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[Ask The Readers] What’s The Size Of Your Smartphone’s Display?

Smartphone displays seem to be getting bigger and bigger lately, don’t they? Consider Samsung’s flagship smartphone series – the Galaxy S: it started out in 2010 at 4-inches, expanded to a reasonable 4.3-inches in 2011 with the Galaxy S II, blew up to a massive 4.8-inches in 2012 with the Galaxy S III, before settling on a 5-inch full HD display that dominates the front of the recently announced Galaxy S4. Apart from this, there’s also the Galaxy Note ‘phablet’ line that started in late 2011 with a 5.3″ screen, which was bumped up to 5.5″ in 2012 with the Note II.


Other smartphone manufacturers have similary followed suit. The displays on the latest flagship models from the likes of HTC, LG, and Motorola are all well above 4 inches. Any smartphone from these Android manufacturers having a display smaller than 4.5 inches is usually from the mid-end category now, on basis of lower internal specifications.

So display sizes in the range of 4.7″ – 5″ have become pretty much the norm now for high-end devices, save for one smartphone manufacturer. I believe you already know which one I’m referring to; its name  starts with an ‘A’ and ends in ‘pple’, and its flagship smartphone has a ‘meagre’ 4″ display. So, what’s exactly happening here? Why are our phones getting bigger?


One reasonable-sounding theory states that this is due to the fact that 4G LTE chips require a roomier motherboard, and – because of its resource-intensive nature – a bigger battery. With currently existing technology, it is not possible to fit both in a small, slim smartphone without sacrificing battery life. And when you do have to have a large phone, you might as well fit it with a large display, rather than giving it a huge bezel.

Now, Android smartphone manufacturers quickly jumped to LTE to set their phones apart from Apple and Microsoft’s offerings, and in doing so, they discovered that a good number of people actually like their smartphone displays to be gigantic. With a spacious display, you get larger keys for easier typing, more content in text-heavy apps like your favorite RSS reader and your browser, and a vastly improved movie-watching experience.


This significantly reduces overall portability though, with one particularly unnerving collateral loss being not able to control the phone using one hand – something Steve Jobs regularly mentioned when discussing the benefits of the 3.5″ iPhone display.

As a proud owner of a 3.5″ iPhone 4S, and as someone who has had extensive hands-on playtime with well-endowed smartphones, I personally believe any display larger than 4-4.3″ is just a plain, bad idea. I say this because in my personal experience, I have found that with larger displays, you have to readjust your grip when you need to tap on UI elements at the top-left  and top-right corners – a regular, unpleasant occurrence, especially on Android. One example of this is the official Twitter app. On iOS, the navigation bar is at the bottom whereas on Android it is located at the very top.


However, this inconvenience may be worth it considering all the good things that a large display brings with itself. I expect to find the definite answer to this question of “Is bigger better?” when I hopefully buy myself an HTC One (boasting a 4.7″ Full HD display) later this year.

Now that you have read my thoughts on the topic, it’s time for you to tell us about yours. You may leave a comment in the comments section, or join our poll below.

[polldaddy poll=6993286]

Leave a comment

  • John

    5 is the PERFECT size for me

    • Trollolo

      Because that size of dick doesn’t make you cough?

  • thedesolatesoul

    While I have a 4.8 inch GS3…I still have not adjusted to it, I prefer my smaller Galaxy S. I have the same grip problem when accessing the top or right of the screen. I cant type with one hand anymore, I have to use both hands. Thirdly, my little finger hurts because of the grip as it has to keep changing positions and I like to have one finger and the bottom of the phone 🙁

  • fenster77

    The one thing I think is driving larger screen sizes more than anything else is mobile advertising. People are naturally adverse to mobile ads. How are the facebooks of the world to turn a profit if they have only so much real estate to work with? It makes sense to me that actors such as FB have enough juice in the industry to push for larger and larger screens.

    Apple seems to be the only holdout, but it’s inevitable that they also go that route. Which is a shame, since there’s still many of us that don’t want to carry a slab in their pocket. I’m not a huge fan of my Incredible 4G (still can’t be easily rooted), but it’s the only adequately-powered Android device left with a 4-inch screen. It’s probably going to the be the last.

    No one ever seems to be talking about advertising driving screen sizes. The line is always, “people *want* bigger screens”. But what else are the device makers going to say…”we need more space to sell you stuff..” ?

  • whoknowswhereor


  • Owning a Droid Razr M, I think the 4.3″ screen size is perfect (at least for my hands). The size is just small enough to control everything one-handed, yet big enough not to block too many onscreen items if I need two hands for control.
    That’s the criteria for me at least, able to use one-handed if need be, but not too small for two. I did own a Galaxy Tab 2 7.0″ for a while, and that was really nice for multimedia/reading/games (mostly content consumption, for content creation, I default to my laptop). For a phone, I’m not sure I’d want anything bigger, that i couldn’t use one-handed. For a tablet, bigger is always better, imo.

  • Bayar Faisal

    5.5″ note II

  • Average_geek

    Other specs aside, I really enjoyed the 4 inch on the Nexus S, but it felt a bit small. The 4.7 HOX which is my primary device now is a bit too big for my hands. I suppose I would like a 4.3 – 4.5 inch with good battery. I don’t need 1080p on my phone. Really.