Big and small Android phones

Sometimes, bigger is better

Android phones come in all shapes and sizes. From the small to the gigantic, there is a phone to suit just about everyone out there. We like it that way, and never want it to change. We think the market should tell CEOs what type of products to build, instead of the CEOs telling the market what kind of products to buy.

Because nothing seems to satifsy everyone, there is constant debate over how big is too big when it comes to our Androids. Some think the "right" size for a smartphone has been eclipsed by huge offerings from the various Android OEMs, while others think we need to go bigger. I'm in the midst of an experiment all about phone size, and it's making me rethink some of the things I'm looking for in an Android phone.

Gaming on a big ass phone

I'm not a little guy. I'm not that tall, but I'm wide and "beefy." My hands are big and meaty. Not Andre the Giant big, but bigger than average. Maybe it's genetics, or maybe it's something in the water, or maybe Three Mile Island, but it is what it is. Even when younger and skinnier, I still had these big meathooks on the ends of my arms. But I always have preferred smaller phones because they are so much easier to carry.

But that may be changing.

It all started with the LG G Flex review. Yes, I have had plenty of time with the Note 3, but to be honest when I had it all I wanted to do was play with the awesome S Pen, so I never paid a lot of attention to why, when and where the big size made a difference. But the G Flex didn't have a built-in doodle making machine, so I used it pretty much like I would use any other smartphone. Except a series of ice storms and other generally shit weather kept me imprisioned in my house for the best part of three weeks.

LG G Flex

Because I didn't have to worry (unnecessarily, I'm finding) about lugging around this whopper of a phone — the G Flex has a 6-inch screen — I wasn't constantly telling myself that I hate this big-ass phone because it doesn't fit in my pocket the same way my smaller Moto X does. That makes a difference. Instead, I played games, surfed the web, and watched videos on YouTube — a lot more than I do with my Moto X. It finally clicked.

Big phones are a much better experience for entertainment than smaller phones are.

You've got this huge, bright screen to watch all those Top 10 Best Fails of 2013 videos on, or to catch a season of Family Guy on Netflix, or to play your favorite tablet games on, or to surf the web and troll Google+ with. And because they are so big, you've also got the battery that allows you to do it for a long time. I was totally digging it, and didn't care that it was big because I wasn't stuffing it in my shirt pocket while at the grocery store or eating breakfast with my old man's club at the truck stop. One device had replaced both my phone and my tablet.

Once the weather broke (for a little while, at least), I decided I was going to try carrying this behemoth around. Granted, it doesn't ride nicely in my shirt pocket like the Moto X or any other "normal" sized phone would, but it will fit into your front pants pocket, or back pocket, or in my case my jacket pocket. Once you tell yourself to stop worrying about it, you hardly even notice it's there.

Sure, there are still things I dislike about the size. Grabbing it in the morning when the alarm goes off is frustrating because you almost have to touch the screen and Timely backgrounds itself and takes you to the home screen. It also means I need to buy a new car dock, but I work for a company that sells that sort of thing so I think I can find one that fits. And I still instinctively reach for my shirt pocket when I need to use my phone or when it rings. But I'll get past all these.

Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition

In fact, I'm going to have to get past them because I just bought myself the biggest of the big phones, the Sony Z Ultra Google Play edition. I've put my own personal SIM card in it, and it's my new phone, at least for a while.

I'll certainly miss a lot of things about my Moto X — which I still think is the best mix of function and features of any Android phone, but the small size isn't going to be one of them. I think I'm going to enjoy my new membership in the big phone club.

 

Reader comments

Big Android phones, revisited

196 Comments

What's that wallpaper on the last photo of the Z Ultra? Me likey. The anti-shatter film will probably piss you off with how easily it scratches, btw. I've ripped it off both my Z and Z1 and replaced it with normal screen protectors (the glass underneath has no coating)

Dumb question jerry but is that in the play store as I like that to

Off topic but jerry do you have any German relatives in the Olympics as I have seen a athelete with your last name LOL

Posted via Android Central App

I'm running 4.1 on my Optimus G, and the app says it isn't compatible with my device. Do I need a newer version of Android, or something else?

Posted via Android Central App

I have Muzei on my G Pad 8.3 and it works just fine. I can use knock on to turn my tablet on, but if I try double tap to turn it off it just clears/blurs the wallpaper, but other than that there are no issues with it. And I never really used knock-off much anyways so I don't mind that.

It's all about the big phones, I love the HTC One Max

If only it had a Google play edition

Posted via Android Central App

Also works on my G2 & G Pad 8.3. I use swipe up on Nova to clear the pic since double tap don't work.

Posted via G2 + Nova

That's cool that you have relatives in germany, as my entire family is from Germany

And it also says incompatible with my device as its a evo 4g LTE with 4.1.1 dang I like that wallpaper

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I agree Jerry. I had the opportunity to try the LG Optimus Pro instead of my Galaxy SIII and I don't see how I would ever go back. The size is not a problem but a solution to reading stuff (my old eyes ain't what they used to be) and the IPS screen over the AMOLED stuff really makes a difference. I actually prefer the LG skin to TouchWiz also. I guess I see what the new PRO brings to the game...

I'll never turn to the dark side. I dislike giant phones like the note 3 with a passion probably because I have normal sized hands, I would like to see more 4.3 and 4.7 inch flagship phones out here though, but everyone keeps making these huge phones and ignoring the regular people! Thank god for the Moto X!!

Posted via Android Central App

Carry the Note 3 or the G flex for a week and your opinion would change.

I felt the same as you, I even laughed when I first held a Note 2 a few years back for the first time.

Then I was forced to carry it around for a few weeks for work and fell in love, kinda like Jerry in the article. I could never go back to 4.3 (trust me I had the moto G for a week or so last month) and going to 5" is even difficult to adjust to.

Unlike Jerry I had to force myself to play with the spen but now it is indispensable. Especially when you break out of the occasional note taking and such and use it to write texts, take new contacts and things like that.

