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Do you prefer small or large smartphone displays?

Seeing as how we live in a world where 6-inch smartphone screens have quickly become the norm, it's hard to believe that the first Galaxy Note and its 5.3-inch display caused the entire industry to stop and stare at its "ginormous" size just a few years ago.

Since then, phones have become increasingly larger and larger. This is great if you're someone that consumes a lot of media or enjoy the larger canvas to more easily see whatever it is you're looking at, but there's still an argument to be made for the ease of use that comes with small phones.

One of our forum users recently exchanged their Galaxy S8 for a Pixel 2 and asked the community if they'd get used to the reduction in screen real-estate with their new handset, and these are some of the top answers:

You can eventually get used to anything if given time -- I would think the bigger bezels would be more annoying then anything else.

Almeuit

I went from an iPhone 7+ to the Pixel 2's 5" screen and love it. Sure I'll like for it to use it's real estate more effectively, but it's a great form factor.

ilimit

If your eyes are good, a smaller phone screen is fine. I need to where readers to see my phone so the bigger the better so I can make out some things on the phone without fumbling for my reading glasses.

paradroid

My near vision is much better than my distance vision so the small screen works for me. I have my display and font set to the smallest size and that gives me pretty good screen density. I have noticed a decline in my near vision so I might be a "big phone" guy sooner or later.

sixty_four

While not as dramatic a percentage drop in screen size, I had gone from the Nexus 6 (6") to the Pixel XL (5.5") and wasn't really bothered - though am now back to the 6" size with the 2 XL. Honestly, if I didn't consume so much video media on my phone I would have gone with the Pixel 2 in a heartbeat, as it is certainly more easily pocketable and a far better bang for the buck.

Jeremy8000

Now, we'd like to pass the question on to you – Do you prefer small or large smartphone displays?

Join the conversation in the forums!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

