Perception Is Reality

In financial circles, there is something called the “true interest rate”. This is the actual interest rate charged by your bank or financial institution  – as opposed to the interest rate you perceive you are being charged – which is, often, far removed from reality.

Mobile phones are getting bigger. It is rare for a high end mobile phone to have a screen size less that 3.5″ these days. The iPhone 5 comes to mind as one of the few high end phones with such a tiny screen size. Lots of these devices have crossed the 4-inch diagonal over into the 5-inch+ territory.

The idea of this “bigger is better mindset” smartphones is that they furnish us with a more satisfying user experience. Browsing, watching videos and reading documents are enjoyable in the same proportion as the size of the screen.

For a device meant to slip into the trouser pocket, or lift to the ears to make and receive calls, there is a conflict as regards how big that phone should be. Beyond a certain size, it may be difficult, inconvenient or ridiculous, to use.

What is the REAL screen size?

Of course, screen size is the length of the diagonal of the screen.

But, wait!

This is where our perception can be our reality.

Let us take a 3.7″ smartphone. By today’s standards, this is a medium sized phone. While lusting after that giant screened 4.5″ Lg Optimus L7 phone, we may already have in that 3.7″ phone, a phone that gives us close to the same experience as the 4.5″ incher!


By making more use of the landscape mode – more.

Supposing our 3.7″ diagonal screen gives us 3.2″ (length)’ by 2.7″ (breadth). Using the phone is a landscape mode effectively gives us a reversal in dimension : a 3.2″ (width) by a 2.7″ (length).

When we use our phone in landscape mode, we are able to see more when:

Browsing – There is little or no need to pan left and right
Reading eBooks – Our eyes work far less because there are more words accommodated per line
Watching video – the modern practice now is to display video clips in the landscape format, even on television sets.

In effect, due to modern smartphones having screen rotational facility, we have a phone that is small when we need it to be (portrait – making / receiving a call), and BIG whenever occasion demands it (e-reading, browsing, videos).

Auto rotation is a nuisance!

There are some inconveniences associated with landscaping

1)    When a mobile device has its auto rotate mode set, it uses its accelerometer sensor, to detect the way the device is held, and adjusts the display contents accordingly. It thus consumes more power, depleting the battery faster than if auto rotate is disabled.

2)    While lying in a supine position on the bed, and occasionally tossing and turning about, that phone being held tends to flip flop between landscape and portrait orientation.

A rotation lock software to the rescue.

What we need is a means of locking the screen in a particular orientation (in this case – landscape)

An app that can do that will also be beneficial when using a tablet as well. While reading your bible, you do not want your display switching orientation while you aim a deadly swipe at that annoying mosquito that will not leave you in peace!

On the Android system, I use a third party Android app called Display Orientator to lock the phone orientation to landscape when I need to browse, read an eBook, or watch that occasional video clip.

The app can lock the display into either portrait or landscape. Hold in your preferred mode. Tap. Done. Sweet!

That way, I avoid the headaches highlighted in Points 1 and 2 above.

In conclusion, I have tried to highlight how I get to enjoy the benefits of a bigger screened smartphone, while sticking to a physically smaller dimensioned one.

It is all about our “orientation”, where our perception is often more important than the reality!

Before we rush out to buy that giant screened monster, let us examine our realities, and see if we need to change our perception – instead!


3 Responses

  1. Nothing beats the real thing they say, but if you couldn’t afford the real thing because of financial concerns or some other constrains, the landscape mode may come to your rescue. But if you need to edit some text and belong to the class that prefers tap-typing to swipe-typing, it will soon become obvious that this stopgap approach is very limited as a solution.

    I have an office suite application that when you switch to the landscape mode, the main text edit window will not be visible, meaning that you will virtually be editing blindfold.

    Where video is concerned, you hardly need any screen locking apps these days as most of the video apps in the market are designed to display video in the landscape mode by default and also lock the screen in the landscape mode while video is playing. For the other scenarios, such apps will come in handy.

    I generally prefer reading ebooks and browsing the web in portrait mode except when I need to view some tubular information or some graphics on a page.

  2. Sorry about this very late response, I hadn’t checked back on this post since, maybe I should always check the “Biology me of follow-up comments by email.” box henceforth.

    I think these social media services eat too much into my time, so, right now I don’t know how to tweet and I don’t want to learn. I still follow interesting people and some blog sites and app developers but I don’t intend becoming active, at least not yet.

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