Android Central

4-inches, 4.65-inches, 5.3-inches, when will it all end?  When we decide they are too big and stop buying them, that's when.  When the HTC EVO 4G came out at 4.3-inches, people wanted more.  The Galaxy Nexus checked in at 4.65, people are wanting more.  Now we have the Galaxy Note at 5.3, and the rumored LG Optimus Vu at 5-inches but with a 4:3 aspect ratio.  Those are big phones.  Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the size of their phone, but there is a market sweet spot that will eventually be found.  We figured we could do some market research of our own and predict a little bit of the future, so let us know in the poll about how big your ideal phone would be.



Reader comments

Late-night poll: How big is too big?


One day we will have phones with 5+ plus phones no bigger than the HTC EVO 4G, the device's face will be just screen. If I can get a 5 to 5 1/2 inch phone with no bezel I will be a happy man.

This^^ and i could even settle for the top part to be a screen and no bezel and the bottom part be buttons if it was done right but hopfully the ICS screen buttons will become mandatory

Yep! Picture the Note without the large bezel on the sides, that would be an ideal size for me at least. It will happen eventually.

how do you intend to hold a phone with no bezel? With tweezers?
The EVO is run to the edge and I am CONSTANTLY hitting the home or search buttons in the corner by accident.With no bezel, the front and sides would be active.

A bevel is also an advantage to case makers. I am getting the Note, and I am glad it has a bevel. Although I hate to make it bigger, I don't want that gorilla glass taking a flat smack on a hard surface in a fall. The Note is about perfect.

They should've made this a 2-part question... what size phone do you want, and how tall are you?

At 6'7" and big hands, a 5-6" phone would fit nicely as compared to a tiny 4.3" screen.

I think the choice of the poll isn't exactly good. There is still a LOT of difference between between a 4,1" phone and a 4,7" phone. I'd have taken 0,5 steps, but okay, I guess that's an indirect "What do you think about the Galaxy Note" poll ;)

The standard size for a phone has been varying since cell phones were invented.

People fixate on what they have and what is common. This very same poll, if issued 18 months ago would be full of people drawing a hard and fast line at 4.3 inches, not one millimeter more, and they would have all kinds of esoteric arguments about exactly why that number is magic.

18 months from now the results may well be different again, and maybe the 5 inch device will be common.

Until it no longer fits in your pocket or purse there is no reason to draw lines in the sand about size.

Use what works for you.

I love my Evo. People said it was way too big when it came out, but I quickly adapted and can't stand anything smaller than 4" now. However, after seeing some of the larger devices, I'd say my limit is around 4.65 inches, and only if its as thin and sleek as the Galaxy Nexus. Galaxy Nexus is a good size, but I wouldn't want anything bigger as my handheld device. I'll take a 4.3 - 4.7 device and a 10.1 tablet. That's my perfect size :)

I like a 4" to 4.3", anything smaller and typing is difficult anything larger is annoying to carry on the hip or in the pocket. I think the Droid Incredible 2 is the perfect size device over all. If they could keep the device the size it is and make the screen 4.3" it would absolutely be the perfect sized device for me.

I personally prefer 4-4.5" but I'm disheartened by the lack of a >= 4" choice. I think Android is ignoring a huge part of the market with these bigger and bigger phones. You can't get a high end Android phone at less than 4.3".

i agree with you, i think all manufacture should make 2 different sizes of every phone they make that's call having choices, not every one likes 4.3 and up, i personally like the galaxy nexus but the size is a deal breaker for me, i also did like the epic touch 4g but is also too big for my taste, i think the reason why the iPhone sells so well is not because how easy to use but because it feels good in your hands and in your Puckett.

Being a student who is away form a computer 90% of the day (well when I'm at school at least, at home I'm always in front of a screen doing research and homework stuff...anyway) I'd love to have a Samsung Note. My Infuse is wonderful, but the note looks to be an amazing phone...I say yes to 5", but anything larger and it will just die way to quickly if my battery life has anything to say about it and it'll be super hard to fit in regular pockets. (cargo pants/shorts being the exception of course!)

The 4" screen on my Epic 4g has been great. Perfect size in that I can still use it one handed and reach every corner with my thumb.

Ah, I thought this poll was going to be about app size, which is always an issue if you can't move it to the SD card. How big is too big when it comes to apps, eh?

i would say over 8 would be too big if your phone has less than 8gb of app storage. but if you have 16 or more, then who cares about app size.