With the Note it almost, but not really, like the keyboard is optional.

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

I have been carrying my large one, Note 10.1 (the phone model) with me over a year without a problem. Now I also have Sony smartwatch 2 and I simply love the whole thing - "all in one", a tablet, a phone and the pen! Unfortunately it seems to be that on next time Im forced to buy a tablet and a phone separately and again need to remember to carry every pieces with me. If only other manufacturers also did the same as Samsung did: a phone, a tablet with a pen in the same package!

Sent from my N8000 using Android Central app

NoNexus is right...
Use a larger phone for a week, and you'll forget you're using a big phone.

I finally shelled out the Note 3 and I'm having the time of my life. I currently own a Nexus 5, and came from a Moto X, HTC One, and LG G2, this last year. I don't know how I will ever change a way from the Note 3... Battery is amazing, screen is beautiful, and it just changes the way you use and view "phablets".

Give it a shot... I did, and won't be looking back for quite a while.

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+1 Ever since I switched to the Note 3 from the Nexus 5, I've fallen in love with the extra screen space and longer battery life. The last time I picked up the Nexus 5, it felt really small.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

@MercDroid

Wish it didnt cost so damned much or I would have gotten it.

I have large hands and when I look at an iPhone I laugh. Its soooooooo small.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

Yeah, if T-Mobile didn't have the JUMP Program, I probably wouldn't be using one, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Agree with you 100%. The Note 3 was only big the first day I had it coming from the EVO lte. I've had it from January 1st of this year and the size isn't even an afterthought.

In my opinion the extra screen real estate and battery life far outweigh the supposed cons about being too big to carry on a daily basis. I think I will be staying at this size maybe 6 inches tops as long as the footprint remains mostly the same. I believe that's the sweet spot for those who want and/or need power and capability and don't want to carry more than one device. music, games, productivity, and visual media all work very nicely on this one device.

I switched from a note 2 to a moto x. I actually really liked the size if the note 2, and I got used to it pretty quickly. But, even though I liked the size, once in a while I felt like I just wanted a smaller phone. That feeling began to pop up more and more after a year with my note 2. When I was on the train, and I pulled out this huge phone, I felt like everyone could see my screen. When I took my UAG case off of my note 2, it actually felt a lot smaller, but then it slipped out of my pocket and the WiFi antenna got damaged.

I'm actually pretty happy with my moto x now, and I do like the smaller size more. Just an opinion from the other side.

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I did step down from the Galaxy Note 2 to the Nexus 5....took me longer to adjust than I thought. I grew used to the larger screen and the battery life.

Once people use the phone and stop worrying about the size, people will start accepting the phablets.

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Welcome to the family! I've been telling so many people about the beauty of the bigger devices.
The smartphone has always been about cramming more into less, why not more into MORE?

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Especially when battery life comes up

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

I agree that having options is great. But for me the bigger screen phones are for me. I think the smallest I can comfortably go now is minimum 5 inches. I have the Sprint Note 2 and I can't wait to have the money to get a Note 3.

Posted via Android Central App

It actually is not that bad, but noticeably worse than the 1080

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

It isn't that bad, but when you put it next to a 1080 it is worse

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

I find the LG G2 a good compromise because of its crisp 5.2" display in the same size Form factor of the previous gens 4.7" to 4.8" screen size. That plus it's battery is amazing I usually get 4.5hrs of screen on time I barely use my nexus 7 2013 anymore thinking about trading it for a g pad 8.3 to get a bigger display.

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I agree with you about the G2. It does everything I need, and does it very well.

Posted via my practically perfect LG G2

Maybe I'm in the minority, but I have absolutely no desire to watch TV or movies on my phone. I don't even like doing it on my Nexus 7.

I'll gladly use a smaller phone and watch movies and TV on a big screen TV, where they were meant to be consumed when not in a movie theater.

+1. There simply will not be a phone big enough to make me want to watch anything more than a 3 minute youtube video but small enough to use as a phone.

+1 Even though I like bigger-screen phones, I could never watch a full-length movie on my phone.

However, when I'm on the road, I actually don't mind watching movies on my Chromebook or my iPad Mini. Coupled with the G Project G Boom Bluetooth speaker, I have a great portable movie experience.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

You are in the minority. Even more so the same thing can be said about nearly any kind of media. Whats the point of having music on the phone is both the built in speaker and any headphones you can purchase for a reasonable price will fail in comparison to a proper stereo. You cant enjoy shoddy music. Whats the point of browsing the internet if everything is scrunched up, small, and hard to read unless held truly up close. Why not just stop by a computer and do your business there.

The smartphone is meant for the people on the go. The people who want to be on the go and have access to any and all kinds of media. They are willing to expect the compromise of quality and size to get this. If this not you then a smartphone is not necessary. Any phone with call, text, alarm. and calender functionality should do you fine.

What's there to debate, though?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

My response is that I don't have the time to debate with someone who doesn't even demonstrate understanding of simple logic.

If you want more: ignoring all the false equivalencies you put forth... your idea of the type of usage that deems whether it is necessary or not for someone to own a smartphone applies to you, but not everyone else who owns a smartphone.

Why does it matter to you, what he uses his smartphone for?

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Dude, you're a troll. If it's an inflammatory comment that contributes nothing, and I look to the poster name, it's you almost EVERY time. And since I read comments first, and then sometimes look to the person's name, that means you're a significant waste of AC space. You may claim the right to post crap - I have the right to say I'm tired of it. Please stop.

It's actually a fair question. What type of phone and how he uses it is irrelevant to the discussion. People use phones in a variety of different ways. It doesn't make one way better than another.

If we use facts, the iPhone sold more than any other smartphone. The galaxy s4 sold more than any other Android phone. Based on this, I'd say somewhere between 4 and 5 inches is the sweet spot. The Note 3 is popular, but not in the same league as those two phones.

