Screen Size: Is Bigger Better? [POLL]


Last summer the HTC EVO 4G kicked off the era of jumbo-sized smartphones in style with its 4.3-inch display. Since then the trend has been big, big, and bigger when it comes to high-end handsets, with the average full-touchscreen Android phone now sporting a 4-inch screen. Some devices — the Samsung Infuse 4G comes to mind — push the envelope with 4.5-inch screens and more are on the way. Rumor has it that even the next version of the iPhone could include a screen larger than what can be found on any previous version of the hardware, much to the chagrin of Steve Jobs. Point is, manufacturers continue to move towards larger screens with higher resolutions for enhanced media experiences, though it often comes at the cost of battery life and, some would argue, portability.

So we must ask the question: is bigger really better? Or do you long for the days when 3.7-inches was all you needed to get by? Sound off in the poll below and let us know.

[polldaddy poll=5202588]

Kevin Krause
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  1. I think the qHD widescreen like on my Sensation is Perfect. Its huge but is really easy and comfortable to hold and more importantly its pocket-able. So much more so than regular 4.3″ non qHD Fatties.

    1. Sensation FTW

    2. Derp, not all non qHD phones are fat. The sensation was modeled after the nexus

  2. Anything less than 4 is too small but I think 4.5 is as large as they should go with screen size on a phone.

  3. People who say size doesnt matter usually have small ones.

    1. You must say that a lot then.

  4. I think 4 inch is ideal atleast for me. I had the x and thunderbolt and 4.3 is nice just a little large IMO.

    1. I have 4.3″ EVO and would like to try 4.5″. Certainly could not go back to less than 4.3.

      1. Also who makes it can change how big I would go. I played with an infuse and it wasn’t bad at all yet if moto went 4.5 I think the build would make it seem much more difficult to use compared to the lighter Samsung infuse

        1. Yeah, I have to say the Infuse really surprised me. I’d carry something around at that size with no problems. I have huge hands so slap a qHD screen on that thing and i’m there.

  5. I love the large screen phones! It gave me the perfect excuse to leave my phone in the car or at home when we go out. To me, carrying a cell phone around is like voluntarily carrying a ball & chain!

  6. As far as being more readable, bigger is pretty much always better. Then, for easily carrying around, smaller is usually the key. That’s one point where I don’t see a universal size for everyone. The 4.3″ screens that we see right now are pretty much as big as I could see myself lugging around attached to by pant’s belt. Some people would rather have something even smaller. And others who keeps their phone in a pocket or a purse could probably do with an even bigger screen. The fact that manufacturers offers a range of choices is actually a very good thing here.

  7. i thought my nexus one screen was a ltitle small, but then when i got the nexus s…i felt it was just right..not too big and not too small…fit just right in my pocket!

  8. 3.7 to 4.3 definitely seems like the sweet spot to me. Any smaller, and using android oi iOS just becomes difficult, and any games just wouldnt be as fun.

    Any larger though (I think 4.5 is too big) and then you might as well just get a tablet if you really need that much screen real estate. Carrying my Evo sometimes (only SOMETIMES) can be annoying, especially with my somewhat bulky case. Any larger, and it would just drive me nuts everytime I tried to put it in or take it out of my pocket.

  9. People don’t seem to realize qHD 4.3″ is actually smaller than “normal” 4.3″. So the Evo 4G and Evo 3D both are marketed as having the same size screen, when in fact the Evo 3D’s narrow aspect ratio causes the screen to be significantly smaller. Remember, screens are measured on a diagonal, which does NOT guarantee any given area (as in, square inches). You could have a screen the width of a straw and still measure it 4.3″ on the diagonal.

    1. no the qHD screens are not smaller, they are exactly the same size. The qHD’s are slightly taller rather than wide and the regular ones are slightly wider rather than tall. Measure them.

      1. Evo 4G total screen size – 56mm x 93mm = 5208 sq. mm
        Evo 3D total screen size – 53mm x 95mm = 5035 sq. mm

        Might not be a huge difference, but it is certainly noticeable and not nearly exactly the same. I too thought the 3D’s height made up for its reduced width, but it doesn’t. Reading eBooks is much easier on the 4G, which is almost like a minitablet.

        One could argue pixel pitch and increased density allows you to see more content on the 3D, which is nice, but that still won’t make the screen any bigger when it comes to viewing media or reading.

