Why is bigger always better? Most Android OEMs still don’t get it

by: Simon HillJuly 2, 2014

Sony Xperia Z Ultra vs Sony Xperia Z1 vs Sony Xperia Z1 compact z1 mini AA -3

The race to deliver new innovations and push specs to the cutting edge of what’s available is a big part of what’s so exciting about the Android smartphone market, but a nasty prejudice keeps raising its ugly head. OEMs are discriminating based on size.

With precious few exceptions, small phones don’t get the latest processors, they don’t get the best cameras, and they often lack headline features. And that’s a problem.

The problem

We all know that smartphone are getting bigger and bigger on average. Check out Alex Barredo’s analysis for a good in-depth look at the changing size of smartphones from 2007 to the present. The average screen size has gone from 3 inches to 5 inches. The goalposts have definitely moved. The original Galaxy Note only had a 5.3 inch screen and it was considered huge at the time. Manufacturers are working hard at shrinking bezels to accommodate bigger screens, but the overall size of devices has still gone up a lot.

Big smartphones are definitely popular, but not everyone wants a device that they need two hands to operate. What if you have small hands? What if you want to be able to slip your phone comfortably into skinny jeans? What if you want to be able to text one-handed? Just because you want a smaller phone doesn’t mean you should have to put up with mid-range specs or yesterday’s innovations.

Nerfing the specs

As the average size has climbed, OEMs have obviously realized that there is a market for a scaled down version of each flagship. They’re right to offer smaller versions, but why do they have to hobble the specs?

htc one mini 2 press gunmetal gray (10)

The HTC One Mini 2 is actually quite big, with a 4.5-inch, 720p display, but it loses the Duo Camera and it has to make do with a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by the Adreno 305 GPU, and just 1 GB of RAM.

Samsung has also gone for a 4.5-inch, 720p display in its shrunken Galaxy S5 Mini, but inside we find a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 1.5GB of RAM. The camera is rated at 8MP, but at least it retains the fingerprint and heart rate sensors.

The closest thing we’ve seen to an LG G3 mini is the G3 Beat variant which has a 5-inch, 720p display, a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 400, 2GB of RAM, and an 8MP camera.

If dropping in size means dropping down to mid-range performance then count me out. Why shouldn’t you be able to buy a flagship mini that offers the same level of performance as its bigger sibling? Do people who want a smaller phone play fewer games or take fewer photos? Of course they don’t, so it makes no sense to downgrade like this.

Sony gets it right

sony xperia z1 compact-15

Sony is one of the few manufacturers to push really good specs into its diminutive device. The Xperia Z1 Compact drops down to a 4.3-inch, 720p display, but otherwise the specs are virtually indistinguishable from the Xperia Z1. It has the same Snapdragon 800, a quad-core GPU clocked at 2.2GHz, the Adreno 330 GPU, and 2GB of RAM. It also has the same 20.7MP main camera. In fact it stands up beautifully against the finest smartphones on the market. It even beats the Z2, Nexus 5, LG G2, and many others when it comes to the benchmarks.

It’s not a case of limited space or technological barriers. Every OEM could do the same. The smaller screen and battery should make it slightly cheaper than the big flagship version, but it doesn’t have to be wildly different.

Sort out your pricing

samsung galaxy s5 mini press 2

Another problem is the pricing. You can generally pick up last year’s flagship for less than this year’s mini and it will very probably outperform it in every category. If you check out mid-rangers on the market with similar performance levels they have bigger screens and yet the price is about the same.

We’re not sure about the price on the Galaxy S5 Mini yet, but it’s looking likely to be around $650 off-contract. The HTC One Mini 2 is around the same price. You can pick up the Z1 Compact for closer to $500 now and it offers vastly superior performance and a better camera. If you don’t mind going a little larger, then the HTC One M7, LG G2, and the Galaxy S4 are all cheaper than the new minis.

The OEMs are effectively punishing people who want a smaller smartphone. They’re asking them to pay a premium for lesser hardware.

Let’s throw another smartphone into the mix. The Moto G is under $200 and it has a 4.5-inch, 720p display with a 1.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor, backed by the Adreno 305 GPU, and 1 GB of RAM. If that sounds familiar it’s because that’s exactly the same setup as the HTC One Mini 2. The Moto G’s 5MP camera can’t compete with the 13MP effort in the One Mini 2, and it damn sure doesn’t have Boomsound speakers or a premium body, but look at the price difference.

