Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Cellphones Displays

Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough? 320

Posted by Soulskill
from the if-it-doesn't-fit-on-your-coffee-table-you-might-have-a-problem dept.
MojoKid writes "Aside from the terrible nickname (it sounds like a term for the spoiled offspring of fabulous people), phablets are somewhat controversial because they seem to be the epitome of inflated phone sizes. A lot of people wanted bigger, and this is 'bigger' to the extreme. A larger screen on a smartphone is attractive for obvious reasons, but surely there's a limit. So how big is too big? If you're not into parsing out the particulars of form factors and use cases, here's a really easy way to figure out if your phone or phablet is too big: Can you hold the device in one hand and 1) unlock the phone, 2) type out a text message with your thumb, and 3) adjust the volume with the rocker without using your other hand? If not, you might need a smaller phone."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough?

Comments Filter:
  • Presupposition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:17AM (#43032523)

    The criteria presuppose that you *want* to be able to use your phone with only one hand. I am mal-coordinated enough that I can only use my phone with two hands, no matter how big or small it is, so surely the criteria for me are: 1) does it fit in my pocket? 2) can I hold it up to my ear and make a telephone call comfortably? 3) can I hold it in one hand and use it with the other comfortably? 4) is the screen large enough that it can display what I want to see at a reasonable resolution?

  • by thatDBA (2626877) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:31AM (#43032569)
    Those are some of the dumbest, most arbitrary reasons to tell someone their phone is too large - is he/she being paid by Apple? I want a phone with a screen large enough for me to read web pages comfortably and not need a tablet. I would be fine with a 7 inch phone - not everyone has the hand size and lifting strength of a teenage girl.
  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:32AM (#43032581) Homepage

    "Too big" is when not enough people will want to buy it to make it worthwhile to produce.
    Anything else is just subjective.

    To me, a 9.7" tablet is too big, but iPad's continued sales prove that this is merely my subjective (minority) opinion.

  • by billyswong (1858858) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:40AM (#43032605)

    The number ONE question should have been:

    Can you comfortably phone someone or receive phone call without resorting to earplug?

  • without looking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ssam (2723487) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:52AM (#43032639)

    How about another metric:
    Can you dial a useful number without looking at your phone?
    On a trusty old nokia 3310 (or similar) I could unlock, dial the last used, dial the top number in my phone book, dial emergency services and various other tasks without looking. There are few circumstances where this could be very useful (or save your life).

    I dont think i could do it on any smart phone.

  • #4 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rikkards (98006) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @05:56AM (#43032655) Journal

    #4 Can you buy a bluetooth headpiece and pair it with your phablet?

    If so then the first 3 arguments are moot. I think most people who are buying them recognize that in most cases the "ablet" portion is more important for them than the "ph" portion but don't want to have a phone and a tablet.

  • What if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itsdapead (734413) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:17AM (#43032739)

    What if phones came in a range of shapes and sizes so you could choose [samsung.com] the size [samsung.com] that suited you [samsung.com].

    If only we lived in such a world...

    NB: Samsung links for illustrative purposes only - different sized phones are available from other manufacturers - I believe Apple will sell you a rather fine phone if you believe that there is Only One True Phone Size. Odd, because Apple offer every other product line they do in a range of form factors...

    Seriously folks - the right size of phone depends on your personal priorities. If you're a heavy voice/txt user then maybe a smaller, thumb-friendly phone is for you. If you only send the occasional voice call or txt, but want web, email, navigation, games in your pocket then phablets are more attractive. The Galaxy Note II is about the minimum size to be useful with a stylus and/or split screen multitasking - but maybe you don't want to use those (Samsung's split-screen multitasking is impressive, but I admit that the only reason I ever use it is to show people how impressive it is...)

  • Re:without looking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k2r (255754) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:23AM (#43032769)

    > Can you dial a useful number without looking at your phone?

    "Siri, call Sam's business number!"

  • Who cares ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy (160321) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:28AM (#43032795)

    There are phones of every size from 2" to 8" (and even 10" with a bit of hacking).

    Some people call a lot, some don't
    Some people text a lot, some don't
    Some people read a lot on their phones, some don't. And some have good eyesight, others not.
    Some people spend a lot of time in transit, some don't
    Some people have big hands, some don't

    There's a right size for every customer and use case.

  • by SillyPerson (920121) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:25AM (#43033029)
    Please mod parent up!
    Not because he had anything profound to say, but he spelled 'Hear, hear' correctly.
    (He forgot the comma, but I let that slide).
  • Re:What?? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Carewolf (581105) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:26AM (#43033037) Homepage

    Or you can show some mental flexibility, deal with the fact that not everything in the world has to be tailored to your particular quirks to be functional and adapt.

    Are you saying iPhone users are better at fitting the mold, adapting instead of changing the world?

