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Are Smartphones getting too large?

buggerrer 25 Nov 2011, 11:03 posted on 1

I recently paid a vidit to my local Verizon store and had a peek at the new Droid Razr. Although it is indeed quite thin, I was shocked at the dimensional size of this phone. It seems that manufacturers are getting the wrong message - thin doesn't necessarily mean small.

Call me a rebel, but my feeling is that the mobile phone is meant to be carried. In the case of men, it's generally carried in the front pants pocket. So many of my co-workers are forced to place their enormous smartphones on their desks as soon as they sit, and then inevitably forget it when going to a meeting. One co-worker even had his stolen right off of his desk.

Considering that my pockets are already filled with a wallet, keys, chapstick, assorted change and other small items, I would appreciate anything extra I place inside to be as reasonably-sized as possible.

Not surprisingly, Apple may have hit the sweet spot when it comes to form factor as their device is both functional and pocketable. Let's face it, everyone is trying to unseat the iPhone and they think that the way to do that is by offering a bigger screen. I feel that this is wrong. (FYI - I'm NOT a fanboy)

I would purchase an iPhone, but one of my requirements for a new phone is an LTE connection. I'll have to wait until next year before I see that from Apple.

Does anyone else have the big-smartphone woes? Has anyone heard of an upcoming Android smartphone that does not have a 4.3" screen, in favor of something more pocketable?


posted on 25 Nov 2011, 15:29

1. networkdood (Posts: 6260; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)


I have no problems with a 4.3" screen - it fits great in my hands, and I always have one pocket in front empty for a phone - panst can easily fit a 5" phone, but that would be too big for the hands. BTW, this phone is awesome - great and I mean awesome battery life, bright picture with rich colors and great camera - reading the reviews had made me believe this was a good, not great phone.

posted on 28 Nov 2011, 17:43 1

2. dgentsusa (Posts: 1; Member since: 28 Nov 2011)


Its funny how originally cell phones were huge. Then there was a push to a cell phone small as possible, where dialing was an issue because the buttons were to small. Now we are going in the opposite direction.
Im coming from a blackberry, where it was extremely easy to use and also was able to use the internet, Slow but served a purpose. I would consider myself fairly tech savvy. But the blackberry eventually became old news and didn't upgrade their technology.
After all the research and waiting for the next best phone I chose the razr. The phone had all the specs i wanted and i thought that the phone size wouldn't be a issue because i have large hands. I was wrong. No more texting with one hand. This thing is like a tablet, not a phone. And by being such a large screen the battery cant handle it thus dying every 6 hrs. A Smartphone first should be able to operate all day without a charge. I cant bring this phone to they gym because 1, it doesn't really fit in my pocket and 2, no arm band will work because its to big. I need a fanny pack! lol, Also no camera button on side of phone is annoying, and i cant change songs by the volume buttons on side of phone is an issue.
So now im going to the 4S, ill try it out for 2 weeks, but i don't know how i will be able to text without the swype that the droids offer. I just would like a droid that comes out in which the screen was maybe 4", camera button and all the new software. But all i see coming out is more phones that are the same size of the razr.
Please make a phone for people like me!! lol
I have verizon so im limited to what phone i can buy.

posted on 29 Nov 2011, 12:44 1

3. buggerrer (Posts: 285; Member since: 21 Sep 2011)


I'm glad to hear this feedback, especially from dgentusa. I was starting to get concerned that I was the only one hating on the new 4.3" screen trend.

You make an excellent point about battery life. I would guess that these larger screens are just devouring power. I don't know if that will change when OLED screens become more common.

I guess my only choice is to sit and wait, hoping for a reasonably sized phone to come along.

posted on 22 Jan 2012, 16:05

4. phoenix39 (Posts: 1; Member since: 22 Jan 2012)


I totally agree with Buggerrer. The whole thing about technology, at least cell phone technology is to go compact - to be able to fit in a pocket and quickly take it with you as a mini computer. The iPhone allows for zoom with pinch and pull and I wouldn't give it up for anything--I had an Android. It also works with seamlessly with making calls from web pages or bookmarking it, etc. and Yes, Android phones do it too but they didn't make it happen until Apple started changing the meaning of cell phones to smartphones. I was taking the Park n Ride bus to work and I was standing and someone was sitting below me doing work with a large screen Samsung and I could see everything she was doing - including the porn website she went to that morning. (Nothing against porn). No privacy--you might as well by a tablet because they are just large phones.

posted on 25 Jan 2012, 12:52

5. empiredivider (Posts: 1; Member since: 25 Jan 2012)


I know you said you're not but this sounds like the ranting of an iPhone fanboy to me. I bet you will wet yourself in joy to find out that the next iPhone will have a bigger 4 inch screen...

posted on 02 Feb 2012, 07:30

6. vazim (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


I just signed into this site after reading comments from "buggerrer". I just second his opinion. For last one month i have been searching a phone close to the size of iphone and no success. The phones available are bigger, heavier, thicker and consumes battery very fast. Although lots of people of are buying these phones like galaxy s-2, htc's 4.3" inch screen phones etc etc but ultimately they are getting fed-up very fast. The main reason they are getting rid is they sit uncomfortably in your pocket, weighs more than 150gms, most of the time you need both hands for the phone and fast battery drainage.

I don't know what manufacturers are upto. Perhaps they are in a stupid race for launching a fast mobile. For consumer few milliseconds difference in launching an app doesn't matter, but that stupid "which is fast" comparisons on youtube are taking the whole cellphone industry in a totally wrong way.

This is not what consumer demand these days. Mostly a consumer need is beautiful, elegant looking set, with ease of use, no trouble in carrying, at least last for 2 days.

posted on 13 Feb 2012, 06:54

7. beermatt (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


I'm facing this dilemma myself. Currently looking for a new android smartphone to replace my Motorola Milestone which I dropped in some water :-( long story.

