Nokia_n97There was once a time when many mobile tech enthusiasts believed that a portable device could only provide the full internet experience if it had a minimum screen resolution of 800 x 480. There were other prerequisites as well (Flash support, processing speed, page rendering, etc.), but a low-resolution screen was one of the immediate deal breakers. Gadgets that otherwise looked promising were often withdrawn from consideration as soon as their resolutions were revealed to be lacking.

Today, however, screen resolution seems to have taken a backseat to mobile-browser "flourishes" like momentum-based scrolling and tap/double-tap zooming. If not for such workarounds, the idea of browsing the web on a 3.5-inch screen with a paltry 480 x 320 resolution wouldn’t sound very appealing. Though some feel that these "tricks" fool users into believing they’re getting a true internet experience because of the "fun factor," millions of iPhone and iPod touch owners don’t seem to mind. On a similar note, I don’t see any criticism this morning about the Nokia N97 and its 3.5-inch 640 x 360 screen.

This, then, raises the question that is the subject of the poll you’ll find below.

UPDATE: Thanks for voting. The poll is now closed.

To put those resolutions into some context, here’s a quick table I put together of 10 mobile devices (5" screen max for true pocketability) and their respective screen sizes and resolutions.

Device Screen Size Screen Resolution
AT&T Tilt
2.8 inches 320 x 240
HTC Touch Pro
2.8 inches 640 x 480
SE XPERIA X1
3 inches 800 x 480
Nokia N97
3.5 inches 640 x 320
Sony mylo 2
3.5 inches 800 x 480
  Apple iPhone
3.5 inches 480 x 320
Nokia N810
4.1 inches 800 x 480
Aigo P8860 MID
4.8 inches 800 x 480
Archos 5
  4.8 inches 800 x 480
HTC Advantage
5 inches 640 x 480

What’s more important to you than screen resolution? Screen size? Browser? Speed?

My mobile web priorities list would look like this:

  1. Browser
  2. Screen resolution
  3. Page rendering
  4. Screen size
  5. Speed (load times)
  6. Flash support