Strategic Analytics: Consumers want larger handset displays

There are those of us who believe 4.3" screens are too big, but it seems as though there are more who believe they're just the right size (or not big enough). According to a survey by Strategic Analytics, almost 90% of existing smartphone owners look at prototype / newer devices that sport larger screens, specifically 4.0" - 4.5" being the 'sweet spot'.

Kevin Nolan, Vice-President for the User Experience Practice at Strategy Analytics, added to the report:

"In order for smartphone owners to adopt larger devices, it is important for handset manufacturers to ensure that mobile devices are not too heavy and that the devices remain thin enough for purses and pockets."

Windows Phone has been keeping up with this new like for big things with the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S, as well as the Lumia 800 and 900 from Nokia. What size screen do you believe is the perfect size for a smartphone? Should we be hitting 5"?

Source: Strategic Analytics, via: BGR

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • I am very much in love with the 4.3" size of my Focus S.  If I can only get that with 720p...
  • How dare they say that? Apple did tons of research and found 3.5" to be the best. Who are these guys to disagree with the almighty SJ? It's practically sacrilege! Sarcasm aside, screen size doesn't matter much to me. I'm looking for features. I do remember thinking the screen size of the HTC Fuze was too small, so anything bigger than that is OK with me. I don't put mine in my pocket. I put it on my belt like a man! So as long as it is small enough to fit under my blubber I'm cool.
  • Belt clips are ideal for snatchers
  • I guess I've been lucky the past 13 years! I would think a back pocket would be easier. On my belt the phone is always directly under my arm and shirt. Additionally, my clip is strong and the phone fits in snuggly. Sometimes it's a challenge even for me to get it out. HTC Fuze was 2.8". My Quantum is 3.5. Tilt2 before it was 3.6, so I'm gonna say 3.5" is the minimum accepted screen size for me.
  • Iphone users do not count, they notoriously do not still understand the difference between a phone and a calculator :D
  • Samsung focus s is a pretty good size I think, tried a titan but couldn't text with one hand so it wasn't for me. I also think 4" with a thin bezel and a full resolution screen would be my "ideal" size phone.
  • True.. 4.3-4.5" size is best screen size. Kinda fits in pocket perfectly & relatively big.for nice web browsing & reading. Well another thing MS should take care ASAP is to increase the screen resolution of OS itself, I guess 720p is pretty decent resolution for a this screen size phone.
  • 4.3 is best!
  • I have the Titan and would never go back to an iPhone size or anything below 4.3. As for 720p, wouldn't that make the text look smaller?
  • Text size is adjustable.
  • 4.5 HD super amoled clear black, on a Nokia Lumia 1010, with HDMI out, and 41mp ClearView 1080p camera. That will do.
  • I have a Titan and I could not go for anything less than 4.5.  The viewing on the large screens cannot be matched.  It does make somethings impossible one-handed.  However, the trade off is works for me.  That being said, I could also go with a higher resolution.  
  • I also have the Titan and I couldn't agree more. My last phone was the Quantum and I can't imagine going back to 3.5 now. Nothing less than 4.5 for me!
  • The smaller the better. I really miss my HTC Touch Diamond... The Lumia 800 is fine though.
    Remember how it's called? A mobile phone. I want the thing to fit in my pocket, not to use it as a home cinema.
  • I also miss my Diamond, but my Titan fits perfectly in my pockets. It's evolution:) c'mon belt!? Almost like a fannypack:)
  • Yeah, it is similar to a fanny pack except it's not a pack and not on your fanny.
  • I personally love the size and weight of my Dell Venue Pro. I want my phone to feel solid in my hand and a large enough screen to view without my reading glasses. Too bad this phone is no longer made.
  • I agree. The 4.1" of the DVP is very comfortable to hold and use.
  • I really like the 3.7 - 4.3 range. I'm ok with the idea of phones up to 4.7 or 5" but I'm not interested in using something that size.
  • Only if it involves more resolution
  • My LG Quantum's 3.5 inch display is waaaay too small for me. I personally like 4" to 4.3" displays for smart phones. Anything over is too big, anything under feels too scrunched together.
  • I currently have a 4.3, I think I would like it to be a bit bigger. Maybe 4.7 would be my sweet spot. However, once win 8 tablets become available then I would not be using it so much at home so then a 4.0 might be best.
  • I loved my LG Quantum until I got my Titan. My wife's Focus seems a little too small as well. I would love to see a 5" Apollo device, maybe with Xbox wireless controller capabilities?
  • I love the 4.3" screen on my HD7. There's no way I'd want anything less. I'd have to test a 4.5" or 4.7" screen to judge accurately. 5" is ridiculous.
  • IPhones are for older people and not skilled users (to be euphemistic ;), they simply do not count on these stats.
  • Yea...because 25-30 year olds is older and unskilled. That's my age range and just about everyone I know my age has and loves their iPhone. So I'm sure it's a matter of preference in the long run
  • Yes, you are, sorry ;)
