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Big Phone Haters To The Left

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In my few years as a tech writer, one thing I haven’t been able to grok, no matter how hard I try, is why the tech writer crowd often hates the tech that consumers love. It’s not that most consumers love really terrible things like Sylvania laptops or the Grid10 tablet, but tech writers get all up in arms when they love things that they shouldn’t according to some blogger.

Case in point, Jordan Crook’s “Big Phones? So Over.” post on TechCrunch today. Despite the fact that Samsung shipped 5 million Galaxy Notes and people around the world and in the U. S. really like them, Jordan wants manufacturers to stop making larger phones: now. Why? Jordan doesn’t like them. And neither should you.

The part that really made me make a Huh? face is that Jordan isn’t just railing against the larger than average Galaxy Note, she’s even against 4.3-inch displays.

Galaxy Note and Samsung Keyboard

I totally concede that… [w]atching video and playing games on those honking Android phones tickles my fancy in a way my little iPhone cannot. … But then I try to do something normal. You know… text a friend, send an email, browse the web, get directions, tweet, Instagram a pic… or whatever. Sure, I check out YouTube a handful of times a week… [and] when I’m chilling at home and news is dead, I’m probably running through a temple or flinging birds or effing up Liberty City in a freshly stolen car.

But on the whole, I’d say that 90 percent of what’s done on my phone has nothing to do with video or gaming, which is where the larger screen really wins.

That bit above? Is just plain stupid. I’ve been using a 4.3-inch phone since the HTC Evo 4G launched and when I have to step down to a smaller screen to review something, I notice it. Not just with video and games — which I tend to do on my tablet, anyway — but with text-based apps, too.

I read a lot on my phone. Books, magazines, news feeds, email, social networks. Having a larger screen makes reading better, hands down. Larger screens also mean higher resolutions in some cases. And that makes a world of difference when looking at smaller text and fitting menus on a screen so you don’t have to scroll.

Typing is also much better on a larger phone. I notice that certain people always make the mistake of assuming that just because they can type accurately on a narrow keyboard with the very tip of their thumbs that everyone can do this. Nope. I, and everyone else with nails (including some men) do not have this luxury. And I find it annoying to have to go landscape when typing just to get a comfortably-sized keyboard.

That alone affects 80% of what I do on a phone, so it’s very relevant to my life.

Jordan says: “My phone is first and foremost about utility. I’m connecting to work, I’m emailing, I’m texting, I’m checking in on my social networks, and I’m surfing the web constantly.”

Me, too! Which is exactly why larger phones are better for me. Instead of getting in the way, they make all of those tasks easier or faster or more convenient. This goes for the Galaxy Note, too. And, for the record, I’m a woman and don’t have giant hands. The idea that lady hands are so tiny and weak and delicate that they can’t physically send a text with it is sad coming from another woman.

Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus

Samsung Galaxy Note and Galaxy Nexus

As to the “it won’t fit in a pocket” argument: you do know that you’re not supposed to carry it in your pocket, right? Read the manual (if you can find it), it says so in tiny print. I know people will continue to ignore that, anyway, but in that instance I have no sympathy for you. Jeans too tight for a 4.3-inch phone? Carry a purse/bag, wear a jacket with pockets, find a belt clip, wear looser jeans, rock one of these things.

Snark aside, I recognize that not everyone finds big screens more convenient or useful. And, unlike Jordan, I really don’t have a problem with that. Some people might not want or need a 4.3 or 4.65 or 5.3-inch display. This is why we have variety. Variety is good.

But given the fact that the 4-inch plus sizes are very popular with consumers, I feel pretty secure in saying that anyone who complains about people buying them for no other reason than “But I don’t like it!” is just being a foot-stomping, irrational child.

Jordan makes it seem like companies are suckering consumers into thinking that they want or need big phones when people don’t really want them. But how is her coming off like a Vogue tastemaker and declaring the look “so over” any less manipulative or dictatorial?

That whole variety thing means that if people don’t want a big phone, they won’t buy it, flagship or not. Because the people who really, deeply care about having the newest phone, the flagship device, or the gadget with the most newest version of the operating system are NOT the 99% at all. They’re the early adopters, the true fans, and the geeks (like me!). And we’ll be on to the next new thing within weeks or months, anyway.

