Tuesday , June 5 2018

As mobile screens get bigger, we spend more time using them to browse the Internet

Correlation does not equate to causation .. at least that’s what my statistics lecturer at university taught me. When I saw some device usage stats come across in my email, I was immediately skeptical.

In this case, is it the larger screens driving more internet use, as contended, or is it more a case that, on average, larger screen phones are more and more prevalent, and thus they represent more usage than less common, smaller phones?

The short answer is – who cares, right? This information shows us something which we intuitively know, but it’s an interesting tidbit regardless. There’s a significant difference in average data user per day between smaller devices (347mb) vs larger (840mb), though the minutes used per day – across all sizes – varies only within 80 minutes or so, and the daily sessions within 50 sessions across the range.

The one thing I can draw from this is that larger phones are being used to consume streaming content – e.g. videos, movies, etc – moreso than the smaller screen Androids.

This information came to us courtesy of Strategy Analytics’ mobile research panel called AppOptix, and it’s a neat little insight into how screen size drives (or may vary alongside) data usage. If you’ve got a larger screen device, chances are you use it more. Stunning, right?

Chris Rowland   Editor and Publisher

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag. He saw the transition from AMPS to GSM, loved the Motorola StarTac, and got into Palm technologies in a big way. The arrival some years later of the original iPhone, and then the early Androids, awoke a new interest in mobile technology, and Chris has been writing about it since.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.


  1. Do we know what screen size measurement they are using to determine if a phone is smaller or larger? For example, perhaps 5 inches would be the upper limit of smaller.

  2. I can see at least 2 reasons why this may also be the case. Data is getting cheaper in general but those with larger screens are also likely to be more expensive phones and so on higher plans which have more data and so more is used. They may also be at a size deemed big enough to be used as a second screen instead of using a tablet or laptop.

  3. Well some people must be stunned, like all those that say small phones are better. For me the larger the screen the more I use and enjoy it.

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