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THOUGHT: Comparing a 3.5 inches Xda III screen with a 2.8 inches MPx screen
Posted by Arne Hess - on Saturday, 25.09.04 - 16:41:50 CET under 09 - Thoughts - Viewed 9021x
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My last thought "And now? What's your favorite Pocket PC Phone Edition?" generated a couple of good questions and one was about the screen size of the different devices.
While I don't have all the new devices here to compare, at least two typical representatives of the next coming Pocket PC Phone Editions already arrived for testing:

  • The o2 Xda III with the typical Pocket PC screen size of 3.5 inches
  • The newly introduced screen size of 2.8 inches the Motorola MPx has.

In reality the difference is significant:

The photo above reflects a 1:1 comparison between a larger 3.5 inches screen and a 2.8 inches screen. Depending on your screen resolution it's the genuine screen size of both devices. 

While the MPx screen is 0.7 inches smaller than the Xda III screen it is sharper but the missing 0.7 inches makes it hard to use it without a stylus but thumbs only, I'm often use for a quick navigation through the screens.
On the other hand, I don't have the feeling in my daily use that a 2.8 inches screen is too small and I never had the wish to have a larger screen.

What do you think? Would a 2.8 inches screen fits your requirements?

Cheers ~ Arne


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Posted by Niels on 25.09.04 - 21:24:59

Hi Arne,

when can we expect tests of those two devices? And do have any idea on launch dates? Especially for the O2 version of the XDAIII?


Posted by on 25.09.04 - 23:29:54

Your comparison is a little in vain because both displays have the same resolution - 240x320 pixels. Anyway for many many people small size of Motorola MPx - as compared to other Pocket PC phones - is very crucial! Our only worry is: when at last Motorola MPx will be available commercially!

Posted by farnold on 26.09.04 - 03:22:40

Arne, you hit the spot. I played with both devices as well and I have to say there are quite some reasons that make me to prefer the larger screen. The MPx is a nice concept, but I'm wondering why they didn't make it a Smartphone instead of a PocketPC. For my taste the screen is too small and I didn't see the value of the keyboard... besides that I found it difficult to use with one hand as well... For the moment my conclusion is that my next device will be my current XDA II  big_smile

Posted by Arne Hess on 26.09.04 - 05:25:43

One thing I can say is that I've been usign a 2.8 inch screen for almost a year already and I would have to agree with Arne about it's useability as a touch screen device. I find it more difficult to even use the scroll bars as they are much smaller physically.

The 2.8 inch screen may appear sharper since it does offer a tighter dot pitch than nthe regular 3.5 inch screen, but using the SIP keyboard is a bit of a pain when you are trying to poke at keys which are significantly smaller. Errors occur at a higher rate with the SIP QWERTY keyboard and shifting to other forms of writing become essential to keep the useability of the smaller touch screen.

With the MPx, I guess this is addressed by the built-in QWERTY thumb board... but for those who rely mostly on the stylus/touchscreen interface, it will take a lot of getting used to.

I think it would be nice if Arne can also compare this 2.8 inch screen to a 3.8 inch iPAQ h5550 screen to actually show how much smaller this screen is... it's about 1/2 the size of an iPAQ h5550 screen!

Mabuhay! ~ Carlo

Posted by Arne Hess on 26.09.04 - 14:40:15

While the 2.8 screen is generally working fine for me, in in terms of browsing the web, reading E-Mails, using it for Calendar or Contacts and as Carlo said - thanks to the keyboard also entering texts works fine, I found one serious problem with such a small screen: GPS car navigation! The screen is too small to see anything while you are driving. For sure voice commands works fine but mostly you also want to see where you are and where to drive too.

Posted by nojetlag on 27.09.04 - 15:39:20

I won't touch any mobile device anymore until it is 640 x 480, at the moment they still charge a big extra for such devices (as if it is a big revolution to have VGA). But when prices come down then I might get a device again (if data prices are down then smile )
If you have a 640 x 480 device would you mind to post a comparision ?

Posted by bnycastro on 27.09.04 - 05:13:43


nice article... a question if you don't mind. how useable/un-useable is the htc blue angel's qwerty keyboard in landscape mode?

Posted by Arne Hess on 27.09.04 - 11:10:28

[6] There is no functionality at all, if the Blue Angel is in landscape mode. Here it acts like the Xda II - if it would support Windows Mobile 2003 SE!
Useless unlike the MPx keyboard which can be used in portrait mode at least for dialing.

Posted by losers always complain -bout everything. on 27.09.04 - 18:10:21

[2] You are definetly a looser.

No wonder why nobody visits your webpage anymore.
Get a life kiddo..

Posted by Arne Hess on 27.09.04 - 18:32:08

[1] Tests are still under work but currently I'm super busy with my "real life work" that I'm a "Little bit" limited in my spare time where I can do these tests. Sorry for that!
So far no official release date given for the MPx but beginning next year seems to be reasonable while O2 said until end of this year for the Xda III.

Posted by i-m an idion on 28.09.04 - 00:36:20

[9] *lol* big_smile couldn't agree more! i enjoy arnes comparison; unlike mswho? it is providing some real value, not like this yellow press styled mswho?!

@arne: sorry for being off-topic!

Posted by Niels on 28.09.04 - 18:26:33

[10] Well, it seems hard to understand why O2 takes so long to release this devices. Franky, T-Mobile is a bigger company and they are not as efficient therefore and they have a shorter time to market then O2. Putting a different case around the device might not take very long...
Long really forward to your tests...

Posted by mckytm_temp on 01.10.04 - 11:52:42

[11] Haha tongue well, the few times I went there I only found prevalent Nokia-bashing articles... I remember reading how Nokia was an evil corporation, and they came from Finland which once had a military pact with the Soviet Union... blah blah blah tongue

Posted by jayson on 08.10.04 - 08:00:15

Back to the screen topic:

A smaller screen might be harder for the eye to handle because even the words will be smaller.  Of course you can increase font size while sacrificing the amount of data presented.  But for a PDA... the larger the screen the better.  (That's why I dumped the SE P800 for an iPAQ). 

Motorola should release this already.  The more they keep it, the more obsolete this becomes even before official release.  By the time they release this, the features may already be not at par with the current generation of PDA's.

Posted by /Diego on 09.10.04 - 00:26:09

IMO the difference won't be a big issue, and I'll tell you why... indeed you won't be able to tap precisely with your very fingers on a 2,8" screen, especially on the SIP keyboard, but I think I would use an external BT keyboard for long text input, while, as Arne said, "...the 2.8 screen is generally working fine for me, in in terms of browsing the web, reading E-Mails, using it for Calendar or Contacts..."...

Instead, I don't understand why using GPS would be a pain with the smaller 2,8" screen... I mean, if so, then GPS on Smartphones [usually 2,2" , 176x220] should be completely useless... what do you think ?


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