        1. depends on the media, the 16:9 ratio makes the screen perfect for movies. The bands on the 4G would result in the video being smaller than on the 3D

  10. I think 4.3″ with no bezel like the sensation is pretty much ideal, I love to share movies and music, but a pocketable device matters.
    The iphone is almost certainly not going to get a bigger screen, The short and fat HVGA-ish screen shape would feel huge if they made it any bigger. Think about it, a 4″ nexus S is about as wide as an iphone, it gets the extra .5″ from being taller. a 4″ iphone would be as wide or wider than an evo, and even a bear would have trouble with that.

    1. Yea I have a hard time seeing the iPhone getting a screen size bump. It would need a resolution bump which would ‘break’ compatibility with existing apps, or the rez stays the same and the sharpness of the screen goes down. No more Retina.

  11. Something is wrong. Some people complain if a phone is larger than 4″ but still tug around their 10″ tablets including carrying case everywhere they go. Anyone carrying a tablet and a phone anywhere should benefit from ONLY carrying one device; a large phone/ small tablet. To me, a 5″ high resolution device that can work as a tablet and phone is close to ideal.

    1. I’m pretty sure the vote only applies to phones. I have both and for what I do on a tablet, size matters…but you’d never see me trying to hold a tablet up to my ears. Besides, not all smartphone users are worried about displaying media as opposed to everything else a good smartphone can do. Size of the device depends on the usages, obviously…so a phone shouldn’t be too huge. 4.3 inches should be more than adequate.

      1. i guarantee you can watch selena gomez music videos on a phone.

    2. I’ve got a GalaxyS2 (which I love dearly) and I would like it to be a tad smaller : when I’m using one hand I cannot reach the “notification bar” with the thumb without touching the screen with the back of my thumb. it’s not a big problem, but still, 3.9-4″ would be better with my “small” hands

    3. Preferably, something like a 7-8″ tablet that can make calls would be ideal, even if I HAVE to use bluetooth (who would hold an 8″ device up to their head?) I really want one with a large screen, which is the only reason I’m interested in getting a tab. So I can do work more easily than what I can on my 4″ phone screen when I need to and I find myself needing to more and more lately.

    4. totally agreed

  12. I had 2 htc phones till now, first one an htc touch hd with 3,8″ display, second one an htc desire with 3,7″ display and always thought i wanted more space for my fingers on the screen, now i bought a samsung galaxy s 2, with a 4,3″ display, and find it perfect for my daily needs.

  13. My 4in Nexus S is pretty much spot-on, but I think a 4.3in wouldn’t be too big. Anything bigger than 4.3in, I feel like I might as well get a tablet.

  14. I can carry my nook color around in my pocket with it’s large bezel and 7″ screen, but it’s a little large. 5.5″ small bezel 720p would do it for me.

  15. 4.3 is too big, unless you count the Galaxy S II, which fixes it in some way.
    The Desire HD, Evo 4G, Droid X and all other 4.3 inch phones are too big.

  16. Some days I miss my Streak.

  17. The way I see it is that 4 inch displays are ideal so that your thumb can reach almost every corner of the screen while holding it in one hand, plus it is less battery consumption than bigger screens. If i ever felt the need for more space i’d consider a tablet, that’s what they’re there for, right?

    PS: 3.7 inch screens are still very good imo.

  18. I used a 3.7 screen before, now I have a Galaxy S II… PERFECT!

  19. I like phones with 4 inch or bigger screen with a resolution of qHD. However, a screen that uses pentile “technology” is a major turnoff for me, due to the screen clarity not being as advertised. Fact: a 800×480 screen has more subpixels than a pentile 960×540 screen. Result: a 800×480 screen can be slightly clearer than a pentile 960×540 screen at the same size.

    Also, bigger screens usually mean that manufacturers don’t have any excuse to put tiny crappy physical keyboards on phones, and put ones with bigger keys and 5 rows of keys. Though, for some reason, manufacturers don’t seem to want it to happen. HTC G2/Desire Z and its 3.7 inch screen got a rather tiny 4 row crappy keyboard, while the LG GW620 and its tiny 3.2 inch screen got a 5 row keyboard that is actually bigger than the G2/Desire Z. Weird turn of events, huh? I’m expecting HTC to release a phone with a 5 inch screen with a 3 row keyboard that’s 1/3 smaller than the G2/Desire Z’s.

  20. The challenge would be to get an ideal screen size of 5″ on the same body size of an Evo 4G. That would be perfect for a large screen phone, anything bigger would be too much in my opinion.

  21. Bigger is ALWAYS better, unless it’s bigger that 4.5, then I consider it a tablet.

  22. I can’t go less then 4 inches on a phone anymore.

  23. It will be interesting to see what size the iPhone 5 is. I have always thought they stuck with the tiny 3.5″ screen due to how heavy the phone would become if it were 4″ and had the same battery life.
    I wish Samsung would remember to up the pixel count with larger sizes as people primarily buy their phones for the AMOLED screens (which also translates to a thinner much lighter device).

