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Cellphones Displays

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

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."
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Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough?

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  • I have a Galaxy Note (Score:5, Interesting)

    by maroberts ( 15852 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:14AM (#43032503) Homepage Journal

    ..and it fits perfectly in my breast shirt pocket. I don't put phones in trouser/pants pockets ever since I broke a screen of one by doing so.

    I love the Note as its large display makes a great GPS device when in its car holder.
    The main thing I want in a smartphone now is enormous battery life as well as the features. I do miss the days when you could charge your phone once a week, but not so much I'm willing to go back to having a basic phone.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gigaherz ( 2653757 )
      I hope you place it with the screen towards you, at least. I don't know where they place the antennas nowadays, but I wouldn't want a device emitting microwaves onto my lungs/heart... nor my genitals, either.
    • by gigaherz ( 2653757 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:23AM (#43032539)
      Forgot to say, disable broadband connections (stick to GSM) and WiFi unless you need them, turn down the screen brightness, and avoid having background tasks, specially those with constant internet connections (PUSH notifications use a single service for all the notifications, and it's server-initiated instead of polled, so they don't matter as much). You can triple the battery life that way.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        You can triple the battery life that way.

        So... Three hours?

    • by arkhan_jg ( 618674 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:57AM (#43032659)

      Me too. I keep it mostly in my suit jacket inside pocket most of the time, or my coat pocket when casual - I wear slacks instead of jeans, so it goes there (in a case) in summer.

      The bigger screen is glorious for email and web browsing - especially in landscape - going back to my old 4" galaxy s feels like using a toy phone now, it's just so small.

      I can unlock and text with my thumb if I want to (helllllo, swype and now swiftkey flow) and running on cyanogenmod 10.1 the thing is lovely and fast. I do tend to hold it in one hand and type with the other though. I use it more than my nexus 7, simply because I always have it with me, though the mini tablet is ideal for sofa browsing and meetings as it can still be held one handed but gives that bit more screen estate.

      I don't see myself going back to any smartphone that's significantly smaller than 5"; even the galaxy s3 (which is pretty large for a smartphone in its own right) is a bit small for my preference now.

      I guess it's what you use it for; mine is a full blown mini computer, complete with ssh client, that fits in my pocket. Mobile data is where it's at, and actual phone calls are a bit of a rarity. I can get two days out of my note no problem, because the battery is that much wider. Not sure I'd want it much thicker though, would make it harder to span your hand round it, even when you do have big-man hands like me. Just have to hope some of the promised battery tech improvements that keep showing up in research actually start ending up in real devices.

      • I have a Galaxy Note as well and I love it. Almost the perfect size. Small enough to fit into a pocket and large enough to mostly use the web browser in fully functional mode.

        AFAIK, the camera does not work with Cyanogen Mod 10. Have they fixed that problem yet?

    • by DiSKiLLeR ( 17651 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:55AM (#43032897) Homepage Journal

      Hear hear. I have a Galaxy Note N7000 and think its the best thing since sliced bread.

      I got it when it first came out, and from 2.3 to 4.0 to 4.1 each update has been amazing.

      I started out with a Sony Ericsson P900, P990i, iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, HTC Sensation (which I loved) and then Galaxy Note.

      So my last 2 phones I kept getting bigger, and I never looked back.

      I keep my phone in my front jeans pocket and never had a problem with it being 'too large'. Though I must admit, any time I've seen someone holding my phone to their head on a call looked comical and so I guess I must look the same when I am talking on my phone. Oh well. :D

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      You don't think that the oversized phone is the reason it broke in your pocket? I've never had any problems with that, but I have a strong preference for smaller phones. I use a Nexus One most of the time.
    • Hmm, I think current smartphones are far too big.
      I'd kill for a nicely sized 3.5" android phone like the HTC Rhyme, but then with the innards of a current smartphone, e.g. "high" resolution screen (minimally apple's 960x640), dual- or quad-core snapdragon, good battery life (minimally 2 days high usage), and bonus if it's a core android system, so nexus style, rootable, no proprietary stuff nor bloatware. Extra props if it has that water-proofing those new sony phones have.
      I don't really care about phone
    • I stuck with my Skyrocket because I carry my phone in my front pants pocket. I lost my last one carrying it in my shirt pocket, It fell out in some cow field out around Portal, Arizona when I bent down to open a gate to drive through on an off road trip.

