As technology continues to evolve, new device models are being released and screens grow bigger, it is more important than ever to understand key device characteristics from a development and testing standpoint.
Whether you are developing native apps, hybrid apps, or responsive web apps (RWD), screen size, screen resolution, and PPI (pixel per inch – pixel density) need to be taken into consideration.
Introduction to screen size, resolution, and PPI
Before we dive into the details, it’s important to know that today’s mobile platforms such as Android have the ability to categorize, based on the screen parameters mentioned above, the sizes and densities into one of six families (LDPI, MDPI, HDPI, XHDPI, XXHDPI, XXX-HDPI) and to optimize app visuals for specific devices with these screen sizes.
Android’s density categories
If we look into some of today’s leading smartphones and tablets and their parameters (See image below), we can clearly see how the six families are represented:
As shown here, it is not just important to mix devices and operating systems based on the location of the devices, but it’s also important to understand that two Samsung devices with approximately the same screen sizes but different resolutions might show different visuals to the user, or will consume more CPU and battery to process the various app visuals on these devices.