We asked for thinner and lighter phones — and now we complain about them?

Over the past few years, there's been a clear trend across the smartphone industry to go thinner, lighter and more compact in attempt to give you the most screen size per cubic millimeter of phone size. We were surprised when phones snuck under the 10 mm thickness threshold, and now 8 mm is about the norm. Bezels have consistently shrunk to accommodate ever-higher screen-to-body ratios. Battery capacities have generally stagnated due to (admittedly small) advancements in battery tech being counteracted by physically smaller cells. We've lost, for the most part, things like front-facing speakers, stereo speakers, headphone jacks and more — all in the name of having even more compact phones wrapped around big screens.

But even still, we clearly aren't satisfied — apparently we want these companies to keep going. A new phone cannot be announced without seeing complaints in our comments and on Twitter about it having screen bezels that are too big, a back that's too thick or rounded, or a screen that's too big (in an effort to keep bezels small and the body thin) to wrap your hand around.

But coinciding with these complaints about phones still being too big, whenever we see a phone go super thin and compact, which is apparently what everyone wants, there are somehow still complaints. Samsung released the Galaxy S8, which maximizes screen real estate and reduces just about everything else, and people complained there wasn't enough phone to hold onto. The same complaints have already started relating to the LG V30, which is expected to have a curved display. Motorola launched the extremely thin and light Moto Z2 Force, and we complained it's too thin and light, saying that we'd prefer more battery instead.

So my question is: what, exactly, do you want? When you ask for a thin, light, compact phone with a big screen ... but that also still has a large battery and all of the other extra features, you're asking for something that cannot exist with current technology. I feel like a broken record, but it bears repeating: everything you do in a smartphone has a consequence associated with it. You can't shrink bezels without also affecting thickness. You can't add battery without adding weight. You can't make a phone thinner without compromising camera component size. Everything you add to a smartphone takes up room inside, which means something has to be removed or the phone has to be thicker (or both).

Smartphone companies are just responding to the consumer demand for thinner and lighter phones.

Big smartphone companies, for all of their seemingly large disconnect from the "real" consumers out there, have seen time after time that the thinner, lighter and sleeker the phone, the better it sells. Everyone in the comments on Android Central articles can make as many claims to the contrary as they wish, but the average consumer wants thin and light. Yes they want other features, too, but thin and light are high on the list and those features immediately sell phones in the store. And as I noted above, even the smartphone fans here at AC truly want thin and light — they just aren't as amenable to giving up anything to get it.

So what's a company to do? They go where the market wants them: thinner and lighter phones with smaller bezels ... and therefore smaller batteries and fewer "fringe" features like front-facing speakers. Every phone has compromises.

Beyond those philosophical thoughts, here are some other quick takes on the week:

  • Daniel's Moto Z2 Force review encapsulates most of my feelings on the phone. While all phones have some level of compromise within them, Motorola seemed to make too many compromises, and also wrong compromises. I'll work up more of my thoughts on the phone in the coming week or two.
  • Motorola's black-and-white camera sensor really is fantastic. Shame the camera experience is so slow and the color photos are just average. Not good enough for this level of phone.
  • The LG V30 looks very exciting. And though there are plenty of V10 and V20 fans upset about the V30 losing its rugged appeal, as I noted above that's just not what the industry wants.
  • I have a few crazy weeks ahead, with everything coming together ahead of Samsung's Note 8 launch in NYC on August 23, and then IFA over in Berlin just a few days later. Going to get crazy — and fun.

Enjoy the rest of your Sunday, and have a great week.


Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • One thing I've learned in my brief time on forums is that we will complain no matter what. Now people want thick, wide phones with unending battery life. If the industry were to head in that direction, you can bet folks would complain about boat like phones that are tough to hold. There really is no pleasing segments of Android users.
  • Just get a Huawei Mate 9. I did. No complaints about screen too narrow. No complaints about battery life.
  • I am literally waiting for my Mate 9 to be delivered right now. It sure seems like missing wireless charging is the only compromise ,other than that it seems perfect
  • I'd certainly consider the Mate 10. Especially once Samsung Pay becomes available to all OEMs
  • I ordered one in January. I sold it and get a S8. Just smashed the screen on it. So I ordered another Mate 9. Great phone - great battery life. Looking forward to having one again.
  • Huawei will leave you hanging with no updates after a few months. Been there, done that.
  • Or there are complaints from two seperate factions.
  • Jesus could come down with the perfect phone, they would still complain.
  • Thin but lightweight & long battery life? What's a company to do? Moto Mods apparently!
  • Yeah, but when you add the battery mod, it's no longer thin!
  • I am one that will not complaints about weight and thickness. Currently using a Moto Z Play with a battery mod at all times (unless the speaker mod is on). I have Thick, Heavy, Bezelness, non-flagship...and like it!
  • People stopped asking for thinner phones back around 2014.
  • Exactly! We just want more battery life.
  • If everyone wanted small thing phones we would be using those iPhone SEs...which Apple pretty much gives away now...
  • But the fact that Apple went out of its way to make the iPhone SE shows that demand is there.
