When it comes to picking a smartphone, the screen is still one of the most critical features. While outdoor readability, vibrant colors and deep blacks are important, I’m mainly talking about the size of the screen and the resolution.
The size of the screen dictates a lot about your phone. What games you can play, how you will use it to watch movies, how much battery life it will use while browsing the web and how well it will fit in your hand and in your pocket.
I’m currently using the smallest and the largest smartphones available to the general public in the U.S. — the Galaxy Nexus with a 4.65″ HD display and the iPhone 4S with a 3.5″ Retina Display. These two devices sit at the opposite ends of a spectrum, separated by over an inch of screen size, but they do have one thing in common: a high-resolution.
The high-resolution means the iPhone 4S‘ 3.5″ display is better for many users than the 4.3″ display of the ThunderBolt because it can show more information, and the high pixel density means text looks nicer. The 4.65″ SAMOLED display found on the Galaxy Nexus translates into a bigger device, but thanks to the higher resolution (1280 x 720) you aren’t just getting a blown up screen.
The opinions on screen size vary greatly here at GottaBeMobile.
3.5 Inches is the Perfect Screen Size
Warner Crocker and Tobias Buckell prefer the 3.5″ display of the iPhone.
“I prefer the iPhone’s 3.5″ screen size because with my average sized hands I can easily manipulate anything on the screen.” – Warner Crocker
“3.5″, fits in pocket nicest. I was always a fan of smaller. And Retina makes 3.5″ nice. Before Retina I hungered for larger iPhone. But pocketability is prime consideration for me.” – Tobias Buckell
4 Inches is the Right Screen Size
Adam Mills and Sumocat are both OK with four-inch phone screens, but Sumocat is quite happy with the iPhone’s 3.5″ display.
“3-4 inch range (i.e., the 3.5″ iPhone) works well for me with one-handed operation. I can reach every corner with my thumb comfortably.” – Sumocat
4.5 and 4.65 Inch Screens Fit Best
Xavier Lanier and myself are both fans of the 4.65″ S AMOLD display found on the Galaxy Nexus.
“I’m pretty happy w/ the Nexus screen size so far. I have big hands and don’t mind holding it as a phone. But like KT, I use my phones as Internet/app devices much more than to talk. The Galaxy Note and Streak 5 felt like they were crossing into tablet territory.” – Xavier Lanier
Personally I am loving the large screen size and the high-resolution. I may not be able to hit every corner of the phone while holding it one-handed, but with average sized hands I can still hit all the important parts of the display. I use my phone less for calls and more for apps, watching TV shows and surfing the web.
5 Inches and Larger Screens Please
K.T. Bradford and Kevin Purcell are fans of larger screens, even if the devices verge on being a tablet.
“5 inches would be ideal for me. I know everyone always screams, ‘THAT’S JUST SO HUGE IT’S TOO BIG OMG’, whenever people bring up this size phone but those people are silly. I was a huge fan of the Dell Streak’s size — sad that it was such crap otherwise. The first Android device I fell in love with was a 5-inch Archos tablet.
Yeah, a big phone looks odd when you hold it up to your head, but I don’t talk on the phone much and hate holding it to my head, anyway. I try to do wired headsets or bluetooth. Reading things on a larger screen is more comfortable, and I use my phone to read news posts and sometimes books.
However, phones with big screens and 800 x 480 resolutions are unacceptable.” – K.T. Bradford
“For me, the bigger the better. I like to be able to see more of a web page as I surf and as I get older my eyes aren’t as good. Smaller text has become a bit of a problem on the iPhone’s smaller screen. I have large hands so that’s not an issue.” – Kevin Purcell
What is The Perfect Smartphone Size?
When I asked about the preferred size for your next Android device, the results were as widespread as our internal opinions, with 3.5 inch and 4 inch winnng by a small margin, as you can see in the image above.
Once again, we want to know what screen size you want on your next smartphone.