#I LOVE IT!!!
I’ve been rolling this idea around this forum for a while, and basically there are people who like it and those who don’t.
I even made a poll for it:
There are 20% of voters (out of 98), who voted for 4.7", and then 13% for 4"-4.5". If we add those two numbers, that would be pretty much 1/3 of all voters.
And I have something to say to those who don’t like this idea:
There are lots of great phones to choose from. Be it HTC (my favorite except screen size), Oneplus or Asus (super bang for buck), there is a lot to choose from.
Let me run through some numbers:
GSMArena (click) lists 490 smartphones with 5" or larger screens released since the beginning of last year (2016).
- That includes 343 smartphones with 2GB or more RAM, which I consider the minimum for enjoyable experience. I didn’t filter them by processors as there’s no definite scale to filter on, but generally if it has 2GB of RAM it has at least a half good CPU
- Now let’s list the phones from the same period of time, under 5". We get 100 results.
- But wait! That also includes non-smart phones like this one. And even smartwatches, which are unrelated to our search. I filtered it by OS, included all the major (and not so major) players: Android, Windows Phone, iOS, Firefox OS. Now it’s 71…
- Let’s add a RAM filter like we did with larger phones. That brings us to a whopping NINE!!! phones. That’s a lot! [/sarcasm]
- Now we open the result and see this… One of them is a rugged phone that is just as big as a normal 5.2" phone (except thicker) (blue), three are unavailable anywhere outside Asia (green). Then we have 2 iPhones (red) which belong to a closed “walled garden” ecosystem that not everyone is willing to accept, and are horribly overpriced. Which leaves us with 3 Android phones. Neither of them has really top of the line specs, and only one of them can bravely wear the “mid range” label. The other two are complete garbage.
So, we’re comparing 300 (or at least dozens, after filtering out what we don’t like) big smartphones with 9 (or just one really worth attention) smaller ones. That is far away even from the poll results.
Another note: my hands are not small. You can see them in action here:
####What I would personally suggest as a followup to the original proposal:
- Size: what’s important here is the width, at least to me. I need to grip the phone on its left bezel (I’m holding it with my right hand) so that it doesn’t slip out easily, and still be able to touch every single pixel on the screen without moving the device in my hand. Moving it around results in quite long delays between some touches, which really slows down everything, not to mention how uncomfortable it is. I suggest no wider than 65mm. That would be the absolute maximum. IPhone SE is around 60mm wide, and that is the perfect size IMO, but some people want that bigger screen so it would be smart to do a compromise here. Up to 65mm should satisfy everyone who is not satisfied with current oversized handsets, maybe 63mm is the sweet spot. BQ managed to fit 4.5" into 63.5mm, so if we minimize the bezel size we should be able to get 4.6" into 63mm. I’m personally satisfied with 4.3" - I recently had to use my HTC Sensation while my main phone was broken, and I almost fell in love with it again. It could be a bit narrower, but I don’t need a bigger screen.
- Hardware specs: 2GB of RAM is currently enough IMO. Nowadays we’re used to more, but that’s because most manufacturers overload their phones with bloatware that they can’t run without lag on 2GB. If you remove the bloatware, 2GB is just enough for pretty much everything you can do on an Android. Especially with a small screen, because RAM is shared with the graphics chip. Or, let’s add an extra GB and get 3GB for futureproofing. The processor - it doesn’t need to be the latest and greatest, but I’d say it should be a Snapdragon 800 series chip released within one year before the release of the phone. Again, a small screen device doesn’t need as powerful a graphics chip, so getting the best chipset out there would be an overkill. I’d say even the best of 600 series would be good, but it could prove to be annoying in the long run.
- Connectivity: I have never really used NFC apart from testing purposes. Some museums have stickers that link to audio guides, that’s the best use I can think of (apart from advertising, which I think we all hate). But then, most museums also have free WiFi hotspots for their visitors (price included in ticket) and downloadable audio guide apps. As well as QR codes. I’d rather spend a second or two opening my camera app than pay for NFC antenna that I’d use maybe once or twice in the whole lifetime of the device. So my vote is no on this one, but it’s just my opinion. Other than that, it looks great. I just need it to have LTE, as I don’t buy a new WiFi router every time a new tech appears (yeah I’m still using b/g/n), but I understand why others want it.