  • My dad lives his little 5S. It died after the SE came out. He loves his SE and it's added fingerprint scanner.
  • The 5S also had a finger print scanner.
  • 5s was the phone Apple first had a finger print scanner on. Regular 5 and 5C did not have it.
  • Indeed, my Mom and brother switched from their 6 and 6s to go to an SE. That little phone can do a lot with it's camera! There certainly is some small demand for it and the SE was a much better "budget" alternative than the 5c before it.
  • My work phone is an se and its horrible to use. Typing and navigating on that thing are a nightmare.
  • Got to disagree. I have just got an SE and find I type more accurately on it than on any phone I have had before. I do hold it in one hand though and type using the other hand. I find it much more accurate than using swipe on my other phones and the word suggestions above the keyboard are better.
  • Who? Who asked? Want a decent battery and durability
  • A decent battery isn't good enough anymore. It's 2 days, heavy use or bust now. 😄
  • Who wanted a phones that resemble pencil cases with their weird proportions? Who said that we wanted headphone jacks to be eliminated? Who said that we wanted curved screens? Who said that we wanted to trade battery for thinness? Who said that phone backs have to be glass? Certainly not me. I think that bloggers like martonik who don't have to carry phones in a real world environment drive all of this. People in the field, at the plant, or on the road use cases that negate the asthetic "innovation (more like detractions)." Normal users don't want or need all of these new ideas. Who wants them? By and large, prima donas who want form over function.
  • Dude, companies are always trying new things to stand out and vy for your attention over the competition. They probably decide what sticks to the next generation with what feature gets the least complaints.
  • Right? Nobody has ever said they wanted a super thin phone.. That was what Apple wanted. Every single forum / website I go to, every article I read comments on... Every. Single. One. are from people complaining about phones being thin, and that batteries need to be bigger.. And this is dating all the way back to the iPhone 5. Just goes to show how disconnected the media and companies truly are with their consumer base -_-
  • And yet, we keep voting yes with our wallets...😂
  • Or how disconnected the enthusiasts are to the general public's desires.
  • This. Enthusiast forums and sites rarely reflect the general publics desires.
  • Apparently, I'm an outlier. What I want from/for a phone are good call quality, removable battery, and wireless charging.
  • Good luck finding removable battery nowadays, at least in a top-end phone. This is at least something most people have given up on.
  • To me this is where the Moto Mods shine. It is basically the next best thing to removable battery. Basically like having a hot swappable battery
  • Until the internal battery wears out, than the mod will be useless as well.
  • And that's because things break with the time. Even people die.
  • That's where YouTubers like JerryRigEverything come in. I watch his vid and then you can pay me to fix your phone if you aren't comfortable doing it. Sure is a lot cheaper than a new phone these days.
  • ...but it's a Moto.
  • Sealed batter acceptance was helped by quick charge and decent capacity. I woke up this morning and the phone was at 48%. Plugged it in and took a shower, and it was full before I was ready to go. After 14 hours of use, the phone is still at 62%.
    I've done the whole removable battery thing several times, and still have a collection of extra's. Carrying spare batteries may be fun for some, but I prefer a phone that just lasts.
  • I guess the useless headphone jack is next
  • Just get a battery case
  • Who exactly asked for smaller and thinner phones? I certainly didn't. I like the current design, just make the devices a tad thicker to accommodate larger batteries. I don't want to be tethered to a charging port all day. But I'm a person who prefers rugged phones over the fragile glass ones that are currently out there.
  • Nobody is asking for thin and light what are you talking about? Thin and Light =/= small bezels and bigger displays. Go look at the Chinese phones that pack 4000-5000mAh batteries. OEMs now are purposely limiting the size of the battery on flagships in the effort you'll upgrade sooner. The LG G2 that came out in 2013 had a 5.2" and 3000mAh battery with tiny bezels. You're telling me that 4 years later parts haven't gotten smaller to allow a bigger battery? Go lookup the 2013 Xperia ZL and how tiny the bezels were or the Moto X 2014 with it's tiny bezels and front facing speaker. 2013-2014 had some design efficient phones. All we want is the biggest display in the smallest footprint possible with a big battery. I don't care for thinness make it thick if you want. Battery technology hasn't improved in the last decade and these power sucking displays and SoCs aren't helping.
  • I agree, Huawei is taking over the market with power packed phones that aren't heavier or thicker than competition. That's what people want. Samsung, Apple and others are being lazy with battery because they think people want extra thin. No, we want easy to hold, the Moto X play is a bit ticker but has nice small bezels and is super easy to hold. Also brands don't have to sell only one type of phone, they should definitely have a dual front facing speaker phone in their portfolio, otherwise the audiophile crowd won't buy their brand. ZTE and LG got that right. Apple and Samsung won't ever see my money as long as they continue building inferior speakers.
  • Audiophiles aren't satisfied by dual front facing speakers.
  • I was, for times when I was not plugged into a system or using headphones. They came in handy for business trips, and meant you did not need to pack a BT speaker. M8 is more pleasant sounding, but the U11 is way louder and you can make it sound similar to the M8 with EQ.
