When it comes to smartphones, I'm happy to see that the standards are rising. They're getting easier to use, more functional, faster and with the exception of battery life, more usable. There is one problem though: screen sizes have really went out of hand. Literally.
My first two touch screen phones, the HTC P3600 and the HTC Touch Cruise both had a 2.8 inch screens, which were too small. Then I bought the HTC Diamond 2 and received the HTC Magic, both with 3.2 inch screens, and things got better. Later I bought the HTC Desire with its 3.7 inch, and I thought I found the perfect form factor: wide, 3.5 to 4 inch (8.9 to 10.1cm) screen, 10 to 12mm thick and a weight of 130 to 140g. Everyone seemed to agree on this size: HTC, Samsung, Motorola and even Apple.
But then things started to go wrong. The problem began when HTC released its HD2, back in October 2009. It was their last Windows Mobile phone, and was supposed to serve a niche market of businessmen with freakishly big hands, using its gigantic, 4.3 inch screen.
"Wait", you must think, "4.3 inch is not gigantic, this is the standard size nowadays". Well of course. Most high-end and mid range Android models have a 4.3 inch screens, but it's easy to see that this is practically the largest size of screen you can still use with one hand, assuming you have average hands. My fingers are relatively long and I find Samsung's Galaxy S2 hard to handle with just one hand, especially when it's inside a protective case. It doesn't matter that it's very slim and has relatively thin frame around the screen, the Galaxy S2 is still edging on being too big.
But things did not stop with 4.3 inch. Samsung's Galaxy Nexus has a 4.65 inch screen (though at narrower 16:9 proportions). HTC's Sensation XL and Titan both have similar a 4.7 screen, at the regular 16:10 proportion. However, the phone who certainly takes the oversized cake is the Samsung Galaxy Note, with its ridiculous 5.3 inch screen. I realize that the designers wanted to give these phones the ability to replace tablets, but they don't. What they created are devices that still cannot function as tablets, but are too difficult to use as phones. To make matters worse, larger screen use more power, and the size of the phones make them harder to slip inside pockets.
My perfect form factor would be a phone that's no more than 65mm wide, no more than 10mm thick and weighs no more than 140g. Obviously, I will have to compromise, but please, stop with this insanity. Phones are not tablets and there is such a thing as "too big".