Motorola Moto G aa 8

Get it together

Could it be that Samsung, HTC, and a few others are ripping off small phone buyers? Are they releasing nerfed shells that bear little relation to the big flagships, beyond the shared name, and then using the tepid reaction to justify the fact they don’t put much effort into the minis? This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom for small Android smartphones. Is there no demand for smaller smartphones or do people just not want to accept comparably poor specs?

If you’re in the market for a smaller Android smartphone then you can save yourself a fortune with the Moto G, or you can enjoy life in the fast lane with the Xperia Z1 Compact. It’s impossible to recommend any of the other minis.

  • Ammar Ashoor

    Seriously this is becoming stupid even Apple is going to join this reckless policy soon, I don’t get what’s wrong with small screens, I have been using the iPhone 4s (3.5”) for a while and didn’t feel that I have lost much from my transition from the s3 4.8” screen. (If you are wondering why I moved its because my s3 screen is not working)

    • MrMLK

      Why reckless? If the large phones are selling well, perhaps that’s what most people want to buy.

      • Ammar Ashoor

        Most doesn’t mean all

        • MrMLK

          Sure, but generally the less reckless thing to do is to build products that most people want to buy, rather then for what a few people want to buy.

          • retrospooty

            Yup. The fact is smaller ones arent selling well. Why would OEM’s try to jump on a losing bandwagon. If you want a small high end phone there are options. But those options aren’t selling well.

    • retrospooty

      “I don’t get what’s wrong with small screens”

      – most people want larger screens. It’s that simple. OEM’s larger screns are selling more and even Apple’s internal studies showed them that even Apple users wanted larger screens. The best way to get OEMS to start making high end phones with small screens? Get 10 million of your closest friends to go buy Sony Z1 and Z2 compact ‘s. OEMS will notice ;)

      • Ammar Ashoor

        At least don’t go over 5″ this is too much

        • SeraZR™

          Too much for you… but not for us with large enough hands

        • retrospooty

          It’s a personal preference. I have a G2 now and am getting a G3 as soon as its available on Verizon because I want a bigger screen. Unfortunately for the minority that wants smaller phones, they arent selling well, so OEM’s aren’t concentrating on them.

          You do have some good options though. Xperia Z1 and Z2 compact, Moto X, Moto G , Droid Mini, etc.

  • igyykjv

    LG G2

    • ggg

      I really like LG with the way of slim bezel, compact overall phone dimension is very good way for people who want smaller flagship.

      In fact, Sony has done this in the past with their Xperia ZL but abandon it and went on the way of Xperia ZR to Z1 compact instead (but Z1 compact are consider big and tall for 4.3 inch screen phone)

      If G2 mini 4.7 inch has the same spec as G2 that would be perfect but sadly it does not.

  • retrospooty

    This is simple, really. It’s econ 101. The reality is that most people that want high end phones want larger screens.
    The only way you are going to see more high end phones in smaller packages like the Z1 and Z2 compact (and I believe the Z3 compact was just leaked and is coming soon) is if those models start selling well. They arent. OEM’s are going to what most people want – larger screens. Even Apple’s internal research shows that people want larger screens and they are going with 4.7 and 5.5 on the iPhone 6. If people aren’t buying the 1 high end Android in a small package in high numbers, why on Earth would other OEM’s jump on the same losing bandwagon?

    • gk1984

      Except when “mini” models with decent specs aren’t available, no one CAN buy them. I think 4.5-4.7 in screen is perfect for me. 4.7 is a stretch, literally, for me to go 1-handed sometimes. Any bigger and yeah, I’m going to need 2 hands. But I don’t want to buy a gimped phone to accommodate my hands. I care about specs because I plan to keep it for a while and I want it to keep up with changing software. If I can buy last year’s models for cheaper and better performance than today’s “mini” models, then something is wrong. The only things keeping me from doing that is, again, size and the fear that manufacturers will abandon support for them soon after my purchase.

      • retrospooty

        Where on earth do you live where you cant buy Xperia Z1 and Z2 compact, Moto X, Moto G , Droid Mini, etc? These are all decent, especially the Xperia’s.