Smartphone buyers, do not stop buying big phones if a big phone is what you want. Don’t let anyone tell you that having a big phone isn’t okay because it won’t fit in your skinny jeans or you don’t watch enough video or it’s just not cool, anymore. If a big phone gives you what you need, then go on with your bad self. If a smaller screen is more your style, I salute you.

But please, leave the haters to their haterade.

K. T. is a lover of technology, gadgets, and all things geek. She has the enviable job of playing with evaluating mobile tech and apps all day. Follow K. T. on Twitter @KTBradford, on Google+ and Tumblr or email her via her website, KTBradford.com.

12 Comments

  1. Kxc1279

    03/29/2012 at 1:00 pm

    Thank you KT Bradford for putting in print what i am thinking! I love gadgets, big or small and i love having choice! From my iPhone 4S to my new GSM Galaxy Tab 7.7 Phone it doesnt get any better for me(until the hexacore smartphones arrive that is:)) Btw my friends and coworkers are hilariously rioting over how GIGANTIC AND RIDICULOUS my 7.7 Galaxy Tab Smartphone is, its crazy funny that i have to send you a twitpic!

  2. Jeb Hoge

    03/29/2012 at 1:36 pm

    Sorry, but I agree with the phone size thing. Every time I’ve gone and looked at newer phones, I’ve always come back to being glad that I’ve got a keyboard phone with a smaller screen (LG Ally). It’s annoying that the options seem only to be trending to bigger screens at the expense of innovating in a more compact footprint.

    • K. T. Bradford

      03/29/2012 at 3:45 pm

       which phones have you looked at? Off the top of my head I;d say that HTC Rhyme is a good smaller phone, as is the Droid Pro/Motorola XPRT (and those have keyboards). HTC Status is fun, is odd.

  3. Dale Strauss

    03/29/2012 at 1:47 pm

    EXCELLENT article K. T.!  I thought we were past this when we started calling our desktop masters PC’s because they were PERSONAL computers. Same goes for phones. If you like (or need – presbyopia) big screens, go for it. In fact, the Galaxy Note reminds me of the near perfect fusion of a cell phone and Daytimer Junior (oh man, that really dates me, doesn’t it).

    Some writers need to “get over” themselves!

  4. Tim Davies

    03/29/2012 at 2:34 pm

    The larger screen that the Galaxy Note Offers is the ONLY thing that drew me away from the iPhone. I really do not care for android as an OS, but I have been willing to put up with it because of that wonderful screen. I have large hands…I like a big phone. Had it for 5 months now and I’m not sorry.

  5. ubuniz

    03/29/2012 at 4:00 pm

    Sad isheeps. Take the icock out. Now

  6. Draenar Dubrovna

    03/29/2012 at 4:33 pm

    I find it surprising that anyone is complaining about Jordan’s plea.  The underlying article is about not having consumers decrease choice, voluntarily, by considering the advantages of smaller phones, not any limitation on choice itself.

    There are a lot of reasons why a smaller phone may be a good thing.  It’s good to see those mentioned along with the advantages of the mini-tablets we are beginning to see marketed as phones.

    • K. T. Bradford

      03/30/2012 at 4:26 am

      Considering that in the first or second paragraph Jordan says: stop buying big phones, I don’t see how the article can be interpreted as being about greater choice.

  7. HildyJ

    03/29/2012 at 7:32 pm

    Another point: as one who uses a phone primarily for surfing and one who hates mobile versions of websites I find the larger screen invaluable for hitting the right link.

    I read Jordan’s article and a couple others of the same ilk and all I can think is that they see larger phones (or smaller tablets or, god forbid, styli) as desecrating the holy name of Steve Jobs.

    • K. T. Bradford

      03/30/2012 at 4:27 am

       Pretty much. As soon as an iPhone with a 4 or 5 inch screen comes to market those same people will go on about how anyone could have ever lived without it.

  8. Lauren George

    03/31/2012 at 1:03 pm

    Beating a dead horse/ Preaching to the choir: l <3 my big phone!  I've essentially subbed it for my Kindle and the extra room makes a BIG difference. l'm a little  lady standing tall @ 5'2", but my phone is still perfect for me. It's not for everyone, but the Note is still a great phone and I don't appreciate the oh-so-knowledgeable tech community treating me like l can't determine that for myself. Thanks for the rebuttal, K.T.!

  9. Ankit

    10/11/2012 at 1:19 pm

    I have galaxy note and I love it…

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