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A proper way to detect if device is either a cellphone or a tablet?

  • Hi,

    I have been researching about the better way to detect if a Qt app is running from a cellphone or a tablet. Here is an interesting approach:

    But I wonder if there is a more recent way to do it. I am playing around with a mobile app using QWidgets and I want to show a customized interface for phones and other for the tablets. Is it possible?

    I appreciate any advice on this matter. Thanks!

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    @xtingray Is your UI really depending on cell phone/tablet or actually on the screen size?

  • @jsulm Yes and not. I mean, I need to show a comfortable interface depending on the physical size of the screen. Let me give you some examples:

    • Cellphone with this display resolution: 960x540 / dpi=159. I have lack of space to work here, so I have to show the small interface.
    • Tablet with this display resolution: 1920x1128 / dpi = 240. I have enough space to work here, so I can display the large interface.
    • Cellphone with this display resolution: 2560x1440 / dpi = 581. I have enough space to work here, BUT if I try the large interface, the user experience is very poor, because although I can show all the GUI components, as it is a cellphone, the elements are so tiny that is very difficult to pick them with my finger. So, in this case I choose the small interface, in despite of the plenty space.

    Concluding, the physical screen size (not the display resolution) would help me a lot to decide what interface to show. Now, thinking of the problem, asking for the physical screen size is just a technical way to approach my original question: how can I detect if a device is a cellphone or a tablet?

    PS: I wonder if making some calculation with the resolution parameters and the dpi value I can solve the problem. i.e.

    if (width > 1200) {
         if (dpi < 300) { // it's a tablet
         } else { // it's a cellphone
    } else if (width < 1200 and dpi < 300) { // it's a cellphone

    It has any sense?

  • Moderators

    yyou could check int QPaintDevice::heightMM() I'm howerver not sure how reliable that function is.

    The better option would probably be a compination of int QPaintDevice::physicalDpiX() const and const QRect QDesktopWidget::availableGeometry(int screen = -1) const

    for you to decide upon, to use the mobile ui or not.

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    @xtingray To me it sounds like you need the resolution and physical display size instead to try to find out whether a device is tablet or smart phone. Especially there is no clear differentiation between tablet and smartphone I would say. There are tablets with big displays but low resolution for example as well.

  • Yes, both are just things with a rectangular display of some size and resolution and the same set of applications - except that some devices have an application called "Phone", but that doesn't influence the design of other applications in any way...

  • You can also have a look at V-Play Engine for Qt-based mobile Apps and Games, which already offers simple properties like App::tablet or App::landscape to create responsive UIs based on the screen size or orientation.

    The NavigationStack component, which offers native-styled page transitions and navigation bars for iOS and Android, also allows to automatically use a splitView on tablets.

    Here's a short example:

    import VPlayApps 1.0
    import QtQuick 2.0
    App {
      NavigationStack {
        id: navStack
        splitView: tablet // activates split-view feature for tablets
        // initial page (placed in left column if tablet is true)
        initialPage: Page {
          title: "Main Page"
          AppButton {
            text: "Add Detail Page"
            anchors.centerIn: parent
            onClicked: navStack.push(detailPage)
      // Component for Detail Page
      // placed in right column if tablet is true, added on top of stack otherwise
      Component {
        id: detailPage
        Page {
          title: "Detail Page"
          AppText {
            anchors.centerIn: parent
            text: "This is the detail Page."

    To learn more about handling different devices and screens with V-Play, please have a look at the tutorial Supporting Multiple Screen Sizes and Screen Densities with V-Play Apps.


  • I found this approach for Android devices. For now, it works for my needs as a temporary workaround:

       QAndroidJniObject qtActivity = QAndroidJniObject::callStaticObjectMethod("org/qtproject/qt5/android/QtNative", "activity", "()Landroid/app/Activity;");
       QAndroidJniObject resources = qtActivity.callObjectMethod("getResources","()Landroid/content/res/Resources;");
       QAndroidJniObject displayMetrics = resources.callObjectMethod("getDisplayMetrics","()Landroid/util/DisplayMetrics;");
       int dpi = displayMetrics.getField<int>("densityDpi");
       int width = displayMetrics.getField<int>("widthPixels");
       int height = displayMetrics.getField<int>("heightPixels");
       qreal w = width/dpi;
       qreal h = height/dpi;
       qreal diagonal = sqrt((w*w)+(h*h)); // If diagonal > 7" it's a tablet

    PS: Just out of curiosity, can I mix QML and QWidget code in the same mobile app?

  • Lifetime Qt Champion

    @xtingray said in A proper way to detect if device is either a cellphone or a tablet?:

    PS: Just out of curiosity, can I mix QML and QWidget code in the same mobile app?

    Yes, see

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