        • gk1984

          I’m a Sprint US customer. So no Sony. Moto X or X+1 might be my next one, but I’m not ready to upgrade yet. Moto G is too budget for my preference though. Droid Mini is Verizon only and sorry… I don’t support their practices.

          • retrospooty

            So, leave Sprint or get a bigger phone. Nokia has some great mid size 4.5 inch WP phones as well.

        • Anthonydotcom

          But what if he wanted a smaller HTC One that’s still packing all of the juicy goodness that the big one has? Then he’s SOL. That’s what he’s talking about. Sure the Moto G is great (my daughter has one) but it’s no HTC One, GS5, or G3.

          • retrospooty

            Yes, he is SOL. Like I said below, most people want larger screens. It’s that simple. OEM’s know larger screens are selling more. Apple’s internal studies show that even Apple users wanted larger screens. The best way to get OEMS to start making high end phones with small screens? Get 10 million of your closest friends to go buy Sony Z1 and Z2 compact ‘s. Other OEMS will notice that… But it wont happen. Not enugh people want them… It’s like when your favorite TV show gets cancelled. It may have been great, but not enough people were watching it to get the network to continue to produce it.

            But there are options… Look what else is coming http://www.androidcentral.com/xperia-z3-compact-leak-confirms-snapdragon-801-processor

          • kg2105

            +1, manufacturers go with what the majority want. They care about profit, not catering to every consumer.

      • RarestName

        This is actually what I’m annoyed about. Every time I post a comment about phone sizes, there’s bound to be a reply which sounds like “dey hav mini edition beter den ur icrap 5same lololololol isheep choice ftw” and then circle jerk about how the mini variants have “better specs” than the latest iPhone.

    • DDT

      The problem ? People don’t know what they want, what they will buy is strongly influenced by OEM’s themselves.

      • retrospooty

        Not really sure how that is a “problem”. If some people don’t know what they want, and are that easily influenced, then they probably aren’t complaining about what they got. People that know what they want, buy what they want and people that want smaller phones have some good options. Less options, but still some good ones.

    • TheCrusader

      Just not true, not entirely at least. I worked for a telecommunications company in Austria in the sales department for little more than a year. What I noticed is that most people don’t care about the specs! Most people don’t understand the meaning of GHz or how many cores a CPU has, they don’t understand how resolution is meant or if lower or higher is better. The average consumer only knows “that phone is better” and “that phone is worse”. They also know that flagships are the “best”phones, but they don’t know why… and they know that mini devices in general are not “best”.
      Those people go with flagship devices because they believe that is it worth it.

      The real problem for the industry is us geeks. Because companies cannot blindly fool us, they cannot trick us into buying the “best”. We know better… For the average consumer it is only about “what is the best” or “what is the cheapest”. They are not picky, we are and thus we notice that there’s something wrong with mini devices… I could promise you that if mini devices were true to their namesakes they would sell a lot better!

      The Xperia Z1 compact’s problem is timing. It came too late. Although it is a step into the right direction, it came too late to convince people that mini devices can be “the best” as well!

      • retrospooty

        I disagree. It’s simply based on sales. Bigger ones are selling better. People are leaving Apple because they want bigger screens. Apples own studies of their own users show they want bigger screens.

        This is econ 101 here. Supply and demand. If people wanted them, they would be selling.

        • Arturo Raygoza

          Its not about what most people want. We know most people want huge screens, we know that’s why apple is making bigger screen phones, we know. But what we are talking about here is that small niche of people who desire smaller versions of flagship phones but don’t want to sacrifice on specs. No one is arguing that we should reverse the trend and go back to smaller phones.

          • retrospooty

            ??? I am not sure what you mean. Several people here have indicated that they think it’s not because people want larger screens and that OEM’s and Geeks are pushing it making it happen artificially. Read their posts.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            That’s their opinion, and they are wrong, my point still stands.

          • retrospooty

            OK, well, there are options for those that want smaller phones. There are some good phones in the 4.3-4.7 inch range. Xperia Z1 and Z2 and soon to be Z3 compact, Moto X, Moto G , Droid Mini, etc Spec wise the Sony Xperia compact series is the highest high end. A Snap 800 will scream on a 720p screen. There are also a lot of really good Nokia WP phones at that size, and there is always the iPhone.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            I can see that reading comprehension is not one of your strong suits but please re-read my first comment on this thread, specifically sentence number 3 where I emphasize my point.

