You got cropped! Galaxy S8 and S8+ video display grief comes in stages, here's why


  • Most TV series you'd watch on, say, Netflix, as well as the YouTube content, are meant for 16:9 displays - those get letterboxed on the Galaxy S8 and S8+ by default

  • You lose about 14-22% of the 5.8" and 6.2" screens' real estate, depending on the video app, if you watch the vids in the default letterboxed regime

  • You'd have to manually add third party apps to the compatibility mode list in Display settings, so that the full screen toggle appears in, say, Netflix

  • Even when you toggle compatibility mode, a 16:9 video will can still be letterboxed, or cropped top and bottom, depending on the app

  • Movies and TV series shot in 2:1 Univisium format are your best bet to use the maximum screen area of the S8 and S8+, but those are few and far between

  • SMILE! - New 2:1 TV series or movies get letterboxed on those pesky 16:9 phones in their turn, how 'bout dat?

There were a lot of oohhs and aahhs around the collective tech blogosphere when we learned that Samsung is prepping flagships with 5.8" and 6.2" displays that won't be much larger than their 5.1" and 5.5" predecessors. Boy, did the Galaxy S8 and S8+ deliver on that front. Samsung stuffed no less than six elements in their top bezel, including a face recognizer set, then ditched the home key, moved the finger scanner on the back, and slimmed the bottom bezel in a never-before-seen manner.

All of those tricks resulted in phones with 83% screen-to-body ratio. To wit, this is close to the 84% of the current record holder - the Mi Mix - and more than Sharp's infamous EDGEST display designs. Granted, this number is helped by the curved display sides, too, but the slope here is very minimal, and mostly for aesthetic, rather than any functional purposes. The trimming efforts return a brand new design for the Galaxy S-series, plus the S8 and S8+ are also the smallest phones for their screen sizes as a result. Don't get us wrong, the S8+ is still a biggie, but this time Samsung has put a 6.2" panel in a size that big-screen phone lovers are accustomed to anyway. They were just used to having 5.5 or 5.7-inchers in this footprint.

As usual, there is a catch in all that Infinity Display goodness, as Samsung calls it. The LG G6, for instance, was the first announced to utilize a new 2:1 Univisium aspect ratio standard that hasn't even become widespread yet when it comes to creating content, let alone consuming it on a device made with 18:9 display like the G6. The thing is, and nowhere is that more evident than in the new Galaxy S8 and S8+ handsets which come with an even more twisted 18.5:9 ratio, that most things we watch are shot in the current standard 16:9 format. Granted, the writing is already on the wall - blockbuster TV shows aimed at binging and streaming like Netflix's House of Cards are shot in the 2:1 format, and more will be added going forward, so at least these should fit fine on the S8 and S8+ displays, right?

Well, here's the scoop - not only is video watching on the S8/S8+ marred by the slightly curved display sides and the overly rounded screen corners, but also the new aspect ratio is hit or miss. Go to the YouTube app, for instance, and you will find yourself with black bands on the sides of the screen to fit the standard 16:9 aspect, or with slightly cropped footage in full screen mode. Even if you are streaming one of the new 2:1 Netflix series, they still show letterboxed by default, in offline viewing too, and there is no compatibility button in the Netflix app from the box. You have to explicitly go to the Full Screen option in the Display settings menu to add an aspect ratio toggle for the Netflix app. Upon tapping said button, if the series is 2:1, then you lose nothing by making it stretch and fit the whole display, but if it's 16:9, tough noogies, you got cropped, top and bottom.


What all of that means is that you either lose a portion of the original footage, or don't use the whole real estate of the screen, which on top of that is not as large as it sounds, since in terms of screen area the 5.8" screen with 18:9 ratio is more akin to one of a phone with 5.2" display in the common 16:9 format. How much canvas do you lose if you want to watch your vids as their creators intended? Well, we calculated that about 22% of the screen goes to letterboxing a video that is not in full screen compatibility mode in Netflix, while the black bands in the YouTube app waste about 14%, so on the 6.2" panel of the S8+, you are watching in an area that is about the size that a 16:9 handset with a 5.5" display offers, at best, or 5.1" on the S8, respectively. Coincidentally, exactly the screen diagonals of the S7 and S7 edge.

Oh, well, “those ahead of their time will have to wait for it in the designated places,” as one cuneiform clay tablet in prison states. On the other hand, the 2:1 Netflix "Frontier" series gets letterboxed on all those pesky 16:9 phones, and there is no full screen compatibility toggle with those retro critters. Don't you feel vindicated already?

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(24h 3G talk time)



1. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Might as well just have bezels if the black bars are gonna be there anyway...

6. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1605; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

That makes no sense, do you watch video on your phone 24/7? 16:9 is a good aspect for televisions, I don't like it for phones, computers, or tablets. It's less productive.

10. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

we all know that he'll change his mind as soon as his beloved iPhone use this same screen ratio, lol...

117. ColinW

Posts: 413; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

You were of course correct. Now the iPhone X is out PA did exactly that.

15. notfair

Posts: 776; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

I hope you enjoy your 4:3 content on the ipad.

71. zenun12

Posts: 205; Member since: Oct 31, 2016

Most tablets are much more convenient to use on a 4:3 aspect ratio.It offers more screen real estate than it's 16:9 or 18:9 counterparts, and is much more manageable with two hands. A 16:10 tablet on the other hand like the Xperia Tablet series, are much more meant to be used in landscape while they're pretty much clumsy to use in portrait mode. 4:3 aspect ratio on tablets make them manageable whether portrait or landscape.

7. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

there is a difference between "bezels that always there" and "bezels that only appear at some video" "bezels that always there" is just waste of space "bezels that only appear at some video" is much better since people will rarely see it anyway, and at worse case it will just look like any normal phone when you watching videos..

70. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, games, text, web, general UI, etc will be far more common, but no....Let's call it grief or just have bezels instead....Until Apple releases it of course. Then it's the best thing Apple ever invented.

77. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

The difference is DICKO007 forgot that on iOS, the same issue arose with ever resolution increase, because all IOS apps only contain bitmaps for the specific device resolution and unlike Windows and Android, the apps don't scale automatically. On Android, apps contain bitmaps up to 4K. SO all the Android apps that support at leats 5.01, will scale. Movies are specific to the ration shot at. We all know this. But the issue is identical to viewing 16:9 content on a 4:3 display.Most of the movies I watch on iPad that are npt being streaming, will be letterbox. Netflix has fixed its streaming so that when it detects an iPad or iPhone or any tablet, it will adjust the stream to fit the device properly. They simply will have to do the same for the new aspect ratio. Again PA is tryign to make a big deal! FACT - Each time the aspect ratio has changed, the industry has to upgarde software to support it. In the 80's and 90's most devices were 4:3. When 16:9 came out they were letterbox even on TV's. Once devices displays came with 1920x1080 displays which natively support 16:9, this problem was fixed and for TV's too. The same will happen with 18.5:9. The streaming providers will have to fix the stream to adjust to the device display capability. AS THEY ALL DO NOW What is the fuss about? Why are the haters all got their panties in a bunch. This is goign to happen when aspect ratios change to 22:9 or 32:9 or whatever the next big leap on content comes. Also remember. Original DVD content is 4:3. If you play those old movies on a 16:9 display, its letterbox. Has anyone complained? NO. When TV move up to 32:9 that mean sold Blue-Ray content will be letterbox and it goes on. PA and the iRetarded are simply technology dysfunctional losers! PA wants do desperate for this to be an issue. When the iPhone comes out with it, every streaming provider will have fixe this issue, so it wont even be subject matter. It really isnt now..PA on its Samsung attack as per usual.

85. ecmedic4

Posts: 520; Member since: May 02, 2013

You basically said the SAME thing in 2 massive essays. Was that really necessary? Sounds like your the one that got ur panties in a bunch. Take an Ativan and some BP medicine, jeez. If you hate phone arena so much, stop coming and reading the articles. That would be awesome!

8. afrohoxha

Posts: 264; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

What about web browsing or list view content on apps, or more useful area during multitasking? Scenarios which may have more usage than watching couple of videos a day.

19. torr310

Posts: 1729; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

I spend most of time using my phone for web browsing and chatting, so a wider screen is easier to view the web content and type.

103. techbuttcheex

Posts: 205; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

For web browsing a 2:1 ratio is even worse because all the content is cramped. Tablets are more square than 16:9, not more narrow.

9. Cat97

Posts: 2026; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

You can turn screen into bezels, but never can you turn bezels into screen.

13. UglyFrank

Posts: 2200; Member since: Jan 23, 2014


20. torr310

Posts: 1729; Member since: Oct 27, 2011

Why turn the bezels into screen if we couldn't make a good use to it?

21. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

These are some wise words

24. sgodsell

Posts: 7621; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Wise words from a moron. Kiko007 is either ignorant or just flat out can't read. The black bars as he puts it. Is not there all the time. On the home screen it's not there, settings, and if you use YouTube, Netflix, and a number of others you have an option to go full mode which will crop the top and bottom slightly. Also if you use split screen multitasking then it takes advantage of the screen real estate. Something that iPhones still cannot do to this date (split screen, or real multitasking). So once again how wide is kiko007? Not very wise!

25. sgodsell

Posts: 7621; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

iPhone arena, you purposely move my posts down. I guess you hate the truth. You let liars like kiko007 post comments which prove he is a liar. This site really is iphonearena. Pure garbage.

26. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Tinfoil is abundant with this one...

62. Tech_fan

Posts: 94; Member since: Mar 28, 2017

Super Stupid Article, and the two most Stupid ikids(kiko,kumar) come so the way PA and its iwriters look so BUTTHURT about S8

81. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013


27. kiko007

Posts: 7525; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Bruh, WTF are you even talking about?

39. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3109; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

@kiko007 I believe he wants to measure your width maybe?! I'm lost.

29. kumar1234 unregistered

Oh, great, Now Samsung phone has ON-SCREEN bazel. LOL. 2:1 or 18:9 aspect ratio is stupid and gimmicky. Samsung always present their gimmicky features as if they are useful. Well, it works really well for them. Their idiotic fanboys always fall for their gimmicks.

48. sgodsell

Posts: 7621; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I guess like APPLE FANBOYS always fall for Apples overpriced under spec iPhones, and will believe it's the best out there.

69. ebilcake

Posts: 1231; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

You could say the same about Samsung fanboys, pretending their any different is foolish.

96. NoToFanboys

Posts: 3231; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

Stupid just like you, an idiotic fanboy of another brand who is always butthurt about anything samsung.

33. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Screengate strikes again?

78. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013 In this video @ 4:23, the video playing on the iPad is "letterbox". Why? Because the video being played is 16:9 and not 4:3. The same thing is happening on the galaxy. What is the point? Other than you are a stupid troll!

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