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There is constantly a ton of hubbub about the size of smartphones, how easy (or difficult) they are to use and hold, and how much pocket space they take up. Just this morning, a couple of colleagues and I had a mini debate over this. And, as per usual with this particular topic, we came to an impasse.

We – David Beren of TmoNews and Cam Bunton of Today's iPhone and yours truly – are on opposite ends of the argument and agree to disagree. Both David and Cam prefer smaller displays and feel as if 4-inches is the sweet spot for a smartphone display, despite the two having largely different-sized hands. David claims these larger devices are a fad and will eventually "hit a breaking point".

I, however, find larger smartphones to simply be more comfortable to use than their smaller counterparts. My hands aren't necessarily gigantic, but my thumbs have always been a bit on the big side; the more space they have to do their work, the better.

Admittedly, despite having only a 3.5-inch display, I enjoy the iPhone 4S. It's fast, hardly ever falters, usually lasts an entire day and it has a fantastic camera (for a general smartphone). But I have always felt the display is a tad on the small side – few I feel will disagree with me on that. I am constantly misspelling words due to the tiny on-screen keyboard. (Luckily, auto-correct saves me most of the time.)

A year or more ago, I'm sure I would have agreed with both David and Cam and said 4.0-inches is the perfect size. I had just moved up from the T-Mobile myTouch 4G with a 3.8-inch display to the T-Mobile G2x, which has a 4.0-inch screen, around March. The change was very slight, but noticeable. The extra display space was much-needed and welcomed. A few months later, I changed to the Nexus S, followed by the Galaxy Nexus, which was a rather significant jump from 4.0-inches to 4.65-inches.

Back then, I also would have said anything over 5.0-inches was absurd. In fact, I did. I found the Galaxy Nexus to be a near perfect size and thought anything larger would be difficult to use, hold and pocket. Alas, I was wrong. In March, I graduated to the Galaxy Note and I absolutely loved it (save for the display technology). To date, it is still one of my favorite smartphones due solely to its sheer size.

Granted, that doesn't mean I think a 5.3-inch phone is the sweet spot, or, for that matter, than any one of my preferences will appeal to the masses. But I do feel as if we have transcended beyond this screen size debate and what is the "sweet spot" for the majority of people to something much more appropriate and adaptable: choice. Manufacturers are open to more smartphone sizes now more than ever. They won't hesitate to push the boundary for "too big" while they continue to make more appropriate devices for those with smaller hands.

At the end of the day, there is one takeaway from all of this: there is demand for smartphones both big and small. The iPhone, despite its small stature, is one of the most popular smartphones of all time. While a large number of iPhone fans would prefer the next-generation iPhone to be larger, I'm willing to bet it will still sell like hotcakes come launch day. And the Samsung Galaxy S III, Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X and Titan II, all of which are 4.6-inches or larger, have been relatively popular smartphones in the relatively short time they've been around.

The only problem, however, is that most Android manufacturers are too caught up in the phablet (or near-phablet) hype and are giving the most attention to the market's largest handsets. While they are still making smaller devices, the majority of the devices smaller than 4.3-inches slip into the mid-range or low-end category.

Here's to hoping this bias from smartphone makers will pass and all smartphone size categories will once again be graced with high-end devices. Then again, by 2014, we may not even be worried about the size of our phone as we may be carrying them in our pockets with a HUD over our right eye or some other peripheral.

Until then, I'm going to try to stick to smartphones over 4.6-inches as those tend to work best with my enormous thumbs. What about you, ladies and gents? Do you side with Cam and David on the screen size matter? Is 4.0-inches the sweet spot? Or, like me, do you prefer the SUV of the smartphone category, 4.6-inches and beyond?


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248 Reactions to this post

"What's your favorite screen size?"


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John Anthony 4 inches and 3
Anonymous 4 inches and up
Emre Boncuk 4.3 or larger cuz gaming on bigger screen is awesome
Naqi Haider 4.8 is good
John Anthony mine is 4.5
Taylor Torri 4.5 inches or above. After having and using the Epic 4G Touch, I can't go back to below 4.5 :)
Gaurav Bhardwaj 5.3 inch is great for browsing and gaming..
Gaurav Bhardwaj 5 inch or larger.
Kevonte Smith 5.3 to5.5
Truly Nice 4.5 or larger
Eugene Yap For gaming
Eugene Yap Best is 4.8 htc one x
Anthony Pina Aguilar Between 4.5-4.8in
Kelvin Diaz 4.5 or 4.3 its perfect
Eduardo Ordaz 4.3-4.8 is perfect. My HTC vivid has a 4.5 inch screen and its comfortable to hold in the hand.
someguyinkc 4.3-4.7 is good. The Gnex is my favorite size so far.
Daniel Quintero 4.3" is sufficient
Alex Hernandez I love my Note 5.3" can't wait for Note 2 5.5" :-)
Varun Gupta 5.5 which I hope will be coming with the Note 2 from Samsung.
James Daniels 4.5-5.0 would be perfect for me at least... it gives me the ample screen viewing size plus plenty of room for typing.... I have learned the whole reaching things on the screen all depends on how you hold your device so those with tiny butter fingers may want to have a smaller device.....
Chetan Samra 4.7 inches.......
Eli Pew I'm a bit of a size queen. The note size is what I'm sticking with. Love it. Although any bigger would be tedious.
Frederik Fredslund Lassen I like my 4.7 inch!!! :-)
Anonymous 4.3 to 4.7
Niall Barr 4.5 and up
Çobanov Elçin 4.3 to 4.8
Ryan Nunes I am currently using the iPhone. The 3.5" display just doesn't cut it. I'm happy that apple is going to 4" on the iPhone 5, but I think the sweet spot is in the neighborhood of 4.5".
Victor Brownwell 3.5 - 3.7 feels more personal!
Kakha Driashvili 3.8 is good for everyday usage, of cause in my opinion.
Matt Couper My Atrix feels a little small with a 4 inch screen, so 4.5 to 4.8 would be nice. Note/Vu are both way too big.
Joel Diaz the S3 size is perfect. i dont know if i would go beyond that.
Robert Skeen 4.8!! My G3!!!
Dilshan Karunarathne yes 4.3 good for hand:)
David DiPilla 4.3 to 4.8
James Choi S3 Screen size
Ed Seitzinger R 4.5-5.0 inches is very comfortable in the hand and big enuff to read the screen.
Ruben Quique Moreno Sabido 5.5 galaxy note II
Ausama Ibraheem 4.3 , SGS2
Krishna Das started using galaxy note reluctantly but now can't even think of any display less than that anything between 4.5_5.0 would be ideal for me since i use net a lot
Wayne Cearley Galaxy Note is perfect!
Jeremy Ashley Love love love my iPhone, but thrilled for them to go up to 4.0. I have found that under 4 is too small and over 4 is too large, but 4 is juuust right.
Taylor Rentschler Bigger than an iPhone :-/ thinking about switching to S3
Tyvell Veney 4.3-4.8 the new Evo is perfect for me
Joey Colossus Jenrette Being 6'5" and hands that measure 11" between pinky tip to thumb tip I have to have the 5.3" Note
Michael Hetric 4.3 to 4.6 is good :)
Fred Haynes 4.8-5.3" is perfect size for me
Matt Jackson Sadly, there isn't a perfect one size fits all. Everyone has different taste.
Christopher Spratley Anything else would be uncivilized lol
Trinity Kolarova Hoodrich I might as well hand out tablet phones to everyone from the screen selection. 7inch on the go. for anyone choosing 4.8 inch or above.
Lewis Hall 4.8 to 5.5
Ayyo ItsRedboi Of right now its the 4.3 inch screen on my Sensation, but I'm really wanting to shoot for the size of the Note
Richie Soares 4.3 on the Droid Bionic. Wish the iphone was this size
Jesse Huertas 4.5-4.8 is plenty comfy. Watching the Olympics on my Nexus is a joy
Steven Jaycoxe 4.3 inches on the Motorola Droid RAZR Maxx
Ezekiel Carsella 4.8 inches
Marti Ruiz 4'5 to 5'5
Chris Northcutt 4.8. The galaxy s3 is perfect. The note is too big
Craig Inglis 4.8-5.5 = gs3 and gnote
Huey Liggins 5.3. Haha! Movies on my note are beautiful. But seriously I'd rather 4.8 on the s3. Even though I'd miss this mini tablet.
Jose Santos 4 3 - 4.7
Samuel Kee 4.3 inch :D
Milton Gfl Williams God !! I'm loving the 4.8" on my sgs3 , don't think I can go back.
Billy Beard 4.3-4.8
Albert Rabuyo 4.7 with onscreen buttons. Mmmmmmmmm :3
Colin Knutsen 369 ft. :)
Humza Ahmed 4.3 is my sweet spot for screens
Steve LeBoeuf 4 to 4.3
Allen Edmonds 4.7 Titan II
Visal Zaidi 3.8" lumia rocks
Ammar Sahhaf but me it is perfect hahaha
Ammar Sahhaf 7 is perfect for all humanity lol
Nikolas Manuelides 4.3 - 4.8 glad to see no one likes the small screen of the iPhone, to small for good web browsing or gaming
William Plotner It was 4 inches but ever since I got my ATRIX HD 4.5 is pretty sweet.
Tony Abiama 4.7 is ideal for me...
Albert Landicho 4.8 inches
Terry Nolting 4 to 4.5
Dustin Jack 3.5 Strong
Federico Cao 4.3 - 4.8
Matt Bourdette 4 inch is the most comfortable.
