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  • warisz00r - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    "The iPhone 4 premiered with the highest pixel density in a mobile device we’d ever seen"

    If you discount HTC Rezound, Sony Xperia S and other phones with a 4.3", 720p screen, then yeah...
  • omikun - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Hence the word "premiered." Reply
  • EnzoFX - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Did those not come after? Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    +1 Reply
  • bearxor - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Wow. Reading comprehension FTL. Reply
  • eldwraith - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Well, you only picked phones that came after IPhone 4. I remember Sharp made phones with a higher density years before the 1st gen IPhone. I think Apple made a huge difference, and don't kill me because that is my opinion, and you all should have one too. The way reviews sensationalized the pixel density was just funny to me. Nobody was complaining about it then the retina display came into play. Maybe they didn't know there has been that screen technology for year. I don't know. So OP, good point, but bad examples. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Not following the Japanese mobile phone space, I had trouble finding references to these Sharp JDM phones, indeed the only one I found was the Fulltouch, a feature phone. I'm not saying no one had thought of higher density displays previously, indeed the Motorola Droid was no slouch in pixel density and it came out 9 months before the iPhone 4. But the actual race to get these displays into more phones was late in coming and for the US market was first to trumpet its density. Reply
  • ahar - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Unless any of those other phones were released before the iPhone 4, the statement is correct. Reply
  • Drag0nFire - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I'm really curious how the "bigger = better" thing got started for smartphones. Everyone acts like a 4.8" phone is intrinsically better than a 3.7" or a 4" phone (including many reviewers). But if a 4" phone fits better in my pocket, isn't that worth considering?

    Anyways, thanks for an insightful article. Looking forward to the full review!
  • PubFiction - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I think it is all stupid and ignored. Size is a choice not better or worse, I mean ya a bigger phone is better but it comes at a cost of convienience and mobility.

    IMO all these companies need to focus on releasing 3 phones, 3", 4", 5" and let the consumer decide.

    Imagine if you went to buy a laptop and they said sorry we are apple we ONLY sell 13 inch laptops, and samsung said well if you want something nice it only comes in the 17 inch version? Seems ridiculous so why do we put up with it on phones.

    Don't get me started on the fact it took many years for the galaxy note to finally put a stylus holder back on a phone. And keyboards are not even an option with a good phone on carriers now.

    Basically phones are giving us less choice than ever now to fit our lifestyles. Sometimes I think they do a better job making the feature phones than the high end ones.
  • s44 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    The 4.8" phone is actually lighter than the 4" phone, so how much mobility are you really giving up? Reply
  • aliasfox - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Lighter doesn't mean much if it takes up too much pocket-space to be comfortable. Reply
  • PubFiction - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Some girls like to be able to fit a phone in their wallets / small purses, they might have physical limit to dimensions. Some people just want a phone to be smaller so it goes more easily into a pocket. Others have larger pockets and would rather just have the extra screen real estate. I think the actual mass of the phone is the feature they are paying too much attention to now. Most people say they want build quality, but then they want it to be light, but last I checked those 2 items oppose each other in most cases.

    My complaint is just that phones now are compared to others as if there is some perfect size for a phone. How ridiculous would it be to see a review of a 17 inch laptop where the reviewer spent the whole time comparing it to a 13 inch laptop and bitching about the weight, size and lack of back packs for it.

    I have seen multiple people buy an iPhone over an android phone simply because it was smaller, and to me that did not make sense. Why didn't any android phones on the high end come with smaller packages.
  • dishayu - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    HTC One S. :) Reply
  • KPOM - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    The best guesses out there are that the next iPhone will have a 4" display. Samsung is by far the dominant Android manufacturer out there (indeed, the largest phone manufacturer), and they have done it with phones with large screens. This tends to invite negative comparisons with phones with smaller screens. Reply
  • doobydoo - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    The thing with Samsung is that they sell their phones cheaper, firstly, meaning people may not be buying just because the screen is bigger, but rather putting up with a bigger more inconvenient screen due to the price saving. Also, while Samsung has a range of phones which add up collectively to more than any other Android manufacturer, not all of those have large screens.

