Mobile Device Screen Sizes (Aspect Ratio and Resolution)

If you’ve ever tried to develop a product for a mobile device, now or way in the past, you should have come across a very common problem.  I have also come across this problem and I still find that I don’t have a very good solution.  While this is the case I thought I’d try to gather together useful posts from others that can help you to find your own solution.

So what is the problem?  Every screen that you try to draw stuff on will have a physical size and shape (usually rectangular), and a grid of coloured dots (pixels) that fill that space to give an image.  I’m ignoring orientation of said screen; and the colour depth of each pixel.

The physical size is measured in physical distances like centimeters (or inches), and the shape is given as a ratio (aspect ratio).

The number of pixels that fill that shape are simply counted along the long and short edges.

So to properly understand how big the screen is that you reading this blog on; you will need to know the physical size (21″ monitor), that is has a 16:9 aspect ratio with 1440 pixels along one side and 900 pixels along the other.  You could even measure the physical size of the screen as factor of the pixel density.  For example, you could say there are 72 pixels per inch.

Armed with this information and a selection of mobile phones you will find that there is no consistent numbers.

V-Play’s blog post on how to cope with the different screen sizes shows more about this problem.

At the end of that blog, there are some very useful links to other solutions.


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