Posted via Android Central App

I'll actually apologize, even though I didn't do anything wrong.

In my defense, though, I did ask a legitimate question.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

Congrats, you have moved to troll category as well as having a big phone made by Samsuck.

I hope you like the cookies my friend. lol

Dude, if it's a minority, then I'm definitely one of them! I can't watch full length movies on my phone. If i have to watch that i jump on my computer. But to avoid that i recently bought the Xperia tablet Z, and i have to admit it is awesomely awesome !!! For someone like me who was against the fact of buying a tablet....

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I want a giuant screen on my phone because I want to watch media on it, until they come out with a dedicated phone in a tablet here in the US I'll want a phone with a huge screen. I wish My nexus 7 had a phone in it, it would be perfect. But I'm 6'2 too, and have big hands.

You are definitely NOT in the minority according to the data.

Phablets are a niche market segment, composed primarily of techno-geek-nerd gadget freaks, doodlers, some students and elderly men (who didn't take their mother's advice), giants (NBA types), and some with body dysmorphic disorder.

Thank goodness manufacturers are attempting to cater to as many segments as feasible. The sweet spot (largest market) is a comfortable in hand easily pocketable 4.7"-5.2". That's where all of this year's flagships will be.

+100 on the not wanting to watch movies or videos with giant phones. I use my phone for communication and work and emails and some Internet browsing and few games. If Android made a Blackberry style keyboard same size I would buy it tomorrow for $1,000

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You prevaricated: "... composed primarily of techno-geek-nerd gadget freaks, doodlers, some students and elderly men (who didn't take their mother's advice), giants (NBA types), and some with body dysmorphic disorder." Bullshit. Go look at the reviews on Amazon for the Note 3-well over 100 for the Verizon model alone and MOST of those people are ORDINARY CONSUMERS. The niche statement is where the truth of your statement ends.

Just because the Note 3 sells well doesn't mean it's not a niche product. Samsung sells more Galaxy S4s than the Note 3. Apple sells more iPhones than the Note products. When we look at the global smartphone market, the Notes (and similar products from other manufacturers) are a small silver of the market.

What we are finding is that the smartphone market is basically three categories for screen size: 4-4.5 (dominated by iPhones), 4.6-5.2 (dominated by Galaxy S4), and 5.3-6 (dominated by Note 3).

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I used to have the same attitude,until I saw someone with a Note 2 and then my attitude used to change. Ultimately I got a Note 3 and it's *perfect* for on-the-go viewing and WAY more convenient than a laptop. If I needed to hook up to a big screen HDTV, then I just connect my MHL cable and I'm good to go, but I'm never going back to a sub-5 inch smartphone anytime soon, but the size of the Note 3 is about as big as I would ever like.

I do tend to agree that a phone isn't the best way to watch TV or movies, and I don't bother with it myself. There are times when it is needed though. The real key is your situation, and for many who are on the go, they don't necessarily have access to a computer or larger screen at all times. As far as Youtube videos, when you are trying to fix your own TV using a video for a guide, going to the largest available CONVENIENT source is useful.

So, here's the thing, if someone is in the market for a 7 or 8 inch tablet, and they also need/want a new phone, going to a 5.5-6 inch phone(phablet) seems like a reasonable way to go, giving you ONE device you will use and not two. Obviously, if you are looking at a 10-12 inch tablet, the tablet will still be your best option for viewing content if no larger screen is available.

Once you get to that 10 inch mark(9.7 may be enough), then movies and videos won't seem that bad. It all comes down to your situation. There are many out there who just can't afford to buy a tablet.

For work, the larger screens also come in handy, just making it easier to read things you quickly pull up when you need to research something, or to take notes, or just about anything else.

So, desire....the situation you find yourself in regularly will drive what you need and want, and if you are stuck away from a TV often enough, having a phone to let you stay on top of events may be critical. When you have access to a larger screen all the time, then yea, you don't need a larger phone with bigger screen. Just keep in mind that we are seeing resolutions that will be breaking through the 1920x1080 range, and we will quickly grow tired of the lack of detail and resolution on normal flat panel displays until 4k comes down in price.

Good choice Jerry. I hate the LG UI, but the Z Ultra GooglePlay is awesome. I had the Z Ultra before, it's slim profile is awesome. Used to love just holding that thin slab of glass. I liked the white Z Ultra than the black since the white one hides the finger prints but the Google play edition only has the black one :(

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I am beginning to look at larger phones as well. I went from the iPhone 4. To the iPhone 5. To the Nexus 4. To the Blackberry Z10. To the iPhone 5C. Now my daily driver is the HTC One and it is feeling a little small.

(This all happened from December 2012 through December 2013.)

I love the Z10. Hate the OS.

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

I went from the Droid Razar MAXX to the Note 3 and I love it. As my eyes have matured the bigger screen makes it easy to read emails, text, and kindle books. My daughter has the iPhone 5 and the letters are hard for me to read, so I will stay with the bigger phones. The Note 3 fits nicely in my hand and pocket, I do not notice the the bigger phone in the least. I looked at the Moto X but its screen was to small, so keep the bigger phones coming...

Same here. I came from the evo 4g and I'm not going back. I have large hands and this fits perfectly. I helped my mom with her iphone and it felt like a toy.

Posted via Note 3 AC App

Feel the same, 3 different Motorola phones, 3.5, 4.0, and current 4.7, waiting to see what they bring out next later this fall, will be looking for something between 5 - 5.5

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

Feeling it......getting used to the note 12.2......now a 10" tablet feels like a 7". So true about not wanting to go back.

Posted via Android Central App

Like it quite a lot, thanks. It is big, no doubt. Magazine UI is take it or leave it so far. I would like to turn it off honestly, as you have to scroll through it.
Initial impression: Keyboard is great, and tw is the smoothest yet. Even though its heavy, it feels lighter somehow. Just need to get over the price paid......ouch.

