When the Samsung Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9 came out earlier this year – with displays no bigger than their predecessors – we wondered whether smartphones had hit the perfect size.
But then Samsung dropped the Galaxy S6 Edge+ into our eager hands, and we fell in love with its super-large 5.7-inch Quad HD screen.
So just what is the perfect screen size for a mobile phone? Or, in fact, is there one? To find the answer, let’s go back to 1988 and take a journey through smartphone size history (courtesy of Samsung).
… and now we can add the Galaxy S6 Edge+ to the list, with the biggest screen size of the lot.
From three-and-a-half to phablets
When smartphones with touchscreens first appeared in 2007 they came with 3.5-inch screens, and we were bowled over by their huge size. But that didn’t last for long, and they grew pretty quickly. A couple of years ago, most surveys showed that people were enjoying phones with screen sizes somewhere between 4-inches and 4.5-inches.
Then we saw the dawn of the phablet - huge creatures roaming the earth with screen sizes growing up to 5.7-inches and beyond (check out the jaw-dropping 6-inch display on the Nexus 6).
But how big is too big? It really depends on your personal preference…
The pros and cons of having it large
If you’re thinking about getting a smartphone with a super-large screen there are a few things to consider.
Larger touchscreens are always going to be trickier to whiz around single-handedly than smaller ones. So have a think about how you use your phone. If you use both hands most of the time, it shouldn’t be a problem.
Larger displays mean larger phones. Okay, you knew that already. But will you be able to carry it around comfortably? If your phone lives your handbag or jacket pocket, then you should have plenty of space for a bigger phone. However, if you’re a skinny-jean wearing hipster then a phablet might be a tight squeeze.
There are some areas where large screens reign supreme. If you’re an entertainment junkie then nothing beats a big screen for gaming or watching movies. Big screens are great for workaholics too – you’ll be able to multitask easier and get lots more done. Also, big phones usually mean big battery life. So you can keep doing your thing for even longer.
Future smartphone sizes
The days of teeny smartphones are long gone. Sorry, Derek Zoolander.
But that doesn’t mean we’re going to see phones get any bigger. And we reckon that phone manufacturers will be happy to offer us lots of choice rather than one-size-fits-all. We’ve seen it happen with the Galaxy S6 edge and bigger Galaxy S6 edge+, and Sony has done the same with its new Xperia Z5 family coming in three different sizes – the Xperia Z5 Compact (4.6-inch display), Xperia Z5 (5.2-inch display) and Xperia Z5 Premium (5.5-inches).
We should also expect to see some smart innovation in screen size in the future. Foldable smartphones could be on their way in 2016, for example. A folding Samsung Galaxy S7, perhaps – how cool would that be?