You can probably assume from the title that this is going to be one of those rant-y articles where I complain about how big phones are. If you did assume that, you’re right. So, just be warned that this is exactly what that is.
I mentioned the other day that I’m buying myself some time when it comes to finding a new smartphone because nothing really (and I mean really) stands out to me right now. It’s not that the phones aren’t great, but I am having a bit of an issue overcoming how large screens are getting - and you know it’s more than just a trend when Apple wavers about its once perfect 3.5-inch display, which first moved to a 4-inch display and now features a 4.7 and 5.5-inch display, respectively. It’s clear that big phones, or “phablets”, are here for the long haul.
It’s great, because they sell and they seem pretty popular these days. However, my hands aren’t getting any bigger. If having a large screen size is something that manufacturers need to have on their flagships, it’s going to be a long time before I feel comfortable holding a smartphone again. That kind of bums me out, especially considering that those of us with small hands could usually depend on Apple to be our saving grace, but not anymore.
I think manufacturers could start benefiting from putting a little more effort into their “mini” versions now, because the people who like using phones with only one hand have slim pickings when it comes to anything that great. Everything is getting bigger; even the “cheap” smartphones on the market are growing in size. The 4.7-inch Moto X now has a 5.2-inch display. The Moto G went from having a 4.5-inch display to a 5-inch display. The Google Nexus 5 has a 5-inch display. The LG G3 has a 5.5-inch display. The Samsung Galaxy S5 has a 5.1-inch display. The HTC One M8 has a 5-inch display. It’s time to put some focus on the bite-sized versions of these phones, because the current state of the “Mini” is hardly anything to take seriously.
It’s understandable that when making a size cut you’re going to be making other sacrifices as well, but I can’t help but feel that some of the shortcuts taken to make the minis happen don’t have to be taken. For example, why is it still uncommon for smaller phones not to feature 4G? There’s no reason for 4G to not be included at this point. RAM is also a prime point for cutting corners, often resulting in 1GB of RAM instead of 1.5 or 2. While 1GB is certainly workable, it’s not nearly as ideal.
You know who got the mini right? Sony. We need more minis like Sony’s Xperia Z3 Compact, which differs very little from the original Z3 except in size and in battery life, which is reportedly better than the actual Z3’s battery life. I don’t care about having a cheaper version of a flagship, because then it’s not a flagship anymore. I care about having a flagship that I can hold comfortably in one hand and have a similar experience as those with the mini’s larger counterparts. That’s what I’m looking for in a mini.
I’ve given up waiting for the phablet phase to be over, because I feel like it won’t be for a long time. Too many people really like how large phones have gotten, but there are still a lot of us out there who just can’t bring ourselves to jump on that bandwagon. The mini versions of smartphones aren’t anything new, but they are something I feel should be taken a little more seriously these days now that options are running low when it comes to powerful, smaller smartphones.