Screen size matters

I found myself spending some time thinking about screen size recently. Two years ago, at Outbrain, I worked with two 24” monitors side-by-side on my desk. While I loved the power of dual screens and the way I felt sitting behind them, the constant back and forth triggered the worst of my ADD tendencies and prevented me from completing projects as efficiently as I might have liked. Last year, I splurged for a 27” iMac for my home office and quickly fell in love. It’s surely big enough to multi-task, but the single screen format lends itself more naturally to focused work, but makes switching back and forth between apps easy when required. It’s also plenty big to work on two files simultaneously, tiling one atop the other for easy reference. The more accustomed I’ve become to working on the 27” screen, the less interest I have spending time on my 13” MacBook Air, which feels tiny and unproductive - not to mention painfully slow after a few years of power use. This week, after nearly two years on an Android phone, I switched back to iOS opting to try the larger screen size of the iPhone 6 Plus. When this phone was announced, I laughed it off as too big, but as I considered my desktop usage patterns, the bigger screen size became surprisingly appealing. Two days into it, the form factor feels slightly wonky and makes one-handed use challenging, but the viewing experience more than makes up for it, which makes the amount of time I spend each day staring at my phone feel more rewarding. Reading articles and watching video - two activities I avoided on my Nexus 5 - are enjoyable. I’m also amazed at how effortlessly the switch back to iOS from Android felt. Apple has permeated our collective consciousness and nailed UI in a way few companies have ever accomplished. The other benefit of extra screen size in the case of the 6 Plus is battery life that belittles every other phone I’ve owned - meaning one less thing to worry about as I go about my day. I don't know how long this trend continues or how big mobile screens will get, but the pros seem to still outweigh the cons for now.