Which phone size should I choose?

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Which phone size should I choose?
You already know what are the cutting edge phones: the iPhone 12 Pro Maxes and the Galaxy S21 Ultras of this world, but those phones are also gigantic devices that are actually way too big for many people.

Having these extra large devices that everyone talks about but that might not have the ideal size for the average person, inspired us to do this breakdown of the most popular types of phone sizes these days for those of you who want not just the most powerful phone, but one with a size that suits their lifestyle best.

After analyzing what's on the market right now, here are the four types of phone sizes you can pick from:

Types of phone sizes

Extra large phones like the iPhone 12 Pro Max will not suit everyone

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches

144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Dimensions

5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 inches

131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches

144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Dimensions

5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 inches

131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)


*An extra large, large, smaller and a super compact phone walk into a bar...

  • Extremely large phones (6.7" or larger) - such phones offer the best battery life and most advanced cameras and features, but are uncomfortable to carry in a pocket and quite heavy (examples of this size are the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Note 20 Ultra, OnePlus 8 Pro, etc)
  • Large phones (around 6.5") - such phones still offer a spacious screen and a big battery, but don't go to the extreme and are usually much lighter and more comfortable in a pocket (examples of such phones are Galaxy S21+, OnePlus 8T, etc)
  • Smaller phones (around 6.1") - these phones will best suit average users looking for a more traditionally sized phone that can be used with one hand and can go almost unnoticed in a pocket. The battery on these phones will typically get you through the day with average use, but not much more (examples of such phones are the iPhone 12 / 12 Pro, Galaxy S21, Pixel 5, etc)
  • Super compact phones (below 5.8") - back in the first days of the smartphone era all phones were super compact, but these days such a size is hard to come by. The rare phone of this caliber is super lightweight but makes some big sacrifices in battery life and will often need to be topped up before the end of the day (examples are iPhone 12 Mini, iPhone SE 2020, and foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Flip)

With this in mind, let's take a deeper look at each of these categories...

Extremely large phones

*Average weight: 210g

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Dimensions

6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches

165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.04 oz (229 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Dimensions

6.49 x 3.04 x 0.32 inches

164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm

Weight

7.34 oz (208 g)

OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8 Pro

Dimensions

6.51 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

165.3 x 74.3 x 8.5 mm

Weight

7.02 oz (199 g)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Dimensions

6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches

165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.04 oz (229 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Dimensions

6.49 x 3.04 x 0.32 inches

164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm

Weight

7.34 oz (208 g)

OnePlus 8 Pro

OnePlus 8 Pro

Dimensions

6.51 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

165.3 x 74.3 x 8.5 mm

Weight

7.02 oz (199 g)



As phone makers race to make the most advanced phones with best cameras and best battery life, the category of extra large phones has emerged in the past few years and these devices are indeed extreme and despite offering the best features, might actually not be the best fit for everyone because of that size.

For example, the recent iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with flat sides and that combined with its wider frame makes it very hard to grip and hold comfortably unless you have the hand of a professional basketball player. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is narrower but it is an incredibly heavy phone with its weight tipping to the top which again makes for a use experience that is not the most comfortable one.

Also quite importantly, such phones also often rock sky-high prices of way above the $1,000 mark.

Extra large phones battery life comparison:


Browsing test 60Hz Higher is better Browsing test 120Hz (hours) Higher is better YouTube video streaming (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 60Hz (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 120Hz (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max 14h 6 min
No data
8h 37 min
8h 1 min
No data
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 12h 54 min
No data
8h 58 min
7h 30 min
No data
Apple iPhone XS Max 8h 33 min
No data
5h 25 min
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 16h 7 min
14h 43 min
8h 52 min
8h 40 min
5h 3 min
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 11h 57 min
9h 33 min
7h
7h 17 min
5h 9 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G 12h 23 min
10h 2 min
10h 29 min
9h 12 min
7h 43 min
OnePlus 8 Pro 10h 54 min
10h
9h 15 min
10h 33 min
No data

On the other hand, dealing with the inconveniences of larger phone sizes buys you the convenience of the best battery life you can get. At these extreme sizes, battery cells of 5,000mAh are not uncommon and the phones in this class will usually have charge left after a full day of heavy use, and sometimes can even go two full days off the charger.


Large phones

*Average weight: 190g

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T

Dimensions

6.33 x 2.92 x 0.33 inches

160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Dimensions

6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

LG Velvet

LG Velvet

Dimensions

6.58 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches

167.2 x 74 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.35 oz (180 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T

Dimensions

6.33 x 2.92 x 0.33 inches

160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Dimensions

6.29 x 2.93 x 0.33 inches

159.8 x 74.5 x 8.4 mm

Weight

6.70 oz (190 g)

LG Velvet

LG Velvet

Dimensions

6.58 x 2.91 x 0.31 inches

167.2 x 74 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.35 oz (180 g)



If you want a phone with a large screen that is not extremely big and heavy, you have a huge variety to pick from. But do keep in mind: while these phones usually don't compromise much on battery life and screen quality, you might not be getting the most advanced camera system available.

For example, the Galaxy S21 Plus is a phone that feels much more reasonable to use than the extremely big S21 Ultra, but it lacks the 10X zoom periscope lens and doesn't have the Ultra's mind-blowing zoom quality.

