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Is it possible to change the resolution or DPI of the Nexus 5? I've read somewhere that you can do this with a Nexus tablet. I will be needing an Android device for development and I am considering the Nexus 5.

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Well, you can't change the actual screen size or DPI, because those are physical characteristics of the screen hardware. You can't stretch the phone to be the size of a tablet, or change how the LCD is wired.

On a rooted device, you can edit a configuration file to change how big Android thinks the screen is, which will affect the calculated DPI and the resulting layouts. That isn't convenient for testing, though, because rendering a "larger" screen's UI on a smaller screen will result in tiny text that's hard to read and tiny touch elements that are hard to interact with.

For testing a variety of screen sizes, you're better off creating a variety of AVDs in the emulator. That's much simpler and less dangerous than rooting and editing low-level system configuration files just to test a layout.

  • But can I test 'Smaller' screen sizes on the Nexus 5 for example? – Little Tiny Dev Oct 28 '14 at 1:46
  • You could, yes. But it's still simpler and safer to use an AVD. – Wyzard Oct 28 '14 at 1:48
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You can safely change the screen density (DPI) in your build.prop file using a tool like Build Prop Editor. Note that you will need a rooted device in order to tweak your build.prop. You will want to change the 'ro.sf.lcd_density' key to a smaller value to make everything smaller (higher density); likewise, you will want to change it to a larger value to make everything bigger (lower density). I recommend you stay within the range of 100 - 600 dpi, as that covers almost all devices out there.

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