5 inch screen or even 5.3 inch screen would be awesome IF it were edge to edge. so that would be slightly bigger than the Galaxy Nexus. but until edge to edge screens become a reality then i think the Galaxy Nexus screen is as big as i would go at 4.65inches

My EVO 3D has been a piece of crap, I'm on my second one and this one resets itself every hour and I refuse to pay another $30 for a phone that will break again. I'm holding out for a 5" screen on Sprint. 5" is the perfect phone size, just like 100" is the perfect tv size :)

I'm not sure what my phone size max is. I'm considering the Galaxy Note. My hands are a bit larger than average, but not freakishly huge like one of the receivers who was playing in this year's super bowl. For any piano players, I can generally reach an octave and a third (a 10th, I suppose) with no problem. All the reviews I've seen show that the Galaxy Note can fit into a pocket fairly easily, which I think is important for a phone I carry. But I still want to see what it feels like in my hand.

I think it's kind of funny how the trend was for phones to get smaller and smaller for years and now there is a trend for larger screens. It's possible I might be comfortable with something a little larger than the Galaxy Note as a phone. Guess I'll have to see what becomes available in the future.

I haven't seen the need for a tablet yet. But if I can carry a phone large enough, maybe I won't need one. I kind of expect the smartphone to replace the personal computer eventually with the ability to dock into a full size interface.

My inc2 was the perfect size for me as far as handling goes. My Gnex is too big to feel comfortable in the hands, but I do like the extra screen space. I can use swype on my Gnex, actually prefer it, but I didn't get along with it on my inc2. If I could make my Gnex a 4 inch screen, I would.

Slightly bigger than my Galaxy Note would be great. Been using it for about a month now and I could probably use something around 6" if it was bezel-less.

Didn't we have a discussion here on AC when the Nexus was announced that you can't judge a phone by its screen size?

The thickness, aspect ratio, bezel, rounded/square corners, and hardware buttons (or lack of) all affect the "size" of the phone and how it feels.

/Debbie Downer mode

I just go with what feels good in the hands (so far, the SGS2 size feels fine, and I look forward to trying the Galaxy Note).

I would like to think I'd be OK with any size, as long as it fits in my back pocket. However, seeing the Galaxy Nexus next to a Note makes me question that.
Have a look... The Nexus looks small next to the Note haha

I think the largest screen that I'd be comfortable with would be 4.5" - 5"; 5.3" is definitely pushing the outer limits. Anyway, as I keep telling my woman, it takes two hands to handle a whopper. ;)

My first Android device was the HTC Droid Eris with a 3.5 inch screen and i thought that the screen was just a tad too small especially with me having big hands. I upgraded to the DX and at the time there weren't many phoned with large screens and i thought 4.3 was huge and i would never want to go bigger. Now I am on the Samsung GSS2 with a 4.5 inch screen. I feel as if this is the sweet spot for me. I have huge hands and this phone is a joy to use. The screen fits me perfectly. But I would be interested in using a Galaxy Note. It seems like its pushing the boundarys of the screen size on a phone. But I am sure there is a market for it. I would want it mostly for the "wow" factor. All the people that see it will want to hold it. I don't see phones being any bigger than the note.

My first was the Original Droid. Then a Droid X. The Droid X is perfect.
I'm glad MOTO kept the size the same on the Bionic and Razar/Maxx.

Now if they would unlock the boot loaders and ditch the Moto Bloat!

6" would be good if it was all screen and no bezel. Problem would be holding it though. Intelligent programming of the digitizer would be needed.

I have a galaxy nexus,and I do love the size of it, but sometimes I can't help feeling I wish I was a little bigger . Maybe 5 inches or the size of the galaxy note at 5.3 inches.

When I got my Skyrocket I almost thought 4.5" might be a little to big for me but i got over that really quick. Its not too big for the pockets cuz its so thin and I love the big screen. Though I kinda think anything too much bigger would be ridiculous to carry around as a phone.

I think the note would be the limit for my daily driver. I like the larger screen size, but like I said 5.3 would be it for me. At home I'm on the 10.1 anyway. I'm curious to see how much bigger phones will get though.

Optimal screen size depends on user needs, eyesight and other factors. But we are still using physical glass screens. Virtual screen technologies will soon be with us; the devices of the future will be tiny embedded in glasses, possibly even inside us.

I use a 4.3 inch phone and a 7 inch tablet now. Based on that experience the Samsung 7.7 looks like an ideal size; at that resolution, for a mobile user.

I kinda like 4" on my Atrix, but I was ready to get a 4.3" HD7 but the deal fell apart
personally, I think its too big when :

- when u can't play Fruit Ninja with one hand
- when you can't put it on your pocket

I really want the galaxy note but I also have he tab 10.1, so I'm not sure if I really need to make use of the Note's screen size.

