Monday, October 14, 2013

Which Tablet shape is more magazine-like? | the Hobbit Hole

So I was discussing the state of tablets recently with some buddies of mine. We were arguing about the various advantages and disadvantages of Apple versus Android…and more specifically the Nexus 10 versus the iPad. I said that I preferred the iPad’s shape -which is 4×3. My reasoning is that is more book shaped than a widescreen tablet like the Nexus 10 which is 16×10. The argument then shifted to which shape is truly more book-like. I decided to really find out. So I got a couple of scans together and pasted them into both 16×10 and 4×3 shapes in Photoshop. Each time I resized the images to best fit the shape but I did NO CROPS only proportional re-sizes. The results surprised me a bit. Take a look (all images are thumbnails so click away):

First we begin with the samples. For comic-books I chose this from my recent Top 100 Count-down:

030-Alien Worlds-02-Dave Stevens

And to represent magazine sized media I grabbed this Cosmo cover featuring the lovely Zooey Deschanel. This scan came from I edited it down a bit to 2048 in height:


I’ll begin with the comic. This simulates viewing with an iPad held in landscape mode (box is 1600×1200):


Next we will simulate viewing the comic on an iPad held in portrait mode (box is 1200×1600) note a fairly good size chunk is CLIPPED from the bottom of the image:


Now lets look at the magazine. The image below simulates viewing it on an iPad held in landscape mode (box is 1600×1200):


Now the same magazine viewed on an iPad held in portrait mode (box is 1200×1600) -note this is nearly a perfect fit as just a tiny bit of the cover is clipped off at the bottom:


Now here is the cover on Nexus 10 shaped screen held in landscape mode (box is 1920×1200):


Now the magazine on a Nexus 10 shaped screen held in portrait mode (box is 1200×1920)-not a terribly bad fit but there is a fair amount of extra space at the bottom:


So what can we conclude from this? To me it’s pretty clear that a standard magazine fits a 4×3 screen (oriented in portrait mode) almost perfectly. I’d say this is exactly what Jobs and company intended when they first conceived the iPad. On the other hand the modern day comicbook is sort of tall and skinny compared to a larger magazine and this fits a 16×10 held in portrait slightly better than the iPad shape. But it should also be noted that I could have sized the comic cover just a hair thinner and it would have fit the height better at the expense of a bit of side to side dead space. So the iPad isn’t a bad comic reader/viewer after all. Also one should realize that over the years the comicbook has had it’s width CUT DOWN a substantial amount. The sample book is from 1982. Comics printed in earlier decades were MUCH wider and would fit the iPad shape even better. I would have to conclude that the iPad’s 4×3 is the winner in the comic/magazine viewer contest but the 16×10 shape of the Nexus 10 is not unusable. I guess if comics were your main thing than the Nexus 10 shape might be your winner but if your thing was magazines than the iPad would be preferable. One thing is for sure the 16×9 shape would make a terrible comic or magazine viewer.


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