    The single best selling mobile phone ever is the iPhone 4S, which coincidentally has a smaller form factor. The 'best guesses' out there are that the new iPhone will retain the same or similar form factor, but accommodate a larger screen within it, thus increasing screen size without any sacrifice on mobility or size.
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Does Samsung sell their phones cheaper? In the US we suffer from the subsidized market which means all our phones end up falling somewhere between $0 and $199, and that includes the iPhone. The more iterative nature of Android has meant, possibly until now, that Samsung needed to shove their phones out of the spotlight quicker to make room for the next big thing, and that often meant giving up the $199 spot. So, while there's no room to argue that the iPhone 4S is the best selling mobile phone, to simply say that Samsung sells its phones cheaper seems specious. Samsung always has a phone, on almost every carrier, that fills that $199 'halo' role.
    Now, outside of the subsidized market, I don't know. There's a very real possibility that in Europe and Asia the Samsung lines of phones undercut the iPhone's price, but if that's so couldn't it be argued that that's the case for every market Apple competes in? They are always the premium brand. They always charge a higher price than their commodity driven competition. It's what they prefer to do. It's not wrong, it's not right, it's just what they prefer.
    Market data told phone manufacturers to move to larger phones a long time ago. The reality is that there are some people who couldn't get used to the small screen of the iPhone, either because their hands were too small or because they just really liked the aesthetics of a big phone. If anyone bought a cheap Galaxy S, or Galaxy S II, or Galaxy Note, because it was cheaper, it was when the device had been sidelined and dropped to $99 on-contract, which means that there was a prior generation iPhone equally priced they could have bought.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    The PC space is dominated by commoditization. Drive the price of components as low as possible so that anyone with a screwdriver and a dream can make a PC that doesn't completely suck and sell it at a profit. That's dumbing things down a bit, but the cost to build a cheap case for a laptop is easier than for a phone, especially when consumer interest is much more variable. Consumer electronics change styles and fads faster than the fashion industry.
    And then there's the reality of part scarcity. There's lots of capacity for building 100ish PPI panels in the 10-17 inch space. The capacity for high quality <5" panels with >250ppi isn't nearly so high, and so even if the cost wasn't so great, there'd still be limited supply. And all of this comes, again, from the fact that this is a varying market, and a rapidly growing market. Hundreds of million of handsets get bought every year, not so much laptops.
    If innovation in components slows, and OEMs spend more time innovating in packaging, feature set, and, yes, commoditization of components, then they might feel the pressure is off and they can just build different sized handsets and charge differently for them. But is that really fair? I mean should I suffer a slower processor just because I want a smaller phone? I think offering tiered products and varying on glass size without altering price drastically would be the best method.
  • hags2k - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Honestly, I think that every manufacturer is going for grand slams instead of base hits. In the PC market, as someone else said, it'd be insanity to offer a laptop in ONLY 17" or ONLY 11", but because companies (*cough*apple*cough*) achieved so much success with ONE model, everyone is trying to duplicate that formula rather than offer consumers some kind of real choice, and on android phones, differentiating yourself is often a matter of one-upsmanship - 4.8 > 4.7 > 4.5 > 4.3 > 4, etc.

    Eventually they will get wise, I hope, but as the article pointed out, price compression is a factor - with computers, they can sell the same laptop with three screen sizes at three price points, but they don't have that kind of freedom in the US market.
  • bearxor - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    Remember when the iPhone came out and bucked the trend of increasingly smaller displays? We were down to 2.5" in Windows Mobile devices. Reply
  • piroroadkill - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    I agree. I think 4" is about right, and 4.3" is getting on the large side, but is generally fine. I think 4.5"+ is just getting silly. Reply
  • ivoryjohn - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    Since turning 50, I'll add that YES!!! Bigger is better!

    I got the Droid X when it came out, not for the touted video capability but for the big honking screen! Browsing the Internet, reading PDF encoded manuals all was easier with a larger screen.

    I downgraded slightly to the Droid 4 and wish I had an option for a 4.8 inch screen whether it fits in my pocket or not.

    Ten years ago, I would not have cared so much, but now, I am definitely in the near tablet size phone.
  • aliasfox - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    ... which isn't directly 'consumer demand'

    - Battery size. New SoCs and radios require relatively large amounts of power to get them through the day. A bigger screen (which might take an extra 10% power) affords space behind it for a battery that's maybe 20% larger - a net gain.

    And because the fastest phones now generally have the biggest screens to support the space for the larger battery (without sacrificing thickness), manufacturers and pundits are conflating 'bigger' with 'what consumers want in a top of the line phone.'

    Personally, I prefer iPhone sized. A 4" screen feels rather broad to type/tap on one handed (most of my usage) if you have to reach the opposite corner; I can't imagine living with a 4.5"+ screen day to day.
  • amdwilliam1985 - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    "if you have to reach the opposite corner; I can't imagine living with a 4.5"+ screen day to day."

    You'll get use to it, I got the SGS2 tmobile version(4.5" screen), and I can reach every corner of my screen comfortably.
    I got used to typing on my "giant" phone now whenever I pick up a 3.5" iPhone from a friend, I can't seem to hit the right key.
  • JasonInofuentes - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    This is correct. There is a net gain in component space in making a thin form factor large display handset. But this opportunity was acted on in part because of consumer demand for larger screens. Even as early as CES 2010 the scuttle was that the market was going to move to larger and large screens, even before thin was a major selling point.

