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Nexus 5 screen size, real estate, and battery

OP dhinged

1st September 2014, 05:20 AM   |  #1  
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The Nexus 5 looks and runs great, but everything's so big I feel like I'm using a toy phone. The PPI really would have made more sense on a 4.5/4.7" screen (or even a 4" screen for us small-handed), and for a budget phone I would have expected 720p (pixels) resolution. This would use less battery which would require less battery so it could have kept about the same thinness (but I'm perfectly happy adding thickness and heft for more battery).

I don't understand Google's thinking behind this phone. It's a great-quality phone, but it's just too big for the things on the screen. They look great about 10 inches away but normal distance from my face, about 7", everything just looks oversized. I feel like at this screen size they could have added another column or row to the launcher and had them match up to the bottom dock shortcuts.

I know how to change the PPI, but I would just more like to know what made Google decide to go with such huge icons and fonts on such a large screen with full HD (1080p) resolution and not add any more real estate to things like Chrome or Settings or anything.
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1st September 2014, 07:18 AM   |  #2  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhinged

The Nexus 5 looks and runs great, but everything's so big I feel like I'm using a toy phone. The PPI really would have made more sense on a 4.5/4.7" screen (or even a 4" screen for us small-handed), and for a budget phone I would have expected 720p (pixels) resolution. This would use less battery which would require less battery so it could have kept about the same thinness (but I'm perfectly happy adding thickness and heft for more battery).

I don't understand Google's thinking behind this phone. It's a great-quality phone, but it's just too big for the things on the screen. They look great about 10 inches away but normal distance from my face, about 7", everything just looks oversized. I feel like at this screen size they could have added another column or row to the launcher and had them match up to the bottom dock shortcuts.

I know how to change the PPI, but I would just more like to know what made Google decide to go with such huge icons and fonts on such a large screen with full HD (1080p) resolution and not add any more real estate to things like Chrome or Settings or anything.

You don't change the PPI, you change the density lol

The Nexus 5 isn't really meant to be as much of a "budget phone" as it is a "developer device" (officially for AOSP, and unofficially on here) or "reference device for other OEMs", hence why it has a 1080p display and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. It just happens to be cheaper as they also cut some corners (and probably to make it burn a smaller hole in developer's wallets).

Anyways, nothing looks "oversized" without changing the density. Most (if not, then all) Android devices have the density set relative to the resolution (NOT physical screen size nor pixels per inch) as well as what sort of device it is (phone or tablet). It's a standard, not "whatever the OEM wants", if an OEM wants something to appear smaller or larger in their bloated system apps, they're going to modify the app itself, not change the density (which affects ALL apps rather than just the intended). I also have a Note 3 (which I never use and just gathers dust), it's the same resolution but much larger, and the stock density on that is also set to 480 (same as the Nexus 5). I also know that the HTC One (M8) and OnePlus One are also set to 480. Just about ANY Android phone with a 1080p display uses 480 (stock, at least), I don't know of one that doesn't.
Last edited by Lethargy; 1st September 2014 at 07:35 AM.
1st September 2014, 07:33 AM   |  #3  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dhinged

The Nexus 5 looks and runs great, but everything's so big I feel like I'm using a toy phone. The PPI really would have made more sense on a 4.5/4.7" screen (or even a 4" screen for us small-handed), and for a budget phone I would have expected 720p (pixels) resolution. This would use less battery which would require less battery so it could have kept about the same thinness (but I'm perfectly happy adding thickness and heft for more battery).

I don't understand Google's thinking behind this phone. It's a great-quality phone, but it's just too big for the things on the screen. They look great about 10 inches away but normal distance from my face, about 7", everything just looks oversized. I feel like at this screen size they could have added another column or row to the launcher and had them match up to the bottom dock shortcuts.

I know how to change the PPI, but I would just more like to know what made Google decide to go with such huge icons and fonts on such a large screen with full HD (1080p) resolution and not add any more real estate to things like Chrome or Settings or anything.

