Even "minis" aren't that small anymore

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| May 4, 2014


Ah, flagships. We love ‘em, right? They’re the devices that we anticipate the most throughout the year, constantly coming up with the improvements that we would like to see most in specs, price, body, and more. Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong. One trend that’s been fairly consistent lately that you can almost always count on happening is a next generation smartphone being just a little bit bigger than it was last year. Over the past few years, smartphones have grown in size (literally) rather exponentially.


Not everybody is on board with the idea of using a borderline tablet as a smartphone, though. Sometimes it doesn’t even have anything to do with the fact that it’s large, but for some people it’s just not a feasible idea. Many people like phones to be a one-handed activity, and for some of these 5-inch plus screen phones, it’s a hard ideal to keep for people with smaller hands. So, over the past few years manufacturers started introducing “mini” versions of flagships to sort of ease the tension when it comes to people who aren’t gung-ho about the phablet-sized flagships.


The thing is, not only are they completely mid-range in regards to their specs, but they’re also not really that small anymore. They’re less like “mini” models are more like “normal” models.


The HTC One Mini, the Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, and the Sony Z1 Compact all measure in with a 4.3-inch screen. These are “mini” phones, but if these are mini, then what exactly is the iPhone’s 4-inch display? Super mini? Teeny tiny? Admittedly, the 4.3-inch screen that shook the world with the release of the HTC EVO 4G back in 2010 seemed a lot (and I mean a lot) bigger in comparison to today’s phones, but it’s still quite a bit larger than something that I would consider to be mini.


Even then, something has to give. Here you have phones that aren’t quite worthy of being described as “small” with specs that just don’t quite give off the impression that it’s really an extension of the larger flagship that it’s named after. I agree with my fellow editor Evan when he says that the mini versions of these phones should be beefed up, at least a little. It’s not like they don’t have more room to work with now, especially given that the HTC One (M8) Mini is rumored to have a 4.5-inch display, which would make the screen just .2-inches smaller than the original HTC One flagship (not the Mini) from last year.


And I guess that’s just what baffles me the most. Why are we making the devices (with an emphasis on being small, mind you) bigger year after year, just like our flagships?


I think manufacturers should take another look at where they’re planning on taking these mini models. I could probably deal with one or the other: mediocre specs or slightly-smaller-than-flagship-sized phones. But both? It just seems like the whole purpose of the mini flagship phones has lost its way.


The HTC One (M8) Mini’s details are just rumors and leaks for now, but I really am hoping that the rumors are at least a little underwhelming. If the size of the phone can increase, so can the specs.


Readers, what are your thoughts on the current mini flagship situation? Do you think they’re about as expected, or were you hoping for more (or less)? Let us know your thoughts!


Image via Trusted Reviews