I'd say under 5". I've got the EVO 4G, and will probably upgrade to GNex when it and LTE come to Sprint. I looked at the original Droid Incredible before getting the EVO, and the 3.7" screen wasn't bad. After all, it's a phone, so as phones go 3.7" - 4.65" is fine for me. A phone is too big when it cannot be easily handled or held in one hand. On the EVO the capacitive button often get triggered accidentally, but this is a combination of button sensitivity and device size. As we use our "phones" less and less as phones I think this will continue to drive the smartphone size war as more people use these devices for anything but talking to one another.

The answer is different with each person. The question is how large a phone can you comfortably use one handed? I have large hands but the Gnote would be about the limit. Anything much larger with the present technology and they may as well just start putting dialers in tablets.

I love my Droid Incredible's 3.7 inch screen. It's served me well, it just fels like an extension of my hand at this point

The thickness of the phone also has a lot to do with it. In addition to how much space it takes up on our belt or in our pocket, how it feels in our hand is a big factor in the selection process. I had thought that the Samsung Galaxy S II was going to be too large until I picked one up, and it doesn't "feel" much larger than the 4.3" phone I'd been using that is thicker. And the size of the larger screen makes usability so much better. Don't think I'll ever go back to a sub-5 incher again.

I've had my SGSII Epic 4G Touch with the 4.52" screen for 2-1/2 weeks now. I had the original Samsung Epic 4G with the 4" screen before that. I really liked the OG Epic, but now that I've had some time to get used to the E4GT I really, really like the screen size.

I would have to say the largest I'd want to use would be the GNexus at 4.65". Anything larger would be difficult for me to carry comfortably in my shirt/pants pocket (I hate holsters!).

My Transformer Prime doesn't quite fit the pocket either. :-)

I would go with 4.5-5.0 in screen. If a phone the size of the note feels good in the hand then I would raise my limit.

I'd say 4.3" is the perfect size for me. I love my Galaxy Nexus but I wish it was just a little bit smaller.

I had an OG Droid until I got my Bionic. When I first saw the Droid X I thought it was huge. I remember the first time I saw one in public... and I quietly snickered at the user with their ridiculously large phone, and a hump to boot!

My Bionic was a real test for me. I had to force myself to drop my preconceived notion of what was too big, and see what I really thought after some real world use. I now have an Otterbox Defender on my Bionic, and I think I've reached my limit on phone size.

When talking about how big is too big, the screen size doesn't matter though - it's the overall size of the device that matters, including whatever case and/or holster you're going to use - you have to be able to use and carry it comfortably. For me that means being able to have it in a holster on my belt without it catching on everything, and being able to comfortably hold it up to my head while using it as a phone (yeah, people still do that).

We aren't all bluetooth-using, cargo pants-wearing, backpack-carrying people. Everyone has their own comfort zone. My main concern with regard to this is that the mainstream will end up so far from my own comfort zone that I will have few if any choices that fit within it.

To each his or her own I say. I have an HTC Wildfire S and its size is fine for me. My husband on the other hand has the HTC HD7 and loves its extra large size.

This trend in phones is really annoying me. I'm trying to find a new phone for my wife who loves her Aria, but that segment seems to have been abandoned (Unless we see a updated Wildfire S at MWC). If they could just make a phone with those dimensions, but a screen that goes further towards the edges of the glass and a bit more horsepower it would be perfect. Something that is still pocketable. On most carriers, the smallest good phone is the iPhone.

SE Xperia miniPro is maybe exactly what she want - a very elegant mini smartphone with an extra big 3 inch screen and an excellent slide out keyboard... They have a less clever version without keyboard too...

I bought my evo on launch day in 2010. One of the big knocks on it for critics was the "very large screen size". Kinda funny now I think!

Any phone with a screen bigger than me (down there) is too big. That's why I still rock an LG Voyager.

My friend have a Galaxy Note and that is perfect IF you don't have a fine slide out keyboard... But I have that and then is over 4 inch not something I need... My Xperia Pro has just 3.7 inch, but that is a perfect size with a slide out keyboard - so I think some screen size WITH keyboard options was missing in the poll!

Kind of surprised no one has mentioned what happens when you add a case to your phone. Silicone cover or a "barley there" type of car is one thing but I need more protection. I have an Otterbox Commuter on at all times and switch to the Defender when needed on my Incredible 2. With a phone over 4" I don't think I would be too happy with either of those cases.

64 comments & counting, L o l. Jerry has hit a cord. First I want to say, I smell some Engadget like fan comments in here, and I'm not liking the way these sections are starting to look & sound.

Anyway, last September I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Player 5.0. Knowing the Note/Journal was heading our way. I wanted to personally see for myself, was this going to be to big? Let me tell you, it is very nice!

