Are there devices narrower than 320px (and data on their usage for web browsing)?

  • Most organisations I know of when testing responsive designs (and responders to the question What is the smallest screen size you design for) use 320px as the narrowest device width they test for, when testing if layouts still make sense, images are still clear, and any responsively-scaling interactive items are still clickable.

    As far as I can tell, this is based on the fairly arbitrary assumption that there are no popular devices in widespread use for web browsing that have a narrower width than an old iPhone held in portrait orientation ("width" measured in virtual/CSS pixels, see below).

    Is this true? I'm looking for evidence on which to base such a rule of thumb - particularly for building new sites where no user data exists yet.

    The ideal would be some kind of device-size equivalent of browser usage stats. Failing that, info on devices that are this narrow plus relative sales figures would also be a useful rough gauge.


    Obviously, if you have a large, established site, you could get data about existing users from Google Analytics and similar, but this is no use if:

    • Your site is new or under development
    • You're trying to reach out to a new demographic
    • You're aware that some devices are underrepresented due to past poor usability

    To quickly avoid a common confusion, this is 320px virtual pixels aka "CSS pixels" aka "density independent pixels" etc. Most modern devices have many more actual physical pixels - device pixels - than this (pixel density / "retina display"), but interpret content as if the width was the virtual pixel width so that it doesn't become tiny.

    What about smart watches e.g. "LG G: 1.65-inch LCD display with a 280x280 resolution" (result from Google). If the physical resolution has a width of less that 320, the virtual width is probably smaller too.

    Good question. It'd depend on the usage stats - if a substantial number of people use it regularly to browse the web, I don't care if it's a watch, phone, games console, toaster or fridge. If there's no evidence it's common or commonly used for web browsing, it goes in the 'unsupported' bin alongside old-school feature phones and early Blackberrys.

    Another useful link is google's list of devices: https://material.io/devices/

    @user31782 Great link, that plus the observation that only watches are narrower than 320 dp (and those range 136-241 dp) would make a good answer

    Now how about 2020? :) Is there any devices that survived and in use? I usually refer to this website, but it doesn't even have 320 now https://gs.statcounter.com/screen-resolution-stats/mobile/worldwide

  • tohster

    tohster Correct answer

    6 years ago

    I have used the following listing to justify a minimum of 320 wide:

    https://viewportsizes.mattstow.com/

    While it's not completely exhaustive, it's expansive enough to make the point that there are only a few phones in the last few years that have <320px screens, and I have never had anyone argue that the number isn't de minimis.

    If you're doing this for responsive layouts, I usually do set a <320 viewport font style, but set the minimum body width at 320... those almost nonexistent users can damn well scroll :-)

    Nice, +1. Sorting by most recent first, it looks like the most recent <320 is the Nokia Asha 302 from **March 2012**, at `314px` wide, using Nokia's now-defunct proprietary OS. Even the Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 was 320px wide. I have to go back to 2011 for anything <310px. Compelling argument!

    @user568458 that's what I got too! I just didn't want to mention it in the answer because I wanted to phrase it in a way that would stay relevant for future readers :-)

    The most recent moderately popular Android phone I can find with less than 320px width was the original Samsung Galaxy Mini, from early 2011. That's 240px x 320px, so even a user with an exceptionally small 4 year old phone can still use a site with a minimum of 320px+, with an imperfect but usable choice between landscape orientation or side scrolling.

    @downvoter can you explain why you downvoted? Irrespective of whether you believe in responsive breakpoints or not, the OP asked whether there are devices narrower than 320px so this answer provides a factual reference.

    Downvotes on SE are broken, 90% are just meaningless animalistic grunts from the ignorant. I stopped caring about downvotes years ago, sadly. This is the best answer, so have an accept.

    @user568458 thanks. If this had been the most voted answer i wouldn't have cared, but unfortunately the downvote popped it down to the bottom where someone would have had a slightly harder time finding the objective answer. Your accept vote fixes this, thanks!

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Content dated before 7/24/2021 11:53 AM