Just Stop With The Big Phones

OK, this shit has officially gotten ridiculous. I thought phones had officially gone Just Way Too Big when the first Galaxy Note came out with a 5.3 inch screen. Today? 5.3 inches is positively anaemic!

Android handset makers took the moderate success generated by screen-size largesse in 2012, and turned it into a marker pointing the way to success. So 2013 has become the year of obscenely large phone designs. Behold!

Samsung Galaxy Mega

Samsung Galaxy Mega

Six point three inches from corner to corner. I’ll quote the excellent Ausdroid review “…the Galaxy S4 and HTC One now feel like toys by comparison.”

I’m holding the Galaxy S4 here in my hand, and if I streeeetch my thumb to the opposite corner, I can just reach to where the bottom of the volume rocker meets the screen. There’s at least another inch of screen above that, which I have found I cannot reach with a standard one-hand grip no matter how hard I try.

OK, but what’s a ‘standard grip’ exactly? Well, you know when you’re drinking a stubbie? You loop your pinkie underneath the beer, so you don’t accidentally drop it. That’s what I do with a phone too.

So, the only way to get to this errant screen real estate on a huge phone is to do the side-hand shuffle, where you surrender your pinkie safety-net to grip the phone by the sides only.

It’s precarious. Like a claw.

What am I, a freaking bird of prey?

You know what I like to do when using a phone? Touch every part of the screen. I’m especially finding with Android, where the notification shade is particularly useful. Except, it’s stranded at the top on the menu bar. Tantalizingly out of reach, and the only way to get to it is to bird-claw that sucker.

I don’t like it. Don’t like it at all.

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Sony Xperia Z Ultra

Six point four inches from corner to corner. No, Sony. Stop. Just because you have a fancy new company motto “make.believe.” does not give you the right to take that motto and drive it directly into phone crazyland.

OK, seriously, look at that photo up top. This is some real audacious marketing. Typically, these handset makers want a guy with massive hands in their press photo, to create the illusion that the phone, while sporting a CRAZY MASSIVE AWESOME SCREEN, is also entirely usable!

Sony has gone a different way. They are advertising this phone with a woman, who’s hands are dwarfed by the giant slab of a device. That thing looks like it’s about to tip over and crush her toes. Also, what do I spy discreetly clipped to her collar?


It’s a Sony Bluetooth handset! Because let’s face it, you’re going to take a call on this ‘phone’ at some point, and the experience will be akin to lifting a small chopping board to the side of your head. So better solve that problem the only way Sony knows how–with another device!

It’s incredible to me that Sony are going so far as to tell you “yeah, this kinda sucks for taking calls on. So just buy this extra thing and charge it and store it and make sure you have it on you!”

Mmmm. I don’t think so.

HTC One Max

Image credit: eprice.com.tw

HTC One Max

Not officially out yet, but probably very soon. Five point nine inches from corner to corner.

Oh, HTC. What have you done?

When I saw the new HTC One I thought to myself, “Oh I see what’s going on here. Sure, it’s pretty big, but it’s done smartly. It’s riding that line. They’re worked out the exact size that is right on the line of Big vs. Way-Too-Big and they’re really going for it! Good job!”

Nope. You went ahead and did it. You jumped off that bridge of insanity like all the others.

I thought you were the smart kid in this classroom. I thought you were better than this.

No, I’m not angry.

I’m just disappointed.

I could go on, like the hilarious Optimus Vu II with a 5-inch 4:3 aspect ratio screen; a phone that’s simultaneously smaller and yet even more awkward. Or a phalanx of other huge Galaxy devices, and more to come.

I know, different strokes for different folks and all that. Obviously the Galaxy Note lineup & current Android flagships are very popular, and well-received. I also know there’s smaller variants of these phones out there, that are reluctantly trotted out with no marketing, slapped with an annoying deferential name-variant like ‘mini’ and promptly consigned to the smartphone bargain bin.

We may well say, “let the market decide!” but you know those guys. Bigger is better, and the bigger number on a brightly-coloured sticker in a phone store is better than the smaller one. The 5.5″ phone is better than the 5.0″. The 25 megapixel camera is better than the 15. The eight-core processor (hah!) is better than the quad-core. Having Air Gesture is better than no air gesture. There’s no reasoning with those people.

But come on guys, please. Let’s just agree in principle that 6 inches is like, the absolute maximum upper limit here. Any higher than that? We all agree that it then magically transforms into a tablet, and you leave the phone radio part out of it.

Do it for the good of society.

Reckoner had its humble beginnings way back in June of 2013.

Founded by James Croft, along with Peter Wells and Anthony Agius they created what would go on to become one of Australia’s most highly regarded and award winning independent tech blogs.

With its uniquely Australian voice Reckoner is committed to offering a “no-holds-barred” approach to its writing. Beholden to no one but its audience. Reckoner’s goal is to remain completely transparent and honour the trust it’s built with its faithful readership.

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