So we’ve been yelling at each other, back and forth, here at through our email chaos about the merits of screen size.  Doug Smith seems to think that unless you can kill a small child or a full grown adult if he accidentally drops it from his hands, then it doesn’t cut it, having been lugging around his 4.3″ Telstra HD2 as training for when he finally gets the Dell Streak (or Steak as he so often refers it).  Some of us have been squinting and destroying our ocular senses to deal with the 2.8″ of VGA shame that is the Fuze.  Now to each, his own, which is why the hardware choice is great with Windows Phone 7 and Android but there is definitely a threshold for cellular phone screen size, and to me it’s 4″.

David K posted THIS yesterday to help you 4.3″ lovers figure out what you’ll be missing to grab some of the latest devices.  Well, should you be too lazy to download it or just didn’t see the article, let me sum up your loss: nothing functional.  Most people (not writing for this website) have better things to do with their life than staring at cell phone screens (ala new WP7 commericals) multi-touching the hell out them like a 3 year old with a square peg and a round hole.  Those people with lives typically prefer using their phone in one hand.  Now a secure grip on a cell phone will occupy enough of your hand that 4.3″ is just unusable.  Just try this experiment to see what I mean.  Hoist your 4.3″ slab of enormousness in one hand and then attempt to touch all four corners with that same hand’s thumb.  If you can do this without reshuffling your grip then you have some deformed E.T. fingers and should be curing disease or pleasuring the woman (or man because prostates need loving too) of your choice.

4.3″ destroys the one handed usability of cell phones, which is why the majority of the best selling cell phones (Incredible, Droid, iPhone as much as I hate to admit it) are not slabby monstrosities that require two hands and a pack mule to operate.  Not to mention the difference in battery life, pixel density, screen durability (because smaller screen area means less likely to break from blunt trauma), and pocket/purse space.

Now I’m sure there will be some of you that are dead set on a 4.3″ screen size and that is totally cool with me.  I have nothing against people with abnormally sized fingers (although the glove industry is not your friend) but 3.7-4″ is going to offer the best value for the average consumer.  Let us know what you think about screen size but I can bet none of you will be mentioning that fugly plastic monstrosity that LG and AT&T will be collectively hucking this holiday season.

Ugliest WP7?


  1. I’m 5’2″ and have small hands. I *like* the size of my Fuze. :(
    I still don’t know if I’m going Surround or Focus. I want to get my hands on them.
    Oh yeah: I hadn’t noticed, but is HTC finally putting 3.5mm headphone jacks on their sets? Stupid dongle.

  2. The thing to bear on mind though, is not just the screen size but the overall physical size (i.e. including bezel/etc.).

    This is espically true looking at the specs for the new WP7 phones – many of those with screens smaller than the ‘too large for one-handed use’ 4.3″ HD7 are actually within a few millimeters of the same width… so may not be any easier to use one-handed (at which point why not go for the larger screen?!).

  3. @SteveB – Good point, however poorly made. Picture this: You have two phones that are the exact same physical size yet screen sizes are different. The extra space is covered by bezel as you describe. Said bezel would completely encompass the screen on all corners so as you held the smaller screen size in your right hand, the top left most corner is still bezel where it would be difficult to “reach” with the same grip. The bezel is not something you will have to touch. With the 4.3″ screen, there is screen real estate in that corner that you may be require to touch for operation. It’s still about one handed use. :\

  4. Going for the 4″ screen on the Samsung Focus, personally. (Upgrading from my 3.2″ AT&T Pure.) And I totally echo your thoughts here, Matt. As much as I love screen real estate, my appetites are tempered by the function. So for my TV? My desktop monitor? Go ahead. Make ’em huge. Heck, make ’em billboard sized. But for the thing I have to carry in my belt holster, 4″ seems generous but still manageable.

  5. 4.3″ – 5″ screens will be optimal for videos, drawing on, spread sheets, building and viewing presentations and of course web sites.

  6. i’m running a Telstra Desire with a 3.7″ screen and it is just perfect. I’m right handed but I primarily hold the phone in my left hand. Now with the new WP7 UI, the tiles are all on the left hand side of the phone, so if I were to get a 4.3 incher I don’t think I’d have much trouble operating it with one (left) hand since I wouldn’t have to reach the top right corner for any reason.

    I’m still leaning towards the Surround though, just beacuse I love that slide out speaker/kickstand combo! (how perfect will that be for an alarm clock?!)

  7. Back again. Im not sure why using a phone with 2 hands constitutes not ‘having a life’ but my 4.3″ screen is accessible with one hand iin most instances except where I want stability for swype, calculations, etc. . If I wanted to use W7 (I didnt buy their $400M joke of a commercial) Id get an HD7.
    I use a side pouch, and would still do so with a 4″ screen ( I used one for my 2.8″ fuze), so why give up the real estate? I also don’t buy the differance in a purse is a deal breaker. But, as you said, each to his own so enjoy the smaller screen if that’s your preference.

  8. I think I could make the 4″ screen work, but it just makes me ILL to know the device I want is making it’s way to T-Mobile and not AT&T or even BOTH!! I just can’t pony up for a device from T-Mobile to just be able to use it on Edge for the rest of it’s life. just too painfull. Maybe I can won the lottery and get the Euro Version of the HD7.

  9. I’m not sure how large is too large but I know how small is too small and the fuze screen is too small for anything other than making phone calls and reading rss feeds. Forget about surfing the net, I absolutely loath surfing the net with my phone and any chance I got when my wife still had a functioning iPhone (my son tried to grab it with his 6m motor skills) I would snag hers and surf away. Usually I say the bigger the better but I’m not convinced yet because it is nice to have a small form factor. Where are our roll out digital screens already?!!? I’m with Doug though, I really don’t want anything AT&T has to offer as far as WP7 goes but don’t really want T-Mobile. UGH. I settled for the fuze and was disappointed overall and now its happening again. Why can’t I just like Apple already. Oh yeah, itunes.

  10. As I have passed the age of 40 awhile back, my eye sight has degraded over the years. My day of using a phone with a small screen is not an option anymore. At times I require the aid of reading glasses to see everything clearly on my Tilt 2 which has the screen size of 3.6″. The text and icons on the screen are just too darn small for me to see. My next phone will have to have a bigger screen with better resolution. And with the advancements of Bluetooth headphone devices you do not have to hold the phone to your ear anymore. Bring on the gigantic screens.
    Excluding reading test from a web site or email, the argument should not be about screen size, it should be about the developers writing apps that require a 2 year old size finger to click buttons, IMHO. Take windows media player for instance. Two thirds of the screen is unusable and only the very bottom of the screen they place seven buttons less than a quarter inch apart. My finger tip is at least a half inch wide.

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