Mar 15 AT 3:44 PM Dustin Earley 71 Comments

Big does not equal premium

tiny cell phone

Something has been really bothering me lately. You know those nights, when you’re trying to fall asleep, and no matter how hard you try, you can’t get comfortable? That’s the relationship I have with my phone, a Nexus 4. No matter what I do, I feel like I can’t settle in with it. Because size does matter, and bigger isn’t always better.

It doesn’t have anything to do with the software; it’s all about the hardware. I love stock Jelly Bean. I don’t love how gigantic the Nexus 4 feels in my hands. Or in my pocket. Or in the little cubby under the radio in my car. Make no mistake, the Nexus 4 feels like a premium device. But a phone doesn’t have to be big to be premium. Pocketable, more manageable phones can most definitely feel like flagship, top of the line devices. But only a small handful of manufacturers are acknowledging this.

Apple, who crafts what are arguably some of the best designed handsets in the world, has yet to top 4-inches in a premium hand-held device. Meanwhile, every other manufacturer under the Sun is scrambling to make 5-inch-plus cellphone displays. Every flagship device to be detailed so far this year has been gigantic. The HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S 4. I simply don’t want to spend my money on phones that I think are too big anymore. But if I want a premium quality experience, I don’t have a choice.

Android handsets that aren’t 4.5-inches or bigger are sold as mid-tier devices, more affordable options. Take the Motorola RAZR M (and I). It’s a great, smaller handset. It looks and feels fantastic. But it suffers from mid-level specs and a sub-par display. Will I ever be able to buy a 4- or 4.3-inch smartphone made of high quality materials with an HD display running Android?

The technology is there. A 720p display could easily be stuffed into a 4- or 4.3-inch screen. Even at 4 inches, the PPI tops out at 367. The HTC Butterfly, or Droid DNA, has a density of 440 PPI. The demand is there. At 3.5 and 4 inches, the iPhone is still the number one selling smartphone in the United States. Obviously screen size isn’t everything. Why do Android manufacturers continue to ignore this gaping hole in the market?

At this point, my only hope is the Motorola X phone that’s been extensively detailed recently. In the original leak video (which has now been pulled), it’s placed next to an iPhone 5, and it looks to be almost the same size. I just about jumped out of my seat when I saw it. I absolutely cannot wait to see what comes of this device.

One of the biggest perks about Android is that it’s all about options. Unfortunately for me, I feel like when it comes to finding a phone that ticks all the right boxes, I have none. Am I the only one out there who wants a high-end Android phone with a smaller screen? Or am I just crazy? Some days, it really feels like it.

Dustin Earley: Tech enthusiast; avid gamer; all around jolly guy.

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