Mobile screen sizes

Smartphones

  • Helena
  • 9 May 2012
  • 29 comment

When screens are considered, two factors are taken into account when it comes to measurements: 1) the size, and 2) the resolution. The size is generally measured diagonally in inches, and the resolution is on the number of pixels displayed on the screen.

Screen resolution is frequently referred to as a modification of the classic VGA resolution, which is 640×480 pixels. Years before, the size of mobile screens used to be 128 x 128. Today, the biggest screen size for mobile phones is 800 x 480 (WVGA). The smaller screens have a portrait orientation, while the large screens have landscape orientation. Today, a lot of mobile phones can change orientation. Most of these mobile phones have a dominant overall screen size of 240 x 320 or QVGA.

Today, however, a lot of companies are beginning to refer to resolution as a fraction of 1920×1080 pixels, or full high definition.

Here’s an example of how companies today refer to resolution, from an article in cnet.com.au:

  • QVGA: quarter VGA (240×320 pixels)
  • HVGA: half VGA (320×480 pixels)
  • WVGA: wide VGA (480×800 pixels)
  • FWVGA: full wide VGA (480×854 pixels)
  • nHD: one-ninth high definition (360×640 pixels)
  • qHD: one-quarter high definition (540×960 pixels)

The most popular mobile screen dimensions

screen dimensions

This shows the the most significant screen sizes, from the smallest to the largest. Over the years the relative screen size difference has increased. The difference between the smallest (128 x 128) and the largest (800 x 480) is now a factor of 23. That means the largest screen is 23 times bigger than the smallest one.

You can see that the smaller screens have a portrait orientation and the large screens have a landscape orientation. Between them are the phones that can change orientation, they can work in both landscape and portrait. 240 x 320 is the dominant screen size overall.

Pixel dimensions, aspect ratios and physical screen sizes

screen sizes

mobile screen sizes

Most of the devices uses 3–3.5 inch screens, something that does not leave much space for a keyboard. The phones are either clamshell or pure touch. They are also fairly similar in physical size.

Phone screen sizes has had a tendency to come in pairs. Each manufacturer had their own variation on large-screen high-end models and small-screen low-end” models.

Manufacturer small screen big screen
Sony Ericsson 128 x 160 176 x 220
Nokia 128 x 128 176 x 208
Samsung 128 x 160 176 x 220
Siemens 130 x 130 132 x 176

29 Comments

  1. What is a mobile website, el 29/05/2012 a las 08:39:23

    [...] Mobile screen size. [...]

  2. Sonya 30/05/2012 at 00:04:36 Responder

    Cool post! thank you for the information you’ve collected here.

  3. Anthony S. 30/05/2012 at 00:06:36 Responder

    Interesting topic. Don’t you think expanding this post with mobile examples?

  4. steve_m 11/06/2012 at 01:12:34 Responder

    Thank you for this article, I’m starting to design for mobile devices and this information is very useful.

  5. Artscape 12/07/2012 at 08:44:27 Responder

    Thank you for that article. I’m going to learn responsive design either, and this was very helpful.

  6. Art 21/08/2012 at 00:24:10 Responder

    “The most popular mobile screen dimensions”
    Could you show more references?
    Why you can conclude that “240×320″ is the dominant?

  7. التقني 12/09/2012 at 10:52:18 Responder

    I just didn’t want to read and run..

    that article was useful for me so thanks!

  8. Zaaaaphod 26/09/2012 at 15:19:19 Responder

    Great post. Thank you :-)

  9. Simon D 19/10/2012 at 00:40:12 Responder

    Very good article
    I am just searching for this to create mobile template
    -Thanks a lot

  10. Anwar Hussain 25/10/2012 at 06:01:26 Responder

    During the course of large screen mobile, this article appears before me.. Very nice..

  11. Hylton 11/11/2012 at 13:27:23 Responder

    Excellent read!

  12. Paul Allen 11/12/2012 at 08:59:35 Responder

    Thanks for collating this info, extremely useful!

  13. Giri 18/12/2012 at 21:52:14 Responder

    A smart topic from a smart girl about smart phones in a smart blog. Thanks!

  14. Huynhhieu 27/12/2012 at 19:44:44 Responder

    Thank so much! Very good article

  15. andy 13/04/2013 at 08:08:14 Responder

    This article is pretty out of date considering it was only posted last year. The largest resolution mentioned is for the original iphone which came out in 2007. No mention of the iphone 4, galaxy2, etc??

    • Helena 14/04/2013 at 23:36:37 Responder

      Hello Andy,
      This doesn’t try to be a comprehensive article, but an informative one. So it doesn’t try to cover every device, but to serve as orientation about screen sizes and resolutions.

  16. neverback 26/05/2013 at 19:52:37 Responder

    very good post,like it, it help me a lot

  17. Feng O. 21/08/2013 at 04:19:22 Responder

    The worst thing about smartphones with small screens is that when accessing a mobile website, even it’s optimized for mobile phones, you still have to zoom in.

  18. NinzaLIVE 05/11/2013 at 04:52:16 Responder

    Very useful post but pls update info.

  19. Anastasia V. 05/11/2013 at 07:38:47 Responder

    Today’s largest smartphone measures 6.3 inches! :P

  20. wpmod 18/01/2014 at 03:17:33 Responder

    What a great article, helped me a lot.

  21. Designing for phones | Making it Personal, el 28/02/2014 a las 12:56:23

    […] http://www.onbile.com/info/mobile-screen-sizes/ […]

  22. john 02/03/2014 at 03:29:24 Responder

    This is all very well,but some of us just want to know how big the screen is physically.
    For example 2 inches wide x 4 inches long,just like measuring a room.
    I’ve googled like forever,and all you get is sites like this.

  23. Sam 16/04/2014 at 06:22:56 Responder

    Somebody tell me if im wrong but the iphone aspect ratio is 3:2 and not 13.5:9 …

  24. Designing for phones | Hopscotch Labs, el 13/05/2014 a las 18:30:28

    […] http://www.onbile.com/info/mobile-screen-sizes/ […]

  25. Why SMEs need responsive design for business websites, el 04/06/2014 a las 23:07:22

    […] web design people can see easily and quickly the full website content. Depending on the device screen size, this type of design shows or hides information, and while you are designing your web you can […]

  26. Mohanlal 21/08/2014 at 00:27:59 Responder

    Do you know about screen without pixels?

  27. Mobile Screens | KnowHow, el 09/10/2014 a las 03:39:47

    […] Mobile Screen-Sizes […]

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