      My wife has a Galaxy Note, but she carries it in her purse. I tried it out in my front pants pocket, but I felt it was too big, so I'm staying put. She looked at the newest model, and it fits her purse so she is all about getting the new one now as soon
    • by pnutjam ( 523990 )
      Every time I bend over for my corporate overlords (or to pick up something) the phone falls out of my shirt pocket, so I use my trouser pocket.
  • by a_hanso ( 1891616 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:15AM (#43032509) Journal

    I've played with the device quite a bit (I'm planning to buy one) and I think the Galaxy Note II would be about the limit for devices that need to fit into trouser pockets and can be held to the ear without looking like a clown.

    Unless future fashion changes to accommodate "handsets" and handsets become more about the functions other than voice calls.

    • by Vanderhoth ( 1582661 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:46AM (#43032615)
      Just got my a GalaXy Note ll two days ago. writing this with the stylist. Way better than typing. I was worried that hand writing was on its way out, but this is great.
    • by Cloud K ( 125581 )

      Same here.

      It's grown over the years (ooer missus)
      At first I thought the original iPhone was huge, and got used to that. Then I thought the HTC One X and Samsung S3 were huge, and got used to my One X. I think that's a wonderful size. I think the GNII is huge, but could get used to that.
      Anything bigger than the GNII wouldn't fit in my pocket, so I think that's the limit. In fact the HTC is about the sweet spot for me as I can fit it in the same pocket as my wallet leaving the other pocket free for a came

      • I bought a Galaxy Tab 7, used it for a few months and ended up selling it. It's in the wrong place between tablets and smart phones. I always end up leaving it at home. Or I take my laptop or netbook.

        • by Cloud K ( 125581 )

          YMMV - I use my Nexus 7 very heavily (especially at the pub, being antisocial as I am) and find its book-like format perfect. While my full size iPad sits gathering dust.

          • The Nexus family is a completely different story. They're a joy to hold -- they (especially the 10) fit smugly into your hand. Feels light too.

  • So... (Score:4, Funny)

    by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:16AM (#43032515)

    You are saying we need to put a grip like a hand gun on it in the bottom right (or left) corner so you can hold it. Swipe an arch with your thumb and have all the text in a semi arch keyboard near the corner. Then we can have a 20" screen for our phone?

  • Presupposition (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:17AM (#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?

  • What?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Cenan ( 1892902 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:24AM (#43032543)

    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.

    None of the above points are arguments for/against screens of any size. All of those "problems" can be solved without even thinking about the size of the screen on a device.

    1) unlocking schemes for phones can take on any number of different forms, not all requiring you to swipe from edge to edge to unlock.

    2) usability of the virtual keyboard has nothing to do with screen size, but a matter of placing it in the correct location on the screen

    3) adjusting the volume on a phone has nothing to do with screen size, and everything to do with placement of the rocker button.

    • All of these "points" are not even points at all, just a matter of personal usage preferences.

      Humans have got two hands, why not use them both? I am perfectly able to use my HTC HD2 with one hand only, but I don't do that, because using both hands is - for me - much more comfortable.

    • For me its all a matter of ergonomics and the individuals hand size. Sure applications developers can develop for folks with larger phones and small hands - but in general they don't give a damn. I have a Galaxy S2 - and sometimes I do find it a stretch when using the device one handed - and I have dropped the phone on more than one occasion - so I guess I don't want too much bigger than an S2 - but people with bigger hands will want bigger devices. It definitely is easier on the eyes to read from a larger

    • by Sique ( 173459 )
      1) and 3) are ok with me, but for 2) I beg to differ.

      I use the virtual keyboard always with both thumbs, holding the phone in both hands. I am not an one-hand-typer, typing with only one hand (or one finger) feels uncomfortable to me. This would effectively double the maximum screensize for me, compared with one-thumb-typers.

      On the other hand, I am lefthanded anyway, so any scheme that expects the user to hold the phone in the right hand is flawed for me.

      • by Cenan ( 1892902 )

        Well, I use my phone much like you describe, yet I fail to see how 2) applies to your situation.