Large phones battery life comparison:


Browsing test 60Hz Higher is better Browsing test 120Hz (hours) Higher is better YouTube video streaming (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 60Hz (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 120Hz (hours) Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S21+ 12h 11 min
10h 50 min
8h 27 min
8h 36 min
6h 5 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 12h 28 min
10h 2 min
9h 9 min
8h 29 min
8h 15 min
Samsung Galaxy A71 11h 32 min
No data
11h 38 min
12h 46 min
No data
Samsung Galaxy A51 11h 35 min
No data
8h 35 min
6h 40 min
No data
OnePlus 8T No data
No data
No data
No data
No data
LG Velvet 11h 7 min
No data
8h 35 min
9h 56 min
No data

In terms of battery life, these phones are a slight step down from the previous category, but not by much and what most users will care about is that these larger phones will still get them through even more eventful days on a single charge.

There are some nuances here, though, so do take a look at each of the battery categories that we test to be informed about that.


Smaller phones

*Average weight: 160g

Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (164 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches

144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches

144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 12

Apple iPhone 12

Dimensions

5.78 x 2.81 x 0.29 inches

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.4 mm

Weight

5.78 oz (164 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Google Pixel 5

Google Pixel 5

Dimensions

5.7 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches

144.7 x 70.4 x 8 mm

Weight

5.33 oz (151 g)

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Apple iPhone 11 Pro

Dimensions

5.67 x 2.81 x 0.32 inches

144 x 71.4 x 8.1 mm

Weight

6.63 oz (188 g)



Today's smaller phone category of devices would easily qualify larger phones just a few years ago, but times have changed and our perception of a smartphone has too. These devices are much more reasonably sized, you can use them with one hand and they are way lighter and can be carried in a pocket without causing a discomfort.

Smaller phones battery life:


Browsing test 60Hz Higher is better Browsing test 120Hz (hours) Higher is better YouTube video streaming (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 60Hz (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 120Hz (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 12 Pro 12h 35 min
No data
6h 48 min
6h 46 min
No data
Apple iPhone 12 12h 33 min
No data
6h 38 min
6h 46 min
No data
Apple iPhone 11 Pro 8h 41 min
No data
6h 27 min
6h 38 min
No data
Apple iPhone 11 11h 26 min
No data
7h 13 min
7h 37 min
No data
Apple iPhone XR 11h 8 min
No data
5h 50 min
4h 35 min
No data
Apple iPhone XS 7h 49 min
No data
4h 42 min
No data
No data
Google Pixel 5 12h 40 min
No data
8h 49 min
6h 51 min
No data
Samsung Galaxy S21 9h 6 min
7h 47 min
7h 36 min
7h 9 min
4h 14 min
Samsung Galaxy S20 12h 12 min
7h 45 min
10h 20 min
7h 43 min
No data
Samsung Galaxy S10 8h 9 min
No data
7h 18 min
5h 35 min
No data

If you go with this category, you are getting big gains in comfort, but also battery life drops in a way that is noticeable. Smaller phones will still get you through your average day with one charge, but if you record a lot of videos or play some games, you will have to charge them up in the afternoon, so do keep that in mind.

Of course, there are differences within this class, and some phones in particular punch above their class. For example, the small Pixel 5 outclasses even some large-sized phones in battery life, but it is more the exception rather than the rule.


Super Compact phones

*Average weight: 140g

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Dimensions

5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 inches

131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Dimensions

6.59 x 2.9 x 0.28 inches

167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2 mm

Weight

6.46 oz (183 g)

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Dimensions

5.18 x 2.53 x 0.29 inches

131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm

Weight

4.76 oz (135 g)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Apple iPhone SE (2020)

Dimensions

5.45 x 2.65 x 0.29 inches

138.4 x 67.3 x 7.3 mm

Weight

5.22 oz (148 g)

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Dimensions

6.59 x 2.9 x 0.28 inches

167.3 x 73.6 x 7.2 mm

Weight

6.46 oz (183 g)



Finally, we have the almost extinct category of the Super Compact phones that Apple single-handedly brought back to life in 2020 with the launch of first the iPhone SE (2020) and then later in the year, the iPhone 12 Mini. These devices are so disarmingly compact and comfortable in the hand that many of us involuntarily smiled while picking one up for the first time.

Super Compact phones battery life


Browsing test 60Hz Higher is better Browsing test 120Hz (hours) Higher is better YouTube video streaming (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 60Hz (hours) Higher is better 3D Gaming 120Hz (hours) Higher is better
Apple iPhone 12 mini 10h 56 min
No data
5h 10 min
5h 10 min
No data
Apple iPhone SE (2020) 9h 5 min
No data
4h 45 min
4h 59 min
No data
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 8h 26 min
No data
6h 40 min
7h 46 min
No data

Still, benchmarks and real-life use both show that these phones while comfortable in size, can be quite uncomfortable in battery life. Pushing them harder with camera use and gaming is not a good idea unless you have a charger around, and even on an average day, chances are you will need to top up before the end of the day. And while this may not be that much of an issue in the first year of using such a phone, you will start feeling the battery squeeze a lot more after that.


Conclusion


So... what is your preferred phone size?

Which is your preferred phone size?

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