Phone screens are growing taller yearly with manufacturers offering more and more screen real estate to the customers. As a customer, it is important that you learn the relationship between screen resolution and screen size.

Read: Smartphone display resolutions explained

Resolution generally refers to the amount of pixels that a display contains. More pixels (higher resolution) equals a better image and video quality, vibrant colours, sharp details etc. Lesser pixels (lower resolution) means poorer image and video quality, less vibrant colours, poor details etc.

The size of a screen is the size of its viewing area. It is measured diagonally across its surface from one edge to the opposite edge. The unit of measurement is in inches.

These days, smartphone screens are becoming bigger as the users are clamouring for more and more space. Although it should be noted that, there are a few persons who are calling for a return to small compact phones that fit in the size of your palm. That ship has long sailed. Taller phones are the future.

In this light, a lot of uninformed customers tend to celebrate bigger screens as a sign of quality. I have come across a few reviews and comparisons where the reviewer tells the audience that the phone with the bigger screen is better. This is very incorrect and misleading. Bigger screens are not always better. In fact, a bigger screen could ruin your smartphone experience.


I am sure a few persons must have asked themselves the above question. The answer is very simple. Have you ever tried to zoom in or stretch a picture over a larger area of your screen surface? If yes, you must have noticed that the more you zoom in or stretch the photo, the more the resolution suffers. The more you spread pixels across a screen, the more the resolution suffers.

We’re going to zoom in on the boxed area and see what happens
Zoomed in portion (resolution has gone down)

The relationship between screen resolution and screen size is called Pixel Density and it is measured in Pixels Per Inch (ppi).

Read: What is Pixel Density (ppi)?

Let’s take 720p as an example. At 4 inches, you would get an impressive 429ppi. If the screen size is increased to 5 inches, the pixel density falls to 343ppi which is decent. Should the screen be further increased to 6 inches, the pixel density depreciates further to 286ppi.

Finally if the manufacturer throws the book out and goes with a 7 inch screen, what we would get is a meagre 245ppi. As the pixel density (ppi) falls, the viewing quality falls with it as well. Increasing the screen size stretches the pixels on the display and reduces resolution. This is why a 720p tablet would have a poorer display resolution when put side by side with a 720p Smartphone.

As consumer looking to buy two phones with 720p and one is bigger than the other, note that the larger display would give you a slightly poorer image quality when viewing them side by side. If a display’s resolution is capped at 720p, then a display above 6” may not be the best for it as the image quality will suffer.

So, if the display quality of a phone is one of the more important specs for you as a buyer, always be vigilant enough to check the resolution, size and pixel density. Bigger screens aren’t always better

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