I still think that small phones are getting the short end of the stickAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
When you first hold a phone in your hand, the first thing you're likely to notice is how it feels. Is it too big, too small? If you're lucky, it's just right. Fortunately, right now it's not too hard to find a phone that fits in your hand just right no matter if you have larger or smaller hands - there's pretty much a phone size out there for everybody. You have the 4-inch phones like the iPhone, the 4.7-inch HTC One or Moto X, the 5-inch Galaxy S 4 or Xperia Z, and you even have the 6.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Mega if it tickles your fancy. There are just so many different sizes out there for everybody, and for once I'm starting to appreciate that. There are some things in this world where "one size fits all" works, and there are others where it simply doesn't. Smartphones are one of those things.
But I'm starting to worry that the half that prefers smaller phones is starting to get left out. There are so many phablets that come out these days, but how many 4 to 4.3-inch devices come out that are actually considered competitive in the market? Off the top of my head, I can think of one, and I bet you already know which one I'm thinking of. If you guessed the Apple iPhone, ding ding ding! That's right. But aside from the iPhone, what exactly do we small-handed folk have to look forward to? I know we have the "Mini" versions of flagship phones, but aside from the HTC One Mini I haven't exactly seen one that's deserving of the same name of its bigger, older brother. The Galaxy S 4 Mini was hardly the Galaxy S 4 other than in looks, and the same goes for the Galaxy S III Mini. In size, they're perfect. In specs? Not so much.
I'm also taking into consideration the role smartwatches will play in the future. I've mentioned that smartwatches might be a good solution for people who liked smaller phones for things like calls and texting, but would rather have phablets for movie watching, web browsing and the like. Could smartwatches potentially replace the need for a smaller phone altogether? I hope not, but since smaller smartphones are (apparently) not in very high demand at the moment, I suppose I could see it happen.
A couple of years ago, you didn't see a whole lot of phones that were bigger than 4-inches. I remember thinking that the HTC EVO 4G was huge, but looking back now (and even holding one in my hand) it's not that huge anymore, even for 4.3-inches. And now we have phones like the Galaxy Note, the Galaxy Mega, the Sony Xperia Z, the Galaxy S4, and even the HTC One is kind of pushing the envelope for me. If I want a larger Android phone with good specs I'm pretty much stuck with phones that are about 4.7-inches and up. That's just the growing trend, but I want to remind (Android) manufacturers that there is still a market out there for people who prefer a smaller device. These large devices, no matter how thin they are, can still become very uncomfortable to hold. For me it was just that the HTC One happened to be less uncomfortable than the Samsung Galaxy S4.
Likewise, I'm actually fairly certain that there is a market out there who feels the same way I feel about Android devices getting bigger about the iPhone being too small. Compared to some of the behemoths that Android has been coming out with, going to an iPhone is so tiny, and for people with larger hands that can be pretty uncomfortable. There's a market there. In fact, I think if Apple could release a phablet of their own they would get a pretty big following without even trying.
For a long time it was all about small phones and how small they could get. Now it seems like it's all about how big we can make the phones, and kind of throwing a bone to the people who like small phones every once in a while. People with small hands like nice specs, too!