        The size of the screen (barring screens that are too small) has nothing to do with the usability of the virtual keyboard. The placement and size of the keyboard on said screen does impact usability. On too small a screen you would have to do something like the old phone keyboards, with multiple letters on each button. Once a screen reaches a certain size you can use a full qwerty-type keyboard always, as long as

        • by Sique ( 173459 )
          Yes, but for me typing with both thumbs, it makes sense to have the keyboard span the whole screen, otherwise the keys would be unnecessary small. A keyboard for me doesn't have the limit of a thumb's length, it can have the double width.
    • Exactly. All of these points are completely subjective and some even lead me to believe the author is stuck mentally in the dumbphone era. I mean 2. wtf? This is something teens did in the early 2000's, texting with thumbs and even most of them did it with two thumbs. It'd probably need a _bigger_ screen to even be able to do this as my thumbs are large and I'd probably hit more than key most of the time.

      As of 1), I have an actual lock for my unlocking, aka a pattern as I'd really really really hate to lose

  • by waddgodd ( 34934 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:26AM (#43032551) Homepage Journal

    I grew up when a Trimline, so I expect a phone to take up a certain amount of space on my face when I'm talking. Given that "candy bar" phones are shrinking like nobody's business lately, phablets are where my comfort zone exists nowadays. I kinda want to have the pickup at least somewhere where my mouth is, and I'm not an alien being, so my mouth isn't behind my ear, and hinges break, so no clamshells for me. I've found that the 7" phablets are a nice fit on the face, if a bit wide for my taste.

  • by thatDBA ( 2626877 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:31AM (#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.
    • I would be fine with a 7 inch phone

      Until you wanted to make a phone call. I can just barely hold my Kindle one handed phone-style (between thumb and fingers around vertical edges, and my hands are bigger than average. Your 7" phone would be like holding a Kindle to your face.

      Saying that, though, a mixture of Pebble /smart watch and Bluetooth headset might just tip me over into swapping from a phone with a big screen to a phablet / tablet with voice capability. That's a whole different question, though

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm young and normal/cool/popular/whatever enough to use my phone as the marketing machine would probably want, and I have to tell you that people under 25 don't generally ever use the phone as a phone, and when they do it's either (a) for just a few seconds, or (b) on speaker phone. So as long as it fits in your pocket (although a lot of my friends just carry them in their bags, but then this is in college and I guess older people don't like messenger bags) without making you look like an asshole, who car

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:32AM (#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.

    • There's no such thing as too big []

    • last year and sold it.

      For a full two months I just used my iPad 2 and Google Voice on speaker for phone calls (my longtime number was ported to my Google Voice account ages ago, so I didn't have to switch numbers or anything).

      I *strongly* considered just sticking to the iPad for phoning and being done with it.

      In the end, I decided to get a dedicated device, but screen size is a big deal for me—the iPhones are just too small. I was trying to decide between an iPad Mini and a Galaxy Note II as my primar

  • by billyswong ( 1858858 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:40AM (#43032605)

    The number ONE question should have been:

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

    • by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:00AM (#43032671) Journal

      I think the question they are answering is:
      Would you have a phone if your tablet was capable of making and receiving phone calls

      • I'm not big on holding a tablet to my face, doesn't really sit well. I also don't have a good pocket typically for carrying a tablet. For me a tablet smaller than 10" is too small to use (for my purposes) and a phone larger than ~4" is just to large to carry around in jeans and a t-shirt.

        Personally I second a post further up about using a pebble watch and bluetooth headset with a smartphone. I'd add to that a 10" touchscreen display that can wirelessly connect to my cellphone should I want a bigger scr
      • by Fri13 ( 963421 )


        I had smartphones what display sizes were 3.5", 3.8", 4.2" and 4.5" and in that order. Before buying a smartphone, I just had a featurephone and I didn't use it to anything else than to make calls and SMS while it was capable for other things.
        Since Android I have moved away from SMS and actually phone calls almost totally. And I wanted bigger screen because I used device more to other things than SMS/Calls. And with Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" I finally came to conclusion in my habits that I don't need a

    • "Phone is for talking". Really? What decade are you from? If that's the case why have anything other than a cheap Nokia dumbphone? The rest of us have realised that phones have multiple uses.

    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

      But I like bluetooth headset on my right ear as I can be cable free and I don't need to pull phone (any phone) from pocket/pack just to answer to call or make a call OR listen music.. And when you have Google maps it gives good navigation guides just with voice and no need to watch screen when driving.

