Your Next Android Phone – How Big Is Too Big? [Poll]


A couple of days ago, we posted a story on the rumored HTC Runnymede that should be dropping soon and our readers immediately took to the comments section letting us (and HTC) know exactly how they felt about the device’s huge 4.7-inch screen. Late last night, Samsung unveiled their new Samsung Galaxy Note with its gargantuan 5.3-inch SAMOLED display and I could already see some of our readers shaking their heads in disapproval. But that’s just it. Exactly how big is TOO big?

Where exactly is that magical sweet spot when it comes to screen/overall phone size. The boys over at SprintFeed threw up this nice little infographic showing off Sprint’s Android lineup to scale and exactly where each device stands against one another when it comes to the overall size. As you can see, screen size doesn’t always mean the whole device will necessarily be larger (although often times, it does). But that’s just it, most of the time people are referring to a device’s height/width and not really the screen size at all when making statements like “4.5-inches is too big.” (TWSS)

Oh – and don’t forget thickness. Is this not a factor to anyone? Are you an Android chubby chaser? I for one, don’t mind a tall 4.5-inch device as long as its thin. I cannot stand smaller, thicker devices. What about you guys? Is it really the screen size where you draw your line? If so, vote in our poll on which screen is right for you. Maybe it’s the overall size of the device that matters? Then vote for that. Maybe there is a phone currently available with the perfect dimensions/screen size/thinness? Feel free to explain in the comments. Cheers!

Thanks to SprintFeed for pics!

[polldaddy poll=5471358]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Awesome, man. Glad you liked our pics.

    FYI: Your SprintFeed link is broken.

    1. Oops! Forgot the “www” =p Thanks again! :D

  2. Idk why they keep getting bigger I think 4 inches is perfect imo. I have the tb and wish Verizon had a LTE with 4 inch screen and dual core.

    1. I thought 4-inches was perfect until I saw the “bezeltastic” G2X. Kinda ruined it for me.

      I thought 4.3 was perfect until the Evo 3D’s qHD (screen is thin and long)

      Now I want 4.5 qHD =p

      1. Yeah well until they can keep the phones under 5 inches or just a tad more total I will stick with 4.3 at most. They need to make them thinner while including what everyone wants(lte, dual core, etc)

      2. Sadly we need some bezel for games and such. That’s why I’m hoping for no haptic buttons on the Prime. It’d be a beautiful centerfold of bezel w/ earpiece camera and notification light(fingers crossed) then a long gorgeous screen followed by just enough bezel. Gizmodo be damned, sexy.

    2. Yea, VZW is really lacking dual-core and LTE devices… seems like you have to choose either, or.

      1. Yeah but with the rumored phones slated for the next few months it seems like those on Verizon will get a good choice for dual core and LTE.

  3. anything larger than 4.3 is not pocket friendly and falls into that weird “is it a tab or a phone” grey area. Oh and the thinner the better. Oh at least that’s my motto ;-)

    1. I dunno, I could care less how thick a phone is(to an extent) if it has amazing battery life

    2. A Dell Streak is huge and still, my husband makes it fit on any pant….Yes, in SOME pants it might not get easily accessible, but on most pants it does. Better watch this vid about someone fitting it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUiQRmX3SP8

  4. height/width matter most. as long as the phone stays within in a certain size, maybe no bigger than 5.5″-6″ overall. I would accept bigger screens if they cut the trim from the bezel and switch to honeycomb esque on screen buttonss

    1. At that size its damn near impossible to manipulate the phone with one hand. How do you hold it in one hand and swipe down the notification bar without dropping it. Not only that but it would be uncomfortable stretching your fingers all over it. The battery life would most likely be terrible too.

      1. I think you misunderstood me, I’m talking about the overall size of a device, most come in around 4.5 to 5 inches across. This includes the bezel, screen, any buttons, and track pads. I think a streak is like 6.7″ across and I found that unwieldy.