- Buttons: software buttons are a good idea sometimes, but the truth is that they’re often annoying. They appear so close to other UI elements, that very often when pressing the back button of my phone I end up also pressing the reply button in Outlook. So every once in a while I need to clear my drafts folder out of weird empty drafts that I don’t remember ever creating. I personally prefer hardware buttons with good spacing from the screen and at least one of them being a true physical button, like in Samsung phones. Some of you might not understand this, but to me it’s critical to have a way to answer phone calls when wearing thick snow gloves. Trust me, it’s not fun when you get a call in the middle of the street in -20 degree Celcius and have to use your frozen nose to answer it. That’s why I just love physical buttons that I can assign to answering calls Power button rejects calls, volume buttons mute them, but I need another one for answering them.
- Thickness and weight: I like it a bit to the hefty side. A simple reason for this is physics: imagine you’re riding a bus and there’s a bump on the road. A light smartphone would jump off your hand and (possibly) land on floor, while a heavy phone stays in your hand because gravity doesn’t let it jump as high. Speaking of thickness, I don’t even know. I understand it’s hard to stuff the usual specs of 5" smartphone into a 4.5" body, so I’m not asking for a slim body. However, I’ve noticed one thing: as long as it has curved edges (to make it easier to hold), I don’t really feel the thickness. For example, I had HTC Sensation and then switched to Samsung S4. I could tell it was thinner because I had both of them in hand, but in actual usage I didn’t really notice much of a difference. Except that the Samsung felt too light for me (the bus and bumps problem ). So, I’d say it can be up to 10mm or even slightly thicker. But if it’s over, let’s say, 8mm, it must have curved (body) edges. (look at Asus Zenfone 2 or HTC Sensation if you want an illustration - no, not screen edges but body edges)
- Screen - should be readable outside, I really don’t know how many “nits” that equals so I’ll only be able to give my opinion after I receive the V since I know how many nits it has. 720p is more than enough.
- Build: I’m a fan of metal bodies, but I’m also a fan of removable covers. I want to be able to swap out SIM and SD cards without using a special tool, because those are easy to lose and I would not always have one at hand. BTW, usually those holes don’t fit a toothpick so that won’t work. If they manage to do both, it’s perfect. If not, I’d advise to at least have a metal frame. Again, the Sensation is a good example, but that design is incompatible with small bezels.
- Other features: it’s impossible to have good speakers in this size, so let’s just forget about that. Every phone I’ve seen so far sounds like rubbish, even if they advertise their speakers a lot. Let’s just leave it that way and not expect anything significantly better, because it’s just not physically possible. I don’t need a front camera, but the back camera should be at least 8MP and not just some cheap crap. That is, it shouldn’t be chosen for the sole purpose of writing “8MP” on it, it should be chosen for actually being good. Fingerprint scanner is not my style - I prefer just keeping the phone in my pocket and not giving it away to people I don’t trust, that way I don’t need to lock it at all
- And this is the only time I don’t mind USB-C. I mean, I don’t like the idea of replacing all my cables now just because of it being reversible, but it’s a phone and I don’t have to replace that much. Only a couple of charging cables and an OTG adapter. If it was more of a serious computing device, I would be against it because then I’d need to use an adapter 99.9% of the time.
Now, if it’s some flavor of Windows… It needs to be actual Windows. Not Windows Phone (otherwise called Windows 10 Mobile), not Windows RT (otherwise called Windows 10 on ARM). It needs to be full Windows running on a real Intel CPU, otherwise it will be lacking many apps that are vital to my life. So, from the above specs I’d change it to an Intel Core M3 CPU and 4GB of RAM, but that is hardly possible in the size we’re talking about, so I’d like to stick to Android for now.