  • I was too.
  • Front facing speakers are a feature that technology was supposed to work around. It's nearly as important as the big screen. You have this gigantic screen for media consumption yet you have this dinky little speaker that forces you to turn that big screen at odd angles so you can hear the dialogue... Just a big fail to lose FF speakers. But I get it, all the whiny little ******* either complained about those phones being too thick or having too much bezel. Then when they removed the speakers to give you a thinner device with more screen, then the whiny little ******* complained about speakers and headphone jacks. I'm just really sick of whiny little *******... REALLY I AM!
  • Nothing is ever perfect, but the Blackberry Keyone is the closest thing I can buy for my needs. I only wish it were a bit bigger, but it's good enough I'd buy it again!
  • I agree with that as I have a KEYone as well. One of the best phones that I've used in recent years. PKB not for everyone though.
  • Absolutely agree. I love my Keyone; it is the best phone experience I have had in a long time. I am not looking at my phone as a pocket movie theater/gaming device so perhaps that makes me an outlier. I use my phone as a productivity device, and the Keyone excels at that. I also agree that I wish it were a little wider, but that is a minor quibble with an otherwise great device.
  • IMO People want to read stories about how the phone they purchased or plan to purchase is the best. They want to feel smug and confident that they out witted their friends, acquaintances and the internet. They want to feel validated that their lack of means does not equate to missing capability because they are too entitled to accept that sometimes they might miss out. That's why people are so desperate to cry about a lack of waterproofing or bezels too small or bezels too large or pictures with a flaw occasionally or whatever. That's why the red faced ragers insist there is no possible reason why a phone cost $X would ever be missing Y feature. But phones don't complete people and they never will. So, no matter what advances are made, people will still be unhappy. Someone will always be ready to tell you how inferior your thing is.
  • ^So much THIS it's not even funny!
  • Very good
  • Unfortunately very true.
  • Excellent and insightful comment. Kudos to you.
  • Well put.
  • Oops, went to upvote your comment TokranePo, and it selected report instead :(
  • To me - an older generation type of guy - thin means frail, weak, subject to physical objects etc; meant to be carried around in a purse only. Too big and most people say it can't fit in their pocket - or it's a holster only type of carry; which some people refuse to do. Comments I've heard other people talk about lately is battery life, picture quality, screen resolution and sound. Throw in waterproof and wireless charging. Personally I really like wireless charging, it's a big convenience. Waterproof is a plus. I do miss the option to go to a bigger, replaceable battery. I had a 6400ma battery that worked really well for me. For an old guy, I like bigger screens. Market research - shouldn't be done inside of forums. WTH... It's like saying items or posts on Facebook are actually factual. "Everything you read on the internet is true" type of BS...
  • When I got my Moto X Pure Edition I thought it was the perfect size, weight and shape. Absolutely perfect in my hand. So obviously I picked the G6 as my new phone. At first it was absolutely miserable to hold, no way to get comfortable with it. Now when I pick up the Moto X it's huge. Almost uncomfortable. I think I, we, tend to reject new changes before allowing enough time to adjust.
  • I have never asked for thinner phones and I still want a phone with a huge battery.
  • Again, I really something in the middle
    Not extremely thick, but not extremely thin
    Not a 1/2 day battery life, but not a 2 week battery life
    Not a DSLR camera, but not a 1 megapixel camera
    I do believe that with most things on the phone, there is a happy medium
    Except the headphone jack. ALWAYS include the headphone jack. Don't care if you have to lose 25 mAh on the battery.
  • I'll tell you what we want, iPhone 7, S8, Pixel, G6, U11, OP5 and million other phones which are thin enough with decent battery capacity. Not thin because of some money grab strategy of selling mods which crappy Motorola is doing. And I respectfully disagree with Daniel when he says in the AC podcast that Motorola probably didn't intend this to be a money grab. They knew exactly what they and their anti consumer carrier partners are planning with this phone. Sell more profitable mods by gimping features on the phone. Unfortunately for them this phone is going to be a dud.
  • Who is "we" ? I never did ! I think the issue is not so much that phones have gotten thinner and lighter; but that there is no alternative to these thin and light phones. More generally, I'm surprised at the utter lack of either customization and variety in phones. Where is the Dell of phones ? Is it really the buyers who all want the same thing, or the economic model which , unlike for PCs, doesn't allow built-to-order or at least a variety of configs based on the same platform ? The Galaxy S Active comes close to what I'd want, but it's overpriced and scarcely distributed. I'd go for a Xiaomi with a bigger battery, a plastic back, and wireless charging.
  • Moto Maker existed for a while, it had build-to-order for Moto X and Moto G with a variety of colors and materials for components. No idea how profitable it was.