Posted via Android Central App

Lmao hell yeah, the price is a big ouch!! But i still don't understand, why having a tablet of this size, instead of having a computer of the same size much lighter and much more productive?

Posted via Android Central App

G4rrrrrrrrrr...my Note 12.2 request got denied from work. I am not thrilled about it but the fight is not over yet.

It will be in my hands next week

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

Loving it......got the magazine UI working in my favor finally.....also, MWC opens a video, file in mw, without closing email or website. Really nice feature.

Hope you get it!

@NoNexus

What do you do that allows you to use a million devices?

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

Just have to find that happy median, for yourself, I may try out a 6inch + phone, just to see how it fits

Posted via my outdated Droid RAZR Maxx HD using the Android Central App

Easier said than done, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

While I have no problem with diversity in options, the author is missing the point that the diversity is not really present. *All* the flagship phones are big. The CEO's have decided that if you want a small phone, you want small specs to go with it. And it is not a necessary compromise for space. I would gladly take a phone with top of the line specs that is smaller height and width wise but a little thicker. That option does not exist. Tack on the fact that I want a pure google OS with an open bootloader that allows me to do what I want with the phone I bought and my options are now all eliminated. Lets not even get into the lack of keyboard options..

Another thing the author is over looking is the reason why some people like big phones. Fitting in the pocket of your jeans is not the only issue. I want a phone that is comfortable and ergonomic to use in the hand. Simple as that. I cannot easily use my Nexus 5 with one hand. It is impossible to reach the entire screen without shifting the phone up and down in my hand.

Choice is a good thing. Right now we dont have nearly enough of it. What is the use of 5 manufacturers basically making the same phone competing for the same customers?

I totally agree. All the smaller devices specs are not as cutting edge, yet they want high end money.

Posted from Da Lords of Da Underground

Agree. I use an HTC One but can't reach the upper screen with my thumbs. I'd be interested in buying a phone that's a little shorter but has a full HD screen, stereo speakers on the front and the latest OS.
Also, that has an unlockable bootloader, can be rooted, and has numerous developers.

Posted via Android Central App

Just looked up the rumored specs and the answer is no. The mini sucks. I dont take rumors as gospel but im not going to be holding my breath for this one. Thanks for the suggestion though.

I think it would be chill if the HTC mini for 2014 had at least similar specs to the One. That would be a device I would be interested in, even though I don't mind a bigger phone

Posted via Android Central App

Then why don't you look into the Sony xperia Z Compact? It's perfect for situations like yours it's small beautifully designed and crafted and an absolute powerhouse... Just my two thoughts

Both of those phones have lesser specs. They'd be more than enough for most, but some want flagship specs in a small phone. Sony did this with their new phone, though the name escapes me at the moment. Someone chime in.

Posted via Android Central App

Exactly everything but the SONY Z1 compact and Droid mini are smaller phones with less specs in them. Manufacturers need to start giving us smaller phones with flagship specs. I believe this giant Phone fad will only last a few more years down the line. Just my opinion though I'm not a fortune teller

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah don't quit your day job... Lol

5" is gonna be the norm

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Kit Kat tastes like Jellybeans. Can't tell them apart...

Yeah. I think a couple years from now 5" will seem like a 3.5-4" of today

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Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

Unlikely. Its more likely that giant phones will replace the 7" tablet and medium phones will replace the smaller ones and the under 4" will all but go away. Yes there is a market for them but it's getting smaller every year while the so called phablet continues to grow.

That's my opinion based upon talking to and selling phones to "real" people not the tech enthusiasts that frequent sites like this one.

Posted via Android Central App on my daily driver, the Droid MAX

You missed what a lot of people want the most, longer battery life. Until battery life improves drastically, people go for the best combination of features that works for THEM. Larger devices allow for larger batteries that more than make up for the increased demands from the larger screen.

Now, 5 inches is NOT too large(the Galaxy S3 at 4.8 and the S4 at 5.0 inches are the same size, and there was no device growth, just screen size improvements). Manufacturers are also experimenting with device sizes, and Samsung really drove that experimentation when the original Galaxy Note first came out, then the Note 2, then Note 3. There are other mid-range phones for specs with yet larger screens out there for "experimentation" purposes, just to see if a given size is too large for too many people.

I agree that when manufacturers release products with very little variation it can seem a bit....old, but when these manufacturers make devices with different strengths, it does make things more interesting. As much as some people dislike TouchWiz for example, you may have noticed that a lot of people like using Samsung devices. Samsung is also releasing "Google Edition" devices for those who want a vanilla-Android experience as well to satisfy the demand. One thing you can't deny, Samsung at least, has been making each new generation device better, from the S2 to S3 to S4. The Note 3 as well goes well beyond simply making a larger phone, due to the S-pen.

Software to differentiate products also makes things more interesting in the market, with "skins" and launchers, to customized applications and features that are not available on other devices. The only time you see "the same phone" being sold by multiple vendors is when stock Android is used by competing devices. That is yet again why you see the larger players getting attention. Blackberry doesn't have terribly competitive devices in terms of the hardware, but it is the software that draws many in. You see Apple vs. the world, but it isn't really based on hardware specs, it is all about platform preferences.

So, you have Apple, which has been stuck in the realm of tiny little phones for too long now, then you have your 5 inch devices, then the "phablets". I don't see the 5 inch range being too large, unless you have little hands.

When I originally got the Note 2, wasn't sure about the larger overall size. But it's amazing how quickly you adapt. Now I can't imagine using anything smaller (they all feel like a toy in comparison, especially my girl's iPhone 4s!). Eagerly look forward to the Note 4 which should have a screen size closer to 6" (gotta have the S-Pen too, use it all the time!). :) As to carrying a larger phone? Never had a problem; it slides in a Monaco vertical leather pouch and clips to the inside of most pockets (a few jeans on the outside).

