Mid-size phone screens still king, study shows, the phablet 'fad' just 2% of total

Mid-size phone screens still king, study shows, the phablet 'fad' just 2% of total
Market analyst Flurry, which supplies user info to most app developers, and gathers data from about a billion smartphones and more than 2000 uniques devices, has come up with interesting observations on mobile trends already, but now it decided to break things down by screen size.

Flurry took the top 200 most popular models that represent 80% of its vast database, and it turns out that the big-screen trend that Android users are starting to take for granted, is actually only slowly making headway in the grand scheme of things. 

The mid-size commands a vast majority of devices owned, with the so-called phablets representing only two percent globally, which Flurry calls a 'fad', yet with the influx of 5" and up flagships this year, carrying Full HD displays, something tells us that ratio is bound to change. Also, breaking the activities down by category shows that tablets are heavily used as gaming devices, not so much for reading and video as initially thought.

source: Flurry via Electronista

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54 Comments

1. Evil.Bunny

Posts: 41; Member since: Feb 29, 2012

i wonder how those stats will change if we take the iphone out of the count....

49. JohnnyBravo

Posts: 105; Member since: Dec 02, 2012

Good observation. Im sure a huge portion of the "mid-size" category can be attributed to the iPhone. To be honest I thought the perfect size for a screen was 4-4.3" Then I got my galaxy nexus and had some time with the S3 and DNA and now Im thinking its in the 4.6-4.9 range. I really do think the phones have plateau around 5" mark. Anything bigger should be considered a phablet.

2. thethird

Posts: 72; Member since: Mar 28, 2013

No surprise there. But still loving my Note 2 to the bits. So a matter of choice makes all the difference. :D [+]

3. Xolar

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

the good thing about mid-size phones is that you can put it in your pocket easily but the problem is that, mid-size phones have weak processors.

8. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

So every phone with 3.5-4.9" screens have weak processors? Since when are the Exynos 4412, S4 Pro, and Snapdragon 600 considered weak?

9. Xolar

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

give me an example of phones with that processor.

11. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Samsung Galaxy S3, 4.8" with Exynos 4412. LG Nexus 4 and Optimus G, 4.7" with quad core S4 Pro. Sony Xperia SP, 4.6" with dual core S4 Pro. HTC One, 4.7" with Snapdragon 600.

12. Xolar

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

u call that mid-size? i call them big phones and do they fit properly in your pocket? NO!

14. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Dude, mid sized phones in the test the article was referencing were categorized in the 3.5-4.9" range. By the way, yes, they all do fit in my pockets properly.

18. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Are you a basketball player or a monster? If not, I doubt that huge phablets fit in your pockets. I have 6 feet and I didn't feel confortable with HOX so I didn't buy it.

21. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Neither, and yes they do. Maybe you're just small? Or maybe I wear pants that actually fit correctly. The GS3 (which is larger than the One X) fits very comfortably in my jeans pocket, even when a case is on it; and I can reach all edges of the display in one hand with my thumb.

42. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

I already said I have 6 feet (182 cm). The perfect size of the hand, from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is 1/10 of body height; I have 2 cm past that and I don't feel confortable using a ping-pong palet like HOX. If I would carry a backpack, maybe I would take a big palet phone but I'm wearing bespoke wool suits so I won't. I looked at myself talking on the S3 and it was clear to me: I would never carry a big, ugly, shiny, plastiky, face-covering, useless phablet. Oh, and when I need a big screen I TAKE OUT MY Ultrabook; no even the Galaxy Note 100 could beat my beautiful 13" FHD screen in magnezium body and full physical keyboard (it's a VAIO)!!!

44. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

You're over exaggerating the size of the phone the way you're phrasing it. The S3, One X and all alike are NOT phablets. The only devices that can be categorized as phablets are the Note series and devices similar in terms of size. GS3, phone. One X, phone. Droid DNA/Butterfly, phone. GS4, phone. One, phone. Anything with a 4-5" screen is a normal sized phone in my book, because at that size the bezels can still be brought down to make the phone a usable size. Even my friend who is very small (don't know her exact height, most likely below 5 feet) loves her GS3.

50. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

If you need to use 2 hands to control a device, it's a phablet; one can't control a larger than 4 - 4.3" (let's say 4.5" maximum) screen so annything larger is a phablet, period.

51. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

I don't need 2 hands to control a GS3. I can reach all edges of the display in one hand with my thumb.

52. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

You must be a giant or you have disproportionate thumbs; you're like a mutant with huge thumbs. That's your special power: reaching the edge of a S3 screen with one hand; you should be on a stage in Vegas :)! PS: I believe Uma Thurman played a chick with very long thumbs (I remember she used them hitchhike); are you Uma?

53. g2a5b0e unregistered

No need to be an *ss, guy. I have a Note 2. I can reach all edges of that display in one hand with my thumb, too. If you call 6'4" giant, then sure, but I do have big hands. I was a wide receiver in college. Not everyone is the same size as you, so saying one can't control a larger than 4.5" screen with one hand is just idiotic. Do you think basketball players, for instance, whom are much taller than me on average want a dinky 4" phone which they could easily lose in their pockets? C'mon, man. The world wasn't made just for you. Embrace the variety.

55. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

The average lenght of a thumb is 7 cm; let's say 8. The maximum angle it can travel is ~90 degrees; that means an average thumb can cover 32 square cm without moving the entire hand; that's about the equivalent of 3,5" screen (iPhone 4); when one tilts the device, the surface that a thumb can cover gets to 4-4,3 (let's say 4,5" in the best scenario). Sure there are larger thumbs, but they are the exception, not the rule. Let's take Note. It's screen surface is 84 square cm that can be covered by a 12 cm thumb; a person with that thumb should have at least 240-260 cm which is pretty big even for a basketball player ;). Oh, but you can reach the edges of Note with one hand, no problem there; I have to ask: do you have telescopic thumbs or are a mutant too? I asked because It's medicaly imposible to be 6 foot 4 normal person and have 12 cm thumbs; I'll give you my email, please-please-pretty please take a picture of your special thumb.

54. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Haha, people actually say I have relatively small hands. I think they're average, but some people think otherwise. You're the first to say I have large hands. I actually went and measured my thumbs just for this, and they're 2.5" long, and if Google is anything to go by that's roughly the average for humans

13. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

I should also mention the Tegra 3 processor in the HTC One X+ (4.7" display), which performs on par with the Exynos 4412.

17. Xolar

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

oh yeah, i haven't notice that, sorry for the trouble.. i wish the are no hard feelings peace

37. g2a5b0e unregistered

The Tegra 3 performs on par with the Exynos 4412? That's news to me.

43. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

Only the overclocked version in the One X+.

45. ebubekir26

Posts: 337; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

and Octa Core

46. Berzerk000

Posts: 4275; Member since: Jun 26, 2011

That's not in any phones below 4.9" though.

10. Andrewtst

Posts: 696; Member since: Jan 25, 2009

Middle size phones weak? A lot phone using S 4 Pro, S600, Exynos is screen size less than 5". Those phone spec weak? Probably you need to out your own phone then.

15. Xolar

Posts: 57; Member since: Apr 02, 2013

so you consider phones that sized 4.7 etc are mid-size.. hmmm.. i can't imagine how big your hands are..

29. taz89

Posts: 2014; Member since: May 03, 2011

Its all personal preference, what is a mid size to you might be tiny to someone else or huge to another...I have the s3 and I have no problem fitting in any of my pockets and for the most part I can use it single handedly...for me its not the screen size that matters but the device size, in this "study" the s4 is considered a phablet because of the 5" screen and the s3 is considered mid size because it has a 4.8" screen even though the s4 is actually a smaller device...with bezels becoming smaller we are cramming bigger screens in to smaller sizes so that needs to be taken into consideration and not just the size of the screen.

48. madpiyal

Posts: 108; Member since: Feb 11, 2013

I am with u. All the phones(android) currently enjoying the flagship status of every manufacturer are huge in size and not convenient in any way for single handed use. I am only 5'8" and it looks odd when i hold a big phone like S3. I would definitely like to have a phone with Galaxy S2's dimension standard with flagship hardware in it.

4. Planterz

Posts: 2120; Member since: Apr 30, 2012

4.9" is a "medium" sized phone? A year ago I would have scoffed. 3 years ago I would have said that you're out of you're fraking mind. I'd say anything larger than 4.5" is large, and anything phablet sized is extra large. The graphs are badly skewed by the fact that the iPhone 3g through 4S are 3.5", and should be considered "small", and are one of the most common phones on the planet. Include 3.5" as "small", and anything above that but smaller than 4.5", and the graphs will look far, far different.

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