  • It is not my opinion, youngs (16-25) see their parents and parents friends have an iPhone. So in their mind it is a phone for old people (and they are perfectly right, 90% of iPhone users I know do not distinguish their phone from a calculator, they bought it only 4 fashion)
  • 4.3" is perfect for me. The only issue is how the screen space is optimised for the format. Some apps are simply not effective enough to utilise the space given to make the format work as well as it should. Point in case is the Press Reader app which I have stopped using to buy social content with since it's article navigation was not fit for purpose.
  • Btw: *social = digital. I got autocorrected!
  • I feel like my 3.8" Radar is as far as I want to go. I had a Sony Ericsson Vivaz before it, which was a quite tiny 3.2" thing that still had the performance to match larger phones of its time. I really liked that size/performance aspect, and I could consider a high end WP device packed into a smaller package like that.
  • I would have agreed with this until a couple of days ago. Dropped my DVP on the garage floor and the screen shattered. I replaced it with a Radar and I'm really liking the size of the screen.
    I went from:
    Evo (4.3")
    DVP (4.1")
    Radar (3.8")
    While the big display is nice for some things. I think the sweet spot really is 3.8".
  • I have a HD7. I also bought a Radar. I tried my best to stick with it. After 3 days I was back to my HD7. It felt cramped. I always hit the wrong letter when typing. I bought my daughter a venue pro. 4.1 is ok but 4.3 to 5 is perfect.
  • I think it doesn't make sense if you cannot navigate your phone with one hand. the iPhone is perfect for one hand navigation actually and acceptable on the Lumia 800 as well. Anything above that will require you to use 2 hands in some occassions. If I had to use 2 hands I'd rather use a tablet. The rise of tablets have made our phones look small in comparison because they have such similar traits so we demand bigger and bigger. I've heard people using the Galaxy Note say they cannot go back. Does that mean they are limited to phones to that size in the future? 
  • I've only had a Samsung Focus with a 4" screen.  Been very happy with the size.  I just ordered my wife a Samsung Focus Flash witha 3.7" screen, so we will see how that is.
    Overall, I would think that 4" to 4.5" screen size is what most US consumers are looking for in a phone.  (At least when not looking at an iPhone).
  • The focus Flash is great, the size is perfect.
  • 4.7" is probably the minimum for me.
    the htc Titan fits perfect in my hand and as easy to use with one hand as the iphone.
  • I like my titan with a large screen. I do not use my tablet anymore because it does it all. They sell ipads because the iPhone screen is too small=)
  • Its not the size of the ship its the quality of the seamen.
  • Lulz
  • Would be better if we just had a choice of screen sizes to choose from, not be stuck with either one huge screened device or a small screened one.
  • My Titan is huge. Too big to use with one hand most times, and I have pretty large hands. I'd say 4.3" is probably about perfect, like most people in the thread here.
  • As I personally think anything over 4.5" is in the tablet range... There needs to be a balance. When I talk balance, I mean, display type/size, performance and battery life.
    We have met a ton of tech when it comes to mobile displays over the last few years but, nothing when it comes to battery tech. With a larger display, it takes more power to run and that means bigger batteries or to keep it slim, possable poor battery life. 
    I personally am sick of having to charge my phone every day, in the real world, with email, web browsing, games, a few hours of use my 3.7" display, even with an extended battery, I need to charge my battery after about 8-12 hours. If I go with a 4-4.3", what can i expect for my use with the same battery tech as I use now ?
    I think a 4" is a perfect size screen as a 3.7 is alittle small for reading for a long term. Match that with a battery that will give me a TRUE 2-3 days with many hours of use, and I'll be one happy camper...
    We also need to get more than 16gb (32-64gb should be standard on 2nd gen devices) but, that's for another discussion...
  • The companies kind of standardized the battery life to one day. They will improve the battery but will also improve performance so we'll be stuck with it for a while...
  • But it's really not one day. I listen to music on the way to school (20 min) check email, a few news apps, occasional texts, maybe a call or two, and some light googling and my battery is toast. I just take my charger cable with me every day which is really sad but a fact of smartphone life.
  • There should be two standard sizes, 4.3 and 4.5. The idea should be to accommodate various customers. I have the Titan and never go back to anything smaller
  • Amen brother...... I have a HD7 on Tmobile. I have no choice unless I downgrade.
  • I often find my Titan too big. I think 4,3" is good enough.
  • 3.7 is the perfect size.. And I have big hands
  • It was a sad, sad day when I had to give up my TITAN to go to Sprint. The HTC Arrive just seems so pitiful after having that behemoth. That being said, anything above 4" is fine by me. Any smaller for touchscreen only is a waste of time.
  • Why would u goto an inferior carrier like sprint? With speeds that don't go above 250k
  • That had to be a pretty sad day indeed, a downgrad in service, and Hardware. Thats a nightmare man......
  • I think 4.7 would be perfect for me at least. I have hd7
