This week saw the unveiling of the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9. But with both phones being no bigger than last year’s models, have smartphones reached the perfect size?
When mobile phones first launched in the UK 30 years ago, they were huge bricks. We then spent 20 years making them as tiny as possible, to the point where losing a phone in your bag just showed how good it was.
But since the launch of smartphones, we’ve seen our mobiles grow again, taking up ever more space in our increasingly skinny jeans.
That is, until now. The new Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 have bucked the trend for growth and stuck with screen sizes around five inches, suggesting that this could be the perfect size for a smartphone.
WHY GO WITH A FIVE INCH SCREEN?
New phones with screens around five inches give a decent balance between what you can hold and use with one hand and what makes the most of mobile games and movies.
The first of these factors is the most important. Phones have to be usable when you have just one hand free. But that’s not just down to screen size. If phones can be made thinner and with less space around the screen, display sizes could grow slightly as the phone would still fit in one hand.
Most people want a larger display for reading, playing games and watching movies (who wants to play Candy Crush on a tiny screen?), so screen sizes will always be as big as possible without sacrificing usability.
But sometimes the extra uses of a big screen do make slightly awkward massive phones an attractive proposition. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and iPhone 6 Plus show that big screens can be really useful when you need to get a lot done. The extra space makes typing easier and, in the case of the Note 4, lets you have two things open side by side.
So, with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, smartphones may have finally settled on the perfect size. But we wouldn’t bet on it.