Report suggests optimum size for a smartphone’s display: between 4.0 and 4.5 inches

March 15, 2012
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optimal screen size
According to Freud, size definitely matters to women, but it matters far more to men. Although I’m positive that you have heard this stuff before, it probably had nothing to do with your smartphone. But as it turns out, a recent study proves that this psychological axiom holds true even when applied to your smartphone’s screen size. Predictable? Maybe, but it’s always better to have some facts and numbers we can wrap our heads around. According to the Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab, smartphone customers basically want two things from their next smartphone: thinness and a large display.

According to Strategy Analytics, most smartphone users would want their next smartphone to have a screen size somewhere between 4.0 inches and 4.5 inches. This “optimal” screen size could have very well been defined by the fact that users simply want devices with bigger displays than the gadgets that they currently posses. Strategy Analytics says that “almost 90 percent of existing smartphone owners surveyed chose a prototype smartphone with a display larger than their current device”.

Bigger (and thinner) is better

The same study suggests that, when compared to women smartphone users, male smartphone users are inclined to buy smartphones with bigger displays. I’m guessing that has a great deal to do with the fact that women simply have smaller hands. Now imagine your girlfriend being able to properly wield the 5.3-inch Galaxy Note with one hand tied behind her back!

The report suggests that, although smartphone users are generally considering a device with a bigger display for their next purchase, they will also take into account how thick (although thin is a better word in this context) the device is, as well as how much it weights. Fortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Android smartphones (and even tabs, really) getting close to their “theoretical” minimal thickness, considering the fact that mobile devices should also feel comfortable in your hand. I’m guessing anything less than 10 mm should certainly be thin enough for most Android shoppers.

As expected, iPhone users were less inclined to want a bigger display on their next smartphone (as all versions of the iPhone showcase a 3.5-inch display). Of course, as we discussed before, the 3.5-inch form factor does have a huge benefit – the fact that almost the entire screen real estate can be reached with a swipe of the thumb.

iPhone-vs-Galaxy-SII

However, not everyone seems to agree that you must be able to use your smartphone with only one hand. A big proportion of Android users answered that they would like bigger displays. A big part of all users want their smartphones to be increasingly thin. For your reference, here’s a list of the three Google Nexus smartphones, side by side with their corresponding iOS competitor:

  • Google Nexus One – 3.7 inch display – 11.5 mm thick
  • iPhone 3Gs – 3.5 inch display – 12.3mm
  • Google Nexus S – 4.0 inch display – 10.9 mm thick
  • iPhone 4 – 3.5 inch display – 9.3 mm thick
  • Google Galaxy Nexus – 4.65 inch display – 8.9 mm thick
  • iPhone 4S – 3.5 inch display – 9.3 mm thick

Clearly, Google has acknowledged that Android users want bigger screens, but it’s not like Android OEMs did not follow the same pattern. Here is a list of the previous 3 top smartphones from Samsung:

  • Samsung Galaxy S – 4.0 inch display – 9.9 mm thick
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 – 4.3 inch display – 8.5 mm thick
  • Samsung Galaxy Note – 5.3 inch display – 9.7 mm (obviously not actually a smartphone, but it did sell like crazy so you see my point here, right?)

Do you agree with the study? Is 4 – 4.5 inch the sweet area for Android display sizes? Are mammoth devices like the Galaxy Note (or the Optimus Vu for that matter) the answer? Or maybe you’re inclined towards more pocketable screen sizes? Let us know what you think in the comment section below and vote in the poll!

[poll id="85"]

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