  • I have the HD7 and an unlocked Titan, anything below 4.3 I can't use. Spoiled by the big screen since my HD2
  • I'm feeling VERY self-conscious now, like maybe I have the largest hands in the entire world. I have a Titan with what I now come to view as a perfectly sized 4.7" screen. I normally use it in two hands, cradle in the left, operate with the just feels secure, like it's not going to slip out of grasp.
    However, in light of the various comments about it being beyond the realms of one handed use, I just had to give it a try and thus reached my paranoid state when I actually found it quite easy. "Duuude! My hands are huuuuge! They can touch everything except themselves! Oh wait..."
  • Yep youre a giant. The titan is uncomforzbly big for me. I'd say my sweet spot is 4"
  • I LOVE the 4.3" screen on my HD7, as much as I loved it on my HD2. 4.3" screens seem to be the sweet spot for me, but no more than 4.5", otherwise it's too bulky for my small hands.
  • Good a tablet if you want a bigger screen.
  • I'm waiting for windows 8 tablets so I can actually use it as a practical laptop replacement via a detachable keyboard. I don't see the use of current day android based tabs or ipads.
  • My first ever WP is the HTC Radar with 3.8. I have fallen in love with my Radar (or more to the point, with WP) but I keep wishing the screen were a little bigger. I'm most comfortable with 4.3 so I think that's the sweet spot for me. But I think 4.5 is still alright.
  • 1. My fiancé has a focus flash and loves it (except the lousy 8gb of memory). She loves the size and layout over the other choices (only would let her pick an iPhone or wp7) as the others were either to big or didn't feel right. 2. It took me a couple months to learn to type with one hand on my focus and I know I have short fingers. I have played with the titan and focus s and I feel that 4" - 4.7" is my range and with current devices I would take 4.3" until they eliminate more bezel and/or make them thinner depth and width wise. 3. I have always been an advocate for minimum of 16gb on lower end devices and at least 32 on upper end ones. I have 38.1gb on my focus and I use all of it for music including resizing them to smaller and lower quality (I do listen to the all). I have to do this as I live in the Rocky Mountain foothills and reception ain't the best at times. 4. I don't like apple but I do like Steve jobs just for the fact that he was able to take something already existent and available, make it his own, then sell it to the masses as the greatest thing ever invented. He wasn't an innovator but rather a reinnovator.
  • I forgot to add that 5" to me feels like it just makes the mini tablet mark. And it would be to big to be a practical phone.
  • While I love the 3.7-inch screen on my Lumia 800, I also liked the 4-inch screen on my old Incredible 2. I've had a 4.3 inch screen and found the phone too big for my taste. For me, 4 inches is the sweet spot between readability and portability. I think there will always be a market for a variety of sizes and makers should not just focus on 4.3 inch and larger phones. There are a lot of people, myself included, that prefer not to carry a large phone.
  • 4.0" is the largest I'd use. Anything bigger and it's just annoying to have in your pocket.
  • I hope HTC makes their next Pro series slider a 4.3". I think my range is probably 3.6"-4.5".
  • I hope HTC makes another Pro slider period. Seems like we're at the end of high end qwerty phones.
  • The human eye can not tell the difference from a 720 to 1080p on this small of a screen you have to at lease have a screen size lager than 42in to see it
  • I moved from HD2 to the titan, and I love the titan. I could easily switch back to HD2, but I disregarded the Lumia 800 for its screen size (and for its lack of ff camera).
  • HD2 size, that is :P
  • Well, my next phone when my contract is up will be the Titan II. I love my Quantum and I MUCH rather prefer a qwerty keyboard but at this my this screen is looking way too small. If only LG would make a Quantum 2 with a 4.0 or 4.1 screen w/ keyboard & amoled screen or an updated Panther.
  • CHOICE / NONSENSE debate
    Its like saying "what size car is best". There is no "best", it depends on use.
    Many will like 3.7 for pocketability.
    Some will like 4.3+ for games/movies/surfing. Horses for courses. I'm personally a 3.7 fan, as I want a phone primarily - and like it to be unobtrusive. But the young turks I work with want the Lumia 900/910 as they want to watch movies and surf.
  • I look at my bosses Samsung Note and laugh. My focus is a fine size though.
  • I have titan and this is ideal
  • Honestly I had the HD7 and was fine with the screen, then got the radar and when I mess around with my friends HD7 it feels uncomfortable.. I think 4.0 would be my ideal screen size
  • Had the HD7 and having to use two hands was getting annoying so got the Lumia 800 and its perfect the wife has the 710 and she's really happy and my daughter the HD7 imho anything bigger than 3.7 its a brick
  • For me 4.3" - 4.5" are my choices
  • I think that some where between 3.5" and 4" is fine with me. My hands arent big enough to handle anything really larger, although i am a proud owner of a HTC HD2 (4.3" screen). I held my friend's HTC Radar and it felt great to hold in my hands and found it easier to use with one hand without too much finger stretching. My friend and I pretty much have the same size hands and he felt that the HD2's screen was great but a little bit on the bigger size. Regardless, I love my HD2 and running WP7 on it is excellent.