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Large smartphones vs. small ones – which is best?

If there's one thing you can say about the smartphone market, it's that it offers a little something for everyone. Differences in price, features, and design all contribute to this, but one of the most important factors has to do with size.

Large phones like the Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 have become incredibly popular over the last few years, but there's absolutely still people that prefer smaller phones such as the Pixel 2, Sony Xperia XZ2 Compact, etc.

One of our forum users says that they've recently been using Google's Pixel 2 for a few days, and while they like the phone, it's taking them a while to adjust to the size difference coming from the Note 8.

When asking other members if they think the Pixel 2 is too small of a phone, these are a few of the responses they got.

My phone history has 3 phab sized phones in it and I for one am doubtful I'd ever get another large phone. Smaller/larger being better is just a matter of opinion. I hear Apple is coming out with a 6.5" phone later this year. Yikes, that's really huge. I recall many, many moons ago when larger phones were kind of disliked and rare as a general rule. I had a 3" screen on my windows pro device...

cbreze

I could actually stand it a hair smaller, tbh.. I've never liked big phones for pocketability reasons mainly. I generally keep a tablet in my tech lineup if I need a bigger screen.

anon(10092459)

I have the Pixel 2 XL and just had the Pixel 2 and an Essential phone. In terms of size the Essential was perfect. 5.7" phone in a compact size was awesome. Unfortunately the signal strength made me sell it. The regular Pixel 2 was just too small a screen for the size of the phone. It was almost the same size as the Essential but much smaller screen. The regular Pixel 2 XL is a little bigger but...

Armeniandave

I prefer the Pixel 2 in the smaller size personally. Sold my Note 8 and have been using this ever since. The battery life took a hit, but I've reduced my useage and I'm chugging along just fine. There was an article recently about how battery life on most phones is good; we just need to get off our phones more.

Nubwy

With all that said, we'd now like to hear from you – What do you like better, big phones or small phones?

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.