  24. Derp not all non qHD are fat, the sensation’s design is modeled after the nexus

  25. I can’t see myself buying any phone that isn’t in the range of 3.7-4.3inch Any smaller and it’s too small, any bigger and it’s too big.

  26. Surely it’s the phone size that matters not the screen. The two don’t necessarily increase in proportion as some phones have quite large bezels. The Samsung Galaxy S 2 phone is about as large as I would like to go in a phone. It has a 4.3″ screen but I wouldn’t say no to a similar phone with a thinner bezel so it comes in a 4.5″ screen.

  27. The 3.5 inch screen on the iPhone 4th gen (without 4g speeds) is way too small.

  28. Ever since I got my evo, I havent been able to use smaller devices without thinking about them as toys lol.

    1. Yep. I started out with the Hero…upgraded to the EVO 4G. After having it for a few weeks, a friend asked me to download a particular app to his Hero…after goofing with it for a second or two I was like “How did I ever use this?”. I can’t see EVER for any reason going to a smaller screen.

  29. I’m interested in the Samsung Hercules 4.5 inch screen dualcore @ 1.2 ghz and hspa+ speeds of 42mbits per second , is a galaxy s 2 on steroids lol!

    that’s we we love android because we have options unlike the iphone.

  30. My thoughts in video form: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4cTMxDBVeo&feature=channel_video_title

    I don’t know if you want to embed it, or link it, or whatever… But I’m a believer that 4″ is a pretty good size for smartphone screens!

    1. The winner is choice. After using the HD2 I had severe withdrawal when trying to use the 4″ G2x. I know it was only a 0.3″ difference but trust me when I say I felt it. Now I am on the Sensation which is the same 4.3″ as the HD2 with a different aspect ratio, and loving it. I keep looking at phones and saying there is so much wasted space due to bezel so it is foreseeable to have a 4.5″ or even 4.7″ qhd phone and it still be pocketable. To each his own.

  31. 5 incher for next year and the year after that i want a 6 incher

    1. I have news for you…

      1. well…

  32. Depends on the bezel and phone size :) I’m pretty sure if you get rid of the capacitive buttons/trackball from some devices, you can fit in a larger screen :)

    But at the moment (for phones with buttons) 4inch is enough, any larger, just move to a tablet.

  33. “Insert Penis joke here”

    1. You’re about 6 hours too late.

  34. phones are getting massive. absolutetly ridiculous in size. lol. but it all depends on what u want to do with your phone. for calling, texting and a bit of browsing 3.7″ is more than enough.. and if that isnt big enough…hold it closer to your face! holding the phone a couple inches closer is the same as having a 4″ screen. 2inches closer again is the same as a 4.3″ lol.

    but im all for larger screens if they can keep the overall size of the phone the same. theres about 6mm wasted on the sides of my current phone and 20mm top and bottom. if they could get the screen to go to each edge it would easily be 4.7″

  35. 4inches is perfect. I had the HD2 which was 4.3 and that was just too large. I mean, it was all right, but I like to text in landscape mode. So I guess that’s why I prefer 4 inches to 4.3 Just because of how I like to text.

    Hmm… But I would get a 5 inches Galaxy Player. :D

  36. I currently have a Samsung Galaxy Prevail which has a 3.2inch screen and it feels tiny to me so a larger around 4-4.3 Would probably work a lot better for me. The screen has like 2mm on either the left and right side for the bezel and like 1and 3/4 inches on the top and 1 and 7/8 inches on the bottom for the bezel. Its a nice smart phone besides the small size. As its my first cellphone that hasn’t been a cheap tracphone or a cheap slider phone it is great for me. Just wish the phone and screen where a little bigger tho as it takes me a few mins to type on the keyboard on it because of the small size.

  37. There has to be a balance of usability, portability and comfort. It has to be BIG enough to display what needs to be shown, and be readable. It has to be SMALL enough to be portable. For those of us who don’t carry a purse, that means it has to fit in a pocket (gag!), or in a belt holster without without sticking out so much that it bangs into everything. It also has to be SMALL enough to be held comfortably while used as a phone. Yes, there are some people (me included) who actually use these things as phones, and hold them up to the side of the head while doing so.

    For me, 3.7″ – 4″ is a nice compromise of the above factors. But I think the clamshell is the ideal form factor for a phone, though I’ve become willing to compromise on that for the added functionality.

