The race to outgrow your pocket is over: Phones have finally stopped getting bigger

Huawei Ascend Mate next to the Galaxy Note IIMobile Editors have strange dreams. While most of you probably dream about things like flying or having to give a speech naked, my nights are filled with horrors of the handheld kind. And for the last couple years, I’ve tossed and turned to one particularly ridiculous fear: That phones are going to get so damn big, we’re not going to be able to hold them anymore.

The trends have been crystal clear. People love phone screens – the bigger the better. The bigger phones seem to get, the more they seem to sell. And because of that, my phone choices are getting absurdly large.

Dell was mocked and heralded as crazy for bringing out a 5-inch phone back in 2010. The Dell Streak was laughed out of existence. But take a look at the major phones announced in the last few months, from the Droid DNA in November 2012 to the many new flagship designs shown at CES in January. Just when you thought standard phones had peaked with 4.7-inch screens, everything upshifted to 5 inches. And to make matters worse, the massive Galaxy Note 2 – once huge at 5.5 inches – was dwarfed by the Huawei Ascend Mate, which stands at 6.1 inches. It’s so large it makes me wonder whether 7-inch tablets will soon be considered phones themselves.

HTC MiniIf you doubt that the size of phone screens has truly reached absurdity, consider this. The Droid DNA (known as the HTC Butterfly internationally) was so large that HTC decided to release a NFC/Bluetooth accessory for it called the HTC Mini that acts as, well, a phone. Yes. HTC decided that its phones were so big that it released a more comfortable, more holdable phone accessory for its phones. The Mini can make or receive calls, receive messages or notifications, and you can text on it using T9 (remember that?).

The HTC Mini is an admission that the Droid DNA, and other phones with 5+ inch screens are just too big for many people to use comfortably every day. It’s also one of the most obvious examples of our tendency to use technology to solve the problems we’ve created with technology. Instead of simply buying a phone you can comfortably hold, some people are opting to give up one-handed phone use in favor of giant screens.

Thankfully, I may not have to wake up in a cold sweat much longer, and you may not be forced to buy a mini phone so you can actually use your phone as … a phone. For the first time in years, smartphone screen sizes are showing slight signs of shrinkage. At Mobile World Congress, a few of the hottest new phones have lost some heft. The HTC One, first shown last week, reverses the Droid DNA’s 5-inch screen and opts for a 4.7-inch screen like the HTC One X. Huawei’s new Ascend P2 does the same, falling back from the 5-inch screen of the Ascend D2 to a more manageable 4.7 inches. New Lumia devices from Nokia and the BlackBerry Z10 also stay in the 4- to 4.7-inch range. And lets not forget the Motorola Droid Razr M, my favorite little Verizon handset. 

Now, there are some of you who may argue this point. After all, ZTE just announced the ZTE Grand Memo and LG showed off the rather husky Optimus G Pro and Vu 2 at MWC today. And indeed, big phones are alive and well; the difference is now in choice. Most every major manufacturer seems determined to compete with Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, and they’ve all adopted the same strategy. Instead of continuing to make their flagship, high-end phones ever-more-dangerously larger, almost every big phone maker now has two flagship phones: a big one (Galaxy S3) and a huge one (Galaxy Note 2). People with basketball-sized hands can now live side by side with us normal folk. Assuming things stay like this, I’m cool.

Want a huge-ass phone? Go for it. Buy yourself a phone that could be used as a blast shield for your face. For the first time, I don’t care. I’ll buy a phone that fits in my hand. Giant phones and I can finally be friends, or, at least, frenemies. I’d never insult a Galaxy Note 2 to its face; I’d get my ass kicked. That guy’s huge.

The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not reflect the beliefs of Digital Trends.


Nubia’s two-screen wonder is a new solution to our all-screen selfie problems

Nubia has added a second screen to the back of the Nubia X so the rear camera can be used for selfies -- and a lot more -- and the front is all-screen. We tried the phone out at CES 2019.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

Samsung's advanced folding phone needed 'total reconfiguration' to make it real

Samsung has been showcasing bendable display tech for a few years and now a folding smartphone might finally arrive. The Galaxy X, or perhaps the Galaxy Fold, may be the company's first example. Here's everything we know about it.

The LG G8 ThinQ may arrive at MWC 2019 with an on-screen speaker

LG is expected to release a successor to the LG G7 ThinQ, possibly called the LG G8 ThinQ, this year and rumors about it are already spreading. Here's everything we know about it so far.

Oppo could reveal a new smartphone with a 10x optical zoom

Cracking a solid zoom on smartphones has been a riddle many years in the solving. One company may have finally cracked it though: Oppo may be about to show off a phone with a 10x optical zoom.

AT&T jumps the gun with deliberately misleading 5GE launch

As excitement about 5G networks continues to build, AT&T jumps the gun with a ridiculous and deliberate attempt to deceive the public with 5G Evolution – a speed bump that’s based on improvements to 4G tech.

Nike’s Adapt BB shoes let you tighten your laces with an iPhone

The new Nike Adapt BB shoe comes with smartphone connectivity that allows the user to tighten the laces using a smartphone while providing the ability to adjust tension throughout the game.

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.

If you're looking for a good laugh, here are 70 questions to ask Siri

Siri has come a long way since her first appearance on the iPhone 4S in 2011. We know she can make appointments and give directions, did you know she can make you laugh too? If you want proof, here are lots of funny questions to ask Siri.

Benchmark results show Snapdragon 855 destroys previous-generation chip

Almost exactly a year after the launch of the Snapdragon 845, Qualcomm took the wraps off of its next-generation mobile platform, the new Snapdragon 855. The new chip puts an emphasis on A.I. performance.

Apple’s official iPhone XS battery case is finally here

Apple has been rumored to be working on a new iPhone battery case for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR. Now, those new cases are finally here, offering seven hours of extra use for each iPhone and are available for $129.
Social Media

Twitter extends its new timeline feature to Android users

Twitter users with an Android device can now quickly switch between an algorithm-generated timeline and one that shows the most recent tweets first. The new feature landed for iPhone users last month.

Apple’s iPhone battery offer was reportedly way more popular than expected

As many as 11 million iPhone owners reportedly made use of Apple's cheaper battery replacement offer that launched in 2018 in response to the iPhone throttling debacle — some 10 times more than the company had apparently expected.