  • I think every company does their market research differently. I don't think that online forums or reviewers are their only or even primary user base. As a former product manager, I can tell you that if that is their only audience, that's bad product management. Having said that, if product managers at these companies are doing their jobs well, talking to enough users and prospective users ahead of making decisions, then the majority of users out there apparently do want thinner phones at the expense of battery life, and the majority of users out there don't care about the 3.5mm headphone jack, not the majority of reviewers. Reviewers are seen as important users, but companies take into account that they don't use phones for long periods of time before switching to the next device they have to review. Personally I'm very happy with the state of where phones are going except for the thickness/battery aspect. I think a thicker phone with at least a 4,000mAH battery is far better than a thinner one with 3,500. But at the end of the day, what I want is highly unlikely to factor into any manufacturers decisions. They're surveying and doing focus groups with large segments of their user population in different countries, looking at the data on the internet as one of their sources, and of course one of their most important stakeholders is their Engineering groups, who can help them understand what's possible and what's not. Then they're aggregating all of that data and making decisions
  • Good comments. And I'll mostly agree... Also - I'll say most everyone that I know of - hasn't directly wished for a smaller phone purposefully sacrificing battery life. The only people that I know that has made a comment about it (being thin enough) are basically women wondering if it will fit into their purse pocket. Now we are back to ergonomics and fashion over usability. So where is this marketing group that has founded this idea? Thin - is being unique - doing more with less is always a draw. But that's about it... The only place I've seen comments - or heard of similar comments - are on forums - like wanting thin bezels... My big ugly fingers don't work well with thin bezels. So finding a correct case is a make or break type of deal...
  • Apparently the author thinks he speaks for us.
  • Lol, must be a nice view from your high horse, Martonik. I've never asked for an anorexic phone with a tiny battery. Also, your excuse making for the major OEM'S is very obvious. There's no reason Sammy couldn't have put a 3300mah battery in the S8, so people could actually make it through a day, and Lenovorola is even worse with the garbage they pulled with the Z2 Force for no other reason than to sell their high profit battery mods. I'm sure I'll hear from you shortly, out of all the authors on this site, you can least tolerate it when someone says something contrary to your viewpoint.
  • And HTC didn't bother putting a larger battery into the U11 either. Despite that phone ACTUALLY being thicker.
  • No sh*t, bud. Do I need to name each and every phone? I think not.
  • Nope, just HTC, since there lies the thicker phone/bigger battery irony. But I knew you'd be too defensive to get that. It's okay 😁
  • Galaxy S8 is 8mm thick, U11 is 7.9mm thick. U11 internal space was taken up by Boomsound acoustic chambering.
  • Samsung could have put a larger battery into the S8 but that would have changed the design of the phone. Most of us probably would have been okay with it being a little thicker and or a little wider but with the current design that they're doing it's built around the idea that it's going to have the 3000 milliamp hour battery.
  • I never ever asked for a 'thinner' phone over battery capacity. That is pretty stupid IMO. Having your phone with a tiny bit of heft & thickness is fine.
  • What are you talking about? I'm just asking for a self perpetuating auto rechargeable phone, which is so thin I can tattoo it in my arm. That's it. Is it too much to ask? ;)
  • lol
  • Give it a few years :P
  • Should also project it's screen into your arm, thereby alleviating the need for a screen.
  • "We" didn't ask for this. And "we" didn't ask for phablets. YOU (people reviewing phones for a living) did. And on the "thinner é lighter" part, you had the precious help of the people in Cupertino to whom form always comes over functionality. So WE (the average consumer) complain because we aren't getting what we asked for. We're getting what a small group of people asked for.
  • That's also the reason for fragile glass and antenna-blocking aluminum instead of highly durable plastic for the phone's back. "Premium feel."
  • Good point. I still don't get that whole "premium feel" bit... Especially when the majority of people throw a case over that premium feeling device
  • I never understood the "premium feel, and look in the hand" thing either....the stupidest, most subjective thing to say about anything....but that was the naritive from all the tech reviewers, bloggers, and journalists....I do think it's the media that plays a big part in what today's phones look like.....if they praise the iPhone yr after yr, Apple will make the same thing over and over......and other companies don't want to be left behind, so they copy the form
  • Why doesn't Android Central have a survey for every single feature category that can be put on a spec sheet? There's enough community here to design a proper enthusiast phone! Call it the Central Phone.
  • I use the 6P and plan to keep using it until a phone with same spec sheet that has upgraded features, comes out.
  • I loved my 6P but hated the battery life. I would turn that thing on in the morning and, no joke, after perusing my news feed for 10 minutes the thing would go from 100 to 92% battery. 10 minutes. Z Play now. Zero concerns about battery life. Ever.
  • Google "Homer Simpson designs car"
  • So add a spoiler to the 6p and call it a day!
  • Powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball . . .
  • And still half of us wouldn't be happy with it lol
  • I want a slim, no bezel phone with battery life that will last me weeks. We need advancement in battery technology, which has been lacking for years
  • There's no such thing as a no bezel phone, every phone has bezels. They may be thin but they're still there. Battery life that will last you for weeks? That'll never happen.
  • Very bad to go with a bezel-less phone, every time you pick it up or hold it you'd be starting apps you didn't mean to start or swiping left or right on your home screens by accident or even hitting the home/back/active app list etc, it's hard enough on some phones as it is now.
  • Guardian1128 - That's why I stopped using my S7 Edge.