Nova Launcher is the solution
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1st September 2014, 07:54 AM   |  #4  
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I liked more the Galaxy Nexus size. Based on my experience "width" is what matters for one-handed phones.

However....5" is not bad. The only f***** thing here is the resolution. 1080p is a waste for a simple 5" screen.
It must be something slightly bigger than 720 without jumping to 1080.

Sent from my Nexus 5
1st September 2014, 10:30 AM   |  #5  
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I have no problem with the dpi [emoji4]
1st September 2014, 12:50 PM   |  #6  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesebastian

I liked more the Galaxy Nexus size. Based on my experience "width" is what matters for one-handed phones.

However....5" is not bad. The only f***** thing here is the resolution. 1080p is a waste for a simple 5" screen.
It must be something slightly bigger than 720 without jumping to 1080.

Sent from my Nexus 5

1080 isn't a waste at all. Its HD. If it makes sense on a 32" TV several feet away, it makes sense on a 5".screen several inches away. Its called "viewing distance".

Choosing some arbitrary resolution between 720 and 1080 is a silly idea. These resolutions are a global standard and media content is created to these standards. Choosing something win between would mean no content was optimised for our display so something would be lost in the downscaling or upscaling.

1080p is perfect for the distance you view it. If you sit 1 metre away from a 50" 1080p TV, it won't look HD. It will look lower blocky. That is because the pixels are literally bigger than a 32" TV of the same resolution. Its designed to be viewed from further away. As you move the TV further away, the image gets clearer as the pixels appear smaller.

All PPI is about is measuring the amount of pixels in an inch. This is a fixed value. A 1080 screen always has the same amount of pixels. This means the pixels are bigger on a bigger screen, so the PPI decreases. The smaller the PPI is, the further away you would expect to view it from.

1080p on a 5" screen would be ridiculous if the device was intended to be used at over 1 metre away though. Because that is beyond the optimum viewing distance. It would mean that the image again lost detail.

I think 2k and 4k on this size screen is over kill. But that's not because of these reasons. We would definitely notice a sharper image on the display. The problem is that there is a massive performance hit. The GPU works harder meaning its slower than it would be on a lower resolution. It uses battery because of this.since there is very little content, its not a worthwhile trade off at this time.

That said though, visually it would look better. The screen may need to be 6" to really get the benefit though. Otherwise the PPI would be too high for the viewing distance and your need to move the display closer than the screen closer than the usual distance to get the full effect

DPI is something entirely different. That's what causes the assets on screen (buttons, icons etc) to appear bigger or smaller.

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
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1st September 2014, 12:53 PM   |  #7  
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Yeah I know all that. Just saying...1080 is a waste for a 5". A waste of GPU and resources.

We don't really need more than 330ppi on a Phone....

Sent from my Nexus 5
1st September 2014, 01:04 PM   |  #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesebastian

Yeah I know all that. Just saying...1080 is a waste for a 5". A waste of GPU and resources.

We don't really need more than 330ppi on a Phone....

Sent from my Nexus 5

Your first sentence directly contradicts your last sentence. If you understood optimal viewing distances you would know that we do need a higher PPI. Why should we be restricted to lower quality videos on a mobile phone?

Yes,it uses more resources to play higher resolution content. But its not a waste because a majority of content is at that resolution

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk
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1st September 2014, 01:09 PM   |  #9  
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Well at the distance I use the phone 330ppi is optimal!

I think 330 is ok for phones. Look at the iPhones they've a good screen without having 400+ PPI.

Sent from my Nexus 5
1st September 2014, 02:18 PM   |  #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesebastian

Well at the distance I use the phone 330ppi is optimal!

I think 330 is ok for phones. Look at the iPhones they've a good screen without having 400+ PPI.

I can see you're still a bit confused about your argument. PPI is not the unit of measure you should be using. It does nothing to tell us resolution OR screensize so as a number on it's own is entirely useless.

PPI is just a result of resolution and screen size
PPI = width squared + length squared, divided by the square root of screen size.

