It seems that, when it comes to smartphones, size matters. Apple’s on the precipice of announcing its next iPhone, but where it’s previously stuck to its small but nicely formed guns, the iPhone 5 is rumoured to be bigger.
How big is too big? For me, anything beyond 4 inches is stretching it when it comes to smartphones. That’s how big my HTC Incredible S’s screen is – any bigger and my little hands might struggle to hold on.
It passes the one-handed ‘thumb test’. That is, when I’m holding my phone in one hand, I can reach the opposite corner with my thumb. That means I can use the phone’s full functionality with just one hand. Surely that’s important?
When is a phone not a phone? When it’s a tablet
It’s a design philosophy that Apple seems to have been sticking with, as discussed by designer Dustin Curtis. Apple has been as reluctant to increase the size of the iPhone as a cat is to take a bath – 3.5 inches has been the magic number for the iPhone since its launch in 2007.
However, since then, smartphones have been growing faster than Jack’s beanstalk. When once HTC called its 4.7 inch phone ‘XL’, that screen size is now just a standard measurement for this manufacturer’s range (the 4.7 inch HTC One X). And Samsung’s Galaxy S series has grown from the comfortable 4 inches to the straining 4.8 inches.
Surely that’s too big? Not everyone has colossal hands the size of Arnold Schwarzenegger. I’ll be back to what this has do with Apple’s iPhone in a moment, as I want to talk about another Samsung product; the Samsung Galaxy Note.
Now, some people call this mammoth device ‘part phone, part tablet’. I refuse to. I won’t even be kind enough to give it its catchy description of ‘phablet’. With the original Galaxy Note having a 5.3 inch screen, and its younger brother a 5.5 inch screen, I will only ever call it a ‘small tablet’ and I won’t hear another word of it.
How big will the iPhone 5 be?
Of course, there’s no getting away from the fact that a bigger screen does mean you can fit more (and possibly do more) on your phone. Which brings me back to Apple – the iPhone 5 is rumoured to grow from its stubborn 3.5 inch screen to 4 inches. Too big? I don’t think so. As Goldilocks has said about porridge, that’s just right.
Plus, even though phone screens are growing in size, the borders around these screens are getting narrower – if Apple takes that design choice, the new iPhone could still pass the ‘thumb test’ comfortably. Here’s hoping, otherwise a plague of hand-cramp could overcome smartphone users worldwide.
How big do you think the iPhone 5 should be?
Bigger than previous iPhones (47%, 91 Votes)
The same size as previous iPhones (38%, 73 Votes)
Smaller than previous iPhones (15%, 29 Votes)
Total Voters: 197