  38. I use a streak as my only phone. Carry it in an otterbox. The extra screen size is so helpful when in need to lookip specs or read odds on a jobsite. Can’t see going back to less than a 4.5″ screen

  39. This was meant to be a reply to Xorg Kc when they said “I have 4.3″ EVO and would like to try 4.5″. Certainly could not go back to less than 4.3.” but I had login problems and it ended up here.

    I completely agree. The 4.3 on my EVO is a good size and after a year of using it I’ll never buy anything smaller. Whenever I use a friend’s phone that is under 4.3 it feels claustrophobic. That said, I would very much like to try something a bigger. I played with the Dell Streak 5 inch tablet at Best Buy and it might be a bit too big for everyday phone use so I would say something like 4.5 or 4.7 might be what I’m looking for but 5.0 isn’t out of the question.

  40. screen size doesnt matter much, but cpu and screen quality come first and battery life.

  41. 4″ Screen is the basic requirement. 4.3″ even better. Sadly iphone has only 3.7″ screen.

  42. Steve Jobs iphone is too darn small. I guarantee he will follow suit and increase the iphone 5 screen size. All that bull he talks, but he will eat his own words!!!

  43. As long as it doesn’t ask “Is it in yet?” nothing to worry about.

  44. i get extremely irritated with any phone less than 4 inches

  45. Size does not matter (I’m still glad with mine though ;-)

    Besides, better battery-life is better, not a bigger screen.

  46. 4″ is the ideal size for me but 4.3″ is great too. Although my current phone is 3.7″.

  47. The EVO 4G was too big, but the 3D fits a lot better in my hand. So a 16:9 4.3″ screen is the maximum I can handle, but it still is a bit bigger than I would like. I think the 3.7″ screen is best for me.

  48. Its the not the size that matters its what you do with it. i.e iphone4 screen – tiny but packed with pixels.

    Saying that I love the size of the screen on my Galaxy S2.

    Question – do bigger screens draw more power? Think I already know the answer but still interested in views.

  49. IPS 3.5″ at 960×640 with physical keyboard!

  50. Looks like the manufacturers have done their market research then judging by the results so far. Personally I’d prefer to stick with a 4.3 screen and have better battery life.

    Related to this, while some of the new super thin phones are cool I’d rather have an extra milimeter or two and get an extra few hours battery life.

  51. these results were to be expected tbh. most ppl probably picked the screensize their phone has cause lets face it high-end android phones are good and its hard to be dissapointed with one:) would be interesting to run the same poll a year and a half ago when ppl were worried the EVO is too big for them and also next year when ppl will have adapted to screensizes anywhere between 4.5 and 5 inches

  52. I love my 4.3 EVO 3D screen but I must say that 4.5 Infuse looks nice. I haven’t seen anyone with one yet. I’m battery life might be an issue..EVO 3D rocking a daily 16 to 22hrs I’m in love

  53. 4″ screen + qHD = WIN

  54. 4″ and larger screens are not only suboptimal, they’re unusuable. How anyone fits an HTC EVO in their pocket, I have no idea.

  55. Although I prefer a large screen, there really isn’t a “perfect” size. Different people have different preferences. I need a large screen because of my vision, and I also keep my phone in my shirt pocket, which can easily handle 5″ or bigger. But many people keep their phones in their pocket. Large screens won’t be practical for them until phones are foldable and crush-proof,

  56. I paid $32.67 for a XBOX 360 and my mom got a 17 inch Toshiba laptop for $94.83 being delivered to our house tomorrow by FedEX. I will never again pay expensive retail prices at stores. I even sold a 46 inch HDTV to my boss for $650 and it only cost me $52.78 to get. Here is the website we using to get all this stuff, LiveCent.com

  57. Ergonomics for average hand size would say that 3.7 and smaller is better.

  58. this survey is semi pointless. yes it gives an idea of what people think, but considering this is an android site, not apple, variety is something we will never have a shortage of. but personally, 5″ would be prefered.

  59. Screen size is like boobs. The bigger/the better. For those who like small racks, there are plenty of winsome lasses to accommodate you. I’ll take my larger screen size and enjoy it, thank you very much. Big hands. Big phone. Works for me.

  60. I think the important thing is total phone size. The Droid X is probably as big as I would want. If they could squeeze a 4.5″ screen onto it, that would be great. But otherwise, I really like 4.3″. For what I use it for, I wouldn’t want smaller.

  61. Depends. 4.3 is great when theres no physical keyboard. I love my Evo, but would take a.phone down to 3.6 if it had a slideout keyboard like the Evo shift or G2.

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