. haruken

Posts: 306; Member since: Nov 06, 2013

Obviously the one that doesn't crop 99% of the games and media out there. Luckily my Note8 can natively zoom in everything.

12. sgodsell

Posts: 7187; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Split screen multitasking takes advantage of the talker displays. Plus the taller display is better for VR headsets like the Gear VR or Daydream.

17. neela_akaash

Posts: 1239; Member since: Aug 05, 2014

As far as the content is available to make use of those new aspect ratios, i have no problem with either..

26. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

exactly, i split screen multitask every day on my S8+ and it is very comfortable.

30. HugoBarraCyanogenmod

Posts: 1412; Member since: Jul 06, 2014

Remember Android fans laughing iPhone for making a taller screen? Android now is doing the same things

19. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

@PA: 18:9 with permanent on screen buttons.

25. airoid

Posts: 126; Member since: Dec 13, 2016

There are a lot of tv shows/movies on the net that encoded in 18:9 ratio recently. So if you watch a 18:9 video on Note 8 6:3" screen it's equivalent to appox. 6.6" 16:9 screen but on 5.8" iPhone X then it will be 5.3” unless you want the Notch lol.

2. twens

Posts: 1172; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

I'm in love with the note 8 screen. Everything is large and clear.

3. baldilocks

Posts: 1494; Member since: Dec 14, 2008

Love my Pixel 2 XL, but Google should have made an option to have all apps use the full aspect ratio, just like the new Samsung phones do.

4. japkoslav

Posts: 1496; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Most of the video content is 16:9 ... so 16:9 is my choice. I tested Note 8 and preordered LG V30, but i think 16:9 is simply better for a phone.

11. sgodsell

Posts: 7187; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Well if you are using VR, then 18:9 is better. Plus if you are using split screen multitasking, then you definitely want a 18:9. Since you V30 supports daydream now are you going to try it out?

27. japkoslav

Posts: 1496; Member since: Feb 19, 2017

Of course i will try it out :-D What a question. Just need to find a store that actualy sells Daydreams V2 in my country.

5. Ray.S

Posts: 455; Member since: Jul 19, 2011

It depends on what you do with it. Gaming and video, 16:9 is most often better. For normal smartphone work (scrolling through lists, surfing webpages), the 18:9 is beneficial. Or rather, 9:18.

6. cmdacos

Posts: 4088; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

I watch my video in full screen on my s8 and Note8. It's not the same as s7edge as noted in this article, if you chose and you lose very little by zooming to full screen.

15. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Thank you. Still have my S7E & the viewing is not the same. It's better on my Note 8.

7. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

16:9 best for videos and pictures. Though I am fine with 2:1 because it looks cool and maybe useful for some other thing..

8. TerryD

Posts: 544; Member since: May 09, 2017

I had the original Note which had a squarer screen with 1280x800 resolution which worked out 16:10. I loved it because you could get more text on a line, or larger text. I could read it without having to wear glasses.

9. surethom

Posts: 1661; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Tall & Narrow like the S8 & LG G6 I dislike the very wide phones.

10. deleon629

Posts: 450; Member since: Oct 04, 2014

Does the bump in processing and pixel density count for anything? I’ve seen some great videos/movies in the 18:9 aspect ratio, and having the option to change the zoom was a great feature. I could say that I’m not for change-as most people are not-but I think this is a step in the right direction; if for no other reason than the fact that this aspect is a closer scale to TV audio/vid outnumber sans stretching the images

13. KeyserSoze

Posts: 387; Member since: Oct 06, 2014

People who don't understand the extreme usefulness of 18:9 phablets (specifically 6.0"-6.3" size) are idiots and don't deserve to have them.

14. Peacetoall unregistered

Literally this soon all games will gonna be updated and optimized for 18:9 aspect ratio.

16. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

A 18.5:9 screen with a camera that shoots 4:3. One of the "best" enjineering thoughts off all time Next thing I want to watch is 9:16 (portrait) recorded concert on a 21:9 TV / Sarcasm

20. kevv2288

Posts: 290; Member since: Jul 30, 2015

More and more video is being shot in 2:1 aspect ratios, especially netflix shows. I wouldn't be surprised if we see 2:1 tvs soon. I like it because it's a good fit being between the standard 16:9 and the 21:9 most movies are shot in

23. Skizzo

Posts: 403; Member since: Jul 14, 2013

Exactly this! When 4:3 CRT TVs were the standard, the movie industry went 16:9, and we all had black bars on our TVs when we watched "widescreen" movies, until TV's went wide to accommodate the new format. Same thing is happening now as well. People don't realize that more and more video content is being shot in 18:9, or 21:9 ratios, and it's only a matter of time before most of what we view will be in that format as well (YouTube, Netflix, etc.) If you watch any recent movie in an unaltered format on your new 18:9 phone screen, you'll notice this.

21. R3DgRu

Posts: 55; Member since: Jun 10, 2015

16:9 and no bezels ftw, 21:9 is best on desktop

22. jjface

Posts: 229; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

I usually prefer 16:9. The essential phone has the perfect size though. Works really well - they really nailed it.

24. imlegitcusimthasht

Posts: 306; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

18.9 over 16:9. Taller aspect ratio is the new standards, easier to hold with one hand, so no worries if you accidently drop it. Better screen estate for split screen multitasking. Ultra wide views for media consumption. Yes reaching the top will be harder with one hand, but that's why you stick to a smaller 18:9 phone. You will have to crop with a zoom to fill the black fillers, but it's really not bad. You won't loose much in general. Games are still optimized for 16:9 but you can zoom in a bit too if you wanted. Way more positives than negatives. It even has an option to crop a 16:9 media content. Soon all media and games will be 18:9 anyways. 16:9 is dated like thr bezels of 2016. And how many times have my girl dropped her S7 Edge comoared to her S8 because of her smaller hands. BTW, 18.5:9 is even better!! Currently only availible on S8 and Note 8 or course. haha

28. Furbal unregistered

Min bezel 16:9 like the mate 10 please Actually 16:10 is still my favorite.

29. Jrod99

Posts: 713; Member since: Jan 15, 2016

I’m ok with the new aspect as long as apps and media are updated.

31. sks1969

Posts: 108; Member since: Mar 04, 2012

I do a lot of reading, and 18:9 is does not sound the right format. I don't watch a lot of movies on my phone. I YouTube a lot but. I'd rather have the black bars on top than on the side

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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