        1. I did. Apologies ol’ chap.

  5. This article is making my phone vibrate

  6. More of the width and length i guess
    As wide as my palm can hold and as long as where my thumb can reach
    So it is fine as long as my thumb can reach the top right of the device. (I’m a single hand user that why i use swype)

  7. Typically if it requires D batteries it might be too big

    1. “If it requires D batteries…” #ShesTooBigForYouBro

      1. Haha

    2. I will remember this and laugh alone the whole day…THANKS

      1. Glad I made your day!

  8. I think someone should do a study on how tall the user is VS how big of the screen they consider too big. For instance I’m 5″5 and I think any screen bigger than 4″ is too large on a phone.

    1. I’m 5’8″ and have freakishly big hands. I love my 4.3″ Evo.

  9. A bit off topic…..
    Has anyone with a Sensation noticed a decrease in lag since the recent big update?

    1. Yeah i have… Its sooooo smooth now

  10. If I want the Galaxy Note to be my next smartphone how was I supposed to vote?

    1. Vote “nothing over 5-inches” =)

  11. I have an Inspire 4G, and am very happy with the screen. That said, I could stand to have a tiny bit more screen real estate on it, but 5 inches is a little crazy for me. I don’t think such a phone would even fit in my pocket and if it doesn’t fit in my pockets, it’s a no go for me.

  12. I think 4.7. Whatever should be the end of the growth on screen size. Maybe 5inch…for us tall people …imean everyone won’t want a big ger phone…but then some always will…and so in closing isay…the size really is the limit…thats the bottom line.

  13. Well since ICS is bringing phone and tablet together on the software side, maybe we should have a phone that does the same thing on the hardware side. I think Samsung got the memo.

  14. I loved the Dell Streak.
    as of right now, a 5 inch phone is great for me.

    I’m a girl who wears the typical tight pants and shorts, so i find it funny when i can rock a 4.3 or 4.5 inch phone with no complaints but a manly man is always complaining about the size of the phone lol.

    I have normal girl hands and I adore a phone that has a big screen. Why?
    Even bigger keyboards.

    1. and there you have it folks, size DOES matter. ;)

      1. hahahaha

    2. Only iPhone toters complain about a 4.3 inch phone.

    3. Men carry more in their pants then just a phone.

      1. I typically carry my wife’s keys, phone and anything else she doesn’t want to carry.

        1. She must have to make sure she has enough room to hold onto your balls.

    4. My fiance is the same way. She loves her Evo 4G and can’t really see going back to a smaller phone like the Instincts we used to have.

  15. battery come first. carrying a charger are dumb.

  16. I’m down for 4.5 IF they can make one with less bezel… otherwise, 4.3 is where its at.

  17. I will go to Sprint, I would prefer a GS2 4.3″, but who can resist to GS2?
    The smartphone can have different sizes, from less of 3″ up to 10″, that offer options for every one and not just what I want is necessary the best.

  18. I have a nook touch that has a 6″ 4:3 screen and super wide bezels, and it stays in my pocket. If you cut down on the width and made the bezels thinner by going 16:10, but kept the same hieght, you would have my max phone size. That happens to be about 5.6″. Bring it Samsung. 5.6″ SAMOLED HD+ please.

  19. As long as it fits my pocket, it’s not “too big”. I can pocket the original Galaxy Tab with ease. I think that was 7 inch. Looks like my option isn’t there in the poll :P

  20. Dudes… your polls don’t work on the Android Phandroid app. Not the first time this has happened and a tiny bit ironic… perhaps?

  21. I will go for 4,3 and bigger

    1. thats what she said….

      1. I am waiting for the Galaxy Note to appear. 5″ screen.

        1. I’m with you Daemon, I have bigger hands so the 5.3′ screen will be great and I love “the too big to be a phone but too small to be a tablet” feature The Galaxy Note brings, definitely in a league of its own.

  22. I like the way the Samsung Note look. I played with the Samsung Infuse which had a 4.5 inch screen and that didn’t feel too big at all. I personally wont buy a tablet until they have the full functionality of a pc, so I like a big screen on a phone. I want one device to rule them all!

    1. My point exactly….with a big smartphone you get something between a phone and a tablet without carrying both.

  23. 4.3″ is the perfect size. Not too big and definitely not small. Photon, Evo and Gs2 (euro) all great

  24. Odd that most people want bigger phones. It took years for phones to get down to the size of the Motorola Start Tac in the mid-late 90s, and when SFF phones got to be affordable six or seven years ago, they were a huge hit. I thought it was mostly because they were so small and easy to carry whereever you went. Bigger than overall size of 4.5″ x 2.5″ x .5″ is awkward to use and a brick to carry.

