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Pros and cons of the trendy 18:9 screen format

AndroidPIT Samsung Galaxy S9 0684
© nextpit by Irina Efremova

Like some other trends, such as the notch, the 18:9 screens have flooded the market, and now it’s nearly mandatory that top-range devices come with this aspect ratio, with many intermediaries already adopting this feature as well. The 18:9 screens seem to have been well received by the public, but what are their biggest advantages and disadvantages? Let’s check them out.

AndroidPIT LG G6 MWC 2017 hands on
The LG G6 is one of the precursors of the 18:9 screens. / © ANDROIDPIT


Do more things simultaneously

The dual-screen feature has come to various brands and their devices before being completely incorporated into Android software. With this function you can fit a lot in an 18:9 screen, either vertically or horizontally. With the longer display, two apps work much better on the device, and consequently, their productivity increases.

More space for apps

Some apps easily benefit from an 18:9 screen. Browsers and eBook apps, for example, get more area to present text and images, which is great for people who are accustomed to a large computer screen. Some games will also take advantage of the increased screen size and usage area.

samsung galaxy s8
The Galaxy S8 was Samsung’s first endeavor with an 18:9 format. / © NextPit

Easier to hold

With this new aspect ratio, it’s become possible to increase the size of the screen without harming the device’s usability. Therefore, devices with 6-inch screens feel much more secure than devices with 5.5-inch screens in the previous format. In the same way, the 18:9 format and infinite screen facilitate one another, making it easier to implement this feature without disturbing usage.


Videos aren’t ready

With the increasing number of 18:9 devices (including monitors and TVs), the production of content in this screen format has increased as well. But until then, you’ll have to make complicated decisions when watching a video, because either you’ll cut off the subtitles or you’ll lose content on both sides. Some companies are already producing content in this format, but they’re still the minority. So until there’s more of them, we’ll have to wait for content.

Apps aren’t ready yet

And it’s not just with videos that problems appear. In the case of apps, many of them are also not up to date to deal with long screens. So you end up with two black bars on the top and bottom, or on the side. Yes, this isn’t such a serious problem, but you paid a premium to have an 18:9 screen, so wouldn’t it be better to take full advantage of it?

AndroidPIT lg q6 7150 2
The LG Q6 shows how the 18:9 format has arrived on mid-range phones. / AndroidPIT

Longer swipes

This would be a disadvantage even if the screen still had a 16:9 aspect ratio, but with a longer screen, it becomes more difficult to reach available content. In the case of swipes that require the whole screen, like in browsers, it doesn’t make that much of a difference. But in the case of a game, where your thumb needs 25 centimeters to quickly complete a command, things get more complicated.

And what about you? Do you see more advantages or disadvantages in an 18:9 display?

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  • 1
    bernieparcon001 Nov 18, 2019 Link to comment

    I like it. 18:9 puts more space for status bar and nav bar, which gives more space for content. Sometimes, i use gesture nave to give more space for content. Unless, yeah, you really use your phone mostly for watching.

  • 1
    PJJansen Aug 25, 2019 Link to comment

    I had one and hated it. Before purchase i reviewed phones based on screen size without considering aspect ratio. Ultimately i wanted a slightly wider screen but ended up with a longer one which actually made overall visibility worse. I ended up selling the phone and have reverted back to a 16:9 aspect ratio and much happier.

  • Jim Willeke 1
    Jim Willeke Jan 2, 2019 Link to comment

    As I recall 18:9 is 2:1 or am I missing something?

    • ... 1
      ... Apr 6, 2019 Link to comment

      18:9 is 2:1.

  • 3
    Blanca Perez Sep 14, 2018 Link to comment

    18:9 is a marketing gimmick to sell people new phones. Any "advantages" won't make up for it not fitting in my pocket as well.


  • Andrew Malcolmson 2
    Andrew Malcolmson Aug 16, 2018 Link to comment

    I just got a Nokia 5 which is 18:9. I don't get how this format presents text better. Reading on a wider screen is easier for the eyes since they travel less moving side to side rather than up and down. Reading a skinny column of text is like being on an old web site designed for low res monitors.

    StefaneeStephen Weaver

    • Stephen Weaver 2
      Stephen Weaver Sep 4, 2018 Link to comment

      I think the people who say they are good for reading, have never read a book.


      • 3
        Blanca Perez Sep 14, 2018 Link to comment

        So the millenials will love it:-)


  • Hdjj okkok 3
    Hdjj okkok Apr 16, 2018 Link to comment

    I like 18:9 because it is perfect display for smartphones.

  • Francesco V. 20
    Francesco V. Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    "more area to present text and images" is false in general: at equal diagonal size (a measure understood by the customers) the area is in fact smaller! Do your math, folks.

    StefaneeStephen WeaverDiego KakuitprolondenDeactivated Account

    • Stefanee 2
      Stefanee Nov 18, 2018 Link to comment

      H**l, you don't even have to know any math; just not be blind. Anyone that the old-style tvs, older phones, can tell the newer phones aren't bigger...they look long and thin.

      Francesco V.

    • Nick Flannigan 2
      Nick Flannigan Nov 19, 2018 Link to comment

      The idea is that it's a 5.5-inch 16:9 with extra space on top/bottom. Of course a 6-inch 16:9 is bigger than a 6-inch 18:9, but most people will have come from a 5.5-inch phone so it's being compared to the so-called "old standard".


  • 46
    Deactivated Account Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    I do not like it at all, you end up having black bar at the ends of the when viewing movies or pictures. I personally think is sucks and will avoid them as long as I can. Like I am avoiding phones with non removable batteries.

    StefaneeFrancesco V.

  • 49
    storm Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    Content is King. Interpolation is a waste of compute power and battery. This screen is a sales gimmick.

    Stephen WeaverDiego KakuFrancesco V.Deactivated Account

    • 28
      itprolonden Apr 18, 2018 Link to comment

      Did you mean "context is king"?

      • 49
        storm May 9, 2018 Link to comment

        No. Video, games and page layout is designed to certain known ratios and resolutions. When your screen deviates from those extra processing power is needed to convert the content to fit the screen. This is called interpolation. For video content it can be referred to as upscaling in the case of taking an HD video upscaling it to 4K video display. 16:9 is the primary ratio in use currently.

  • Albin Foro 30
    Albin Foro Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    Before these came out I was pretty sure i'd never buy any phone bigger than 5" just for pocketabilty and holding comfort - now I'm not so sure. Breakability comment is valid, but I've always used a protective case - I like enough bezel for a good case fit, and the no-bezel fad is putting me off again.

    Deactivated Account

  • Rusty H. 33
    Rusty H. Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    Nope, don't care for it. When I see the words trendy, fashionable, stylish...I usually shy away from them. I'm more of the beefy, rugged type of phone buyer. I want something that doesn't look like if I touch it wrong, it might break.

    StefaneeKeith A G.Deactivated Account

  • Matthew 8
    Matthew Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    Tink-tink... my beautiful Samsung Galaxy Note 8 caught the very corner of the curved glass when I accidentally dropped it. To get the glass repaired was going to be a $450 bill. fortunately, I had insurance through Verizon but it still cost me $200. the folks I talked to said the curved glass wise to blame for the incredibly expensive screen repairs. That makes the large curved screens a disadvantage in my book.

    Francesco V.StefaneeKeith A G.Deactivated Account

  • 20
    Reg Joo Apr 15, 2018 Link to comment

    No break-ability disadvantage? Glass isn't advanced enough yet, to make that a non-problem.

    Francesco V.Deactivated Account

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