Here’s Why the iPhone May Always Have a 3.5 Inch Display

There’s a really practical reason as to why Apple thinks that a mobile phone touting a display larger than 3.5 inches is actually useless. After reading this post you’ll probably get rid of that Galaxy S 2 with the huge 4.3 inch screen. Normal human beings don’t use all 10 fingers at one go, while using the phone to make a call, reply to text, look something up or any regular gesture.

All of us normally use our thumb finger most of the time. Why? Because it is easier to do so and this way, you can also hold your phone securely in your palm. Now, go hold your 4 inch device and try reaching the top corner of the screen with your thumb, unless you’re one of the Fantastic 4’s, this is not normally possible. This is where display size matters.

A mobile device that has a 4 inch or larger display is practically useless, since you’ll not be able to reach all the areas of the magnificent AMOLED or IPS touchscreen without risking to drop it. Here’s a piece of information from Designer Dustin Curtis who believes;

Touching the upper right corner of the screen on the Galaxy S II using one hand, with its 4.27-inch screen, while you’re walking down the street looking at Google Maps, is extremely difficult and frustrating. I pulled out my iPhone 4 to do a quick test, and it turns out that when you hold the iPhone in your left hand and articulate your thumb, you can reach almost exactly to the other side of the screen. This means it’s easy to touch any area of the screen while holding the phone in one hand, with your thumb. It is almost impossible to do this on the Galaxy S II.

As you can see, in the above screenshot, this is actually very true. Now, go try it on your phone, if you have a device that has a display anywhere south of 4 inch, it’ll be really easy to use with one hand. But, a 3.5 inch display is actually the best to go with. When Apple recently introduced the iPhone 4S, people were really disappointed that it carried the same design and screen size. Now you know why Apple products actually make sense. Having a big screen is very pointless, unless you have nothing else to do with your other hand or are watching movies and playing games on it.

This is why Apple chose to stick with a 3.5 inch display and maybe, even the iPhone 5 will sport a display smaller than 4 inch, or maybe they’ll come up with something out of the world.

Don’t you think a phone with a large display is actually a pain to use with one hand, because that’s how normal phones are used. 

8 thoughts on “Here’s Why the iPhone May Always Have a 3.5 Inch Display”

  1. I got the Samsung Galaxy S1,

    Functionality wise, you make a valid point, viewing wise.. not so much, you cant even begin to compere the superior viewing quality of a larger display.. that one extra half an inch, really makes wonders for videos and hell even text reading.

    As far as usability, you are right on, but I wouldn’t call 3.5″ the perfect sweet spot.. I am not that much of a large person but I can reach the top right corner of my screen while using just one hand.. easy, I can even hold my phone and with the same hand use two fingers, while holding it, to preform many tasks.. and yes I am on a 4″ phone

    But if the phone was larger by half an inch, I am afraid that in that case I wouldn’t be able to do so as I wouldn’t be able to secure hold my phone.

    So I guess this all, as most stuff do, comes down to personal preference and well.. fit, just like with boots … and don’t you be arguing that size 6 is the best size of boots… it depends on your feet’s size, same with phones and hands.

    I guess the only reason you don’t see a 2″ 2.5″ 3″…. 4.5″ iPhones or galaxy S2(s) is that its cheaper to make just one size that fits .. most people, apple picked 3.5, Samsung.. well, they experiment with it for now (have you seen two galaxy phones of the same size generation after generation? they got everything from 3.5″ on the old i8xx galaxy, to 4″ on the i9000 to 4.35 on the i9100 to whooping 4.65 on the i9150 .. not to mention 5″ on the galaxy note

    but i a sure you that if 95% of there sales ware from just one size, they would drop the rest, with apple you don’t get that choice, which is sad I think.. I’d love a 4″ iPhone (same as I wouldn’t a 4.5″.. my hands, my phone.. your feet .. your boots etc)

  2. Yes, you are right. When it comes to viewing, larger screens are better, but that again depends on the quality of the display. Some phones have super large displays, but low resolutions. Again, I wasn’t talking about watching videos here, I’m talking about the usability. And no, 3.5 inch maybe a bit too much for smaller hands, but the iPhones 3.5 incher is best in class, no arguments there. I also did use the word ‘normal’ ‘average’, so a big hand is out of the question.

    I don’t agree with you comparing shoe sizes and phone displays. Anyone can use a phone with a 3.2 inch or 3.5 inch display, it would fit in any average persons hand. And, let me say it again, I was talking about using the thumb finger, which is what we normally use when holding the phone with one hand. Just do the simple test, hold your firmly and move your thumb in a semicircular motion from one end to the other, see if the whole screen is accessible. And as for Apple vs. Samsung, one size that works, sells and fits almost all is better than 10 sizes that don’t. It’s not only Samsung, everyone else is doing it and I’m not saying it’s bad, I’m just saying it doesn’t work as well as the one size that fits all.

    Last, but not the least. It’s all about personal opinion.

  3. This is so dumb… The phone is not glued into anyones hand. Its free to move up and down a bit as we swype around.. I am using a 4″ Nexus S and never found any problem. Any screens smaller than this seems small for me now. Very contested and have to look carefully before pressing anywhere. Especially iOS where everything is small. May be made for the gals or short fingered Sharp eye.. What a justification…….

  4. Right again, (with regards to personal opinion),
    With just one hand.. using the thumb only.. for me the area which I cover is slightly larger then the green area shown in the iPhone picture (and that is over a 4″ display of the S1)

    But you are right on the spot with some of this, as .. if my hand was indeed smaller.. and covered the same percent of screen area on a 3.5″ display.. there’s no way I would have gone for a 4″ phone, which is why I can understand you well, I can use a 3.5″ just as good as a 4″ .. which made me pick the bigger one, for the sake of non-functionality reasons (viewing)
    And I recon you would have done the same.

    And as far as the iPhone dominating the 3.5″ domain, that just might be true, to be honest I haven’t checked every single one of the 3.5″ phones but come to think of it I don’t really remember any high res\oled screen in that size so you got that one as well 🙂

    going a bit off topic.. if there’s one thing that I’m missing.. is a physical keyboard.. the type speed (at least mine…) on a display only keyboard is just pathetic compering to a physical one.. my next phone is going to be a 4″ slider with a full keyboard, for sure, regardless of the cpu.

    One other off topic advantage that would, for me, play big part of picking up a phone is also .. available applications… its not about which market is bigger.. its about few key applications not being possible to use in the other platform, mainly two:
    the go launcher’s wight: go calendar .. which obviously you cant get working on iPhone
    and the game infinity blade…
    if any of the platforms had both.. id be all over it, that’s for sure but as thing stand.. I “had” to pick the droid for.. productivity reasons.

  5. That is true and a very nice analysis,but personally i need not to worry about it,i got huge hands,lol.

  6. You’re stupid, who said that you need to look at the whole screen all the time?
    I think you’re just trying to defend apple,. look at how iphone 5 is now,. can you touch the top of the screen?

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