While I don't watch a whole lot on it, besides some NFL football when I can't get in front of a large screen TV, still love all that extra screen real estate when browsing the web. Go big or go home is my motto! :D

I've sold a couple of Galaxy megas to a few guys who work in landscaping. They like it because they sometimes can't work for a short period of time due to rain so they just sit in the truck and watch YouTube or Netflix. Definitely understand why they chose what they did

Posted via Android Central App

Yeah, my younger brother has the Galaxy Mega and he loves it. The screen actually looks pretty good, for only being 720p, and the battery life is great.

You must not read this site very much. Its completely impossible for a screen to be 720p and still look nice unless its 3 inches. Heck, this is 2014 there's no reason for screens to not be 4k

"Heck, this is 2014 there's no reason for screens to not be 4k"

I think you meant to say "Heck, this is the United States, there's no reason not to dupe an ignorant public out of their hard earned money with pointlessly excessive specs"

4k screen on a smart phone? Seriously??? On a 5 inch screen, that's approaching twice the PPI of the Nexus 5, a screen which one already strains to perceive any pixels at all, at any distance. And you suggest there's no reason not to double that?

And this doesn't even consider that to truly take advantage of that resolution, you'd have to store or stream full 4k content. Storing is impractical, even with 32 gigs becoming the norm (especially with the general lack of SD cards anymore), and streaming is also impractical both in terms of cellular bandwidth and cost.

I'm sorry, but how tragically pathetic is it that people have become so myopic today - it doesn't matter what it is or if it makes any discernible difference, if it's a buzz word/spec like 4k, people immediately have an orgasm and whip out their wallet. It's the intellectual depth of a cat, mindlessly compelled to chase a laser pointer.

This. The sarcasm flew WAY overhead, lol.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

This is a very common misconception, that just because you can't see or hear a difference doesn't mean you won't have a natural preference for better, even without knowing the specs. Back in the days of CRT monitors, conventional wisdom said that you didn't "see" screen flickering once you hit a refresh rate of 72Hz. I personally would get headaches on displays without an 85Hz refresh rate, and people just felt better over time with higher refresh rates. The same applies to modern day displays, where just because people can't "see" the pixels does NOT mean they won't notice when a display has a higher pixel density. Some differences can be VERY subtle, where you don't see the differences until you upgrade, and then are forced to go back. There WILL be a point where higher pixel density won't help, and we are close to it, but don't dismiss the idea that a 2560x1600 display in a 5.25 inch display won't look better than a 1920x1080 display until you make the switch for a month, then try to go back to a 1920x1080 display.

Welcome to the club big "handed" guy. I also inherited the giant sausage like fingers and is why I love my note three.

Posted via Android Central App

Great article Jerry. I'm currently rocking a Note 2 and find the screen size to be perfect for my needs. Yes I'm a big guy as well.

Galaxy Note 2 GT-N7105

Welcome to the club, Jerry. After knocking the size of the Note for so long I finally broke down and bought one. Now I really don't know how I made it this long with tiny phones.

-Shawn
Noting the world one S-Pen at a time

The new Standard is 5" and for me I just wouldn't entertain anything below that size of screen. I can't get with people that say they don't watch anything past a 3min YouTube video hmmm I can almost guarantee that is bs lol

I can't speak for your preferences that is up to ones self but for the larger screens watching a programme like big bang theory or two and a half men ect its brilliant and enjoyable. Each to their own i suppose but I like my media on the go aswel as the traditional large screen t.v cinema ect.

Having owned the Mega 6.3" for me it was just to big to be used as a phone. Then came along the Note 3 and 5.7" is just perfect a happy medium.

I think 6" is the comfortable line then anything beyond that depends on your comfort level and your usage and requirements.

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Watching big bang theory on a 4.7" screen rather than a note sized screen does not make it less hilarious to me. If I was to do that it would be on the run somewhere where I wouldn't have a TV and that wouldn't be for long. When are you going to need to giant screen to watch TV? At work? No, at home? Not me I have TVs, out at a bar? No. That doesn't fit my certain needs though

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I really do like the Sony Z Ultra especially when I saw it here in Toronto at the Sony Store in the Eaton Centre. Sony had out "Noted" the Samsung Note Series (minus the SPen functionality) and holding the Z Ultra in my hand was just quite the experience. I use a 2012 Wifi+Cellular Nexus 7 as a "phone" device but using VoIP instead and of course you can easily do this with the 2013 Wifi+Cellular Nexus 7. I was also impressed with the International Samsung Note 8 series that did have true phoning capability instead of just cellular-data, although for me VoIP is fine but I would love to see the 2nd generation of the Note 8 with better specs. I believe that the there is a cellular-enabled version of the LG 8.3 Pad with Verison coming as well. So you can go "bigger" than the GPe Z Ultra I suppose depending on how you define "telephony".

The first big Android phone I purchases was the Note 2. I have the Note 3 now. I'll never go back to "regular" sized phones. They just seem so...small.

I also have the Nexus 7, but I find that I don't use it as much because my Note 3 is big enough where it can be used as a tablet.

Did... You... Just.... Utter.... The... Words... Lg optimus VU?

Its like voldemort.... Never say that.

-------------------------------------------------------
Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

Dude its not THAT bad lol ... I do actually see them in the week wild (The Verizon Intuition) and people like them.

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Looks like a pebble watch you are wearing (at least it looks that way because of the band). Am I right? Huh?Huh?

Too many iSheep are biased against anything bigger than 4 inches. I was shipping with my cousin yesterday, and when I held a note 3, which felt remarkably fine in the hands, she just put her iPhone up in front to compare the size. She didn't even care to see what it felt like, which really bothered me. I think it's stupid that you can be so partial to size when you didn't even bother to hold it in your hand.

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I can assure you that as soon as Apple releases the larger iphones, everyone will say how perfect the new sizes are. All of that garbage about how your thumb reaches the other side of the screen will be replaced by some new excuse for being behind the technology curve.

