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I'm looking to buy a new phone and I'm in need of an advice. I want something smaller and I have found a 4.6inch Android smartphone which is great for me (Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact). It is all around a good phone but it has a screen resolution of only 1280x720 pixels. For me that's perfectly okay, I even like it because that means better battery life since it has to render much less pixels. But what I'm afraid of is that app or web developers would stop supporting smaller resolutions like this one in near future and I would be left behind with my decent but low-res phone. Because of the low resolution I'm also considering a Sony Xperia XZ1 (not the Compact one) which has 1920x1080 screen resolution but it is a much bigger phone which I really don't like and would like to avoid (on the other hand it's much cheaper only 250 eur vs 350 eur for the Compact, but price is not the priority in this case).

And also this is my first Android smartphone (I have Lumia 820 and before that I had Lumia 800) so I don't know how it works in the Play Store with the support of so many different phones. (For example does the developer define a specific devices which are supported and anyone with a different device isn't able to install the app? Or is there a minimum supported resolution defined for each app and phones with a lower resolutions aren't able to install the app?)

Thank you for the answers.

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The device has around 319 PPI - it's good enough.

Take the two paragraphs below with a grain of salt since I'm not a web or mobile developer - my colleagues are and this is what I managed to remember from talking to them.

As for support in web apps - what websites use are not physical pixels but rather a "standardized pixel" which is size in pixels normalized to a standard PPI.

For apps in Play Store - devices list API level (fancier Android version), possibly some hardware requirements (sensors?) and possibly resolution - but this would again be stated using those "standardized pixels".

Lastly: gsmarena review lists the XZ Compact's endurance rating as 108h which is a stellar result (typical results are in the 70-80 range).

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  • Thank you. If I understand the "standardized pixel" concept correctly than any app should be able to run on any display resolution (with the right API version and other requirements fulfilled) with only downside being more blocky appearance on the lower resolution devices. This means that a modern Android app would be able to run on a device with for example only 640x360 resolution display? – jano152 May 9 '19 at 9:53
  • As for the web development, from my own experiences I'm not so sure that webs are always developed using "standardized pixels". I have a Lumia 820 smartphone which has resolution of 800x480 pixels and many web pages are starting to be unusable for me because many UI elements are rendered outside of the screen area and the webs aren't scrollable. – jano152 May 9 '19 at 9:53
  • This problem is most commont with ads that are rendered with exact resolution which is much higher than my screen's resolution. These ads then cover whole screen with an "X"-close button being rendered outside of phone's screen. The second most common problematic element is web menu, which is sometimes rendered outside of a screen. Or elements of web pages are overlapping each other and so on. I'm afraid that these problems can happen in near future on a 1280x720 screens too. – jano152 May 9 '19 at 9:53
  • @jano152 I'm not sure if this is supported by Windows devices. Those "standardized pixels" are handled by OS and possibly browser and Windows has been a dead-end mobile platform for a long time. If this was a newer model I'd say to go to a retail store to play around with it. Read that review on gsmarena and see if they noticed any issues. – Jan Dorniak May 9 '19 at 10:14
  • I understand, thank you for your help. – jano152 May 9 '19 at 12:52

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