Help Me End the Tyranny of Big Phones
August 7, 2016 4:25 AM   Subscribe

I need a new phone. Everything I see is too big. So far, only the iPhone SE is on my list. Anything out there comparable to the SE? (U.S. use). Big phones allow doing things I do not do with a phone. I just want the thing to fit comfortably in my jean's pocket.
posted by justcorbly to Technology (20 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Xperia Z5 Compact might fit your bill, if you wanted an android phone.
posted by reptile at 5:49 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Same. Waiting for my beloved 4S to give up the ghost as we speak. That day seems to be radpidly approaching, as evidenced by the apps that won't upgrade anymore as well as other old-age things that seem to be occurring with alarming frequency. I have small hands and short fingers. I need a small phone. WHY IS THIS SO HARD
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 6:57 AM on August 7, 2016

I too am holding onto an iPhone 4S for as long as I can; when it dies (hopefully a while from now!) the SE is one I currently have in mind as the replacement.
posted by easily confused at 7:31 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a larger phone (OnePlus One) which I love for many reasons, but I just got a 2nd phone to use when a larger screen is unnecessary. The best I could find that suited most of my requirements is the Nexus 5X. I have never owned an iPhone so I do not know the size of the 4S, but I suspect it is smaller than the Nexus phone, but I offer the 5X as better than the big phones. Trying to find a screen under 5" is hard.
posted by AugustWest at 7:47 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

HTC 10 is a bit bigger but not immense.
posted by coberh at 8:09 AM on August 7, 2016

Samsung S4 Mini. I gladly took a small step backward in power, etc. for a phone that would fit in my pocket and hand comfortably.
posted by erebora at 8:14 AM on August 7, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @odinsdream: Not ruling out the SE. Just want more choices.

@AugustWest: Current phone is an original Nexus 5. Quite happy with it but would prefer something about 1/2-inch smaller all around. 5X goes the other way. (Also very interested in Google's Project Fi, for which only Nexus 5X and 6 are eligible.)
posted by justcorbly at 8:23 AM on August 7, 2016

I got the iPhone SE because of small hands, and even though I didn't like the thick design at first, it gives it a lot of grip.

Otherwise, could you maybe look for a refurbished "as new" older small phone?
posted by LoonyLovegood at 8:24 AM on August 7, 2016

I did a bunch of research on this over the past year to replace my iPhone5, and also only came up with the Z5 Compact and iPhone SE. Problem with the compact is it is now ~1 year old, designed for 2 versions back of android, and only available on GSM networks (AT&T or TMobile).

I got the SE for Verizon in April and have been happy.

I'm worried that this will be the last reasonably sized phone though. Apparently nobody cares about the small-handed or -pocketed.
posted by stobor at 8:41 AM on August 7, 2016

2nd hand report, but I asked a bunch of people at work about their phones when I was shopping for my last one* and the person with the Sony Xperia Z5 Compact just raved about their phone. The larger version was on my radar at the time, but they really liked the smaller form factor.
*HTC 10 is what I wound up with, it's big but not huge.
posted by carsonb at 8:56 AM on August 7, 2016

I went through the exact process that stobor did and am typing this right now on an iPhone SE. The SE is newer and thus more future proof than the Xperia, and the choices only go downhill from there in the world of 4" phones. Buy the SE and pray that Apple doesn't discontinue its small-phone line in 3 years.
posted by serelliya at 10:22 AM on August 7, 2016

I am *so* with you on this. Why only big phones, manufacturers??

I'm with Verizon. I currently have an old HTC One Remix, which is 5.4 x 2.6 inches. It's ok, but still a little larger than I would prefer. It works, but it's stuck at Android 4.x, so it's getting slower and slower, but I keep holding out for something small.

The iPhone SE at 4.8 X 2.31 inches is my ideal size, but I really want to stay in the Android/Google world.

You might want to look at the Samsung S7 (not the Edge - too large). I really wanted to like it, but at 5.6 x 2.7, it's just an eensy bit larger than I would prefer. Still, the phone continues to get great reviews, and I may end up going for it if something else doesn't come along soon. I keep hoping for signs that Verizon will open up to the Sony Xperia Z5 compact, but I don't see any clues that they're moving in this direction.
posted by jasper411 at 11:19 AM on August 7, 2016

Definitely check out the Samsung s7. It is slightly taller than your Nexus 5 but the width is comparable. I had a Nexus 5 that I sadly bricked and the s6 at the time was what felt right in my hand based on what was available in the marketplace and s6 is slightly wider than the s7. I find that width and how it feels to use with one hand is what I look for most in a phone.
posted by mmascolino at 11:52 AM on August 7, 2016

Is the 5X really that much bigger than the 5? I understood them to be almost identical, both bearing 5 inch screens and being buttonless.

That said, my Nexus 6 fits into my jeans pocket just fine, so if that is your problem and not the difficulty in single handed use if you have small hands (really, it's thumb length that makes the difference, not overall hand size) I suggest giving a bigger phone a try. Amazon has a good return policy, so if you really turn out not to like it you just send it back and you're out nothing but a bit of time.

I'd be using a Blackberry now if it weren't for the larger screen. It wasn't until the 6 that I finally became OK with the on screen keyboards. I still have a ridiculous error rate, but it is closer to reasonable with a bigger screen. Wouldn't need a giant 2K screen if I had a physical keyboard.
posted by wierdo at 1:37 PM on August 7, 2016

5X dimensions: 147mm x 72.6mm x 7.9mm
5 dimensions: 137.84mm x 69.17mm x 8.59mm

So it is about 3.4mm wider. I can say that mrs. mmascolino's phone is about ~4mm wider than mine and that distance is noticeable to me.
posted by mmascolino at 1:48 PM on August 7, 2016

Response by poster: For pocket-fitting purposes, that extra 10mm of length on the 5X is noticeable. Width isn't much of an issue for me.

Neither is the small-hands thing. I'm 6'3" with large hands. Screen size doesn't matter because I don't watch anything on phones. I always carry a tablet when I travel so the phone is strictly communications and (very) occasionally navigation.

Also, if I stay with Android it will be from Google. That would mean the 5X.

Only alternative seems to be the SE, which meets my sizing preferences. The 5X does not, but would allow switching to Project Fi. (Also don't fully trust Apple not to kill-with-upgrades any of their products over time.)

So... I will probably do nothing at this point. Rumor says Google will debut new phones in October. Will nurse the 5 along for a bit.
posted by justcorbly at 3:54 PM on August 7, 2016

I'm in the same boat, except that I won't buy an iPhone. I've seen rumors both that the new Nexus 5 would be 5" (acceptable) and 5.2" (too big unless the bezels are non-existent). I would wait.

FWIW, Apple's track record of supporting phones is pretty good. I think 3 years of updates are a safe bet, and four years isn't unlikely.
posted by cnc at 4:51 PM on August 7, 2016

I went from an iPhone 6S+ back down to an iPhone SE. It has been great. All the functionality of the newer iPhones without the size. It really seems very small after having the 6S+. It is exactly the same size as a 5.
posted by tamitang at 8:06 PM on August 7, 2016

You're not going to get anything 1/2" shorter and narrower than an N5 without going back about 5 years. The N4 isn't even that small.
posted by rhizome at 11:34 PM on August 7, 2016

I just upgraded to the SE and I love it. It is EXACTLY the same size as the 5, to the point where it fits in the same Lifeproof case.
posted by KathrynT at 12:00 AM on August 8, 2016

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