It's not just the iSheep. A lot of people have the first impression that some phones are just too big.... Until they actually try them... Give it a real chance and most people grow to like them.

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I switch back and forth between my Note 2 and my Nexus 5. As a daily driver, I find that the 4.7 - 5.0 inch phones work best. At least we Android fans have choices though. I see iphone people attempting to read, text, and watch videos on those tiny screens and wonder how they could possibly enjoy it.

"Big phones are a much better experience for entertainment than smaller phones are."
Well it took longer than I thought it would, but finally someone from AC gets it,
and of course it's Jerry, good job man.

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I had an OG Droid and I wished I had a bigger screen. Then I had a Bionic and I wanted a bigger screen. Now I have an Ultra and I can't imagine wanting a bigger screen. I think this is the perfect size(for me) and don't think I'll be going any bigger.

it's nice to see that Jerry "I hate big phones!" has finally come around. and now he's even gone to the extreme. better late than never.

I miss my Note 3. Best phone I ever had on Verizon. I used the S Pen for all sorts of things. Now that I have the G2 I think the size is perfect. I don't need a phone smaller than this. Bigger would be nice. But this and the S4 seem to be the perfect size for me.

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The Z1 is just one step too far, IMHO. Beyond just "big".

I have a dodgy theory that the reason the iPad is so popular is that the iPhone is too small for modern Internetty things. If Apple ever makes a 5" iPhone, they will see iPad sales plummet as people find it big enough for all their needs. I guess we might see this theory tested in the coming months.

I have found that moving up to a merely 5" Nexus 5 has meant my Nexus 7 gets turned on a good deal less. It mainly gets use because my N5 is recharging.

Yeah I think your right. After getting the Z1 I hardly using my nexus 7. 5 inches is big enough for most things.

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I'm not sure I'd say plummet but it will definitely take a chunk out of it.

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Hey Jerry could you please put a Verizon SIM in your Z Ultra and see what happens? If it gets LTE data I'm gonna buy one.

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Recently switched to TMo and told the Mrs that she would want the Note 3. She didn't believe me but 5minutes playing with it in store and she never puts it down now. I went with the G2 which also had a great screen (and love playing BTD5 on)

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I haven't tried a big phone yet. Honestly, I can't justify paying $600 for a phone anymore, as the N4 and moto X have spoiled me. I'll gladly pay $500, but no more than that. Problem is, the good phablets are too expensive for me.
Anyway, I feel it comes down to what you do on your phone. Most of the time I'm reading something, be it news, looking at pictures on imagur, on G+, etc, and a big phones doesn't help with that kind of use. If anything it hinders it as they are more uncomfortable to hold and are usually heavier. Now, if I played a lot of games and watched a lot of TV on it, that'll be a different story. Or if I was a super power user who needed a 3000 mAh battery. But I'm none of them. Still, I would like to try using a Note 2 for a week, I just don't have the funds for such things. Perhaps I'd be more interested if Moto made a big phone...

You my friend have balls... im rocking the g flex and this thing is huge... i really enjoy the software that Lg put on this thing. The Q slide apps are a great idea.

I like 5' phones. I can handle bigger phones because I have long fingers but when I use a case they are just too annoying. Used to go naked with my phones till my s4 had an unfortunate accident.

I agree with this 100%....except for the 6" size. That's a bit much for me. I might as well just add phone capabilities to my Nexus 7. All these "your phone is too big people" shouldn't knock it till they try it.....Oh wait, they are told what to like by their maker. I loved my HTC Droid Incredible. It was light, small, fit in my pocket......but hated the battery life. When I saw the Evo, I said that's way to big. By the time my upgrade came I got the Rezound. Thought it was too big. Missed my Dinc. After 2 weeks the Dinc felt like a toy, and I was loving the bigger screen. My S4 5" inch is perfect....but I won't lie....I've glanced at the Note 3 a bit (but having my S4 unlocked on MDK vs locked bootloader on the note is a dealbreaker). Now, I rarely use my ipad (too big), except for exclusive Place shifting or movie watching. My Nexus 7 is perfect for most things when Im home, and my phone is good everywhere else.

The 2013 Nexus 7 with phone would be a killer device for me. It even (BARELY, mind you) fits in my shirt pockets!

I've thought about picking up the Z Ultra GPE, but I didn't like the lack of a camera flash. What's your take on the lack if this, Jerry? How's the quality of the camera in low light situations?

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I reckon the camera is a common killer for people.
The love the idea of it, then... oh, no flash and a crap camera. I can't buy it then.

If Sony make a Z1 Ultra, this is the first thing to fix.

I'd have a Z Ultra, if it did have a camera flash. I actually use the camera flash as a flashlight, so I'm hoping the next iteration of the Z Ultra does include it.

Posted from my "Gift from God" Note 3, my "God-Given" iPad Mini 2, or my "Risen" Samsung Chromebook.

The 8MP shooter it comes with is actually not horrible, but the lack of flash (which I mainly would use for a flashlight,) is the ONLY thing I have wrong with this device. Well, that and the fact that the ACX3 case for my QX camera STILL isn't available yet.

The QX10 still won't have a flash :( And I haven't seen the ACX3 case at the importers yet (Maybe shopandroid could snag a small supply for us to buy?? :D) Seriously though, the 8MP camera itself isn't horrible. You may need to snag something like Camera360 to make it work better (I have only used it with the Sony app, not AOSP, so it is possible AOSP isn't as well tuned for it yet.)

Great write up Jerry. I could never go with small phones. I'm out and about most of the day. It's big or go home.

I liked the large battery on my Note 2 but now I have a large battery in a more comfortable size in my Droid Maxx.

