When the Samsung Galaxy Note debuted with its massive 5.3-inch screen size, I had assumed that this would just be a separate, niche series that Samsung added to its lineup. When I went into a store to try the phone on for size, I found that it was just too big for my liking. No big deal; it just wasn’t the phone for me.
As it turns out, I was seemingly in the minority. After the Galaxy Note made its appearance, it seemed like each subsequent flagship release garnered a larger screen. The following year, the Samsung Galaxy S III, one of the most popular Galaxy S devices to date, featured a 4.8-inch display; the Motorola Droid RAZR HD, HTC One X+, RAZR Maxx HD, and LG Optimus G all featured 4.7-inch displays; the Apple iPhone 5 even saw a size increase with a 4-inch display over its original 3.5-inch screen. Finally, you rounded out the year with the second generation Galaxy Note device with an even larger 5.5-inch display.
In 2013, eyes were on the size as the prize; 2014 was no different, as almost every single Android flagship exceeded a 5-inch screen size. Even Apple released not one, but two (much) larger devices. Google’s Nexus flew past any mediocre screen size increase and went from the Nexus 5’s 5-inch display straight to a 6-inch display on the Nexus 6.
Even some manufacturers that opted to go with less than a 5-inch display for their flagship made it difficult for those of us with smaller hands to wield – I’m looking at you, BlackBerry Passport.
I have no problems with larger screens existing; my problem is that the industry seems to have an “all or nothing” standpoint on size. They’re all one size or another, and there’s no decent split. When the Galaxy Note came out, it was one of the only ones in its size category. In 2014, the Apple iPhone 6 was one of the only smartphone flagships with less than a 5-inch display.
For me, the problem is that I need to be able to use my phone with one hand. I have an infant, a Kindergartner, an infinite amount of things I need to do on any given day, and the one thing I won’t ever be able to change – tiny hands. I can’t feasibly always use two hands for responding to e-mails, texts, or phone calls. My multitasking nature depends on a more compact smartphone – a type of phone that nobody seems to take too seriously these days.
I have a few options, I’m not saying that I’m completely out of them; however, my options are growing considerably thinner each year. Last year I opted for an iPhone 5s simply because I still find the slender, smaller form factor of the iPhones of yesteryear to be optimal for one-handed use. Still, I found myself somewhat jealous of my friends and family who were able to use the newer, faster flagships that I could only admire from afar, or use for short periods of time. My choices at this point look somewhat like this: iPhone, mid-range, or mini? My selection of what I can use as my daily driver is severely limited these days, and I hate that.
I don’t want the entire industry to revert back to only small phones, because I’m seeing what it’s like for people who preferred larger phones and only had a couple of options. All I’m asking is that manufacturers consider those of us who need to use a phone with one hand more often than not, or those of us with small hands, once again when it comes to flagships.