    If you are, I would agree with you.

  • by MDillenbeck (1739920) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:50AM (#43033135)

    If you're not into parsing out the particulars of form factors and use cases, here's a really easy way to figure out if your phone or phablet is too big: Can you hold the device in one hand and 1) unlock the phone, 2) type out a text message with your thumb, and 3) adjust the volume with the rocker without using your other hand? If not, you might need a smaller phone

    That is a big assumption on my usage. I do not typically use my Galaxy SIII one handed - I typically use it with both hands. What do I typically use my smartphone for?

    I text far more often now to communicate with family, but since I can't get a phone with an integrated keyboard and I have yet to custom build a case that holds a small bluetooth keyboard, I need a bigger screen - because I need buttons that fit the size of my short stubby fingers AND I have having only one or two lines of text displayed when typing.

    However, I far more often use my phone for internet browsing, reading Slashdot and Reddit, reading email, watching Netflix or Youtube videos on the go, checking weather, and as an alarm clock. My type of usage is becoming more common.

    (Oh, as to using Netflix on a phone I often get "why would you want to watch Netflix on such a tiny screen" to which I say "that's why I want a larger screen" - and then they say "why would anyone want a larger screen on a phone" and I say "because I mainly use it to watch Netflix and browse the web on the go or when on vacation." My coworkers mocked me getting a 3.8" smartphone as being "huge" - and yet within the year they all had 4" screens and didn't see a problem with it.)

    Next, all three aspects are not a function of the size of the smartphone but design decisions. You can place the volume rocker, the unlock, and make a one handed virtual thumb-board for texting on even the largest of devices - but you have to break the traditional model and move the stuff around. Why are the volume and power buttons towards the top of smartphones when people more often hold them towards the bottom? Why do virtual keyboards mimic physical ones rather than coming up with a novel and more functional layout for one handed usage? They don't have to be designed that way - there was an active choice.

    As to the Galaxy Note II (my next phone when I can afford it) - that uses a wacom pen input. As a long time user of what use to be called Tablet PCs but now are called either slates or convertable tablet PCs (as a coworker who now works at Microsoft insisted on since a tablet means an iPad styled device only to him and his Microsoft cohorts *rolls eyes*), I love a pen interface. What is more natural than writing a to-do list or taking a note with a pen? That is definitely not a one-handed activity, and thus there is no need to keep it to a size that is one-handed.

    Finally, the pocket issue. How many times do I have to hear this one? First it was we all needed Razrs or at least flip phones because the candybar form factor was too bulky for a pocket. Then physical keyboards or extended batteries made a phone too big for a pocket and too thick to hold in a hand... but nothing felt better then sliding out a keyboard and using my Galaxy S (and the SIII is so thin that a slide out keyboard really wouldn't have been that horrible to add). Now its the large screen makes them too big for all but cargo pants. I don't buy it - I have plenty of space in the pockets of my slacks or jeans with my SIII in a case - even with the "larger screen" (something I was told by coworkers would be too "unpocketable" but was a non-issue). I've looked at the Note II and it will fit fine also. Even if it didn't, then I could get pants with larger pockets - and I don't mean cargo pants. Again, a non-issue.

    CONCLUSION: With all that said about it being a design choice and preference - if a person finds a "phablet" like the Note II to be too big for them - that's fine. Just recognize it as a choice. I am saddened that those who want small flip phones and

  • Re:What?? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @08:21AM (#43033313)

    That's right. Grownups are too busy murdering each other over which invisible sky-daddy they follow or which village their great great great great great grandfather came from. They don't have time for petty tribal arguments.

  • Re:What?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thegarbz (1787294) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @08:24AM (#43033323)

    Or you can show some mental flexibility, deal with the fact that not everything in the world has to be tailored to your particular quirks to be functional and adapt.

    Erm ... why? No really ... Why! The vast majority of accommodations we are talking about are software features. These are adjustments and settings which can be customised. Remember when it was announced that Vista would have a non-customisable startup sound? People went mental. To what extent are you willing to flex? Should all phones look and sound 100% identically? Should we all be forced to fit in one mould of a turleneck wearing sociopath?

    Maybe the vendors can show some flexibility. Some people like swipe to unlock, some like pin to unlock, some pattern unlock, some face detection, and some don't lock at all and pressing any button simply wakes the phone at the home screen. My phone gives me that choice, and why shouldn't it for a measly few lines of code.

  • by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater@gmFREEBSDail.com minus bsd> on Thursday February 28, 2013 @11:19AM (#43035409) Homepage

    As long as you're not looking at your screen to check your facebook stream or w/e every 2 minutes your phone can acutally last a while.

    So, the only way to extend battery life is to not use the battery? I can get 96+ idle hours on my iPhone if I really want to, but what's the point? An idle phone is nothing more than an expensive paperweight.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken

Working...