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I've had the 4" screens to the 5.5" screen on the GPro and I've settled back into the 4.95" on the nexus 5 and I feel it is the sweet spot for portability and media experience. loved my Gpro but it was a bit cumbersome hence the two broken screens .... :-( sticking to my N5. Here's to hoping Google doesn't kill the nexus line

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This is where the S5 will be interesting if it has the 5.25 inch display. Bigger than the 5 inch displays, not quite as big as the 5.5 inch devices, and with the shrinking bezel over the past few years, the overall device size may not be much larger than the S4.

With Google Glass and similar devices also on the way from multiple vendors, we may not have to worry about screen size issues for much longer ANYWAY, because if something we wear on our heads will provide the display, then we won't need to HOLD our phones for much longer.

I'm rocking a T-Mobile G Flex and am loving it so far! Even though it is larger than the Note 3 I put aside it is FAR more comfortable to hold due to the curved back of the phone. The Note 3 edges feel extremely sharp.

I respectfully disagree. My ideal phone size is between 4.7 - 5 inches. I carry my S4 on my waist using the otterbox commuter and a seidio holster that works with it. Because I am a auto Technician; having it in my pocket makes for an uncomfortable experience. I really cannot see how carrying a phone as massive as the gflex or z-ultra on my belt could be in any way comfortable.

My galaxy S4 is the perfect size for me. If I need bigger I can use my Nexus 7 2012 (kept in my tool box at work for the most part) or my G Pad GPE at home.

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Reading the comments, I'm really surprised how many people prefer the phablet size. I'm tall and have fairly large hands, but I prefer slightly smaller phones. I currently have a galaxy s4 and am looking to downsize. For me, ~4.5" screen size is about as large as I can go. I don't watch movies and don't play too many games on my phone. I'm intrigued about the xperia z1 compact as it's a "mini" phone with good specs.

I hope I can win one of these photo contests before I get rid of my s4 ;)

Maybe he prefers stock. Sony's skin on the Xperia Z and newer is the only one I've ever found myself to like outside of stock. As long as Sony keeps it light like this, and so easy to unlock and change out when I want to, I'm going to keep buying their devices.

Jerry Likes to tinker with his phones and that's easier with GPE phones. If he wants Sony's skin he can flash a ROM. Or so I'm assuming based upon his other posts. He would get a Dev edition if he could. He did for the Moto X

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+1 - I totally dig larger phones - I just figured out how to use Google voice with Groove IP on my Nexus 7! Now I'm dumping my iPhone 4s for either a Samsung Galaxy S4 or an HTC 1 MAX - leaning towards the HTC - any thoughts on the HTC 1 MAX vs. The Galaxy S4? Both are larger phones so I hope its a valid question here?

If you are upgrading on contract, wait and see what comes next week.

If you are buying outright, get the HTC One unless camera is important to you. The camera on the S4 is WAY better, but the audio on the One is WAY better.

Overall, if those are my choices, I am gonna grab a One before an S4.

I say 5 inch max for normal users. Yes bigger is better but for one handed use it starts to get hard

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I am one of those users always looking for the biggest screen. A little over a year ago we purchased the Galaxy Note II (the international version). It's a nice phone but I feel Samsung is becoming a bit too arrogant for my taste, a little like Apple (think "regional locking" for full price unlocked phone).
So a week ago my wife and I each purchased the Sony Xperia Z Ultra C6806 and love it! It's 6.4 inch screen is big, but thin and light for it's size. No more Tablet schlepping around. Not going back to anything smaller.

I'd love to try a bigger phone (currently using an nexus 5), but I pay upfront for the phone and they are too expensive right now. I could probably pay $500 for one, because that would replace phone and tablet, but can't go more than that. I also have come to love the light (IMHO) user experience. I hated TouchWiz and bloatware on my S3, but I could root and rom or use an app to remove the boat if they were cheaper. I'll have to hope they'll either get a little cheaper or hope that there is a nexus in the 5+ range...

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I'd get a Droid maxx if I was 1. Still on VZW. 2. Willing to go back to 720p. Both are no's

-------------------------------------------------------
Sent from inside a cave. Yes, T-Mobile covers caves. N5

My first Android phone (just 2 years ago) was the HTC One X (4.7") and I now use a Nexus 5. I use my Nexus 7 2013 for all my Android media consumption and gaming. For a long time I just wanted to be in the Big Phone camp, and really wanted a Note 2/3, but now as time goes on I'm feeling more and more like a small phone + medium/large tablet is the way to go. I held a Moto X for the first time the other day, and was surprised at how much I liked the bump DOWN in size, back to 4.7".

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and to me, my phone has to be something I can bust out in an instant, do something important (quickly) usually while walking or while I'm in-between activities, and easily slip back in my pocket. What's most important to me is having the speed and reliability to do what I need without lag, crashing, or superficial fluff, and preferably one-handed. I've realized that for my usage, a small ergonomic phone is going to serve me better than a large, beautiful, but hard-to-hold phone pretty much every time. Since owning tablets I will likely never sit down to actually watch a movie or tv show on my phone again, if I have the choice of a larger device. I used to think that I would use my phone to watch videos while I was out and about all the time, but the fact is I'm never in one place long enough to bother (though that would probably be different if I used public transportation more).
As I said right now I use the Nexus 5 + Nexus 7 2013, and if I had a choice I'd probably even bump my phone size down and tablet size up, perhaps a Moto X + LG G Pad 8.3 GPE. However, I think it's human nature to want to change things up every once in awhile.

Of course the above are just my opinions, everyone will discover what's best for them. But it's late, and I'm just ranting. :)

i use a 4 inch lumia 520 and a galaxy note 2, and personally i prefer the lumia for long texting sessions, and the note for everything else.
which kind of explains why those with limited use of the device tend to go for the iphone

I snagged an Asia-Pacific market Xperia Z Ultra from Amazon back in December, after having tried one out in the Sony Store (it's PURPLE!!) I didn't used to think big phones were all that (what I REALLY wanted was 1080p on a keyboarded phone.) But, since that isn't an option, I've found that this is the best of both worlds. I can actually do sysadmin work on my mobile again without wanting to punch it, and it still fits in my shirt pocket (at least with my 3XL knitted shirts.) It also seems to gather attention from the ladies (I've got two female friends who now want massive mobiles like mine!!)

