I come to you today with good and bad news. The bad news is that small phones are dead. Apple is almost certainly discontinuing the iPhone Mini this year, and the smallest Android phone I’ve used all year is the 5.9-inch Asus Zenfone 9 — quite a bit bigger than the 5.4-inch Mini. But that now passes for ‘small’.
Here’s the good news. We can finally put the debate on the right size for a phone to rest, because I just made up an answer: 6.1 inches. All phones from now on will meet the new, totally reasonable standard I invented and come with a 6.1-inch screen. Take the Google Pixel 6A and its – you guessed it – 6.1-inch screen. In addition to the 6.4 and 6.7-inch Pixel 6 and 6 Pro, it is downright small. I thought I was holding a small phone when I first took it out of the box, but it’s actually a lot bigger than the Mini.
If we can’t have really small phones, then we should have more like the Pixel 6A: small enough to fit in your pocket, but big enough to be tolerated by the large phone population. Certain exceptions will be allowed, but by the power granted to me by literally no one: 6.1 inches is the new standard. Here’s my reasoning.
It’s small enough to qualify as a compact phone.
Sony just teased a new “compact” phone that’s likely the Xperia 5 IV, which will most likely have a 6.1-inch display like its predecessor. Since most Android phones (especially the best-selling budget and midrange devices) these days hover around 6.5-inches, this counts as compact.
It is also, objectively speaking, not very small. Here’s something that actually happened: When I unpacked the Google Pixel 6A, I streamed to the rest of the roadside review team on Slack on what a cute little phone it was. A little baby Pixel 6! They were quick to remind me that 6.1 inches is not a small, cute phone area. When you spend most of your time using huge Android phones, you can lose your sense of what a small screen is and what is just normal.
It is large enough to be acceptable to the public who prefer large phones.
The base models of the Samsung Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13 are both 6.1 inches. In the US, at least those are the standard flagship phones on Android and iOS – you can go up from there, both in price and screen size, but it all starts at 6.1 inches. See my earlier point about normalizing screen size through repeated exposure: if most people already see this as the default, then it’s settled, I say! There’s no need to push the default screen size higher – we’re all comfortable here.
Someone needs to put an end to screen size inflation.
Years ago, we all walked around with tiny sub-5-inch phones in our pockets, and you know what? That was fine. But then we got greedy for more square inches and more pixels. Here we are. The largest iPhone is a gigantic 6.7 inches. What comes next, a 7.6-inch screen? You’d have to fold it in half to even carry it! Imagine! The madness must be stopped.
I’m not saying that every phone has to be 6.1 inches. The people have spoken and the people want Maxes, Pluses and Ultras. I’m normal
explain politely asking that we settle for a sensible middle ground that satisfies the little phone enthusiasts as well as everyone else before it’s too late. In the meantime, here I am, crying softly as I insert my SIM card into yet another phone with a huge 6-point-something-inch screen.