From the Editor's Desk: Welcome to the 'tall phone' era
The new form factor for phones is narrow and tall — and probably for the best.
Smartphones were in a bit of a holding pattern for the past couple of years with 16:9 aspect ratio displays, at either standard FHD or QHD resolution, as we all waited for the next “thing” in form factors. It looks like tiny bezels and extra-tall displays are it. With the LG G6 fully announced, and the Samsung Galaxy S8 thoroughly leaked, it’s a great indication that phones with 18:9 (or slightly taller even) displays are the new wave of the future.
Much like many laptops and tablets have steadily moved away from the constraints of 16:9 displays that were really a carryover from TVs that needed standardization on HD content, it just makes sense for phones to break these shackles to find a new aspect ratio. Yes we watch lots of traditional 16:9 media on our phones, but it’s nowhere near a majority of the time spent looking at these screens — so much time is spent holding phones vertically, in one hand, scrolling through feeds and pages within apps. A narrower, taller display just makes more sense for this type of interaction.
It may take a little while, just like the transition from 4:3 phone displays to 16:9, but in the end this new aspect ratio is actually a better overall design from a usability standpoint. Sure the LG G6 doesn’t have quite as much physical screen as an HTC U Ultra, but the upside is having a phone you can actually manage in one hand, reach across easily and enjoy more than a phone of the same width with less vertical screen real estate.
So I, for one, welcome our new tall screen overlords. May they increase our productivity and enjoyment of phones, albeit with a slight annoyance when flipping those phones landscape to watch a YouTube video.
Now, a few other thoughts rattling around this weekend:
- After two weeks with the Huawei Watch 2, I’m really not impressed. It’s unfortunately not a proper successor to the original Huawei Watch. (Review landing tomorrow — keep an eye out.)
- I have an HTC U Ultra in for review. Thing’s huge, the second screen doesn’t add much value, and it’s so expensive — but I love that design, and HTC just gets so many fundamentals right.
- Also, I really like having a headphone jack. I use it every day. The U Ultra doesn’t have one. Please don’t continue this trend.
- I’m excited to spend more time with the new Galaxy Tab S3, particularly to see if it can be a worthy replacement for my Pixel C — initially, I’m not convinced.
- Love seeing more Bank of America ATMs with NFC readers, so you can tap to authenticate your debit card for transactions. I need this to be ubiquitous before I can leave the house without the card, though.
- How about that Barcelona-Paris Champion’s League match this week? Holy moly, that was insane.
- I feel it was a bit of foreshadowing that we were at Camp Nou to watch Barcelona destroy Sporting 6-1 just a week earlier …
That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday — there’s another big week ahead!