Latest in Design

Size matters: why the iPhone has a 3.5-inch screen


One of the things Android phone owners love to brag about -- particularly those who have the new Samsung Galaxy S II with its 4.27-inch diagonal screen -- is that the larger screens are much easier to read and watch videos on. Dustin Curtis has owned both the iPhone 4 and the Galaxy S II, and in an enlightening post on his blog, he pointed out why bigger isn't always better.

Curtis noted that the iPhone 4's design allows you to hold the device in one hand and touch almost any part of the screen with your thumb. You can't do that with the larger Galaxy S II, as seen in the diagram (size is incorrectly marked by Curtis) at the top of this post. The green area designates the reach of the thumb when holding the device in one hand, and there's a lot of Galaxy S II real estate that's not under that field of green.

According to Curtis, "Touching the upper right corner of the screen on the Galaxy S II using one hand, with its 4.27-inch screen, while you're walking down the street looking at Google Maps, is extremely difficult and frustrating." He concluded the post with a point that all Apple owners instinctively know, but can rarely explain: "This is an example of one of those design decisions that you don't usually notice until you see someone doing it wrong. It's one of the things that makes Apple products Apple products."

Steve was born two weeks before the start of the Space Age, and has been a fan of technology since birth. A lifelong resident of Colorado, Steve graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering (1978) and a Masters Degree in Business Administration (1983).

He began writing for TUAW in 2008, and is now the Features Editor for the blog. One of his passions is "The Internet of Things", so you can find him controlling his house from his iPhone most of the time ... except when his battery is dead.

When he's not blogging for TUAW, he's writing books for Pearson and his personal blog, Transient Spike