In some circles, small (or should we say “smaller”, given then general aura of largeness in the phone world) phones seem to bring out the same emotions in people that fluffy kittens and doe-eyes puppies do. Bring out something like a Pixel 4a or a Samsung Galaxy S10e or even better an iPhone 12 mini, and you will have a number of people switching to “awwww, how cute:” mode. And well, in a world, where a phone being well over half foot long is a given, something that fits into your palm seems like a tech wonder.
Yes, small is sure beautiful. And awwwww-ful (as in full of the “awwww” factor) too. The big question is: the initial crushing done, do you actually need a smaller phone?
Well, the small phone lobby would say “whyever not?” Especially if you get hardware and software similar to what you get on larger phones. If there are no performance compromises, why should you not go for a more compact device? One that easily fits your hand, can easily be operated with one hand, and of course, is easier to carry around.
If sheer portability and ease of use are your priorities, then yes, a smaller phone does make sense. But then a small size also comes with its compromises. Let’s consider the following:
Lesser viewing space
Generally a smaller sized phone means a smaller display. And that can come with its own issues – it is not as good for viewing content, especially if you read a lot or watch a lot of shows.
Issues at work
That smaller display also means lesser space for work, and that can be a real problem for those who create and edit content on their phones (and there are a lot of those people). Trying to edit a video or photograph on a smaller display can be a problem, with options not being as clearly visible as on a larger display.
Issues at play too
Small displays can even become a bit of a problem for gaming. Not only would more detail be squeezed into a smaller frame, but as most games have on-screen buttons, so you would have lesser viewing space with your fingers on the display already.
Not for fast typing types
Typing, one of the most basic functions on a phone, can become difficult on a smaller phone. The reason is simple – the keyboard gets small as well. Yes, you can type with one hand but any person will tell you that typing with two hands is way faster – remember the BlackBerry devices?
With small phones come small batteries
A smaller phone also means a smaller frame or body. And that generally translates into a smaller battery. A decade or so ago, you did not need massive batteries on phones, but that has changed today, and anything less than a 3500-4000 mAh battery will leave you struggling to get through a day without recharging your phone. Smaller displays might consume lesser battery but other components do not change. The iPhone 12 mini and the Galaxy S10e are both examples of small phones that had poor battery life.
So there you have it, with small phones often come functionality and performance compromises. The awww factor can be awesome, but it can be awful as well. No, we are not saying small phones do not have a place in our lives – they definitely do. But small phones can have big problems too. Do keep them in mind the next time you are tempted to think small, in phone terms.