Make smaller phones great again! (poll results)

Are you tired of the 6-inch phones tsunami?

No, as long as the screen-to-body ratio is kept high, I'm fine
48.45%
Yes, good grief, make smaller phones again
51.55%

We asked you last week about a trend that nobody took the users' opinion in, of huge 6-inchers that are in most of the cases uncomfortable to carry and operate. Lo and behold, we thought that some of our 2232 respondents may prefer smaller phones, but didn't fathom they would actually be the majority. Phone makers better take note, as, while the move to a taller and narrower aspect ratio and the thinning of bezels helped the footprint, the Android flagships in the last year or so are hovering around the 6"+ mark on average. Apple is soon to follow suit, and people would rather have more options with a smaller footprint than have only 6-inchers rammed down their throats by the powers that be.

Korean media reported recently that Samsung may break the Galaxy S-line mold, and introduce three S10 versions, and one may be a basic model with flat display closer to the 5" range. One might be a cynic and say that's exactly mimicking Apple's strategy with three 2018 iPhones primed for release, but if these rumors hold water in the end, Samsung may have a veritable hit on its hands.

Look around, do you see any popular compact Androids released in the last year or so? It's a 5.7-incher next to a 6-incher next to a 6"+ behemoth. No amount of bezel-cutting, notch-ing or camera-popping can hide the fact that most flagships released since last spring are hovering around the 6" screen diagonal mark. Granted, the switch to an 18:9 aspect ratio (or thereabouts) makes them more palpable to use than the 16:9 units of yesteryear, but, please, can one get a break from huge phones? Here's a little statistic for you - screen sizes for popular phones from some best-selling Android brands issued 2016-2018.


Quick calculation pegs the increase in the average screen size of the devices listed to go from 5.25" in 2016 to 5.46" in 2017. That's a 4% increase which is in line with the norms in previous years. From 2017 to this year, however, the models grew to the whopping 6.05 inches on average for the popular 2018 models above. That's 11% increase in screen sizes for the last year or so and has never happened before.

Granted, some of the humongous diagonals' footprint is offset by the move to a taller and narrower aspect ratio, but looking at the phones' dimensions, we can easily see that the growth between 2016 and 2018 is gigantic. There is barely a handset that fits well in the palm and can be comfortably operated with one hand anymore, and the trend is moving downmarket as well - the most popular Redmi line of Xiaomi that sells millions upon millions went from 5-inchers straight to 6-inchers, for instance, and, despite the bezel trimming or the narrower aspect ratio, the resulting models are still way larger than their predecessors. 

Heck, Apple is going to do the same with this year's iPhones, rumored to start from 5.8 inches, while the largest iPhone ever is said to land at 6.4", and Samsung may have an answer to it with a 6.4" S10+ of its own. Where's that going to end? You probably understand why are we rooting for a rumored basic S10 with a smaller flat screen now, which would put the kibosh on the trend you can observe below.

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21 Comments

1. cmdacos

Posts: 4330; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

No thanks.

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7594; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Statistics have also stated that the vast majority of the world uses their smartphones as their primary computing. Why do you think for the last 7 years desktop and laptop computers have been declining in sales every year. Every year over a billion smartphones sell. The last two years alone over 3 billion smartphones/phablets sold. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that the most important feature on any smartphone is the display screen, which you interact with.

8. kiko007

Posts: 7521; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

Fam... what does that have to do with his reply? Are you a bot?

14. Y.S.L..

Posts: 232; Member since: Jul 03, 2018

Baaaaaa What does that have to to do when you reply, saying off topic words when you can't argue nor reply back to him and Techsceptic? Are you a loooooooooooooooser? Perhaps you definitely a young doped kid.... Dumfooooool why didn't you counter attack him the reason why instead off calling him a BOT. You definitely a mbaaaaaa stupid kid Get lost punkasssssssss Come back hard with vengeance Don't insult people POS

19. TheOracle1

Posts: 2340; Member since: May 04, 2015

Well said. I don't know what kiko is blabbering about. They've become much more than phones and for many their primary device for media. I frequently do quick edits of documents, view files and watch tv on the go. My 6 inch Mix2 is basically the same size as my three previous 5.5 inch phones but with more useful screen space.

2. JimmieCrakCorn

Posts: 143; Member since: Nov 20, 2017

6 inch is too small for 18:9 phablet format. 6.2 or 6.3 inchers is the perfect phablet size.

12. mosnet99

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 20, 2016

Wouldn't have said that in 2016

3. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

"Make smaller phones great again!" Am I the only one who find this headline in a (grossly) bad taste? In any case; Let it be notched phones or small displays... I really don't care, do U? On the contrary; I do care about helpless children of immigrants unlike someone else (also an 'immigrant') who wore a jacket bearing the above mentioned 'slogan' while visiting a 'child detention center'. Not for once did I imagine in my entire existence that the words 'children' and 'detention center' could go hand in hand together. We have no tomorrow; but we possess every right to long for a better future...