      I have Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7" what is the true "phablet" (what Notes and others are not) and with 7" screen it is very comfortable to use when I really need to use a handheld computer for reading or writing.


  • by Torp ( 199297 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:50AM (#43032629)

    But the iPhone 4 is just the right size for me. The 5 feels already too long. I'm worried that if Apple jumps on the 'my phone is bigger than your phone' bandwagon I'll be left with no replacement, as all the Android small phones are el cheapo versions with slow hardware.
    Btw, I'm male, and I don't have particularly small hands. I can reach around a 4-4.3" screen with one hand, I just don't want one.

    • I'll assume you haven't used an Android phone lately.

    • by guises ( 2423402 )
      I'm with you. If I were female I could put a big phone in my purse, but as long at it needs to fit in my pocket I'd rather have something pocketable. Thing is, I also hate iOS so I'm stuck with my Nexus One.

      Was thinking about biting the bullet for the Nexus Four, but haven't gone down that road yet.
    • I like the slightly larger droid bionic myself as it feels like they built the device around the screen rather than the other way around but I do agree fully on no liking massive screens.
  • by TigerPlish ( 174064 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:51AM (#43032637)

    My preference is still the iphone up through version 4. After that it gets bothersome to carry and use. I'm still reluctant to get a 5 with it's 1/2" longer screen. The old dimensions were just about perfect.

    I have a company-issued Galaxy SII. It sits unused on my kitchen counter, calls forwarded to my iphone. I can't stand the SII's size -- and it's really not that much larger than an old iphone - maybe 1/2" all around. I think it's excessively large. I used it almost exclusively for a month and gave up on it. This time any "cool" value of being "different" (android vs. ios, anyone else vs. apple) was destroyed by the way the phone feels in my hand and pocket. Sorry. It just doesn't work for me, and I honestly feel it's the extra size.

    It's not like I have tiny hands or anything -- and I'm sure everyone's different -- but I don't want a big phone. I'm sure there are others who think the same thing.

    As for the satnav argument presented before, meh and double meh. Why should I put up with the compromises of even a large phone when I have a perfectly good top-shelf TomTom with humongous screen and a speaker that makes itself extremely intelligible at 65% volume even with the music going fairly loudly? That's something neither of my phones can do. For every job, a proper tool, yes?

  • without looking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ssam ( 2723487 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:52AM (#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.

  • i want the biggest screen i can get without looking like an idiot for holding it to my ear. i do all the stuff he mentioned 2 handed anyway
  • I think that 15.6" with a fold out keyboard should just about do it.
    • by Fri13 ( 963421 )

      And it would be bonus if we could use them on lap instead always using some kind kickstand for them or hold them in hands.
      We could call them as toplaps...

  • #4 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rikkards ( 98006 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @06:56AM (#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.

  • 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.

    Gee, thanks Professor! I never coulda worked that one out for myself.

    Smartphone Screen Real Estate: How Big Is Big Enough?

    The answer is: Big Enough is Big Enough, the definition of which varies from person to person and is usually obvious to said person within about five minutes of trying out the phone.

  • by s7uar7 ( 746699 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:13AM (#43032723) Homepage
    The Nexus 4 is my first touch-screen phone and I wouldn't want anything larger. I can just stretch my thumb across the whole screen while holding it with one hand; any larger and I would either need to use two hands or be prone to dropping it.
  • What if... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:17AM (#43032739)

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

    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...)

  • Who cares ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by obarthelemy ( 160321 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:28AM (#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 ledow ( 319597 )

      And, personally, I'd be quite happy to have "just a phone" that was absolutely miniscule.

      What does a phone need? A way to connect a headset (Bluetooth), a way to answer an incoming call (a button on the headset, normally), and a way to dial a contact number (e.g. jogwheel and tiny 10-character display which can double up as caller-ID, but even a tiny watch-size LCD would be okay).

      Gimme a phone the size of the smallest iPod nano's and it's fulfilled its purpose.

      I'd rather carry that and then a phone-size ta

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

      That's not what she said, admit it.

    • Exactly. I have big hands, sausage fingers, and honestly don't talk THAT much on the phone. But I do have to check and respond-to emails and texts a bunch. So something like the Galaxy S3 is a perfect size for me since it fits in all of my pockets and lets me type easier. I haven't tried the Notes but I haven't ruled them out.

