Smaller handsets could make a comeback any day now

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| April 23, 2014


Okay, so this isn’t the first time that I’ve made this argument, but I still feel like this is an appropriate time to bring this up again. Earlier today I wrote about how I felt like the new OnePlus One handset was yet another indication that good phones can come in affordable packages; still, I won’t be picking up a OnePlus One for myself. Why? Because for me, and for many others, the phone isn’t phone-sized. It’s tipping on the verge of being a tablet, and quite frankly my hands reached the limit somewhere around the 4.7-inch screen mark.


My problem isn’t that phablets exist. My problem is that most manufacturers think that if their phone is going to be good, it needs to be big. I’ve come to the realization that it’s probably going to be a long time before I get a new flagship phone, because all flagships are teetering on the unweildy side of things (except for the iPhone, at the current moment, but of course rumors suggest that this year things could change - like every year). The HTC One (M8) has a 5-inch screen, the Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch screen, the Nexus 5 has a 4.95-inch screen, and the LG G2 has a 5.2-inch display. These are all comparable to the original Galaxy Note (5.3-inch display), which was, at the time, a rather large phone. (Then, of course, you have the Galaxy Note 3 now with its 5.7-inch display.)


I guess part of me just doesn’t quite understand why every phone needs to be so large. I do understand the allure of having more screen space. It is nice, I have to admit, but when it comes to actually using my phone as a phone I want to know that I can use it with one hand for extended periods of time. Heck, even when I’m using both hands to hold phones that large the klutz in me is pretty blatant. A drop here, a slip there; if I want a flagship, though, that’s the trade-off I have to make for now.


Phablets definitely have their place in the industry. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that there are a lot of people on board with the idea that bigger means better; but I think that more can be offered. As of right now, the iPhone 5s and 5c are two of the smallest flagship smartphones on the market. Apple proves that decent specs in a smaller rig can be done, and as nice as the iPhone is, I would like more than just one option when it comes to nice, small smartphones.


A part of me hopes that one day smaller phones will make a return. They don’t even have to be that small; something between a 4 or 4.5-inch screen would be decent. It’s small enough to be held comfortably by most people, and large enough so you don’t have to squint to see text. In the end, it feels like some manufacturers are missing out on a big chunk of sales by making their phones too big for many people. The specs look great, the designs look great, but the phones themselves are just getting to the point where they’re just too big.


So, here’s hoping that the Mini models that usually accompany flagships more closely resemble their larger counterparts this year.


Image via Gotta Be Mobile