11. doublestandardz

Posts: 103; Member since: Jul 06, 2018

simple solution. don't send your child to a country that protects it citizens and their borders. these children are blessed they get fed and housed while awaiting transport back to their home country. if we let every soul into the USA illegally and give them all welfare, then what is left that is special for the LEGAL citizens? such a stupid argument. I just paid $4500 to a lawyer and the USA government and waited 2 years, to get my wife's inlaws here legally to the usa. gday meathead.

13. mosnet99

Posts: 3; Member since: Oct 20, 2016

NY times and Vice did pieces on why they are fleeing. Doesn't take a rocket scientist, conditions are pretty grim. Sounds like you are much better off than most of these ppl fleeing

4. tokuzumi

Posts: 1961; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

While people are migrating to phones that don't fit in pockets, nor can be used one handed, I do wish there were more smaller sized phones that had the same flagship specs as the larger variants. I'm using a S9 right now, and while the overall form factor is good, the tall screen is hard to use one handed. I do like how Samsung has a great implementation of one handed mode. I can't believe Google hasn't implemented something similar into Android. If you want something that is "small", you either have to go with a cheap Chinese phone, or you go with a non-flagship device from the main OEMs. Fortunately Google offers a small-ish variant of the Pixel, and Sony has a compact version of the Xperia XZ2.

16. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

I see your point , but what the tech media mean by 'small phone'???? I remember how the tech media and most of their ignorant readers, were bashing the first 5'' phones and mocking at them. There were many articles like this one, but about how perfect is 3.5'' display. Back then, I told them that soon 5'' display will be small phone- they were laughing at me. P.S. BTW I'm sure that today exist huge market for 4.5''/4.7'' display bezel-less phones with high specs. Ppl will buy them like a hot cake as a second phone- for use, when they carry tablets or laptops

5. Humanoid

Posts: 1226; Member since: Dec 11, 2017

Nokia 8 Sirocco is the best example. 5.5" 16:9, same size of S6.

9. libra89

Posts: 2316; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Agreed! I like how that was done. I just wish that it was less of a disappointment.

6. Valdomero

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 13, 2012

5.3" tops for a phone, greater than that is troublesome, I'm not talking about having small hands but overall usage, like putting that phablet in a pocket or a car holder.

10. tedkord

Posts: 17471; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

I've never had a single issue putting the Note 8 in my pocket. I'm all for making smaller phones for those who want them, but that was just ridiculous.

15. geordie8t1

Posts: 314; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

a phone used to be JUST a phone, now its a computer with a calling function, we dont need to make voice calls any more with the current social media and apps etc, screens will stop growing soon i think at 6.5" for big flagships, until foldable screens arrive, and when the tech is mature, we will see foldable displays go upto 9-10" maybe when unfolded all the way, tablets will become obsolete

17. Pabliell

Posts: 187; Member since: Mar 22, 2016

I agree that we use our phones differently, than we used them a few years back. But still, many operations can be done using one hand. And if you can't reach every corner with one hand, those operations are now less comfortable to do. Add this new and stupid tall screen ratio and you can't reach top of the screen without a second hand. People saying "we want smaller screens" mean "we want to comfortably use the whole screen with just one hand". For some it might be 5", for some 5.5", but not 6.4" like some of this years flagships. For me personally 5.5" in 16:9 or 5.7" in 18:9 is a max. Taller screens are not comfortable enough to use for me.

18. KingSam

Posts: 1505; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

5.7-5.8" 18:9 is the right size.

20. shortkey

Posts: 56; Member since: May 19, 2017

YES MAKE SMALL PHONES AGAIN I'm sick of seeing these huge ugly and flat rectangles. I miss the 2009-2011 design, at least that was something to look at, even if the phones were a little bulky, it didn't matter because the overall dimensions were quite compact. Seriously, I'm still rocking a 5 years old beat up phone because I can't buy anything to replace it with that would meet my size requirements of maxHeight=130mm and maxWidth=62mm. That's the absolute maximum for me, anyting above it is way out of my comfort zone. I can operate a huge phone just fine, as I have a rugged CAT S31 as my work phone. But the experience is anything but comfortable. To be that, the phone would have to be like half that size.

21. shortkey

Posts: 56; Member since: May 19, 2017

I don't get the 18:9 aspect ratio hype. I'd rather have a short, narrow phone that I wouldn't fear I'd bend sitting on it when it's in my back pocket. Seriously, I'd get a credit card-sized smartphone with high end specs.Don't tell me you can't fit everything inside a body that small, that's bulls**t squared. And if you really can't, well, then just don't include all the useless stuff like biometric sensors, front facing cameras, stereo speakers...

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