I soon sold my 7" Sammy Tab. I now own a (4" SGSI as backup. I now laugh looking at it's puny screen) 4.3" Charge, 4.65" Nexus, 5.0" Player, and a 10.1" GTab. I can't wait for the 4G/LTE CDMA Note/Journal to show it's face. The Charge will then be gone. I will forever be in this 5" range. In my voting, I picked 4 - 5", only because the 5.3 is closer to 5" than 6".

Thanks Jerry!

I think the upper limit is between 5-6 inches of the simple reason that when the size goes beyond that, the device is no longer pocket-able. A Galaxy Note fits a breast pocket in a shirt perfectly but that's the upper limit.

I think that 5-6 inches is the optimum size for a "phablet" - i.e a device that combines the tablet features and comfort with a reasonable pocket-ability.

I cant believe there are 100+ votes for 7", seriously get a tablet, you know how dumb you'd look talking on a 7" phone, I'd probably slap you if i saw you.

From most of my experience, I have found that it is not the length of the phone that can be too big, but instead the width and thickness of the phone (from now on referred to as its "girth"). A long, skinny phone can feel comfortable, since it can go up and down in my hand as long as it wants to, with no discomfort. However, usually with an increase in length you get an increase in girth as well. This is where you can run into problems. Right now, I would have to say the Razr is one of the girthier phones out there, and that added girth makes it feel uncomfortable to me. I like to be able to firmly wrap my hand around it, and be able to operate the instrument with that hand. Once I am pushed too wide apart, it starts to hurt, and me as well as my phone has to be gentle with where it is positioned inside my hand. While I am not opposed to big, thick phones (lord knows I've had a few, and I know that there are those of you out there who want nothing but the biggest phones you can find), the smallness of my hands can be sensitive to being stretched out too much for too long. Therefore, I am a fan of increasing the length without added girth. My sweet spot, enlarging the screen from 4.3" to 4.7" ala Droid X to Nexus, without the added girth. BE WARNED: DON'T BELIEVE THE COMPANIES ON THE INTERNET THAT SAY THEY CAN MAKE YOUR PHONE BIGGER WITHOUT SACRIFICING SOMETHING. All enlargement comes with a price.

The usable area of a 4.65" phone with soft buttons is equal to or less than a 4.3" phone with hardware buttons. Not all screen sizes can be evaluated equally.

I wouldn't want anything larger than 4.5", I find SGS2 ATT version to be the perfect size for comfortably doing readings and writing posts on a phone without stretching my hands too far.

As a user of a number of different sized phones and tablets, I personally have found the "sweet spot" with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus.

All my friends and colleagues who have tried it seem pretty convinced too. It is large enough to browse the internet and type error free with the on-screen keyboard but still fits fine in jacket, shirts, shorts and trouser pockets.

It has had major success in the Far East and Europe and with the imminent arrival of ICS, it will be hard to beat for a while.

I had the choice of a Nexus or a Note and went for the Note mainly for the internal card slot and secondly for the screen size.

Really pleased I went for the Note.

I'm not a big dude at only 5'8", but my hands are about 9", so I love a big phone. My old Motorola Triumph was a nice size. Big enough to browse and game with, buy small enough to hide in my hand holding landscape style. A 5" + screen might be a nice fit for me thou

I actually like the size of galaxy note.. Now 4.anything looks too small for me. However for now note is the limit. Bigger than that I'll say it's ridiculous..

I have the Galaxy Nexus now but man do I wish the screen was larger. I wish they would just bring the Note to Verizon so I can finally be happy with my screen size.

I use the Bionic right now, but I'm pretty into the idea of the Galaxy Note. I'd love a 5.3" screen, because I don't ever carry my phone in my jean pockets. Women's jeans (at least the ones I wear) don't have pockets large enough to carry any phone other than a flip phone. My phone either goes in my purse or in my jacket pocket, and that's plenty of space for a huge screen! The only thing that would be odd about it is that my hands are so'd definitely be a difficult device to hold! I'd jump all over the Note if it was on Verizon, but I'd rather throw myself off a cliff than switch to AT&T...they don't even get 3G service in my area, much less 4G.

Well I think I could accept a phone with at least a 36" or possible even up to a 43 inch display, as long as it's not too thick or weighs more than 15 kg.

I'd like a 10" tablet screen. That is TOO big to hold to your head, but would work fine as a bluetooth ONLY phone/tablet. Why does screen have to be held to your head?

I wish my 4" Virgin Triumph was bigger. My 7" Nook Color is too big for a phone, but a little small for a tablet (at least for these 50+ year old eyes). I'm looking forward to seeing the 5.3" Galaxy Note. I think it will work perfectly for me and my needs.