With smartphones, does thinness really matter?

Yesterday was the first day of the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas; and, as you would expect from a day that was bound to be filled with tons of news about Android and Windows products, we had a big rumor drop about Apple (just like we saw again today with Apple's announcement of App Store sales numbers). The rumor stated that the next iPhone could be called the iPhone Air, and it will clock in at a very thin 6mm. So, I have to ask the question: With smartphones, does thinness matter?...
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32 Comments

1. LordCaedus

Posts: 85; Member since: Nov 01, 2013

Is there really a benefit to having a phone at 6mm thin vs 8-10mm thin? I would rather have one slightly thicker and have better battery life. Who really cares if you are thinner when you can't even see the difference at a glance.

4. Miracles

Posts: 560; Member since: Aug 31, 2013

Well said. I agree..battery!! :D

21. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

I have an xperia tablet z myself at 6.8mm thin,id gladly have it a bit thicker to improve battery life. As cool as the thinness is it not enough to compensate for the poorer battery capacity. Beside the battery its a fantastic tablet though

22. Extradite

Posts: 316; Member since: Dec 30, 2013

That's the iP6 concept... Hope this is the real deal. Great article by MH. But this article wont generate more than 35 posts i assume. Lets see.

24. tedkord

Posts: 17133; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

There is one advantage. If I want to add an extended battery and case, starting thinner and lighter is better. Otherwise, if the phone is rugged enough and long lasting, it doesn't matter.

29. gamblor77

Posts: 118; Member since: Apr 26, 2012

Exactly my thoughts. With the way tech has become smaller over the past few years there is no reason companies can't make a 10mm thick phone with a 4000mah battery that lasts for 3 days. Even the DROID maxx has a 3300mah and it's not all that thick.

30. jroc74

Posts: 6023; Member since: Dec 30, 2010

I agree. And after having a RAZR....thinness is over rated. I preferred the feel of the Galaxy Nexus more. And preferred the RAZR Maxx HD even more. The extra material just felt better in my hand, the phone felt more secure holding it.

2. mas11

Posts: 1034; Member since: Mar 30, 2012

I would take battery over thinness any day, as long as the phone doesn't become bulky.

3. Joshing4fun

Posts: 1244; Member since: Aug 13, 2010

Thinness can be important as phone cases are a necessity these days. The thinner the phone is, the less bulky it will be with a case on it.

7. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

But if you want any real amount of protection, you're not going to get a thin case anyway. You have to buy a thick case, throwing out the point of a thin phone.

25. tedkord

Posts: 17133; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Not really. The overall case can be thinner if the phone is thinner. Putting an otterbox on a Lumia 920 would be quite different than putting one on an iPhone.

27. DFranch

Posts: 522; Member since: Apr 20, 2012

The 920 doesn't need an otterbox. It's the most durable phone I've ever had.

9. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

A necessity...? Golly, I wonder what features I'm missing out on by not having a case...

5. Chris_Bakke

Posts: 246; Member since: Jan 23, 2013

I would gladly buy a thicker phone if it meant significantly increased battery size and life.

6. nicholassss

Posts: 368; Member since: May 10, 2012

it took me a long time to get used to how thin my G2 was. it was uncomfortable to use one handed. I think once you get to a certain point, thinness is uncomfortable.

8. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

To me anything below the 10mm mark is thin enough.

10. AppleHateBoy unregistered

For me:- 1) The phone should have a flat edge that I can grab onto onto while I use the camera. 2) I don't care how thick the phone is at the thickest point. As long as the edge is less than 6 mm thin and ""the phone uses a convex design"" I am good. I can't stress this enough. The Xperia L uses a concave design and it's an ergonomic nightmare. I can't hold it in one hand for more than 20 minutes without causing pain in my palm. It's the best looking and worst feeling phone I have ever owned. 3) No pointy edges or corners. The corners and sharp edges of my Xperia L hurt like hell. 4) No creakiness. It's annoying. 5) The top and bottom bezels should be as slim as possible and they should be of identical width (like my pic).

19. Extradite

Posts: 316; Member since: Dec 30, 2013

You must like ugly curve phones like iPhones. SonyZ L928 L925 P6 LenovoK990 Lgx4 L1520 All these phones have sharp edges, andd looks sexy than ugly curves.

28. AppleHateBoy unregistered

I said in my original comment: 'The top and bottom bezels should be as slim as possible and they should be of identical width (like my pic).' This doesn't apply to the iPhone.

