See, not every follow-up needs a bigger display

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| May 20, 2014

If there's one thing that we've had to learn over the course of a smartphone's yearly refresh cycle, it's that it isn't a real upgrade unless the display gets a little bit (or a lot) bigger in the new frame. It's just what we've come to expect with a high-profile release of a new flagship device. Even Apple got into the game with the iPhone 5, and they're expected to do it again with the iPhone they launch later this year. Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, and pretty much every other company out there has apparently agreed that if you're going to launch a successor, it absolutely has to have a bigger display than the year prior's device.

I've said time and time again that I'm not a fan of huge phones. Whether it's the Galaxy Mega, G Flex or Lumia 1520, any device that has reached the six-inch bullet point for their display size is a device that I'll probably hate using right out of the gate. It's a little scary that this year, or even in the next, we could see smartphones that are constructed with even bigger displays, just because manufacturers can.

It doesn't help that consumers keep picking up these devices, either. Credit where credit's due, I guess.

So, as you can imagine I haven't been a big fan of this whole "bigger displays are better!" movement we've been following lately, but I've learned to live with it. And, still, there's one device that I've managed to find some common ground with, despite its huge display, and some of you may be surprised to know that it's a Samsung-branded handset. That's right, me and the Galaxy Note "phablet" series are on pretty good terms right now, even with the Galaxy Note 3 boasting a display size at 5.7-inches.

That's borderline ridiculous, but it didn't cross the line. While I refuse to use a six-inch device for my daily driver, simply because it isn't comfortable in my opinion, at 5.7-inches and with the inclusion of the S Pen, the Galaxy Note 3 was certainly usable. The S Pen has always made the large displays on these devices, even dating back to the original Galaxy Note combination phone/tablet, make sense. They aren't just big for the sake of being big. The large display, stylus and stylus support go together perfectly.

Which is why I've always been a little terrified of what happens next for that particular family lineup. As you can imagine, there have been plenty of rumors swirling out of the Rumor Mill that suggest Samsung would increase the display size, just as we've seen in years past. It could even include a bendable display for good measure. And that's something I got excited about, obviously, but if they increased the display size at the same time there'd always be a chance I'd just not like it for that reason alone.

So I was worried, and then today's report calmed my nerves. Sure, I'm taking the news with a grain of salt because nothing's confirmed quite yet, and we're still a ways away from any kind of official confirmation regarding the Galaxy Note 4, but I've got high hopes here.

According to the report, Samsung isn't going to increase the size of the display on the Galaxy Note 4. They'll keep it at 5.7-inches. Instead, they're going to put a QHD display in there, to replace the 1080p HD display that's currently installed in the Galaxy Note 3. So, they're just focusing on the display's technology and making it have more pixels. That's fantastic news!

It's fantastic because it means we may have finally hit the ceiling for increasing display sizes. Finally. If that is the case, we're going to see manufacturers start putting a focus on other areas of their devices, and we should see big changes in other areas. That could mean we get bendable displays in a lot more devices, for instance. Or even other big changes. Who knows! But if we start having a routine size to our phones, designers can start experimenting in other key areas and that sounds pretty fantastic to me.

So, how do you feel about the idea of a Galaxy Note 4 without a larger display than 5.7-inches this time around? Were you excited for something bigger, or are you okay with just a sharper display that retains the size of last year's model? Let me know!

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