The only thing I wish Sony did to this phone was put a flash on it. If nothing else it would make a better flashlight in a pinch.

I'll pass thank you. I am 5'9, reg hands and even my nexus 4 sometimes is uncomfortable to hold with one hand. If I can't hold it and reach all sides of the screen comfortably in one hand then thats a no go for me

For those who don't want to hold a phone this big up to their face, check out the Sony SBH52. It also has a pretty decent amplifier in it (you can plug good headphones into it and use the sbh52 as a microphone.)

Friends say I look just as ridiculous talking on the SBH52, as I do with my Z Ultra. But given the convenience, as well as reducing the risk of the dropping the phone, I use it everyday.

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I've had an ascend mate for over 6 months. I love the big screen. For me, smartphones are about convergence and a bigger phone let's you do a lot more. To each his own, but I think for most people, if they spend a few weeks with a phablet they will become convinced that it is phabulous.

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I actually went the opposite direction... after using the Note 2 and the Note 3, I was tired of the huge phone. I'm finding the smaller MotoX just the perfect size for me. I can actually use it one handed when walking to a meeting with my laptop in the other hand. As for watching video content on the smaller screen, I find I don't miss the bigger one. Videos look sharper on the small screen.

Another big deal is speaker volume, as I use it in the morning and when traveling for listening to podcasts as I get ready and stuff. The Moto X has the loudest phone speaker I've ever used. I find it even better than the HTC One I had before. Used to have to use a bluetooth speaker to get the volume I wanted, but now it's gathering dust.

Finally, there are the active notifications and the phone's Moto Assist (reading me text messages and allowing me to respond by voice when on the road).

I went back to my Note 2 that I still have for a week, and missed the Moto X features too much. My guess is that you'll feel the same, Jerry.

Not to contend that your experience isn't your own. Certainly, everyone has to decide which phone is the best for themselves, and no one else can tell you which phone that is.

I did, however, want to point out a couple of things about the features that you think Jerry will miss from the Moto X:

1) Active Notifications
Download DynamicNotifications from the Play store and get the same experience on any Android 4.3+ device. I've been running the app since my Note 2 and I love it.

2) Moto Assist
Samsung has the same thing, called "Driving Mode" (I guess they've got too many features baked into their phones to come up with clever names for them) and there's some apps out there that let you get the same sort of thing on any phone.

3) Speaker volume
I guess that's entirely a matter of taste. My Note 3 is plenty loud to listen to podcasts or the radio at home, and I could never see myself as the kind of person who walks around with their phone playing music "in the open" because I find that to be inconsiderate, but to each their own.

Picked up the Z Ultra on August last year. No regret whatsoever about the size. It is incredible.

Posted via Android Central App - Xperia Z Ultra

I'm a short guy with meathooks as well. I have no problem with large phones, glad we are going back there because when I started working in the wireless biz in '96 phones were anything but small. That didn't come around until Audiovox made a mini version of their phones and the Moto Star Tac arrived.

Welcome to the big phone club. I think it's fair to say I'm a fully fledged member after owning all the note series. My phone is my media hubs I've always been drawn to big screens even back in winmo days with my toshiba TG01 and HTC titan . My current set up is samsung mega 6.3 (work phone) and xperia z ultra ( daily driver) . Be prepared to experience screen size envy. People always say the same thing to me when they see my phones "wow that screen looks amazing I wish I had a phone like that to play games on, i just wouldn't want to carry it in my pocket." as all phablet owners know the reality is that it's quite comfortable and size is rarely an issue. If it's a real problem do what I did and buy a sw2

Welcome to the club, Phil :)

I jumped on board with the Note 2 (now the 3), and I don't think I could never go back to a smaller phone.

I have the HTC one max ...I love the size ..it's the perfect phone for me ...fantastic battery life ..I get over14hrs heavy use out of one charge...it's awesome for brousing the internet and social media .
It's still pretty pocketable too..
I'd recommend it to anyone ...

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Been enjoying the Asus fonepad for the past10 months. About time people start to see the advantages of big phones. Web browsing, entertainment, all so much more enjoyable. Even use mine regularly for tv. Also makes a great hotspot when I want to run my laptop.

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Yes I love large phones as well, as strange as it seems i don't really think of my Sony Z1s as a big phone lol but when compared to my iPhone 5s I guess it is but I love the big screen especially when it comes to browsing the Web and watching youtube/Netflix/Hulu

I went from a BB 9800 to a nexus 5 and I am thrilled, bigger screen and LTE means I use it more and my tablet less.
In the Android universe you are not stuck with the one size fits all philosophy. I got the size features and speed that I wanted. BTW I am not an early adapter (Nexus excepted) I usually wait and see how things shake out, after 45 years in IT hardware service the cynic is not too far below the surface. Enjoy your phones all, however big or small you like it

Hi Jerry,
Good article. I too converted from a phone + table to the XZU GPe, and love it. Have you looked into the other toys you can get for it. Like the SBH52 bluetooth headset/handset. You could keep it in your shirt pocket and use it to take calls. And you can also get the Sony Smartwatch 2 which will give you a dial pad and access to your contact list, so you can keep the phone in your pocket/bag until you want to have fun and play with that big screen ;-)

The reasons he lists for loving the huge screen... I have a tablet for that. I don't want a phone bigger than 5 inches thank you much. I don't want to use two hands to accomplish a simple task on my phone. The gs4 is already stretching it for me...

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That's funny Jerry. I listen to the podcast all the time. I remember how on several occasions you said that you would probably never like big phones. I'm thinking about getting a secondary phone this year and taking that leap into Bigfoot territory. Excited to see if Sony does an Xperia Z Ultra 2 without the screen protector and the new screen tech.

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