George Av 4.5 or above.....
Michael Schneider 4.7 or bigger the note or 7inch tablet as a phone would be sweet for me
Noe Zuniga 4.3-4.5 ...
Josh Stanley 4.0to4.5
Ed Plnia I hate my SGS3 4'8 I wish I can get the same phone but 4'3
Alyssa Ballesteros Sandro Maybe higher or almost Tablet PC til 10.1!
Sam Rick 4.5" should be the Max.
Lucass Forward 4.5-4.7 are u fukin retarded ppl? Are u blind or what..lol..stupid ppl wants big screen its like big car..u think u're big dog if u got big car or big phone..wise up
Glenn Rubio Urrea Is this code for sex or something?
Dre Bolton 4.3 - 4.8
Nikola Karovic 3ch for daily activities and 6ch for bullshiting friends and pretending to have some fun on phone
Chris Fulgham 4.3 is perfect!!!!
Sean Gentry 5.3 inches
Hien Ho 4.3 is perfect for most people. I like the 4.8 for samsung but anything bigger is not necessary. After that it becomes less of a phone
Flavius Adrian 4.3 - 4.5 inch it's enough
Vicki Figueroa The screen has to be bigger than 4“
Elijah Ford 4.5 to 5.3,like the Galaxy Note!!!.
Kyle Abdullah atleast 4.0'"
Kong Yang Galaxy S3 is perfect. Playing my old Rezound, the screen seemed small.
David Fauerbach 4.3 is the best screen size in my opinion
Justin Cartier I like my RAZR @ 4.3, but battery life is horrid@ 6-8 hours. 4" seems to be a good compromise between decent viewing size, and reasonable battery life (about 10 hours in the case of my wife's Incredible 2).
Marco Raymond 4" HD Display is really perfect for me.
Alfonso Hall 4.3 retina display
Sean Ryan My iPhone is a perfect 3.5". I don't like having a brick in my pocket.
Roman Baran 4.8 or larger
Jason Sug 4.3~4.5
Michael Lopez 5.3 - 4.3
Pascal Bz 4.3'' with a HD resolution :-)
Edward Gonse 4 to 4.3 inches is good for me. I just need enough screen to text and view movies and YouTube videos comfortably.
Martyono Sembodo Any size as long as it fits in my pocket.
Blackapino Williams 4-4.5inches is big enough..any bigger & then there's no use in having a smartphone..just get a Tablet.
Linda Aron My myTouch 4G Slide fits perfectly in my hand at 3.7", and a keyboard is a must for me. I do like the bigger screens, though. It sucks that the physical keyboard adds bulk, but I'm a tactile person. When a 4" GSM phone with a raised keyboard, ample internal storage and good battery life to my liking comes out (considering a company takes us keyboard users into account), I'll get one.
Ajiri Owuasu http://whadspoppin.blogspot.co.uk/
Trinity Kolarova Hoodrich 3 inch is good coz it saves battery power but you still can watch movies...well. four inch is max.....for me
George Millhouse IPhone is far from perfect
Carol Flores iPhone size works for me.
Craig Oxley I'd say 4.3" But 4" also if it's the right ratio with width and length.
Arturo Cifuentes 4.8 galaxy s3 but I wouldn't mine trying the new galaxy note 2 5.5
Jacky On The perfect screen size is if you can touch all 4 corners of the screen without adjusting the way you're holding your hands.
Mark Matoian 5.3 and larger
Larry Hanks The HTC HD2 was about as much screen as you can have before it becomes unwieldy
Anthony Bailey My Galaxy Note's 5.3". However, I've now grown accustomed to the size, and I actually want a LARGER screen! I hope the rumors of a 5.5" screen on the Note 2 turn out to be true.
Nathaniel Hull the 4.5 like the gs2.. perfect height n width on screen... and can still one hand it :)
Isham Whittington At least 4.5. Anything smaller and its so hard for a man to text
Raquel Smith Acker Samsung Galaxy S III 4.8 HD
Israel Cando SG note!!
Stephanie Torres 4-4.3 inches
Vicente Trevino 4.3 - 4.7
Brandon Wesley Deavours 4.8" like my galaxy s III
Erik Cuza 4.5 or 4.8 is perfect :D
Anonymous not the iphone
Michael Mincey 4.3-4.8. With all of the multimedia capabilities, this range works perfectly and still allows for one handed operation. To the guy that said under 4 for one handed, you must have hands the size of a child or a female.
Mark Mann 4.8 on my S3 is perfect.
Tyson Scott 5,3 biaaatch
Richelle Alsoknownas Rachel Marley 4.58. I think that's what my SGS III is. I worried that it would be too large, but, it is perfection.
Jesse Uhren 4.3 to 4.8
Christopher Stowe I've had most high end phones out there. The biggest (note) to the smallest (iPhone) and think 4.3 is the sweet spot. Im currently using the iPhone.
Jeradiah R Williams 5.3 - 5.5 I'm a big man so I have to have a big phone
Oliver Evo 4.3 is perfect to the new iPhone
Ian Baylon 4.3 3.5 was too small
Cherlyn Bernett i have 4.3 but 5.3 sounds super
Andre Ball 4.0 is perfect IMO, but 4.3 is okay too.
Jared Dore 4.3 - 4.7 no bigger
Roger Ohlsson Note 2 will be 5.8", perfect
Eric Feldhouse 52 inch. It's cumbersome, but so easy to read!
Ryan Meyer 4.5 inch iPhone




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