    1. Yeah, but it’s not really the same now because of the screens. With HD touchscreens that you can almost use like a computer, size went from being bad and cumbersome to beneficial because it makes the functionality of the phone even better (to a certain extent) unlike the old phones where larger made it less functional.

  25. The Galaxy S II thickness and screen size is pretty perfect. I initially liked 4″ but 4.3″ will work too. Also the recently announced Galaxy Note I would consider but it’s kind of pushing it.

  26. The Motorola Triumph is getting on the just-barely-too-big side for me. It doesn’t help that its square corners make it feel even bigger, since it doesn’t fit in my hand very well (but I guess they had to do it that way in order to get the screen as big as possible – I mean it’s a 4.3″ screen in a phone that’s only a smidge bigger than the Nexus One, after all). So there’s a bit more to it than JUST size.

    As far as Android phones go, though, I feel like the Nexus One is just about perfect.

  27. I think that overall, the huge size won’t matter to someone that wants to have something between a phone and a tablet but doesn’t want to be carrying around with both. At least, that’s how I feel and that’ s why I like big smartphones.

  28. I think it’s all relative to the size of your hands:

    1. True story. I have big hands, so I could use a larger device. Plus, a larger screen/device means a larger keyboard. And a big keyboard is a necessity for someone with big hands. I also like the hardware keyboard, in part because of my big hands/fingers. I have a hard time typing on software keyboards.

      1. I too have hands big enough to palm a basketball and find the Evo a great size, but i’m ready and willing to try this 4.5″ Epic Touch. The thickness will no doubt make it a bit more manageable, but i’ve never had problems handling my Evo, but I had a heck of a time trying to type on the iPhone in portrait mode.

  29. As my portable computing device, I need my smarphone to be usable one-handed. I find the 4″ screen on my SGS to be more than adequate for what I’m doing with it; however, I often find myself having to slide the phone around in my hand to get to the furthest reaches of the screen. This is definitely a negative. Furthermore, I would be far more impressed with a 3.5″ screened device with enough power for a day’s heavy usage than a 4.5″ device with current battery performance.

    This new crop of tabletphones are a compromise – too small to give the full UI/media experience of a tablet; too big to fulfil the usability requirements of a portable device. That may be a worthwhile trade-off for someone who doesn’t want or can’t afford a second device, but it certainly isn’t the hallmark of a flagship product.

  30. The whole, “Does it fit in my pocket?” debate is a moot point for me since I can fit anything in these size ranges in my pants(and more, hehe). But seriously, I use my back pocket for my EVO. I went through a debate on getting the EVO for several months because of my worry the EVO would be too big. There are some instances were the EVO is still just too big. I voted for nothing over 4.3″, but really the overall size is what I am most conscience about.

  31. I’m using the Triumph right now, and although I can’t see going back to the Optimus, I think anything bigger would just be silly and impractical.

  32. It’s all about aspect ratio. I think the Runnymede at 4.7 inches and a 800×480 resolution is too WIDE to use for one hand typing, for me at least. It’s not a preference thing – I simply can’t type one-handed on a screen that wide. 4.7 inches at 1280×720 tho – that screen would only be as wide as the 4.3 inch Evo 4g. So 4.7 inches at a 16:9 aspect ratio is as big as my hands could handle.

  33. 4″ max. Bigger than that is not necessary. For anyone. Ever.

  34. bigger than 4.3 is too big for me.

  35. hate to admit it, but it’s getting to the point that it’s not about the hands, but the EYES. (As Bette Davis said, “Old age is not for sissies.”) But bigger in the hands (yes, both) is easier at this point, too (arthritis sucks). But I carried a “talking brick” (Handspring VisorPhone) for so many years that the ALL the newer form factors are a vast improvement.

  36. 5″ for work. 3.5″ on a date or something. Google voice will ring both my phones. :)

  37. Wow, i’m really in the minority here haha. I love my Droid Incredible. All the phones with screens larger than 3.7″ are just ridiculous to me. It doesn’t help that all the phones I want have ginormous screens :-

  38. Everyone has different hands and pockets. I have an Evo and cannot stand the tiny little iPhone screens, just too small to manipulate. On the other hand, my wife has a harder time holding my phone and her iphone screen seems just right to her.

