I find it fascinating how trends have changed in the mobile industry over the past 15 years. I still remember when cell phones were just becoming a “common” gadget for people to have – when flip phones were the coolest thing on the market – and having a small cell phone was an important factor for people. This is evidenced by devices like the Samsung X830 and the Pantch C300, among many others. Obviously times have changed, and so have cell phones and their trends.
In 2017, the opposite can be said of the trends of yesteryear cell phones. Instead of having the smallest phone possible, it’s all about how big a phone can get without otherwise becoming too unwieldy. Even the Samsung Galaxy Note, which debuted with a 5.2-inch screen and was deemed “too big” to realistically succeed back in 2011, has been dwarfed by numerous smartphones of all types of competitors at this point. 5.2, 5.5, 5.7, and even 6-inch displays are not uncommon sizes for smartphone screens anymore, flagship or not. Ironically, it’s rarer to find a phone with a sub 5-inch display these days, although they do pop up here and there. Talk about eating your words.
And then there’s the one anomaly still in existence, Apple’s iPhone SE, which serves as the last beacon of hope for anybody who doesn’t much care for the current size of most smartphones and my new daily driver. I opted to take advantage of Virgin Mobile’s 12 months for $1 program, which meant switching back to iOS in some capacity as the prepaid service now exclusively sells iPhones.
Switching from the 5.5-inch Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge to the 4-inch iPhone SE sounds like a big jump, and it feels like one, too. I was happy to go back to a phone that I knew I could comfortably hold in one hand, but I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about everything else that comes with such a significant downsize.
To be honest, I was surprised. It’s been a little over two years since I’ve used a 4-inch device as my daily driver, the last time being an iPhone 5S which I switched from the original Moto X, so this isn’t the first time I’ve ever downsized screens. However, it is the first time I’ve downgraded by an inch and a half, and it’s incredibly weird. Instead of feeling like a gnome holding a giant’s phone as I did with the Galaxy S7 Edge, I feel like a giant holding a gnome’s phone. It definitely feels like being on two opposite ends of a spectrum.
Yet, I’m happy with the decision. I do miss having more information on the screen at once, but being able to hold a phone snugly and comfortably in one hand is something that I’ve sorely missed. The iPhone SE also actually fits in my front pockets, which are inexplicably shallow most of the time in women’s jeans. My Galaxy S7 Edge always had more sticking out than in, so it always ended up in my back pocket, which I very nearly forgot about and almost sat on numerous times.
Ultimately, that’s about all there is to say about my feelings on the drastic difference between the two screen sizes. I enjoy both for different reasons. I’ll probably stick with my stance that a phone with a 4.7-inch screen is the perfect size for me and gives me the best of both worlds, but I’ll probably stick with the iPhone SE as it gets me iPhone 6S specs without the iPhone 6S price. From a performance standpoint so far, the iPhone SE gets excellent results in battery life and speed, both of which I consider impressive feats for its size and is a breath of fresh air from those godforsaken days of “mini” flagships.
Readers, what are your opinions on screen sizes these days? Have you moved on to bigger and better screens, or do you still prefer more compact devices?