          • retrospooty

            OK, thanks for the condescending attitude. That aside, what is your point? Your 3rd sentence in your first post above is “But what we are talking about here is that small niche of people who desire smaller versions of flagship phones but don’t want to sacrifice on specs” – OK, that is what I was replying to. For those “niche” people, the Xperia Z1 and Z2 and soon to be Z3 compact do not sacrifice on specs. There are other options as well. Less options than there are on larger phones, but plenty options.

          • Arturo Raygoza

            No one said there wasn’t small phones out there, but what we are talking about here is mini’s of flagships with same specs just smaller phone.

          • retrospooty

            I am really not seeing what difference the name is. If it’s a [flagship] Mini, or if it’s just a good smaller phone. If we are slicing it that way, then no, there are not alot of Android options outside of the Sony models.

  • MrMLK

    I’m not sure how you get from “small phones don’t get the latest processors” to “Could it be that Samsung, HTC, and a few others are ripping off small phone buyers”. Are they promising you the latest processors and then not delivering? Are they releasing spec sheets that don’t match the phones?

    Either they are making the assumption that people who want smaller phones don’t want the fastest hardware, or they are trying to push people to the larger phones. In neither case are they ripping anyone off.

    I like a giant phone, so I don’t follow the small ones. Are they selling well? If so, maybe you are just in the minority of wanting a small/fast phone.

    • Wolf

      I don’ think your getting the issue here? Its not that these companies are not delivering, its that they’re charging flagship prices (i.e. ~$650) for a smaller, cheaper, mid spec phone. While you could say that they are pushing you toward the larger one (which is obviously the better deal), they shouldn’t be charging $650 for a phone one would barely pay $350 for. They are just taking on the same name as their new flagship, and then ripping you off by giving you less for more…

      • MrMLK

        I think the problem here is that you don’t seem to be understanding what “ripping you off” means. If the companies were pretending that the phones had high end specs, that would be “ripping you off”. They aren’t doing that. They are selling a lower end phone with clearly defined specs. If it is too much money for you, don’t buy it. That’s not “ripping you off”, that’s “selling a product that is too expensive to you”.

        • Wolf

          Alright, obviously we are not going to convince each other on this. I’m just saying that you don’t have to promote specs or promise anything and not deliver to rip people. Timing and branding are all it takes to mislead people. How many people actually look at specs? Sure, everyone here does, but I would guess a large chunk of people I know and have seen don’t. They usually send me a phone and ask if it is any good. I consider them to be “ripping the AVERAGE consumer off” when they call it Samsung Galaxy S5… mini. The AVERAGE consumer sees Galaxy S5 and most likely thinks “Oh its just like my friends new S5, just smaller.” Should people know better than that? Yes they should, the problem is, they don’t. A lot of them just see that the mini is newer and they would like a smaller phone. While entirely legal, it’s shady business at best and I am not impressed with them for taking advantage of their customers just to drive their profit margins to Apple levels.

  • Amit

    <3 my Moto G.. Came from Samsung and completely satisfied with Price : Experience

  • Emmanuel

    Hmmmm… this may sound stupid but personally….If I would go for a “small” smartphone…having all the great specs is not really Ideal in the first place…. small phone with gaming grade gpu and cpu? I won’t be gaming that much on a small screen anyway….. small phone with a high resolution camera? viewing those photos on a small phone is not that pleasing anyways… small phone with smaller capacity battery? I won’t be using that phone that much to save power……..I know it’s preference.. but that’s my take on it.

    • Pineda R.

      Only because of the size of the phones, you cannot “decrease” the overall performance of the phone. That’s like putting shitty specs on a laptop.

      “small phone with gaming grade gpu and cpu? I won’t be gaming that much on a small screen anyway”

      Who said good specs are for gaming only?

      “small phone with a high resolution camera? viewing those photos on a small phone is not that pleasing anyways”

      Well, this is a stupid argument (sry, my opinion). It’s like shooting a photo on every professional camera. The displays from these cameras are little compared to “mini” phones.. Still you watch your photos on the PC or TV.