26 Comments
  • Purely personal choice regarding size, what works for one doesn't work for someone else.
    Small for me since it's in my pocket all day, if it were made (can't get Sony here) I'd get a 4.7-5.0 size. Unfortunately Apple has that offering and I'm not interested in switching.
  • Don't know where you live, but the Pixel 2 has a 5" screen.
  • For me it's go big or go home. I love the size of my Note8. For something that most people look at 100's a time per day, I just can't see staring at a small screen all day. But at the same time, I really don't want mainstream phones getting bigger than 6.2 or 6.3 inches.
  • Pixel2 would have been perfect to me if it had the bezels of the 2XL, phone size perfect, screen size too small (for me) . . I'm not a 'no bezel fanatic', but to me it just seems like alot of wasted space on the pixel2. Some people have defended it noting the dual speakers, but the 2xl managed dual speakers *and* better screen/body ratio. Just my 2¢
  • I agree with you. I actually went with the Pixel 2 because I was switching from an iPhone 8 Plus, and the XL was the same size. More screen, but I wanted a smaller phone. Pixel 2 form factor with smaller bezels/bigger screen would be perfect.
  • First, there's a double issue with how with characterize a phone's size. We usually use the screen's diagonal as a proxy for a phone's size, which doesn't work:
    1- today's slim-bezel 6" phone can be smaller overall than yesterday's 5.5 incher.
    2- today 18:9 5.8" screens are smaller than yesterday's 16:8 5.5" screens. So, people be like "yesterday's 5.5" were perfect, today's 6" are sooooo yuuuuuge" when in reality, the 6 incher is smaller. That said, I prefer huge phones. I've taught myself to mostly use them one-handed (don't grip them like a fork), and I do a lot of reading on them. I wouldn't go back to a 5" screen in my pocket just like I wouldn't go back to a 15" monitor on my desk. Also, I much prefer squarer screen formats, 16:9 at least, 16:10 was my favorite when it was available
  • Yeah it's a problem, people think diagonal is an accurate measurement for overall size. It's also about ratio, the longer the display the smaller the area (maintaining same diagonal lenght).
  • I used to be a huge fan of the larger phones but these days I'd prefer a small phone. I'm currently using an iPhone 7 and a Pixel 2 and they're both too big in my opinion. I'd love to see a 4" phone with minimal bezels roughly the size of the LG Dare.
  • The iPhone SE might be a good fit
  • I get you on the size thing. I went from the SE to the 7 and I miss the size of the SE but not the tradeoffs.
  • Personally, I got tired about the S9+ size in a few days. Returning and ordered the regular S9.
  • Large
  • "Best" is which size suits that person the best. After trying a ton of Android phones, I could never find anything that was just right like my Galaxy S7. That is, until the iPhone X, which is now my main phone. I still have the S7 though, gotta keep my Android-stalking legit.
  • I miss the days of smaller phones. Every flagship for the last several years has stretched size a millimeter here or there so that the current devices are just huge compared to earlier devices. There's no particular reason manufacturers can't do a phone the size of the HTC Incredible (which was just that at the time) with all the features current handsets have. These handsets keep growing into phablets. If I want a phablet or a tablet, I'll get one. I just want a smartphone. In looking for a feature phone for my 84 year old mother, I am seeing tiny full-featured flip phones and, you know, I sorta miss those days.
  • I have the OG Pixel XL and the feels like the largest I'll go. And I would absolutely go with the smaller version if the display and battery life were equal. Hoping the next Pixel improves on both.
  • I carry a big and a small phone plus a tablet. Love what each size offers and cannot imagine being stuck on a single screen size.
  • as a Note 2,3,4 & 8 user I would like to see Note 9 go to 6.5 inch with less bezels than Note 8, I could not live with even a 5.5 inch screen again
  • My aging eyes like the larger Note 8 screen.
  • Honestly used the Note 2, 3, 4, 5, then went to a regular S7 because I wanted something smaller. Smaller size is nice for pocketability at work or while active, but overall I prefer a large screen and my next phone will be a Note 8 or 9.
  • Prefer more smaller phones were at least offered. After a while you don't so much notice the screen size over the better usability of a smaller screen, especially for people (men and women) with smaller hands. Sadly all that seems to have gone out the window for the most part because of the 'Mines bigger than yours ' screen wars.
  • Having been a die-hard Note fan (2,4,7, and 8) I decided to drop back to the smaller form factor now that the screens cover most of the front of the phone. I liked the large phones because of the large screens but now I can have a large screen in a smaller phone so I have an X, an Essential and an S9 in my rotation instead of the Note, S+, and Plus size of iPhone I used to carry.
  • Smaller phones for me. It's more comfortable and fits in pockets. As a small person with female jeans having ridiculously small pockets, it's hard to keep my note 8 in anything other than a purse which is such a hassle. A 5'5 screen with the features of note 8 or better would be perfect for me.
  • I was always a fan of the smaller phones.
    Preferring the S7 over the edge and Pixel to the Pixel XL.
    But I'm finding I can (just) use the new 6" phones one handed so guess I've changed my mind.
  • I have a Pixel 2 and the phone itself is the perfect size, but a bigger screen would be nice. Hopefully, smaller bezels on the next one will solve that issue.
  • Personal choice... I can't imagine spending $1300🇨🇦 for a premium phone & not buying the largest display. If I wanted a small phone, it would be a cheap smartphone. Reading: Big phone is perfect for Google Play books, and newspapers, or, lol, everything you read & write on a phone. Games: duh... Stunning on large phones. Apple handed over untold millions of mobile buyers to Android (mostly Samsung) by slow playing to the consumer demand for larger phones. I owned one Apple phone, the 4S, & Android ever since... Feature phones for years prior.... The customer is always right... Most customers prefer larger phones... And I don't buy the "oh, my hands are too small nonsense." The large smartphone market in Asia is huge (pun intended)... And with all due respect, Asians are typically not a tall racial group... If your smartphone is your primary online device... It's about brainer... Get the huge phone... You probably don't need a laptop.... Oh, and other than primary school education Al market, tablets are absolutely dead.
  • I absolutely think the display size on my BlackBerry KEYone is damn-near perfect. The display on my BlackBerry Classic is a close second. I do have a spare Android slab that I use once in a while that has a 5" display and think that is maybe the largest I can live with. Oh, I also like bezels. This latest bezel-less craze makes for an ugly slab. Used to have a Nokia Lumia 1520 with a 6" display and Samsung Note 4 and 5 with 5.7" displays and they are just way too big. Plus, on-screen keyboards are the most retarded thing known to man. Another reason why I like the BB.