11. alrightihatepickingusernames

Posts: 474; Member since: Dec 29, 2013

Thinness doesn't matter if you have to sacrifice for it. Why didn't Apple leave the iPhone 5S at 9.4mm and fit a much larger battery in there? Why couldn't Samsung do the same with the S4? Sure, they both have larger batteries than their predecessors, but you are still sacrificing because the ultimate size of the device is somehow more important than the battery life. Manufacturers bragging about the thickness of their device is essentially the same as bragging about how much the customer is getting ripped off.

12. pyradark

Posts: 895; Member since: Jun 10, 2012

I have small hands but I'm comfortable with my Z Ultra!! the battery is good but the optimization on web browsing is really bad!! I'll say thinnest and battery should be considered, if that happen, another innovation!! 4000mah on a 6.5mm thick on a 5in phone!!

13. onggeo

Posts: 30; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

I'd prefer a bigger battery on a thicker phone over a really thin phone with a small battery. Thickness of a phone matters in terms of handling. Mkae it too thick it'll be heavy and clunky to use, make it too thin and it'll feel really fragile and uncomfortable to hold.

14. julz17ronald

Posts: 52; Member since: Apr 26, 2013

I have alcatel idol which is very thin but it has a terrible battery life.

15. Slammer

Posts: 1515; Member since: Jun 03, 2010

Once again, Apple gets celebrated for design to offset the reasoning. Apple is about profits. Nothing morre. The smaller the battery and output specs, price to obtain such component drops sharply. This leaves room for Apple to cut corners knowing diehards will line up to purchase its products. Reminiscent of when I was an Apple user for many years, the carrot dangling grew tiresome. There is no reason that Apple can't offer what everyone else does. The bottom line is, that they don't have to. Thin aspects are an ever encompassing marketing ploy as of current. Huge bag phones eventually transformered to very slim flip phones. Then came larger screens and thicker hardware. Then thinner design once again. Then screen size brings an onslaught of accessorie products like watches to compensate for the larger device. History repeats itself time and time again. The next big thing will be just that; Big. Then we will witness the developement of a smaller big thing. It is a circle. Personally, I don't like something that feels so light and thin that it feels delicate like fine Crystal. This is a device that gets used. And used alot. Some girth is always appreciated. John B.

20. Extradite

Posts: 316; Member since: Dec 30, 2013

On the weekends just use the super slim phones, weekdays just use the normal. Option is a bliss On a 720P screen it's great for a 2000+Mah battery

16. CreeDiddy

Posts: 2125; Member since: Nov 04, 2011

Creating thinness on a phone while losing the weight and improving battery life is innovation. If Apple does succeed by having it 6mm thin along with at least 10 hours battery life that is amazing innovation. We can always throw a Mophie JuicePack for longer battery life. The current iPod Touch is 6.1mm thin. It's fairly possible that we will see the same with the iPhone Air.

17. saffant

Posts: 274; Member since: Jul 04, 2011

Ugh I hate this guy's condescending sarcastic tone. You're not better than your readers, Michael. So quit thinking that you are. "because obviously numbers trump real world usage" Yea, wise guy, in most cases, a bigger battery DOES actually translate to real world performance than just some software improvements that are subjective since they depend on the stuff you have on the device and how you use it.

18. HildyJ

Posts: 334; Member since: Aug 11, 2012

Thinness matters in the same way that color or metal (especially gold toned metal) or (dare I say it) logos matter. It is a differentiator that consumers have come to believe they should want. I don't care about thinness, I'll trade it for battery life. I'll also trade metal construction for less weight or better signals. And I don't care about the logo or the color. But I'm not the average consumer. I don't view my phone as a fashion accessory that needs to look good; I view it as a tool that needs to work well (probably because I came to phones from PDAs and belt holsters which might have had geek cred but were never a fashion statement). Face it, we're in the minority here.

23. Cellphonator12

Posts: 29; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

I'd hate a super thin phone, without a rubber edge it would fall off your hands easily. Also, like other posts mention…..give me more battery and keep your world record!!!

26. nanakin

Posts: 5; Member since: Dec 31, 2013

Like seriously, who cares if you have the thinnest phone, if it works for you , fine.. No phone , no matter how big it is ,can break ur palm, .. Its even a form of exercising ur palm..
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