  • That's what I have - and I'm going to the Pixel 2 - mostly for security and updates - that and a way to store pictures... Yep - I'm constantly hitting the wrong thing with my fingers (holding it - the 7 Edge) while swipping to open the phone once it's unlocked. I've got to admit though - at first I thought it was sexy - still do - but my fat fingers and it - just don't get along. Practicality I guess...
  • I have this discussion with a no-bezel guy and he told me the problem was I was holding the phone wrongly. You are supposed to rest the phone in your palm and not grep it from the sides with your fingers. That day I lost respect for that guy. P.S., He looked confused when I asked him how you were supposed to use the phone while on the bed.
  • He's not wrong though. That's pretty much how you use a phone with curved edges.
    Sounds you lost respect for him because he figured it out,. It's not his fault that Samsung (aka "Android") made his phone with a curved screen. ..And I have a G6, pretty much in the "bezeless category". I have zero problems holding it, and using it while driving (Shhhhhhhhh... don't tell anyone). Which is why I assume you mean no bezels and curved screen.
  • So you have to hold the phone 'daintily' to hold it correctly? How are going to do that riding in a pickup going down a gravel road filled with potholes, or a brisk walk doing exercise or waking up or downstairs or riding on a train?
    I can literally think up - many - scenarios where this type of phone simply wouldn't work for me. Sorry - just not my type of phone that I will buy again. I need bezels. Or a darn good case that will compensate...
  • I like a thin phone, especially when I put a case on it that thickens it up a bit. But I also need to have a big enough battery to last me through a normal day.
  • How about a thicker phone that had more battery and was more resistant, thus making the case unnecessary? Wouldn't that be more logic instead?
  • Yeah but the only company making such a phone is Samsung w/ the Active line. And it it's exclusive to AT&T:-\
  • I never asked for thinner and lighter phones. I've always supported the idea of a phone that could handle a 4000mah battery. Then again I have muscles and carrying a slightly heavier phone doesn't phase me.
  • I don't think I have seen one person complain about a phone being too thick in the past 3-4 years. Maybe when LTE first came out and the devices were 12+ mm thick, then yeah.
  • Nobody wants a thinner and lighter phone. OEM's just think we want them because the Razr was popular like 10 years ago. Nobody asked for thinner and lighter and quite frankly its annoying when they do it. Dumb article IMO
  • But when I had my Razr phones that's all they were and I also carried first a Psion pda, which I replaced with an HP hx4700 pda.
  • I'll make it easy. No curved screens and no glass backs. Everything else we have seen from Apple, Google and even LG is more or less fine. High internal storage, enough mAh for the average user to get through most days without issues, but it doesn't need to be ridiculous.
  • Or...how about just enough of everything that we have enough variety for all Android customers.
  • This
  • And no aluminium backs either. This isn't 2011. Phones without wireless charging have no place in the market.
  • Thin and light isn't what everyone wants, phones were thin enough in 2012 for me, yet they make them thinner and sacrifice features to do so. Just like not everyone wants a fragile glass premium phone, it's what manufacturers are forcing on us, not what everyone wants.
  • Yeah, glass phones too thin are more likely to crack in your pocket when you suddenly sit down or could be out and laying sideways on the grass or something, same way thin metal phones are easier to bend in the middle etc, this compulsion must end sooner or later.
  • I still think Samsungs Note 4 was one of the best designed phones to date. Motorola has had a few great designs as well, the old HTC One M7, M8 were built well to. Today we have thin, fragile, shrink the battery and remove the headphone jack to make it thinner phones.
  • Will admit to liking near zero bezel but I'll take a thicker phone if it has longer battery life. Have never specifically wanted thin.
  • While there certainly is a segment of the AC community that has difficulty grasping the laws of physics (as in, you cannot have a razor thin, bezel-less phone without compromising something else), I'd say it's pretty clear that they're the majority. Most of us geeks here want more battery, period; by whatever means, as long as it doesn't make the phone unusable or butt-ugly. I really don't think there's much of an audience for this article?
  • Dear Andrew
    Who is this "we"?
    How have you reinvented "everyone" to mean some people?
    Oh the poor manufacturer. Beholden to consumer pressure? Not. Samsung in the UK alone shows 39 smartphones on its Web site. And they can't make a big battery, flat screen, 16:9 aspect ratio version of the S8 or Note 8. Of course they could, if they wanted to.
  • Why do I have this feeling if every OEM put in a 5000 mAh battery in every phone , you guys would just use the phone more and it still wouldn't get you through the day. Same
    Sh**, different pile.
  • Anyone who would consistently blast through a 5000mah battery in a day should see a therapist!
  • I have been genuinely happy with every model of the Galaxy S and Note series from the S3 and Note 2 on up. Since I don't make the phones, I just enjoy them for what they're worth and what they are and appreciate the work that has gone into each and every one of them. I even enjoyed my very first Android phone, the HTC Droid Incredible. For its time, that was an awesome phone. I like seeing the new tech that comes out and since I switch phones so often, I don't get caught up with what each phone should or shouldn't have. I say just enjoy what is available or come up with the $$$ required to do R&D and build your own phone.
  • The market changes with time as do people's needs. Before smart phones the race was to have the most tiny phone because battery was not an issue. Now with lte and online video content exploding and more people using the phone to watch all of their content they want bigger phones that last longer. So yes 8 years ago when i did not watch much on my phone i wanted it thin. Now it's different.
  • I remember the tiny phones. A buddy at work had one that was two inches tall, one inch wide, and about 3/4 inch thick. I still remember him moving it to his ear to listen and to his mouth to talk, lol.
  • However, the market doesn't change. It's propped up by mfgs and what they want to sell, provide, and increase prices for. Sammy has quietly, if not beligerently taken the, "this is what we want you to need," page from apple's book and shoved it down our throats. Not happy. Ergo, I've not upgraded my note 4. I might go back to buying used to avoid giving money to mfgs who have never asked me what I want in a phone
  • You know what I want? A 6.6" smartphone with 256 GB of internal storage, 8GB of RAM, 20MP dual rear cameras with 4K and OIS, 16MP front camera with OIS, a 6000 mAh REMOVABLE battery (if it means it'll be 1.6cm thick, so be it!), Snapdragon 835, a native resolution of 2160 x 3840 pixels, a headphone jack (sad I have to type that), capacitive buttons and a microSD memory expansion. Go on, laugh or agree with me if you want, but it won't change a thing about my daring request.
  • The Snapdragon 835 will be long obsolete by the time you see dual rear cameras with OIS.
  • A 6.6" isn't a phone. It's a tablet that can make calls.
  • And of of that for $199.
  • Who asked? I didn't. And I don't think many actual BUYERS did, either. The Blogosphere sure did, and the manufacturers pay far too much attention to the whims of the tiny number of bloggers, giving sites like this an oversize importance. Just like sites like this one whined about the build quality of Samsung , LG and other plastic phones. So instead of rugged, nearly unbreakable plastic phones, we get slippery, shatter or dent-prone glass and metal phones. And the same bloggers now whine about that.
  • I think the one problem is that a person's phone use has changed in the last 2 years or so. For some of the population their phone is their main internet, email, social media, gaming, streaming device. I know while at work I use my phone to look up everything. I used to be able to browse the web at work but not anymore with the spyware they installed to track all of our keystrokes. I don't consider myself a heavy user but I can just get out of work with about 25% left on my Google Pixel. I could buy another charger to keep at work or one for my car so I can charge my phone after work but with all the proprietary fast or dash charging there is I have to by new ones with every phone. But this may be the manufactures end game also. Shrink the batteries and force the consumers to buy more and more charging accessories every year.
  • You're not obligated to buy the fastest charging technology with each phone, your older charger will will charge your newer phone. Not at the highest rate, but you didn't have such a high rate the previous year anyway.
  • I wish there was a smaller screen option. Everybody wants huge screens it seems. iPhone makes it and I have a 7 just to be able to shirt pocket it. Really burnt out on anything above 5". Tired of being uncomfortable with a giant phone in my pants. Verizon is no help of course since they don't offer anything, but not much to offer. My old razr maxx had a nice battery size and could pocket it so easy. Would love to see that size come back.
  • Not everyone did
  • Funny you (yes you tech reviewers) used to ***** and moan about "premium" when samsung and others used plastic, yet now you whine and complain phones are "fragile." Well the OEM's listened to your complaints and because the tech crowd thinks that adding glass makes it "premium" now we have phones that are very thin and not that durable. You brought this on yourself, don't try and group everyone into the "tech review crowd"
  • True - the tech reviewers - are just as much to blame as anyone else. Their job is to focus on what is good and what needs to be fixed. Not what they feel is the majority perception - and back it because of that perception.
  • I would like a Sony Xperia X Compact. Oh wait, I have one! Surprisingly few people know about it, and Sony has now decided to axe it. It compromises on screen size (4.6"), but they make efficient use of it. It's a delight to hold. You can actually reach every corner of the screen *gasp*! And with that comes a slightly reduced resolution that still looks gorgeous. This adds up to not needing the most intense hardware to deliver a great experience. That plus Sony's power tweaking have me running easily a busy day and a half on a single charge, maybe less if I really, really pound on it. So yeah. I'm puzzled by the "big but small" arguments. As a fan of compact, but potent devices, I'm sorry to see everyone begging for some 6" unicorn phone.
  • The X Compact is an abomination. Not because of the concept but because that phone is an insult to the Z1C, Z3C and Z5C that preceeded it. Which is why, unlike the other Compacts, it flopped and Sony axed it.
    And I'm glad they did.
    At IFA we're expecting to get a new, proper Compact this time. Let's just hope Sony finally got their sh*t together and caught up with the times...
  • I agree. I'm still using my Z5C, simply to retain the 4k video. I'm hoping they get it right with another compact. If they don't, there is nothing they offer to keep me on Sony.
  • Good article Andrew; gives some good perspectives. Nobody makes a call to a manufacturer and says "Can you make your phone thinner?", but companies pay attention to trends and what sells, and what looks impressive. Then on the consumer side, we moan and groan without understanding the engineering behind a design. We complain about a phone being too tall because of bezels and black bars. Then when changes are made away from that design, we complain about not having front stereo speakers, not thinking that the big frontal surface area and the spaces near it were required for that feature. Designing a phone is an exercise in compromise and balance, and sometimes the compromise goes too far. Moto Z2 Force is a case in point as mentioned in the article, and making a phone that can't be put to serious work without a crutch is a poor choice, IMO. Balance wise, the S8 and U11 do far better, but even there, compromises can be found. The S8 gives you an eye catching screen and is supposed to be hand friendly, but some (including myself) find it downright uncomfortable to hold. The U11 is delightful in the hand despite being a hair thinner, but gets shamed for having a normal format screen (which some people prefer). Darned if you do and darned if you don't. Sigh...
  • Funny. I haven't heard of any reviewer asking for removal of the headphone jack. In fact, it's actually more likely that the phone being reviewed will lose points for doing that.
  • True and false. There 8s one company that seems to be praised regardless of what they do and that's Apple. They could come out with a 480p screen on iPhone 8 (or whatever) and many reviewers will say "yeah it's not the best resolution but it's the best screen. Just try it."
  • No, they'd be universally panned if they did that. New Coke all over again. Reviewers would be fired if they did what you said.
  • Hmm, I actually don't want a thick OR a super thin phone. I keep mine in my front pocket and don't like it sticking out. As long as it gets me through a day or two on a charge when needed, I'm good.
  • !!!! No I never wanted a thinner or lighter device. If anything I have ALWAYS wanted them thicker and more durable, with a removable battery. I have always hated that the samsung active phones were only an ATT exclusive.
  • I was happy with the thickness of the Nexus s. That's how long ago I cared about them getting thinner. Manufacturers are doing it on purpose to put smaller batteries inside knowing within a couple years their ability to hold a charge will be a lot less so people will want to upgrade. It's no coincidence batteries are no longer removable even though if you open most phones you can easily replace the battery.
  • Never asked for that myself...
  • Big 6"+ phone with big battery and 6GB+ RAM + fast CPU, quick software updates
  • Never have i asked for thinner or lighter phones. I have consistently begged for battery, battery, battery.. But Manufacturers have consistently ingored myself and a huge proportion of the consumers.
  • This is shifting blame for the industry's lack of battery tech innovation. Most of us came into the cellular era when 4 to 5 day battery life was standard. It's equatable to getting divorced then looking for the positive aspects of that relationship in a new partner. If the new prospects can bring to the the table at least that then what is the point
  • You also have to look at what you were getting back in those days. Phones that had small, low res screens, very slow processors, doing simple things took a lot longer back then. And how people have used their phones have changed. Remember the old blackberry days when they didn't even have wifi in some models? 
  • All I've asked for for years is better battery life.
  • Haha well, I never asked for a thinner lighter phone! Give me a fat chunky device with a giant battery any time....
  • No, YOU BLOGGERS asked for thinner and lighter. The only things I asked for were removable battery, headphone jack, and adoptable storage.
  • Reviewers basically ruin products for consumers. That is a fact. Manufacturers began making products to excel in the eyes of press editors which then turn out to be compromised for consumers. I've yet to see an S8 without a case in the wild, so how much do consumers REALLY care about its aesthetics? Take a utilitarian/functional phone like the LG V series. Folks that have them, love them. The press would say they are too big and heavy so now the V30 is going to be a S8+ clone. Score one for the guys who get the phones for free and zero for the actual consumer. A similar thing happened in the automotive field. Companies made family cars that rode like covered wagons due to rock hard sport suspensions because that's what the auto writers wanted. Meanwhile, your ride to Costco could loosen a filling. BMW, for one, finally came to their senses and softened their cars up a bit. Hopefully Sammy and LG will follow suit and start making what WE want and not what the press wants.
  • Very good points, and it seems to be accurate. Unfortunately, Samsung's bottom line improved significantly AFTER they listened to the blogs.
  • I have no case St All on my s8 plus. Then again I never put cases on my phones.
  • I think that as a consumer we need to be critical and look at where a product should improve. Yes we should appreciate the good, but we must also look for the faults. I think that's what drive the companies to innovate. Do we go to far sometimes? Yea, probably. But that's how it is. There is never going to be the perfect phone, because we will always raise the bar. And that's okay.
  • Nobody here wants small batteries, yet the vast majority buys a phone with smaller batteries than they could have. Last year's Moto Z Play would be the #1 phone in the world if everyone spoke with their wallets instead of complaining here.
  • Did that phone remove the headphone jack as well (I know its bigger brother did). If it did, then that would be a big reason why it didn't do so well.
  • No. It has a headphone jack.
  • I bought an S7 last November. A week later I took it back for a ZPlay. I wanted the battery life and the screen size. It was 10% heavier, 15% more screen real estate, 20% more battery, less total cpu and close to 100% more screen on time. I do miss the camera on my G3. For some reason, I didn't like the S7 camera. It was definitely better than the ZPlay camera when it got a good shot but the S7 gave me lots of blurry pics in that week. No idea why.
  • I wonder why everyone complains about this and that. There is plenty of variety in the phone choices. Just buy the one you like. Buy a phone with a big battery. Buy a phone with a headset jack. Buy a phone with a microSD card. Phone manufacturers care most about sales and if something sells very well they will keep doing that.
  • That can be tough when all the OEMs play follow the leader (in which case you either have to hold onto your existing phone or try to find last year's model (which is easier said than done for some OEMs).
  • I haven't asked for a thinner, lighter phone since the Galaxy S2. What I have been asking forever is longer battery life.
  • And you haven't gotten it?
  • Well, my iPhone 4 lasted from 8am to 5pm. With a similar use my Moto G4 lasts almost 2 hours more.
    Hardly an improvement. Screen size has jumped over 5 inches since. Weight and thinness never stop improving.
    But battery life? If it had evolved like a the rest today we would have batteries that last days.
  • Because thin phones is so 2011-2013.
  • Who is we??? Don't blame us!!!! Blame greed
  • I always did not care for thinness, I love rugged phones like the Note 4's look, sorta. I always wanted to try the Galaxy Active series but being an atnt exclusive, I can't really.
  • People these days just love to whinge; it's almost like something cool especially on social media. Give me a large, thin no bezel phone please. I understand there will be trade offs but I am happy to have those for what I want.
  • For the record, as I have said many times. My Samsung s8 plus is as perfect as I could have hoped. Embed the fingerprint scanner underneath the screen and it's perfect for me.
  • Just imagine if the Moto Z Play 2 would have kept the original Play's battery plus added the SD835. It would go from mid-range to pretty impressive flagship.
  • For the record, I've never complained about how thick a phone is. What I HAVE complained about is battery life. Gimmie a slightly thicker phone, and longer battery life, and I'm a happy camper. Oh, and you stay the hell away from my 3.5mm headphone jack!
  • All my points were raised here, as I knew they would. They were all shot down, as I knew they would.
    We didn't continue to ask for thinner phones. It suits lazy marketing. Official result of this contest : A high scoring DRAW...!
  • At this point, the S8 and S8 Plus minus the curved edges and weird fingerprint sensor with stock Android would've been the perfect device. Or the LG G6 with wireless charging, stock Android and something like Samsung Pay. Google should've continued with the "Google edition" they did a couple of years ago.
  • Not me, I haven't asked for it. And I'll put my money where my mouth is too and buy Pixel 2 and show you all!
  • To be honest, I have very little to complain about on the U11. It's neither bulky or too thin, and feels very natural in the hand. Battery life is good enough that I close out the day with 40 to 50% left. Performance is consistently great, camera has been fast with beautiful results. I was concerned about the headphone jack, but USonic is so much better. Even the adapter sounds better than most other phones, but it would be more convenient not to have to keep track of it. Boomsound is 183.3% louder than the M8, and I like how theater mode doubles sound to the front of the phone. As it stands now, I wish they had a sapphire glass edition of the U11, and I wish that someone made a minimal case that did not degrade the appearance or scratch up so easily itself. The clear case that came with the phone is all scratched and scuffed up, but since I rarely use it, I guess that's a testimony to the naked phone holding up pretty well. There is now one pinhead-sized abrasion spot on the metal frame, caused by a piece of grit between the cover and the phone.
  • I will take a bigger battery on a thicker phone every day of the week.
  • Simple rebuttal: no, nobody's been asking for thinner phones. That's the primary factor, and therefore doesn't belong in this list.
  • I've never asked for a thinner phone. Truth to tell, the Galaxy Note 4 I'm using is nearly perfect in size. I wouldn't mind if the side bezels were just slightly smaller, but that's about it. I'd rather keep the thicker phone and have a larger battery in it.
  • Agreed. A larger battery for sure. Even with my oneplus 5 I need to top up during the evening. Wouldn't care if my phone was a few millimetres thicker.
  • I blame this all on Steve Jobs. Because of the hype machine behind Apple, reviewers began creating excuses for Apple deleting or excluding features (yet not lowering costs) in exchange for thin and "beautiful" devices. Remember the days when Sammy made everything out of glossy plastic? Consumer's didnt care and although HTC built much better hardware, Samsung's marketing might prevailed. Now, reviewers pan products that aren't built like fine swiss time pieces and praise these exquisite designs that lack many of the features that made Android unique from Apple. Any feature an Android phone has over the iPhone is now considered a "gimmick" (IR blaster, second screen, removable battery, etc) and have subsequently been removed thanks to these whiny reviewers.
  • I've been buying phones with 5000mAh batteries for years, because not all of us have desk jobs where we can plug in and be unproductive for an hour while the device recharges...
  • Don't say 'we', I never asked for that.
  • Until humans choose something else to spend time on, they will continue to complain. There really is no perfect phone, you've just got to find which compromises won't annoy you to death until something better comes along. For me, I've decided that reliable functionality, battery life, camera quality, great performance and waterproofing are key factors, so I live with the weight and size of my phones. You've got to decide what is most necessary for your lifestyle and go with it.
  • Too much soy based estrogen in the diet. Man up, and carry a useful device.