      Meanwhile one of my friends is short in stature, has small hands, and talks a lot. He only switched from a flip-phone to an iPhone because he liked the fewer-moving-parts aspect (

  • by rodrigoandrade ( 713371 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @07:50AM (#43032873)

    Last Xmas I gave myself a Galaxy Note 2, upgrading from an aging HD2. I'm a big screen whore so it was a no brainer.

    Yes, at first it's cumbersome and unwieldy and I took a couple weeks of daily usage to get used to it. All reviews pointed this out, so I knew what I was getting into.

    Now I can operate it one-handed (ok, I have big NBA-player hands) and it fits in any pocket if I remove the rubbery cover I got at DX.

    Any S3 or iPhone 5 is tiny by comparsion. I just don't see mysef going back to small screens.

  • I am an old school geek. I wear my phone in a pouch on my hip. Keys, and change go in my pocket... wallet in hit pocket.

    Can't put those giant larger phones on my hip... it's getting ridiculous enough with the Nexus 4. I do appreciate the higher screen resolutions, but the Nexus 4 delivers that well enough for now. But I also like my Nexus 7 for those other functions like GPS and such... though admittedly, the last time I was doing GPS, it was my Nexus 4.

  • Don't perpetuate that name. Yuck.


  • your smartphone carries you.

    That would be "big enough", even if you won't call it smartphone, maybe gundam would be appropiate. But wearing it should be the future.

  • The phone spends the majority of its time in my pocket, so it needs to meet a number of compromise goals:
    1) fit in a reasonable pocket. I carry mine in a front pocket, and usually wear jeans or dockers, and am male, so it can be fairly large in x/y dimensions.
    2) survive in a reasonable pocket: in my pocket, there's a significant risk of flexing as I sit, run, whatever. It's got to be thick enough (or durable enough) to resist damage from flexing.
    3) utility: I like the biggest possible screen, without a lo

  • by MDillenbeck ( 1739920 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @08:50AM (#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

  • by Solandri ( 704621 )
    The ideal size for a phone is for one end to reach your ear and the other end to reach your mouth. If you look at corded and cordless phones throughout history, you'll find they (or their handset) are all this size. It's only recently, in the last 20 years, that phones began to get smaller in an attempt to make them more portable. In fact flip phones were invented to maintain the ear-to-mouth length while collapsing into a smaller size for carrying. For a while it was a contest to see who could come out
  • I would love to be able to have both something like this Nokia candybar phone [] with its pleasing form factor and epic battery life, as well as a small tablet that also happened to handle cellular phone calls, if they could both send/receive calls using the same number. I can have more than one phone with the same number in my house, what's so unreasonable about having more than one cellular device with the same number?

  • I just have someone else carry it for me. I'm getting a 22" phone.

  • Franklin: "There, it's done and printed! The first American dollar bill! What do you think of it Tom?"

    Jefferson: "It's too big...I mean, really, an 8x10 of George, it's hard to put in your wallet." []


  • by EmperorOfCanada ( 1332175 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @09:52AM (#43033483)
    Keep in mind that for many people a smartphone will be their only computer. Personally (like many slashdotters) I have a dual monitored desktop, a 15" laptop, an iPad, an e-ink bookreader, and an iPhone. So I can pick the exact screen size I want to match my needs exactly; thus I want my smart phone to stay fairly small. But if I only had one screen and it were to be my smart phone I would want that screen to be bordering on the absurd. I wouldn't want to hold an iPad mini to my ear but pretty close. Plus get a bluetooth headset and you won't look like a dumbass with this brick up against your ear.

    So it makes total sense for people to get huge smartphones. People blah blah about the post PC era, which for joe non-technical is rapidly approaching. This post PC world will probably make larger screens quite logical.

    One other market is the Baby Boomer: With failing eyesight the bigger the better when it comes to screen/font sizes. "Oh I don't have the coolest phone? Don't care because I can read the screen."
  • by EvilSS ( 557649 ) on Thursday February 28, 2013 @10:38AM (#43034033)
    I don't see any end in sight. I figure in two or three years we'll see people walking around with 27" phones on their shoulders.

Life in the state of nature is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. - Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan