Android Smartphone Screens Too Big Too Small forethought

It seems the trend at the moment, especially among Android smartphones, is to have larger screens and actually when you look at the sizes of displays on recent and upcoming handsets it seems they are getting bigger and bigger. Although there is definitely a market for phones with larger screens, as has already been proven with the success of the Galaxy Note for example, we do wonder at what point does a screen become too big, or too small and we want to discuss this today.

When we consider the current crop of new and upcoming smartphones it can actually be quite difficult to find one of the ‘next best thing’ handsets with a smaller screen. When the original Samsung Galaxy Note was released there was real concern among the experts that a device with such a large screen (5.3-inches) wouldn’t catch on. However this was soon proved wrong as the Note went on to be a smash hit and its successor has an even larger display.

If we take a look at some of the device on offer at the moment we can see that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has a 4.8-inch screen, which would have been considered very large only a year or so ago, the Galaxy S2’s display for example was only 4.3-inches. The HTC One X+ and also the LG Optimus G both have 4.7-inch screens and the new Samsung Galaxy Note 2 has a whopping 5.5-inch display. The next Nexus phone, thought to be the LG Nexus 4, also looks likely to have a 4.7-inch screen so handsets with larger displays still look to be in favor.

The LG Nexus 4 is expected to be revealed at a special Google Android event on Monday and other expectations of what we might see include a new Samsung 10-inch tablet, 32GB version of the Nexus 7 tablet and maybe even the Android 4.2 Jelly Bean build. Although these are all welcome of course, what we’d really quite like to see is a new Android flagship phone with high-end specs but with a return to a smaller display, just to bring a bit of variety.

When you think about it there must be plenty of people who still want a device with a smaller display (and not just people with small hands). For instance the recent release of the iPhone 5 saw an increase in screen size to 4-inches, which is decidedly small compared to most Android phones. Although Apple definitely noted the vogue for phones with larger displays and bowed to this a little bit, it did limit the size of screen growth to only 4-inches from the 3.5-inches of the iPhone 4S.

Thus Apple hopes to keep existing iPhone users happy by giving them a slightly larger screen without alienating them by making it too large. This must be rather like walking a tightrope though as Apple would also hope to attract potential new customers from the Android platform and so getting the display size right would have been a very difficult decision. The iPhone 5 is certainly selling in huge numbers and so there must be plenty of consumers who still favor a smaller screen, although of course a new iPhone will always sell well considering Apple’s loyal customer base.

We would imagine that by the same token there must be Android enthusiasts who want a top-notch handset with quad-core processor and a high-resolution display but still want a smaller screen. This is where we’d like the response of readers please as we’d like your opinions on display sizes for Android phones.

Are the screens on the current crop too large? What would be the perfect size display as far as you’re concerned? This last question is pie-in-the-sky but if Google was to announce a brand new high-end Android phone on Monday with a smaller screen than average, would you be pleased? Let us know with your comments.


23 thoughts on “Android Smartphone Screens Too Big Too Small forethought”

  1. Pat says:

    Personally I would like to see a edge to edge Android like the Razr M with a 4.3 screen and a smaller form factor. And with the specs you mention in your article, that would be a great phone.

  2. Stuart Blackstock says:

    I like the form factor of the Motorola Defy, though would prefer something marginally bigger in its whole footprint size, but no more than about 110mm x 63mm which if they used all the available space to make the phone edge to edge both top – to – bottom as well as side – to – side, would give a screen size of approx 4.5 inches. It’s not the screen size that is most important to me, but the actual footprint of the whole phone. The definition becomes a bit of a moot point after about 720p as we can’t actually see much more on a screen with higher definition.
    Also, I’d prefer to have it a few mm’s thicker to accommodate a bigger battery that would give me a couple of days life on the phone rather than the current batch which rarely give even a full days life.
    And whilst I’m at it, some serration along the sides to make it easier to grip wouldn’t go amiss, as mine regularly slips out of my hand.

  3. Alex says:

    I think that between 3.7 and 4.3 inches is reasonable, with a 720p display is very much possible. sony, nokia and htc proving my point with their respective phones. Not to mention the recently released japan only HTC J butterfly with sharps IZGO tech which allows for greater pixel density and lower power consumptions. On that last point, hopefully we should see the benefits of Graphene tech providing better batteries.

  4. Alex Fung says:

    I never understand why anybody says Note is big. If Tom can hold iPad mini in his hand, why should anybody have issues with Note2 or the upcoming 6″ Sony? if you jump a minuscule iphone to a Note, of course you think it is big. But if you work along the 4″ and 4.5″ Androids, you can easily accustom to 5″ and 5.5″ phones. You won’t dream of calling it big after a week of using.

  5. rhonin says:

    Too much emphasis is being placed on screen size vs. actual device size and device ergonomics. Too this add the intended device use. A user who predominately texts, emails, etc… gravitates toward a bigger device while a mostly call toward a smaller – in most cases.

    My device want? A gNexus with edge to edge screen. I like the form factor of this phone a lot.

  6. Matt F. says:

    I like the larger screens. I currently have the motorola photon 4g with a 4.3 inch screen and would love to move up to a larger display when the time comes.

  7. cilbup says:

    Obviously, there are many who love their big screens. There are also many who would prefer a smaller phone, but don’t have the choice – unless they buy Apple (who seem to be quite successful selling smaller phones – Android makers don’t seem to have noticed this). There are a few smaller phones out there, but they have been so dumbed down that they are not an option. They reluctantly buy larger and the makers misinterpret this as their preference. I bought the HTC ONE S because it was smaller yet pretty well as powerful as the ONE X and the G3 (don’t especially like Samsung). Would have got the V, but low brain power and poor camera. I love the size of the Desire C, but, again, not much of a phone. Edge to edge is a step in the right direction. A full power 3.5″ or 4″ edge-to-edge would be fantastic (with a SD slot and stronger, removable battery of course).

  8. I think you’re all missing the Big Picture here- if you make screens any bigger, you will lose the hipster market. You know, the pretentious people who hang out at coffee shops to look down their noses (through their fake glasses) at anyone with a phone older than 2 months. How will they fit a Note-series phone in their skinny jeans?

  9. mintslice says:

    I’m looking forward to updating my Nexus S with a 4 inch screen, to one of the phones with a 4.7 inch screen. Most likely this will be the LG Nexus 4. I’ve had the Nexus One with the 3.5 inch screen, and while 5 inch screens seem to large somewhere within is the sweet spot.

  10. BRValentine says:

    Agree 100%. I’m still rocking an iPhone 3GS and have been looking to upgrade to a powerful new Android phone, but I don’t want to go much larger than the phone I have. I know a lot of people who have the S3 and I’ve played around with them a bit. Just too big for me. I’ve been ranting about this to my friends for a couple months — if Samsung/HTC/Motorola made an Android phone that matched the iPhone in size and specs I think it would do really well. I certainly would have bought one already.

  11. Ncruz000 says:

    I have been in the market for a new android phone but have not found what I am looking for due to there large size. I might have to settle for the iPhone 5. So, I do agree that androids are losing business. All we are asking for is more options. I would go and buy a phone as described in the article in a heartbeat due to its smaller size!

    1. dz11 says:

      What’s wrong with getting the galaxy S2 if you want a smaller screen? It’s still an excellent phone with a spec sheet that should be good enough for everyone but the gadget freaks.

  12. dz11 says:

    With the release of the nexus 7 there is less need now to have a mobile with a large screen. It’s easy to carry the nexus 7 around in a handbag or briefcase so u can just use that instead and have a better experience. For this reason I expect demand for large screen mobiles to tail off. I certainly won’t be wasting my money on any phone with a larger than 4.3 inch screen.

  13. Kish says:

    Im using the note 2 right now.. and its great. I agree with everyone else who asks why people say the note series are too big, because they’re really not. Yes, I have big hands, but even if you have smaller sized hands, you can get used to it, as size is the last thing on your mind when you hold it, as you’ll probably be thinking about the s pen.. or all the other features the phone cones with, which you wouldn’t get with on a normal phone 😛
    I would advise mostly everyone to get this phone if you are ready for an upgrade. Unless you like scummy I phones instead

  14. Brett says:

    I totally Agree, i had an Samsung s3 and sent it back due to screen size i couldnt bring the notifcation bar down using my thumb with one hand! i think 4.3″/4.5″ would be perfect. like someone mentioned about the motorola razr i. Just with higher Specs. Im gonna stay put with my Iphone4 until an Android handset comes out with Smaller Screen High Specs.

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