      “small phone with smaller capacity battery? I won’t be using that phone that much to save power”

      That logic… :>

      • Emmanuel

        -“Who said good specs are for gaming only”… the moto x has already showed the world that ultra high specs is not necessary for everyday day to day tasks…… using a 2.0Ghz+ quad-core processor for tasks other than heavy media editing and gaming is already overkill….

        -Professional cameras were not designed to be a multimedia platforms… they were design to take photos and be printed and/or viewed elsewhere…. People are starting to ditch point and shoots for smartphones because smartphones are meant to be a “one stop shop”… shoot… share… and enjoy media with one device.

        -Optimization, lower resolution screens and lower clocked cpu’s will give smaller devices on-par battery with bigger phones but at the end of the day… 3200mah is still bigger than 2100mah.

        Sure, smaller screen is not a reason for lesser specs…but it doesn’t mean it’s not reasonable trade-off either……

        • Pineda R.

          “the moto x has already showed the world[..]”

          Yeah, Moto X.. What’s up with the “bigger” phones? They all have quad- or octa-core processors..

          “Professional cameras were not designed to be a multimedia platforms[..}”

          So would you consider a 3MP camera on a “mini” phone?

          “Optimization, lower resolution screens[..]”

          But with more power, you eventually can achieve, that the battery can last more than the batteries in “bigger” phones.

          • Emmanuel

            as for processors… were talking about “NEEDS”… bigger screens are very conducive to more heavy lifting, more heavy work thus faster processors are “IDEAL”… again… NOT REQUIRED but IDEAL….

            Big screens with “okay” processors –> you’re gonna end up wishing it has more power to do more.
            Small screens with top-notch processors –> you’re gonna end up wishing the screen was bigger to do more…. it’s about matching ideal specs…about usability…

            The only reason I could see people wanting supreme specs on a small form factor is because of comfort of using a small phone, prefer one handed operation, proper “pocketablility”…. I would be surprised to hear someone choosing the z1 compact over the z1 and say “I went with the z1 compact because I can do more”

            …. again it’s all about preference…..

  • Andyrx Jiang

    When the the manufacturers like One Plus One makes such nice phones with high end mobile specs, the other OEMs don’t listen. Guess why? Its because we are still supporting them like crazy. My school demographic is like this:
    56% IPhone
    39%Samsung Galaxy
    4%No phone
    1% Others, like Sony or Motorola

  • vishalaestro

    even if apple produces smaller screen iphones still people will buy .and larger screens are useful only for multimedia consumption.for web browsing any thing below 87-8 inches will not be suitable especially for desktop sites.i was unable to read desktop sites on my nexus 7 needed to zoom in which was creating me confusion of where actually i am.instead i would buy a iphone why would easily stay on my pocket and i will fell safe that i would not drop such a costly device .of course it has a crappy and locked os.

  • Goku

    There’s Sony Xperia ZR. Small phone with good specs.

    • ggg

      If only ZR has the same spec as Xperia A (ame spec as ZR but internal storage move to 32GB) that would be wonderful

  • Clinton

    I can understand that the manufacturers don’t make mini phones with flagship hardware because they just don’t sell well.
    But what I don’t understand is why they sell these mini phone at the appropriate prices.
    Paying over 500$ for a mini with mid range specs is stupid.
    Its fine to follow what the majority wants but why rip off people who want a smaller phone.

  • acashe42

    Anywhere from 4.7 to 5 is perfect, 5.2 if you have big hands.

  • wat

    It is intentional to make people want to buy the smaller phones less and the flagships more. Just like the 5C was to make people go for the 5S more. It’s all psychological. Any “mini” phones sold are gravy.
    Source: I’m a designer.

  • Javier Peralta

    “Why is bigger always better?” Cause MURRICA

  • gettysburg11s

    Yep, screen size is important. The main reason I switched to a Nexus 5 from an iPhone 5s is the screen size. No matter what Apple will tell you, my 1080p Nexus 5 screen is much sharper than the iPhone 5s screen. However, if the iPhone 6’s screen is larger and is close to 1080p, I might be inclined to go back to iPhone (I do have an iPad mini, so it would not be a big stretch).