70 Comments
  • The larger the display the better! I would just like a tablet phone to hold up to my ear to talk into..
  • Firstly, in upset there's nothing in between. Second, I know this asks about screen size, but the actual physical size of the phone is most important to me, and I think the LG G6 gets it most right for me. Combo of perfect physical size, while fitting the most screen in possibly can, without curving the screen or making the phone so fragile you're paranoid while holding it.
  • Large displays for me. Since the Note 3, I won't consider a device that's under 5.9. Bigger is better!
  • I recently started driving my Axon 7 again, been using the S8 for several months. I like the bigger real estate I get with the Axon 7 and having the dual Dolby Atmos front hi-fi speakers really adds to the fun of going bigger.
  • Never happy with either tbh.
    When I have a large screen phone I crave a smaller one to be more portable for fitness/running etc.
    When I have a smaller screen phone I crave a large one for consuming media and for the larger keyboard etc. I'm really looking forward to these foldable devices appearing this/next year to see if I can have the best of both worlds
  • I want a big phone and bug screen. Bring back the original Nexus 6
  • The S8+ is the best form factor for me.
  • Larger display for easier viewing.
  • I prefer the larger screen. I have large hands and long fingers so the bigger the better for me.
  • Smaller screen please.
  • There are enough small phones on the market to choose from.... Please start making some BIG screened Phones for all the people who have no noses and bad eyesight 🙃
  • I don't agree. There are not enough small phones that are worth much at all.
  • I'm good with both, honestly.
  • Hmm??? I prefer a small form factor when i'm carrying my smart phone. And a larger version when I'm using a virtual keyboard.
  • LARGE I want 6in+ bezeless dual screen asap. I'll keep going bigger until AR glasses can replace my phone.
  • I like big displays, 5.5 - 6 inches. But I also want it to be 16:9. Sadly this is becoming more and more rare.
  • Me too
  • Yup, I love 16:9, so for this year it looks like the regular Mate 10 or the Sony XA2 Ultra are the choices for me
  • Smaller screen is an absolute must. I love my Nexus 6P but its too big. I want a phone that I can carry comfortably in my pocket and has some range of one-handed utility. I don't need to see video playback for extended use; I have a tablet and a computer for that. I do need my phone to be my veritable universal go-to for daily needs.. and it goes with me everywhere. I wouldn't even consider a phone larger than 5.5" now no matter how amazing it might be.
  • LG G6 is the optimal size & shape for me, let's hope whatever they replace it with will be of similar proportions.
  • Last 3 phones have been 5.5, 5.2, 6.0. New 6" phone is same size as the 5.5 of 2015 so I suppose it's not really relevant but 5.5 would be better for me if it was the same design as the 6".
  • My V30 agrees.
  • Large
  • 5.5 in is the sweet spot for me. Large screen size for my old eyes but I can still do most things one handed.
  • I was on what I'd consider the medium side (5.0"-5.2") and now 5.5"ish feels good. Think it all depends on the phone design as many new reiterations increased display area while reducing bezels. Don't think a 6.0"ish phone would be my thing though.
  • Yep. And the weight matters a lot to me as well. I want it as light as possible.
  • Both... and Neither at the same time. It all depends on what I am doing, my activity levels at the time. What I really would like is a seamless way to activate multiple SIM cards under the same phone number, so I can easily grab and go whichever phone I need. But to answer the question... my LG V10 is about as big as I care to go and my iPhone 5C is the smallest.
  • T-Mobile Digits might be your friend if you are in an area that T-Mo works.
  • I am really tired of these ever engorging screens. U11 is too big. My 10 is too big. The rumored U11 Eye is ridiculously big. Where is the HTC Incredible form size? That was perfect. 4.7" is just fine, even 4" would be welcome. It's not about screen size; it's about pixel density and font size.
  • I went from an HP Elite X3 to a galaxy J7 when I switched from Windows phone to android. After 3 months I was on a galaxy note 8. J7 screen was to little for me.
  • Small phone with a large display is the way to go for me. I moved from a Galaxy S7 Edge to an Essential Phone and I'm loving it. Less phone and more screen.
  • A 5" and under phone is perfect for me, I really like the size and shape of the original Moto X and iPhone 4.
  • Oh, definitely the bigger screens for two reasons. My eyes aren't what they used to be and my hands and fingers are on the XL size. I say, let's go to 7" screens.
  • I want a small form factor with a large screen, that's why I went with Essential phone's 5.7 inch screen... but it's significantly smaller than my 6P was, that also had a 5.7 screen. If a 5 inch screen came out that's the same build of the Essential, I would love that. It's why I didn't go with the smaller Pixel 2... I didn't want those large top/bottom bezels.
  • I'm using my Mate pro 10's navigation dock exclusively instead of those navigation buttons at the bottom of the screen (I've never really used them since I got the phone)
    I feel that I could handle, say 6.5" 18:9 display (with minimal bezels), quite as easily with the dock.
    So, in those conditions I would never go back to less than a 6" size.
  • I prefer the mid-sized 5.0 to 5.2 on the 16:9 phones - I find them to be comfortable to hold while still offering a big enough screen to be useful. Now with the 18:9 (well, really 2:1) screens it seems like the 5.7 is similar in proportion.
  • I want smaller phones that are easier to carry around. Trends are getting bigger and bigger. We are going past "phablet" and into small tablet territory.
  • Took a chance going from s8 to note 8 but it paid off and likely won't go back to s smaller form factor.
  • Neither: I like HUGE displays. I'm on a 6.44" Xiaomi Mi Max right now and I love, it, though I loved my 7" Huawei Mediapad X1 more, sadly that line was discontinued. I've always gone with the biggest possible device, and have always be mocked for it: 4.3" HTC HD2, 5.1" Galaxy Note v1, 6" Huawei Ascend Mate v1... My phone is mostly an e-reader: books, longform articles, news. Then it's a video and games machine. For these 3 things, bigger is undoubtedly better. Since I've mastered single handed use of those monsters, I don't mind the ridiculous size, though I understand that people that mostly call/message/use mobile-only apps like smaller devices. What worries me is the trend towards narrow phones. 18:9 is worse than 16:9 for reading, movies and games. And a bunch of other things too: maps, Office... on top of being 7", the Mediapad X1 was also 16:10, which for me was even better than 16:9, especially for emergency Office work.