    But, again, there's still opportunity to cram similar devices in a thicker handset, so it's a matter of design and willingness.
  • secretmanofagent - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    My girlfriend had the original Droid Incredible, and wanted the successor. She, however, is on a family plan, and didn't want to wait and end up affecting the rest of the family with the "upgrade" to the shared data plan. She didn't want the Galaxy S, because it was too big. She's now an iPhone user.

    I don't know whether she's an isolated incident, but to me they lost out on if people are paying attention to the data BS that Verizon is pulling.
  • eldwraith - Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - link

    I got a new phone "only" because of Verizon's change. I didn't have any good reason to upgrade from my Incredible, but Verizon forced my hand, and now I have this book sized SGS3. I do hope she's happy with her purchase, and I think you're right about the Dinc 4g. Wow did this mess up HTC IMHO. For people racing to upgrade before the change they had very few options. Not nice how the Incredible line ended. Hopefully new customers will like the size, and still get it. I think it looks a little funny. Reply
  • geniekid - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    In a similar situation. I have the OG Incredible, but I decided not to jump the gun on the S3 because it was too big. After using my OG Inc for 2 years and trying out other people's larger phones (Thunderbolt, Galaxy S2, EVO 3D, EVO 4G LTE), I've decided while my phone's 3.7" screen is too small, the S3's 4.8" screen is too large.

    So I might be paying full price for the Incredible 4G LTE depending on AT's review to 1) stay on Verizon's unlimited data plan and 2) give myself the opportunity to jump ship when my contract expires.
  • awaken688 - Sunday, July 15, 2012 - link

    Same deal here. I thought this phone would be a better fit for my wife, but she didn't want to lose her unlimited data. So now she is rocking an S3 instead. I'm guessing there are many more stories out there where SGS3's were purchased because of the data plan switch. So far she's liking her phone, big screen and all. Of course coming from an OG Droid that was dying, it didn't take much =) Reply
  • Thud2 - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    I am 53, eyesight waning, hate wearing glasses, like mobile web surfing, hence prefer larger screen. Reply
  • Thud2 - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    326 PPI not a big impact in use. Larger font size, big impact in use. Reply
  • JasonInofuentes - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    I appreciate your frankness and think there's real strength in your statement. There are people out there with bad vision that don't wear their glasses and want to use a smartphone. There are people out there with chunky fingers that would really like the icons bigger and more spaced apart. I hate that on the iPhone when I'm typing I can't see the keys once my thumbs are over the keyboard, it slows down my typing. Reply
  • KitsuneKnight - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    Apparently, you're the only type of person anyone in the smart phone industry (and reviewers) care about.

    So how long until 5.x devices drop the claim of being 'hybrid' phone/tablets and are just phones? With the way things are going, ones like the Note are going to be on the smaller side for high end phones by the end of next year.
  • coolhardware - Wednesday, July 11, 2012 - link

    The iPhone 4 was released June 24, 2010, in the United States which was before the HTC Rezound (approx Nov 2011) and the Sony Xperia S (approx Feb 2012).
    More info:
    So Anandtech's statement:
    "The iPhone 4 premiered with the highest pixel density in a mobile device we’d ever seen"
    was totally legit :-)
  • blanarahul - Thursday, July 12, 2012 - link

    Honestly. I prefer 3.7 inch screens but i hate keeping a big phone near my ears when i talk. I have a phone with 3.2 inch screen and i find it a little small. But as a phone, its perfect size.

    The stupid manufacturers should take advantage of androids on screen buttons to reduce phone size. But large smartphones are all the rage these days. The phones are moving towards being only media consuption devices. Manufactures should understand that smartphone or thisphone ir thatphone, it is still a phone and peope are gonna talk with it. Who likes keeping monsters near their ears?

    I honestly would love to have a phone with Snapdragon s4 and a very high resolution 3.2-3.7 inch screen. But who cares about people like me, who use their phone as a phone?
  • EnerJi - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I hear you, larger phones are often less comfortable to hold up to the ear. You may want to try using a wired or bluetooth headset. I use a bluetooth headset the majority of the time that I use the phone and so am rarely bothered by the size. Reply
  • shady28 - Sunday, July 15, 2012 - link

    Same as many other posters, I don't get the screen size going up ad infinitum. The iPhone screen is on the low end of what I think is ok, 3.7 - 4.3 is a good range depending on finger size / user. Anything bigger than that is an annoyance, but that's me.

    What I don't get is technophile article writers who think of smaller screen size being a negative. It isn't a negative, it's a choice. The single best selling phone in the world has a 3.7" screen and commands top dollar. Use some critical thinking skills and get a clue (I have a 4.3" Droid Bionic BTW, so Apple haters piss off).

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