  • Luka Mlinar

    No offense but 4.3″ is useless to me. I wish someone would hit the sweet spot; a Moto X size device with a Snap. 800 for a fair price (e.g. OnePlus, Nexus). This is why the Nexus line continues to be the crowd favorite, it’s still in that 4.7″-5″ frame.

    • filaos

      “crowd favorite” ? In what part of the known universe ?
      Crowd buys Samsung, at least on Earth.

      • Luka Mlinar

        Just not this crowd ;D

      • aaloo

        IPhone 5c outsold galaxy s5 in UK during S5’s first full month of sale :)

        • retrospooty

          Really? One model on an entire platform with 3 models for sale outsold one model on a platform with 100’s of models to choose from? That Apple is sure amazing.

          • aaloo

            5c outsold the best selling android phone. I’m not calling apple amazing but it must be embarrassing for samsung that their flagship is outsold by 8 months old phone. Don’t care about platforms when all google apps are available on iphone and run better than android devices.

          • retrospooty

            Oh, now I get it. Your a troll with a math deficiency.

          • aaloo

            You are feisty little one. Aren’t you. I can school you in math child.

            1. http://www.statista.com/statis
            This shows you that apple has sold 516.09 million iPhones to date.

            2. https://mixpanel.com/trends/#r
            This shows percentage makeup of those iPhones. IPhone 5c accounts for 9.65% of install base.

            Both of these are independent sites and not numbers given by apple. So, I wouldn’t believe all these random articles written by so called journalists and tech experts. All it takes is a little research. You have to back your articles with actual numbers otherwise it’s just old wives tale.

            So iPhone 5c has sold nearly 50 million according to that. Name me phones that have outsold 5c since September 2013.

          • retrospooty

            Uhh… No-one is arguing sales #’s. Companies can pull in #;s from one quarter to the next to make the #’s look better, but overall, the #’s are the #’s. It’s not your math calculation that is in question… It’s the arrangement of the word problem that is the issue. One model on an entire platform with 3 models far sale outsold one model on a platform with 100’s of models to choose from?

            Someone buying an Apple phone has 3 to choose from. Someone buying an Android phone has 100’s to choose from. Of course each individual model outsells Android phones. There have been 1.3 billion Androids sold and it’s still growing far faster than Apple… If you add it up model by individual model, Apple’s 3 models sell more? I agree they do, and they probably always will. What is your point by that?

          • aaloo

            Wow, a genuinely coherent response. Your point is valid. I was not trolling; simply informing the original poster, filaos.

            As for the platforms, I’m not sure a common person buying a phone actually knows about android. People buy galaxy phones, HTC phones, LG phones, iPhones. What operating system runs the phone has little influence on most people’s buying decision. I think people will still buy a galaxy device even if it runs tizen. Similarly, people buy iPhone knock offs runnin android all the time in china. You can buy these on craigslist or kijiji as well.

            I understand what you are saying, but I’m not sure general public knows about operating systems much.

          • retrospooty

            OK, but that is exactly what I said in my first post, with a bit more detail. As far as the “crowd favorite” comment, the OP was still right. Samsung phones outsell Apple and all others by a huge margin. Just not one individual model. Not that the distinction means anything. Samsung sells more phones than any other vendor, Android runs more phones than any other OS, Apple sells more of each model than any other model, and makes more profit than any other. We all wake up tomorrow morning and this will all still be true.

          • Gator352

            I own a 5s and I disagree with you wholeheartedly.

          • aaloo

            You have a right to disagree. I still maintain that an iphone runs google apps the best. It’s my experience.

        • Gator352

          That’s because the Brit’s don’t know any better….:)

    • Sunny

      5″ is perfect for me.
      Don’t like any smaller or bigger than that.

      • A Skylit [S]unjΔy

        That’s what she said.

        Orihime told me that.

    • arcwindz

      That’s it, z1 compact was mouth watering for me, but the 4.3 inch put me down after coming from the 5 inch zl. 4.7 to 4.8 or 5 inch with small bezels like zl is perfect

  • Sequoia46.2

    We small phone lovers should start a petition or something

    • Anthonydotcom

      You should change your icon. I think that’s what the kids are doing nowdays when it comes to protesting.


  • s2weden2000

    5.5″ the only way to roll…

  • Andykids

    Love my Z1 compact V^^

  • Kevin

    I have the note 3 and love it! I use my old iphone 5 for well basically nothing now,that screen now bothers my eyes don’t know how i did it for so long.