Went into one of the high street shops recently and my first reaction was just "they're all too big". I'm not sure as I haven't got one - maybe I'd get used to it? But never had a problem with the 3.7" screen on my Milestone so why go bigger? When it comes to teles, computers, tablets, etc bigger screens are better.... but this is a phone. It has to be portable, spend a lot of time in my pocket and be fairly rugged.

5 potential problems with the size:
1/ It's so big you look like an idiot when you're on a phone call. (eg "why's that guy talking to his laptop?")
2/ Bigger screen = shorter battery life
3/ More difficult to use single-handedly. My thumbs only stretch so far!!
4/ General portability - it will usually fit in my pocket. No matter how thin it is, this is where my leg bends when I move it or sit down so I'd expect a big slab to be impractical.
5/ Ruggedness. The first thing i always think when I see these micro-thin huge-screened devices is...... snap! :-/ I'm no physics engineer but surely the more cube-like an object is (thicker) the better it's natural structural integrity, the more thin and flat something is the more vulnerable it is. Bear in mind this is a portable device - it needs to go with me everywhere so no matter how careful I am it'll get some stick!

Don't mind paying good money for a replacement, but think I'm going to have to settle for a "mid-range" device simply because they're a reasonable size. Doesn't have to be micro but I think the old iphone4/blackberry9780/milestone have got the balance about right for smartphone dimensions. Anything significantly taller or wider than 115x60 just doesn't seem right.

posted on 25 Apr 2012, 14:06

8. bhennon (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Apr 2012)


I am glad i am not the only one that feels new phones are too big. I have been shopping for a new android smartphone and more ad more there are fewer choices for a reasonably sized phone. The rest of my family all got HTC ARIA phones a year or so ago and they are the perfect size but of course you cant find anything that size these days.

I may be forced to go to an iphone although i am hearing that the iphone 5 is set to be larger than the currently perfect sized iphone 4 and 4s.

I do enjoy seeing people talking on their over-sized phones though. I get a good chuckle seeing someone walking down the street talking on their kindle size phones.

Oh well, the only way manufactures will learn is if people stop buying and that wont happen any time soon.

posted on 06 Jun 2012, 10:34

9. ggentry (Posts: 1; Member since: 06 Jun 2012)


I could not agree more. I am struggling with the same issue trying to leave my Blackberry behind of for a new and better phone. I see co-workers leaving their large Razrs behind all the time. If I can't pocket it, I won't get it. I'm striking out finding anything the size of an Iphone that isn't one, and I don't want to settle for the limitations of an Iphone.

posted on 07 Jun 2012, 06:49

10. bhennon (Posts: 2; Member since: 25 Apr 2012)


The best thing we can do is not buy the new phones! Stick with your old phone as long as you can.

On a side note, I was out to dinner with the family the other evening and at the table next to us was a young girl with a phone that was enormous! We all got a good laugh as she used the phone first to update her facebook (two hands were needed to hold and operate the phone) and to talk. It looked like she was holding a square dinner plate next to her head. So at least there is some entertainment value in the new larger phones.

posted on 09 Jun 2012, 03:43

11. vazim (Posts: 2; Member since: 02 Feb 2012)


Earlier i posted at #6.

I was an iphone user for many years, having been used 3g, 3gs, & iphone-4 & didn't upgraded to 4S. After the launch of 4S i continuously searched for slim & lightweight phones. The one option was Sony Arc S which was lighweight, I had a chance to look at the color white and it was not very appealing, a bit fllashy, not really for business oriented people. The phone was light enough and 4.3" looked pocketabel (only if light enough). Somehow the reviews didn't justify that its a good phone, so i backed off. I waited for HTC launch of One X & One S. One X with 4.7" and 160 grams means you will get rid of this thing out of your pocket and will not be very comfortable, you need both hands to operate, big screen means less battery time.

I opted for One S, for two reasons, first it is lighter, secondly it is thinner than iphone-4 and 4S. The One S is 4.3" and you can stil operate it with single hand. It feels incredibly lighter in hand. One of my friend has HTC wildfire S and when he took One S in his hand, he said it is lighter than Willdfire-S, although it is not. It is only because it is thin enough to make you feel it is light. It is pocketable and better than iphone in this regard. An important point is batter life, with littel use it lasted 4 days :) and with heavy use like taking a 50 pictures and 1-2 hours continuous calls lasted 2 days. so far very hapy with this phone. Customization is better than iphone. i am not a game geek so no games in this phone only angry birds is there just to check how it feels on 4.3" screen. The phone gets bit hot if you are video shooting or taking continuous pictures, not an issue for me as i can live with that. So if you are now a bored iphone user (like i was) and want to switch to another One S could be answer, do check actual handfeel before buying it.

posted on 26 Nov 2012, 12:23

12. VictoriaFont (Posts: 3; Member since: 26 Nov 2012)


And here we are a year later, and Samsung has sold a gazillion of its humongous Galaxy Note II in three months. Oh, well! Guys, it looks like you need to study the European trend for carrying a man-purse.

posted on 27 Nov 2012, 08:48

13. beermatt (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Feb 2012)


Lmao. Unfortunately yep, man bag on the way lol. I still reckon eventually they'll realise that smaller screens = better battery life, easier to carry, easier to use single-handed, more private, and less likely to get damaged. But unfortunately ppl are fickle, they see big shiny screen and want one! Maybe some of them are compensating for something else ;-) I hope eventually people'll learn but maybe not, maybe I'll be stuck with "mid range" phones (the only way to get a smaller screen) forever!! :-|

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