The Big Picture Review - Double Your Phone Screen Size?
The Big Picture is a phone magnification device that can increase your phone’s screen size by up to double what it normally is.
The product provides a way for you to view your phone without straining your eyes and, as the company claims, its magnification capability is “so powerful that you can use it like a TV”.
Among other clams on the site are that The Big Picture is helpful when you need to look at a recipe on your phone while cooking, and that it’s a good option for reading small print and/or eBooks you’ve downloaded on your phone.
The concept of magnifying devices to help those with poor eyesight or strained eyesight is nothing new, as solutions have existed for decades. However, phone magnifying devices are becoming more and more popular since cell phone usage among older folks. According to a 2018 study from Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans 65 and older have cell phones, with 46% using smartphones.
In this review, we’ll talk about how the device works, which phones you can use in it and how magnification can help reduce eyestrain. We’ll also compare The Big Picture’s prices to other magnification devices.
How The Big Picture Magnification System Works
Basically, the product is a magnification screen set in a plastic housing – the screen is in front and the slot into which you insert your phone is in the back. There’s an extended opening where you insert your phone that allows you to slide a finger in and move your phone screen up and down when needed.
What’s nice about the device is that you can set the whole thing down on a flat surface and use it as a small TV. It also has an extension underneath the screen bezel that allows you to prop the front of the magnifier higher than the back.
A video posted on The Big Picture’s website shows multiple people sliding phones into the magnification chamber. Depending on the size of the phone’s screen, the image displayed on the magnification glass could fill out the entire screen. Or, there could be empty space above and below the screen image, kind of like what you’d see with the widescreen version of a movie.
As for the quality of the magnification, the site makes no claims about the resolution quality, which means the picture quality may or may not equal what your phone provides in an unmagnified state.
We called the product’s customer service line to find out more information about the size of The Big Picture but were not able to find out how tall and wide the device is. However, we did discover that the product collapses into a smaller size for travel.
What Smartphones are Compatible?
The product’s website says that the magnifier works on phones that are at most 6 inches long. Keep in mind that the 6-inch maximum is the length of the entire phone, not just the screen.
Some of the more popular phones that won’t be compatible with The Big Picture include:
- iPhone Xs Max
- iPhone 8 Plus
- iPhone 7 Plus
- Samsung Galaxy S9+
- Google Pixel 2 XL
- Google Pixel 3 XL
The Big Picture Magnification System's Cost and Return Policy
At the time of publishing, one magnifying device cost $14.99 with an offer to buy a second one for $749. Shipping and handling for one or both is $5.99.
According to the fine print, the company will charge an extra $10 for The Big Picture orders sent to Canada, Guam, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Alaska.
You have 30 days to return the item if you aren’t satisfied. Keep in mind, though, that the shipping you pay to send the item to you and to send it back are your responsibility.
In order to process your return, you’ll need to start by calling 800-930-7680 between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. EST. The phone rep will give you a return authorization number as well as instructions for sending the item back.
Cell Phones, Eye Strain and How Magnification Helps
We believe that the two types of people who may be interested in The Big Picture are those who have failing eyesight or those who want to avoid straining their eyes because they stare at their phone for multiple hours a day.
According to a 2017 article from the Cleveland Clinic, people are staring at their phone and computer screens so much that they regularly experience “decreased or blurred vision, burning or stinging eyes, sensitivity to light, headaches, and back and neck pain.”
To counter this, some companies have created computer glasses specially designed to help reduce eye strain for those who spend all day at a computer. While these glasses aren’t intended for cell phones, they do reinforce the concept that magnifying a small screen relieves strain on your eyes.
The only issue that we see causing a problem is if the way The Big Picture magnifies your phone screen leads to a blurry magnification. If that’s the case, you’ll know it pretty quickly and should have enough time to call The Big Picture customer service and request a refund.
How The Big Picture Compares to Other Cell Phone Magnifiers
We took a look at cell phone magnifiers and found that most magnifiers fall into three categories: VR-style headsets, simple stands that prop up your phone behind a magnifying panel and collapsible box-style magnifiers like The Big Picture.
In general, headset-style magnifiers were the most expensive option (top-rated choice was $49.27) and simple stands were the cheapest, with the two highest-rated stands costing $7.59 and $14.50. Products similar to The Big Picture’s collapsible-box design cost between $20.99 and $30.
Based on these price points, we believe The Big Picture provides good value, especially if you buy two to take advantage of the discount that was available at the time of writing.
Bottom Line On The Big Picture Magnification System
Based on our analysis of this product, we believe its greatest strength is its intersection of value and function. The Big Picture is easy to use and works for most phones. Plus, its price tag of around $15 is very competitive in the context of the best-reviewed cell phone magnifiers on Amazon.
The downside of the product is that its 6-inch phone length limitation could be frustrating for those who chose bigger smartphones precisely because they wanted a visual experience that was big enough to reduce the eye strain they’d feel using a phone with a smaller screen.
Another possible drawback is that the phone is not as visually appealing as other options on Amazon. For example, The Big Picture comes in one color: black. There are similar magnifiers on Amazon that come in white and competing products that use a simple phone stand and a magnifying panel have attractive wood grains.
While your instinct may be to buy the product, try it out and return it, remember that doing so means you’re on the hook for shipping costs both ways: $5.99 for the shipment to you and the cost of shipping the box back when you make your return. It's quite possible that you’ll end up paying as much in shipping as you did for The Big Picture.