  • Android Developer

    “Sony gets it right”?
    but they have huge bezels …

  • Anthonydotcom

    I like my phones large and in charge, but i’m certain that there’s a market for people who want a high end 4.5 inch device.

  • Anthonydotcom


    They would sell a ton if they marketed them the same as the larger ones.

    “The new HTC One, now in two sizes 4.5 and 5 inches starting at $499. Same powerful phone, smaller footprint.”

    They’d MAKE A KILLING! Don’t believe me? Just watch apple pull it off in a few months. If HTC did something like this they would need to keep the name simple. Don’t give them two separate stupid names like HTC One M8, and HTC One mini two. WTF!?!?!


    • Jay

      I’ve really been wanting an OEM to do this for a while now! 2 exact spec’d phones at 2 different sizes, and see which one sells better. This would put an end to the ‘what consumers want’ debate.

      • Gator352

        Or at least make the “mini” version 50-100 cheaper due to the smaller screen. I’d bite…

  • Will S.

    There is a huge lack of small Android phones with decent specs.

  • Billy_B

    They will all do it soon enough because Apple is about to do it. You will probably see 2 or 3 different size iPhones all with the same high end specs. They don’t make stuff without high end specs. You can say what you want about Apple, but they have extremely high end hardware and internals. And each size phone will have the same beefy internals.

    HTC, Samsung, and everyone else will be doing it soon in order to compete.

  • jane

    being a part of rockstar i will never support or buy sony products

  • Jesus

    Well… look at iPhones.

    Moto G internals, at a Galaxy S5 price.

  • Gamma M

    I wish Sony made their compact phones with 4.5″ of screen size to be exactly comparable with HTC and Samsung mini versions but obviously massively better value!

  • indio7777

    Sony’s phones are the most beautifully designed smartphones on the market (and yes, that includes the remote control-shaped iPhone). If you haven’t held one and used one, you’re missing out.

    Slim, all glass with aluminum…brilliant screens very fast.

  • AvalancheRyder

    “The smaller screen and battery should make it slightly cheaper than the big flagship version, but it doesn’t have to be wildly different.”

    I’m not sure I agree with this, though I may be wrong. Isn’t the opposite the very reason why smartphones cost more than tablets with the same performance? The smaller the device casing, the more expensive it becomes to include the same powerful technology as all components now need to be that much smaller.

  • Mista_Mr

    Unless it’s done right like sony did mini phones are pointless knock offs!!

  • YUGA

    LG has done a good work, as well as Sony, but most Xperia phones have wide frame

  • Paulo Almeida

    Couldn’t agree more! I’m one the “few” that would prefer a smaller screen and top tier specs, instead of the behemoths that are comming out lately!! As a bonus it would mean more screen on/standby time!!
    In part I get it, the main thing they see is numbers, specially the one with a $ attached to it…

  • mr hey

    if you want a bigger phone, buy a tablet instead and put them in your pockets!

  • toiletduck7

    i definitely agree with you on this one, simon. the said manufacturers are indeed ripping off consumers vs giving better value and better android experience.

  • at last, somebody think the same as me, i hate it when i forced to use big screen to get the latest specs, other manufacturers should learn what sony did to the Z1 Compact

  • Gator352

    Just give me a phablet phone…8.4″ to be exact. I want it to engulf my head as I’m talking. I want to have to pack it in a backpack instead of my jeans. I want people to say when I’m using it…”Holy shit that must hurt!” Naw serious….5-5.5 is perfect, even for my small hands.

  • phoneguy

    Hi Simon, I think you might be interested to see doyoko.com. The search algorithm considers screen size as part of a ‘practical’ score. Similarly it aims to help users find phones of similar price and spec. All the best

  • Smuti

    A very well written article, that I can show to my friends and explain why I bought the Z1C over all the crap out there that is called a mini.

  • Bun-Bun


    My biggest gripe with the “mini” phones is the nerfed screens. The biggest reason to buy a new nicer phone is for a nicer screen. My S2 had a nicer screen then these “mini” phones. Why would I want to downgrade on the screen? Give me a 4.5″ AMOLED 400+ PPI screen please.