Six Inch Smartphones – Why?


Remember the day when Samsung launched the successful 5.3” Note. It was a good phablet and started the craze for phablets in India (and the world).

It was followed by the next variations – Note2, 3, 4 all around 5.5” screens with latest one Note 4 being at 5.7”. These are all great phablets but are now a little small in size.

Compare them to the latest Nexus 6 (6” screen). This is a phone by the way. Other companies are also bringing in smartphones with 6 inch screens.

Huawei has just launched Ascend GX1 that is sporting a 6” screen with all the other usual goodies. Other companies have also lined up various 6” smartphones for users.

While I do not know the real reason why there is a sudden interest in a larger screen size, I feel that a certain 5.5” iPhone might be a culprit here.

In the 4” iPhone arena, a 5” Android screen was boasted off by the companies. As the screen size became somewhat constant other features took over priority and companies started focusing on performance and battery life.

However, once the 5.5” screen made its debut, companies did what they knew best to give a boost to their phone in front of iPhone- make a bigger screen.

And, Google only aided this further by making Nexus 6 too big for hand. Having a Google phone of this size was almost an invitation to make 6” phones for other companies.

Nexus 6

Now, I do not have any problem with a 6” phone as long as there is an equivalent phone with smaller screen. Ideally each size (4”, 4.5”, 5”, 6”) should have an excellent phone. This is what freedom means. Unfortunately, the 4” phones are all almost useless nowadays. Their processors are nothing to brag about and the best 4” smartphone is an iPhone. Similarly, fewer phones are at their peak in the 4.5” range with 5” the norm.

If the trend continues it will be difficult to get a decent phone (with proper upgrades) in that region too.

This means people will either be stuck with large phones or with old phones. I, for example, have a Nexus 4 and while I want to upgrade, I have no option that gives me Android 5.0 (which my Nexus already has) and is latest in other aspects. Nexus 5 is old and is now off-production.

Nexus 6 is too big and Samsung is too slow on its OS upgrades. Sony and Motorola are still in the game with Xperia Z series and Moto X but even these phones want to move towards the big screen arena. Besides, by next year, the flagship phones by all companies will be in the 6” arena.

The only ray of hope here is Project Ara but I doubt that it will be for novice users.

What is your take? Do you think the size increase is fine or companies should at least have one flagship in sub-5” region?

[Image Source: XDA]

[Arun’s Comment: I was exactly in the same boat and did not want a 6 inch phone, because that was far too big. For me, a 5 inch phone is an ideal size for a smartphone. However, if I wanted to a specification upgrade, I did not have an option other than to go for a bearable 5.5 inch phone. So OnePlus One was my choice. Google definitely got it wrong with Nexus 6! ]

  1. guest says

    you are all bitches sounding wrong like its 2011. 8 inches will be the standard

  2. Ajay says

    Nice observation. I am having the same concerns. I am looking for a good specifications but small form factor like 3.5 or 4 inch screen size, and very light weight that I can carry around while jogging.

    I am mostly in front of the computer, or with an ipad for reading ebooks. So, I don’t see a reason to carry an oversized phone for Navigation, Photography, Music or for my occasional webbrowsing and emailing needs. I also don’t play games on phones, let alone computers.

  3. […] in the race to have one-up on another Smartphone manufacturers are going to any lengths. Most of them are looking at 6 inch smartphones. For most these huge phones will not even fit in the palm of their […]

  4. Vijayendra D says

    This subject doesn’t merit an article, really. It’s the matter of choice. To each his own. Companies spend as much money making the product as they do in research. With the influx of big phones in the market, there is clearly a trend that you or me won’t understand.

    I use Asus ZenFone 6 and it’s massive. It is my phone, ipad mini, and everything in between or beyond. I also use it to watch a lot of videos from YouTube and Movies from the Play Store. What these giants bring with them are great screens, firstly, and of course the battery power which I believe must be on everybody’s top 3 must-haves when buying a phone/phablet. Also, earlier the trend was to use a phone for atleast 2-3 years. Now with the ever-increasing choices in the market, this same period has come down to 1 year to 1.5 year. People change their phones that frequently. So if anybody who’s bored with a 6 incher can go with a 5-incher. Oh btw, talking about sizes I just read an article in Pune Times that Flip Phones are making a comeback.

  5. Girish A says

    It’s again depends on user’s choice. I believe Moto X 2nd generation is a good phone with 5.2 inch screen and a decent specifications. And who knows Google may launch Nexus mini with smaller size in their next event :)

  6. Abdullah C says

    >> Sony and Motorola are still in the game with Xperia Z series … but even these phones want to move towards the big screen arena.

    The Xperia Z series comes with “compact” versions too. As far as I’ve checked, everything stays the same except for the screen size.

    1. Abdullah C says

      Weird…the newline after the first (quoted) sentence disappeared from my post. Admin, please add that in.

  7. JaiGanesh S. Nadar says

    Wrong assumption. It is not the arrival of 5.5 inch smart phone, but people wanna see more content in their smart phone.

    I am using Huawei Ascend Mate. It is a 6.1 inch smart phone and is in the market for the last two year. That proves your theory is wrong

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