This week GSM Arena asked a question that is as old as time.

What’s the ideal screen size for a smartphone?

Peter, GSM Arena editor, gave four choices for users to vote on listed below.

GSM Arena poll

GSM Arena screen size poll

To see the results click here to visit their site.

Under 5″

iphone 6s holdingAs you can see Peter used an iPhone to represent this category as it is by far the most popular sub-five inch device on the market.  These devices are typically for those who have smaller hands or prefer to use their phone in one hand.

Here are a few reasons why I like this choice.

Under five inches means that the device should be theoretically smaller.  Smaller devices are easier to hold for a majority of users.  You can easily wrap your hand around both sides of the device and have confidence that it will not be dropped.

Another reason I like this size is that it is more convenient for pockets.  Having reviewed the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 I know that it can in fact fit in my front jeans pockets.  Do I prefer it though?  Not really.  It was definitely more noticeable when sitting down than the iPhone 6s.

If you are the type who wants to use a case and still be able to carry your phone in your pocket then size is a huge factor.  Depending on how rugged you want to go, girth can start to really tack on quickly.  Looking at you OtterBox.

I do not like this screen size option because media browsing is lackluster.  After you get used to a bigger screen it is very difficult to go back down.  Your eyes have to do a bit of extra work.

Also, it is becoming hard to find a small flagship Android device that isn’t a Sony.

5″ to 5.3″



Probably the most popular screen size on the market now.  This year’s flagship phones are all within this option.  This includes the HTC 10, Samsung Galaxy S7 and LG G5.

On the lower-mid side of the options you get the best of both worlds.  Your device tends to still be portable and easily used with one hand, but you do not have to stress your eyes when watching videos or browsing the internet.

Portability is slightly favored here over media browsing which is why I like this option.  A phone should be something easy to take wherever you go, not a chore.

I also like this size because more flagship devices tend to fall within this range that also happen to be affordable for the average Joe.

5.4″ to 5.7″

Now we lean-to the higher-mid end of the spectrum.  This is the range that covers most of the “premium” versions of flagship phones.  A perfect example would be the Samsung Galaxy S7 vs the S7 Edge.  Heck, there also might be solitary flagship devices themselves at this range.

Media engagement is favored here over portability.  These users tend to not care about lugging around their giant slab of glass.

I find it hard to come up with any reasons why I like this screen size range in particular.  Even if the glass wraps around the side of the device like the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and eliminates bezels, it is still difficult to use in one hand.

I have not gotten a chance to review it yet, but having previously held an S7 Edge in a Verizon store I have come to the realization that it is too big for everyday use.  Not to mention that if I added the bulk of a case it would make it even harder to hold.

Over 5.8″

Note 5 writing

Writing with the Note 5 is incredibly fun

Here is the screen size of enthusiasts.  The extreme mobile users.  Those who prefer to lug around their behemoth devices for the sake of media enjoyment.

You could call this size range of devices…phablets.  I know, I know, that word leaves a bad taste in my mouth as well.

Phablets make any sort of video watching extremely enjoyable.  It is like having your own personal cinema.  Browsing the internet is wonderful and you barely have to squint or zoom-in to pages.  No longer do you need to have to waste money on a separate tablet and phone.  You can have an all-in-one device.

The tradeoff is that portability is pretty much a second thought especially if you plan to add a case.  Pockets become stretched and it makes me consider buying a purse satchel like Indiana Jones just for carrying one.

Two-handed operation is the standard here.  While I criticized it earlier I have to admit that there is a tipping point where using two hands is preferred.  Samsung’s Galaxy Note 5 opened me up to this preference.

Having a device with a built-in stylus makes two-handed use amazing.  It is incredible and I see why so many people love the Note lineup.  Productivity gets a huge speed boost and takes priority over pocket space.  The only reason I can think of that would explain this is because the device literally never leaves the users’ hands.

So what is my ideal screen size?

Sony Z3v review mobileFreqOut of these four options I chose 5″ to 5.3″.  I really like the size of my Sony Z3v at 5.2″, but it is probably at the upper limit of what I will ever consider for an everyday smartphone.

If I could, I would relabel the options into three categories.  Small would be anything under 4.8″, medium would be between 4.8-5.3″ and large would be anything greater than 5.3″.

So what do you guys and gals think?  Let me know in the comments below.

Recent Penn State grad who loves all things mobile. Has a knack for teaching and enjoys a bit of alliteration.

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