  • I prefer BIG screens. I'm 58 and can't read text without readers. Used the 6" Moto Nexus 6 for 3 years. Now using the 5.2' Moto X4 Android One. Am VERY interested in the rumor that the Xiaomi Mi Max 3 will be 7-inches. Hopefully it will be bezel-less. BIG screen, but has to fit into cargo shorts.
  • Large, the bigger the screen the easier it is to replace it if the **** breaks
  • I loathed big screens until sammy managed to fit one into the size of the S8. I remember rolling my eyes at the Nexus 5 coming from the Nexus 4. I never did get used to the 5" screen on the 5. But for some reason this S8 is near perfect. EDIT: I'm a boy sized man
  • As a petite female, I just want *any* phone that will fit into my (too-rare) pockets. The Pixel is just barely small enough. I can't wait for folding screens on phones.
  • I know right!
  • I miss my Lumia 1520's screen. I hate the new 2:1 aspect ratio (I refuse to say 18:9; it's just stupid). I have the Note 8 because it's the biggest I could get easily in the US, but it's too small for my taste.
  • I totally agree, the 2:1 aspect ratio sucks. I wish the Note 8 was the same physical shape as the Note 7. This year I have my eyes on the Sony XA2 Ultra and the non-pro Huawei Mate 10. Seems to be the best bets for big screens and still 16:9
  • I've been doing the big phone screens for the last nine years, and as of this year I'm officially done with them. From now on I will only be buying phones that are small enough for me to one hand. I bought the Note8 recently and ended up swapping it for the S8. No regrets, I even turned the screen resolution down to 720p and now I can get up to two days out of the battery with moderate to heavy use. I almost bought the new mini Sony phone that has the 835 chip in it, but the overall width was the same as the S8 so I went with the S8. May switch to the pixel 2 instead of the s9 though.
  • Love looking at a big beautiful screen but don't like handling it. The 6P is probably my favorite display so far but it was just too cumbersome for me. Had a Pixel XL after that, now using a Pixel 2 (non-XL) and really happy with how it feels in hand.
  • I'm good between 5-5.5in. I use to think I wanted the huge phone and loved my Nexus 6 but the Pixel 2 other similar sized phones feel much better in the hand.
  • ...Go big.
  • A larger screen is not only easier on the eyes but on the fingers. That means a larger on-screen keyboard and also screen controls and buttons as well. I use my company's service portal all day long and the pages are not exactly finger-friendly, Anything smaller than my S8+ would be less than optimal...
  • I use a sony xperia compact. All I want is a phone that has flagship / decent specs that fits in my hand and my pants pocket. I use the phone for communication and not really big into gaming and video watching. One day I hope more OEMs will feel the same way.
  • By today's standards, I like small displays - 5 inch or less; much bigger and they start to become unwieldy to use one-handed and they look like you've got a tablet against your head when using as a phone.
  • Larger the better!!
  • I used to not like anything bigger than 5.5 inches previously because I always wanted a phone I can use 1 handed when needed. But now I have a V30 a with a 6.0 inch display and it's a pretty good size for me. I can even 1 hand 80% of the display because it's near bezeless. Although I would mostly prefer a near bezeless 5.5 inch display. I can't wait until someone eventually comes out with a 5.5 inch bezeless QHD display. That will be the perfect sweet spot for me.
  • I like larger phones, but not particularly for the screen size. More, I'm a fan of the larger battery they usually come with! And we're at the point now that processors are efficient enough that the larger screen doesn't linearly eat up the extra battery either.
  • I have a G5, which is as large a form factor as I want to carry, but I like the idea of all of the front being screen. I too think the G6 is about perfect. But I find myself increasingly turning to tarts for reading as my eyes get worse.
  • If the Pixel 2 had a similar design like the 2XL but smaller, then I would buy that over the 2XL. I can't stand the huge bezels.
  • 4.9" to 5.3" 16:9 but with a 90% screen to body ratio. Like iPhone 4S but with all screen. no front buttons. no bezels. Wish they also offered models with No front camera at all. I don't video call or take selfies. ever.
  • U11 perfect size phone and perfect screen size.
  • 5" screens are perfect for me. I have an OG Pixel and I have no complaints about the usability. Easy on one handed use and easy to fit in pocket.. I have a tablet so I don't need a big screen phone, any reading, watching videos/movies is done on my tablet so small phone works for taking pictures and portability!
  • Defintely smaller for me. I fantasize about having a phone with all the beauty and goodness of my Note8 on a 5 inch screen. I'm small and i have small hands 😊
  • I've got extremely large hands (usually have to special order my gloves,) so I really hate using small screens. I wish there was decent a 6.5 - 7 inch 16:9 phones out there for people like me. And even better.... that large phone folds out to a small tablet! :D
  • I don't necessarily need the bigger display for better visuals, although it is nice. But more so that I have big hands. The smaller phones just don't feel right.
  • Whatever size fits into the body of something like the Nexus 5 or original pixel phone. 16:9 ratio is a requirement as well.
  • Bigger screen. I just dont like the narrow sides of my 8+
  • The land of bifocals says big phones. Preferably in 16:9 to get enough width to read more than 4 words per line. By the way, I am seriously jonesing for Safari's single column reader mode. So many websites don't respond well to large for a or text zoom. Anybody know of an Android browser with the equivalent?
  • Large, and only Samsung Notes. Galaxy Note 4, now Note 8, will get the Note 9. As long as they keep the SD card, I'm a Samsung lifer!
  • The bigger the better. I rarely use my phone for calling.
    But gaming, texting, geocaching, office work, audio and video recording and so much more. And everything is better with a bigger display. Just my few cents...
  • The iPhone 6 and Nexus 5 were the perfect sized phones for me. I have a Moto G5 Plus and it's slightly bigger but I wouldn't want to go any bigger.
    I like to use my phone one handed!