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Would a 5.9-inch Nexus be too big? Or just right?

For this week's Friday Debate we discuss the rumored 5.9-inch Nexus. Too big, or just right? What do you think?
September 26, 2014

While we first started hearing rumors about a Nexus phablet a bit earlier during the summer, this week we’ve seen rumors of a Motorola-made phablet (often referred to as Shamu) really take off and have even gotten an alleged look at the Motorola device. This leads us to wonder how Nexus fans feel about such a monster handset.

For this Friday Debate we ask if a 5.9-inch Nexus is too big, and what size most of us would prefer to see. Do you think it makes sense for Google to produce such a big-screen handset, what can they bring to the table that we haven’t already seen before from other similarly sized devices?

Robert Triggs

Having moved on up from a Galaxy S2 straight to an LG G3, I am a convert to the bigger screen sizes. I’m not sure about the rest of you, but calls are an increasingly small part of my daily smartphone usage. Whilst media content, like video and games, really cries out for a bigger screen size. As the Nexus 5 is still handily keeping up with other flagships of its size, a larger Nexus device seems like the way to go.

However, one handed operation is a bit of a concern of mine once you reach that size. One of the main reasons why I think that the LG G3, Note 4, and Huawei Ascend Mate 7 work so well is due to their extra slim bezels, allowing users to more easily reach both sides of the screen without resorting to two hands. A larger Nexus device would have to follow a similar design ethos for it to appeal to me.

I don’t think manufacturers need to be shown how to make great supersize smartphones these days, so in that sense a new large Nexus probably isn’t necessary. However, as the 5.9″ Nexus could show up in time for the consumer launch of Android L, the device is actually pretty essential.

Google couldn’t really launch Android L to consumers without having a reference design to show off, and why not stick with the trend towards bigger displays. Google will almost certainly be using it to lead app developers in the right direction, see Material Design, and this could also be a good opportunity for Google to lend its opinion on how software should be tweaked for use with larger, higher resolution displays. Perhaps there are also some additional Android L features designed for big displays to come.

Overall, yeah I like the sound of a big Nexus. Although it probably won’t make me part with my G3, this could be a hugely popular device with Nexus lovers looking for a bigger screen.

Andrew Grush

For me, personally, I’m not sure I could get used to a phone that has a 5.9-inch display. I love my Nexus 5 and can’t imagine wielding anything too much bigger. As it stands, I can’t see myself wanting to go with a phone any bigger than 5.2 to 5.5-inches. That said, it depends on how thin the bezels are and what measures Google would take to make such a big phone more friendly for one-handed operation. If Google got everything right, I suppose I’d at least consider such a device — simply because I’m a Nexus fan.

The bigger question is WHY would Google release a Nexus phablet? Sure, the category is becoming increasingly popular but I’d say the majority would still prefer a 5 to 5.5-inch display size. If Google did create a phablet, they would at least hopefully have a few Android L surprises aimed at that screen size like a stock multi-window alternative and other phablet friendly features.

If Google does release the so-called Nexus 6 or Nexus X with a 5.9-inch display, I have a feeling there will also be a smaller 5 to 5.2-inch variant as well. At the very least, I think it would be wise of Google to continue selling the Nexus 5 alongside a Nexus phablet instead of as a replacement.

Again, we really haven’t heard anything conclusive about such the rumored new Nexus phone, and all the evidence points more to a Moto S phablet than an actual Nexus device. I’m still not even 100% sure that a new Nexus phone is coming this fall as the evidence isn’t nearly as strong as the leaks and details we’ve seen surrounding the HTC Nexus 9, though I’d love it if Google does release an update to its Nexus smartphone series.

Joseph Hindy

I am a huge fan of phablets. I love my Note 3 and it’s large screen. I also play a lot of games which means my use case is tailor made for larger screens. However, in general, I can understand why people don’t like such large phones. That said, 5.9″ is too big for a smartphone. The Note 3 and iPhone 6 Plus sizes are about as big as I can imagine a phone being before it’s too big. After that you start getting into more of a tablet and a phone rather than being more of a phone than a tablet.I would love for there to be a Nexus phablet. Phablets typically have larger batteries and I’m a huge fan of larger batteries. However, there is a point where too much is too much. There is a reason the Note 2, 3, and Note 4 are all more or less the same size and why LG and Motorola have stayed below that size. It seems as though the upper limit is more or less 5.7″ because that’s when it starts to feel too big.

Now I could end up eating my own words. The 5.7″ display of the Note series and the similar sized screen of the iPhone 6 Plus also come with things like a home button and bezels. If the Nexus phablet manages to remove all that extra clutter and fit the 5.9″ screen into a shell that is the same size as the Note 4, then that feeling of “too big” would be mitigated by the fact that it fits into the shell that once housed a smaller screen. If that’s the case, I’m all for it.

Phone size in general has been more hot button than usual. Some people are upset that the Moto X 2014 is larger and the iPhone increasing its size has also brought the “issue” up again. I do believe that we are approaching the end of the “big phone” era and we’ll start seeing more reasonably sized phones coming out and being popular.

Like all growing phases, everyone just wants to see how far this phablet thing goes. Even if Google does do a Nexus phablet, they’ll have their hands full taking down Samsung. It’ll be interesting to watch for sure.

Jonathan Feist

Earlier this year I went on and on about how I love my Nexus 7, that the pairing of a smaller phone with the tablet was the ideal life for me. Well, you catch me now at a crossroads, the Nexus 7 is recently deceased (along with my new Chromebook, it was a bad week) and I must decide where to go next.

I’ll keep it short, I agree with most of what the boys have already said. My next phone will be 5.5 to 6-inch sized, I probably won’t replace the Nexus 7 and this supposed Nexus 6 is coming at just the right time for my needs.

The larger display will be a nice change. I used to sometimes post articles here on the site using just my Nexus 7, I tried that yesterday on my Moto G, which resulted in a few flubs and needing a bigger screen to sort it out.

The two takeaways from yesterday’s posting extravaganza, I can do what I need on a phone, rather, on a smaller screen than the Nexus 7, but I can’t do it on a 4.5-inch screen.

The biggest thing is that I have grown accustomed to a two display mobile world, driving usually meant Maps on one device, music/Torque/Ingress etc on the other. This trend continues for most of my day, not just driving, so it’ll be interesting to see how I manage one screen, if anything gets cut from my routine.

That’s that, I’m already saving my pennies in the hopes that the Nexus 6 is everything that we’ve already seen it rumored to be. If not, I think the OnePlus One or LG G3 may be the answer for me.

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