Optimal viewing distance is about resolution and screen size. The bigger a screen, the further away it needs to be for the resolution to be correct. You can't say "330ppi is optimal" because that's not how it works. You can have 2 completely different resolutions with the same PPI.

For example, on a 5" screen, 720x1500 would be 330 PPI.
Similarly, on a 10" screen, 1500x2950 would be 330 PPI.

The optimal viewing distance of both these example screens is completely different so to say that 330PPI is optimal for a distance is wholly wrong. You cannot use PPI as a valid unit of measure unless you first specify a screen size. There is no such thing as optimal viewing distance for a PPI.

Optimal viewing distance is about resolution and screen size. If you stick to 1 resolution (lets use 1080p as the obvious example), the optimal viewing distance of a 5" screen is less than the optimal viewing distance of a 10" screen. This is because the pixels are bigger on the 10" screen. if you compare an image on a 10" screen to an image of a 5" screen at the same resolution AND distance, and at the opwholeytimal viewing distance of the 5" screen, the 4" image will be crisp and share where as the 10" image will be blocky. You have to increase the viewing distance of the 10" screen to get the same crisp image.
wholey
You can practice this yourself. Put a 1080p movie on your Phone and TV. Watch the movie on your phone at 5" from your face. Watch teh movie on the TV at the same distance. Forget the fact you cannot see the entire screen. Focus on the centre of the screen. You will be able to pick out individual pixels and the section of the screen you are looking at will not appear as a single image. Just a series of blocks. The bigger your TV, the more noticeable this will be.

To get a 330 PPI value on a 4.95" screen like the nexus 5, and maintain 16:9 aspect ratio, you'd be looking at 1450x816 resolution. There are ways to work out optimal viewing distances, but it's quite complex. If you're interested, you can find that information here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Optimum...ewing_distance



VD: Viewing distance
DS: Display's diagonal size
NHR: Display's native horizontal resolution (in pixels)
NVR: Display's native vertical resolution (in pixels)
CVR: Vertical resolution of the video being displayed (in pixels)

The optimal viewing distance for a screen the size of a nexus 5 is 7.2 inches (0.6 foot) - which is about what we hold it at.*

*based on:
http://www.calculatorpro.com/calcula...ze-calculator/
http://myhometheater.homestead.com/v...alculator.html

Now I suppose when we get up to 2k and 4k, there will be a problem. At that distance, the human eye may fail to recognise a difference between 1080p and higher resolutions. To get benefit, the screen would need to be bigger and further away...although some say for those holding the screen right up close to their face, characters will look better

All that said, I can recognise a difference between 720p and 1080p at that distance. So yeah, 1080p is about for a screen our size. Or also for a tablet, which typically would use ant a slightly further way distance than a phone.

So really, it all depends on your eyesight or how short your arms are. If you hold the phone too close to your face, 1080p is not optimal on a 5" screen. You would probably want a smaller screen or a higher resolution, otherwise it may appear blocky. At the appropriate distance for a mobile phone, anything over 1080p may be pointless but bringing it closer may prove beneficial, but that could cause eye strain as you're focusing too close.

There is a really useful chart here



In summary:

If you hold your phone further than the optimal distance, you may get away with losing some resolution as the further away it is, the less you'll notice. OR you need a bigger screen to make it the optimal viewing distance for that resolution
If you hold your phone closer than the optimal distance, you could need to get a higher resolution OR a smaller screen

Like TV's, you should buy the size or resolution based on your fixed viewing distance. For a TV, its the resolution standard of 1080p (because most of our content is that resolution) then you look at the distance your sofa is from the TV stand and buy the correct size. Assuming you need the same resolution for content on your phone, you look at the distance and buy the appropriate screen size. People who hold their phones closer will want a smaller screen for 1080. People who hold them further away will want a bigger screen at that resolution. This trend will continue as content resolution increases, but this cannot go on forever.
Last edited by rootSU; 1st September 2014 at 02:33 PM.

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