Size Matters | The Screen Size Debate

Credit:  Apple

Credit: Apple

September 20th was the official launch of the new iPhones 5C and 5S and just prior to it’s release every tech site and news site all rushed to get out their verdicts on the new models.  For the most part all the reviews were positive.  It’s really hard to argue with Apple’s solid hardware designs and reliable and vast App Store but every single review I read dinged Apple on one common thing – screen size.  The rumors were all abuzz with a larger screen for the iPhone but all proved to be untrue.  Android has toppled iOS in worldwide market share in large part due to affordable designs and big and bigger screen sizes.  It’s the same game that has played out year after year whether it’s TVs, laptops, or smartphones.  What’s lost here is the value of true functionality, portability, and ultimately purpose.  The purpose being that of a smartphone.  By definition a smartphone is limited by size because of it’s inherent requirement to be portable but size can also limit functionality.  How do you define and strike the right balance of portability, functionality, and features?  That’s ultimately the debate in play in the smartphone market with ever increasing screen sizes.  Personally I define it one way with one question.  Can you fully operate the device in one hand?  This is precisely the marketing ploy Apple baits us with.  Most people can touch their thumb anywhere on the iPhones’ screen without having to readjust the phone in any way with another hand.  This simple subtle fact I believe is at the core of the very purpose of a smartphone.  In my opinion if it takes two hand to operate it then just save you money for a full blown tablet.  Don’t be swayed by giant phone screens unless you just don’t care about portability.  Make the overall experience your priority.  I do believe there’s a market for larger screens sans the Galaxy Note 3‘s 5.7″ display but I treat that market as really the outer fringe of the tablet market.  Even Samsung knows the Note’s screen is a stretch that’s why they’re solely paring it with the Samsung Gear smartwatch for now.  Gee I wonder if the smartwatch market will play out the same way?  Will we soon be toiling over whether 1.3″, 1.6″, or 2″ is the proper screen size for the smartwatch?

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When Choosing The Right Smartphone or Tablet Specs Don’t Matter.

My title is a tad misleading.  Specs do matter but I’m gonna offer up only the one or two that matter most.  Let’s assume for now you’ve selected your operating system and form factor of either smartphone or tablet.  In the smartphone category you’re generally looking at screen sizes between 3.5″ to 5″.  Tablets generally range between 7″ to 10″.  There’s also a goofy category informally known as Phablets that fall in between these two categories.  After screen sizes you’re bombarded with a bevy of software features, hardware options, and naturally long lists of tech specs and benchmark ratings to comb through before making a purchase.  If you’re purchasing a middle to top tier device (by price) let me save you some trouble and tell you that you can assume generally good processing speed and graphics performance from most devices.  I’m trying to stay away from confusing you with geeky technical specs but must now dive into one spec a bit to illustrate this point.  The iPhone 5 uses a dual core processor that clocks in somewhere around 1.3 GHz.  By comparison the new Samsung Galaxy S4 (man that’s a mouthful of a name) carries a 1.9 GHz quad core processor.  Translation- the S4 blows the processing power of the iPhone out of the water by a mile.  With this said let this geek who’s made the iPhone 5 his primary smart device vouch that not once, not even for performance sapping games, have I ever felt even a slightest lag in performance.  I doubt seriously I would notice a difference with Samsung’s processor in my iPhone.  It’s always snappy and reliable except of course when AT&T is throttling me.  Criminals. Read More