  39. 4.5 nexus please !!!

  40. 5.5-6 inches is the right size. it expands the use of the phone with added screen real estate (movies and videos would be big enough at a 1.5-2 ft viewing distance) and allows you to carry one device but with the functionality of 2. also, you’re looking at a 5 1/2 ish inch tall phone, which isnt bigger than a pocket.

  41. I’ve used both 4.3″ and 4″ screen devices in the HTC HD2 and Motorola Atrix. I don’t want my phone size to be any bigger than an Atrix, so that limits the screen size to 4″ or 4.3″ if you have literally no bezel. It’s a smartphone guys, not a tablet. If you need a tablet too, get one.

    Let’s not make these next generation ‘phones’ a jack-of-all-trades, I’m starting to think that I’m not going to be able to get the next gen tech in a package that I want and I don’t want to settle for a lesser phone just because I don’t want a 4.3-5.0″ (screen, even larger form) device.

  42. I answered this poll as height and width matter most, but it is logical to flow that into screen size assuming somewhat trim but achievable bezels of 5 mm (W) and 10 mm (H). For me the somewhat flexible limits are 135mm x 80 mm. Sure if a phone came out that was bigger (like the Note) that knocked my socks off, got great reviews and was basically the perfect phone except it’s 3 mm wider and 12 mm longer, I’d probably consider it.

    Here is a chart of screen and phone size for the 10/5 mm bezel phones that are no larger than 135×80:

    Screen Phone
    D V H V H DPI V H
    inch pix pix mm mm mm mm

    4.50 1280 720 100 56 326 120 66
    4.60 1280 720 102 57 319 122 67
    4.70 1280 720 104 59 312 124 69
    4.80 1280 720 106 60 306 126 70
    4.90 1280 720 108 61 300 128 71
    5.00 1280 720 111 62 294 131 72
    5.10 1280 720 113 64 288 133 74
    5.20 1280 720 115 65 282 135 75

    4.50 1280 768 98 59 332 118 69
    4.60 1280 768 100 60 325 120 70
    4.70 1280 768 102 61 318 122 71
    4.80 1280 768 105 63 311 125 73
    4.90 1280 768 107 64 305 127 74
    5.00 1280 768 109 65 299 129 75
    5.10 1280 768 111 67 293 131 77
    5.20 1280 768 113 68 287 133 78
    5.30 1280 768 115 69 282 135 79

    4.50 1280 800 97 61 335 117 71
    4.60 1280 800 99 62 328 119 72
    4.70 1280 800 101 63 321 121 73
    4.80 1280 800 103 65 314 123 75
    4.90 1280 800 106 66 308 126 76
    5.00 1280 800 108 67 302 128 77
    5.10 1280 800 110 69 296 130 79
    5.20 1280 800 112 70 290 132 80

    So to get the biggest screen on this list, I’d chose a 5.3″ 1280×768 screen. But at 282 DPI, I think it makes more sense to reduce the size a bit more – might as well get just above Jobs’s limit of 300 DPI. Therefore, I chose 5″ at 1280×800. This nets you 302 DPI and gets you into a 128×77 mm phone if it is designed compactly.

    And as I’ve said in many forums, I can’t wait for Ice Cream Sandwich to remove the distinction between phones and tablets. Because if I can hold a 5″ phone twice as close as a 10″ tablet with the same resolution, I can see more or less the same image (but I’ve got a device that is much more pocketable. Can’t really go smaller though because I can’t focus much closer than 10″ and so I can’t really utilize much higher DPI than 300.

    So for me, I’d like a 5″ 1280×800 display on a phone with very small bezels, though I’d consider bigger bezels to get an all weather shock resistant phone (which I’d like to see a lot more of).

  43. …everyone has different tastes.If you like it,buy it.

  44. 3.7″ is the max I would take (with hair thin bezel perhaps 4″) … 3.2″ is just right for me … and I have big hands… a phone is supposed to be carried everywhere, if too big it looses the appeal of being carried everywhere… above 4″ even big pockets get in trouble to get a phone inside…

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