Take note: “used to”. Now, all that has changed. The trend for the past few years is clear: phone screens are getting bigger each time. So there isn’t much choice. Of course, that isn’t the only reason I now like big-screen phones. There’s more to it than availability. In fact I’ll give you three reasons.
But first a little background on how this trend came about.
There’s a reason big-screen phones were nicknamed phablets years ago. Take a look back at 2007, when the first iPhone was released. Its screen was a measly 3.5″, but that was already considered big. Most smartphones of that time had even smaller screens. The first-ever iPhone was indeed the first of its kind.
Fast forward to 2010, when the iPad was made public. That was a tablet, which had a 9.7″ screen. It was huge – obviously larger than the iPhone’s screen. But the iPad didn’t have any phone functionality. That is what set them apart: the iPhone was a phone, and the iPad was a tablet.
Other manufacturers followed suit, using the same formula. They would make phones having small screens (3.5″ to 4″), and tablets with much bigger screens (7″ and larger). People would then have a reason to buy both devices.
And then this happened. Apple’s competitors changed their game. They made phones with ever-increasing screen sizes – for example, the first Samsung Galaxy Note, from 2011, had a 5.3″ screen. Then, just a year later, Samsung unveiled an even bigger one – the Note II, which had a 5.5″ screen. These large-screen devices came to be known as phablets, because they almost had the screen size of a tablet, as well as having all the functionality of a phone. Phone + Tablet.
Fast forward to 2017, and nearly all standard phones have screen sizes of 5″ and larger. The phablet nickname was no more, because big screens are now the norm. Take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, and the OnePlus 5 – all their screens are above 5″ in size. Most other manufacturers’ latest phone models also are in the same category size-wise. The one I have – the ASUS Zenfone 3 Max – is 5.5″.
That said (and now that you saw what phone I use), here are my three reasons why I now like having a big-screen phone.
1. More Space to Do Stuff
We don’t just use phones for calls and texts anymore. We use them for all sorts of things: reading, watching video, taking pictures, typing documents, and even taking notes. More activity demands more screen space, so now it’s more practical than ever to have a big-screen phone.
Now that I’ve been six months into using a phone with a 5.5″ screen, I could not imagine myself using something smaller. I even remember my first ever smartphone, which was a Sony Xperia E. That one had the same screen size and resolution as the first iPhone – 3.5″ at 320 x 480 pixels. How did I even manage to read (or do pretty much anything) on such a small device? Oh right, I didn’t; I had an iPad mini for those tasks.
And typing was a horrible experience as well on a small screen. Typos abound, especially when both your thumbs cover nearly half of the screen. Oh wait, that’s the entire keyboard. No wonder typos abounded.
2. Two Things in One
As I’ve mentioned in the first part about phablets, big-screen phones are like two devices in one – a phone and a tablet. I just need one. Before, when I had smaller phones, I used to also carry along an iPad mini wherever I go. Once I had my Zenfone, I never laid hands on the iPad ever again. So instead of leaving it to gather dust, I gave it to my mum. It still works anyway.
This way, with only one mobile device on hand, I don’t have to worry about bringing separate chargers, cables, and remembering to charge two devices every day. Life is easier, I eliminate clutter, and best of all the environment is happier. The less devices I have on me, the smaller my carbon footprint.
3. Better Performance
With a bigger phone comes more space to pack in more powerful hardware. Big-screen phones tend to have the better processors, higher resolutions, and most importantly, larger batteries. Small phones, having less space, can’t match that sort of combination. So there have to be lots of compromises in performance with smaller phones.
In fact, Apple’s older iPhones are about the only phones below the 5″ mark that perform well enough. But I’m not much of an Apple fan, and if you aren’t either, there would be no reason to tread the path of the iPhone.
Speaking of higher resolutions, I need that. Higher resolution screens make reading much easier, as the text looks sharp. Even small text. No jagged, pixelated edges that hurt the eyes. With that, I could easily make the text smaller (so I don’t need to scroll down every two seconds) without sacrificing legibility.
And speaking of bigger batteries, we all need that. As our phones become more powerful, they tend to consume more power. High capacity batteries in big-screen phones give them a big boost in day-to-day usability. No need to charge them every so often, as they can last the entire work day. With batteries rated at 3000 mAh and higher, big-screen phones dominate in the battery life category. That’s something smaller phones clearly cannot match.
And that is why I’m quite happy living with a big-screen phone. It may not be as friendly for one-handed use, but it certainly serves my purposes quite well. And utility, of course, is the most important thing I consider in any sort of gadgetry. Functionality over form any time.