Apple iPhone SE 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9 Mini: Are small screen smartphones relevant in 2017?

Apple and Samsung are reportedly working on smartphones with displays smaller than 5-inches.


The trend with smartphones has been to fit as big a display as possible in a relatively smaller smartphone body. What started out with the likes of the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8, has now spread to devices across all price segments. But in an interesting change, recent reports claim that the likes of Apple and Samsung are working on smartphones with displays that are smaller than 5-inches in size. This essentially raises the question – is a small-screen device really relevant anymore in 2017?

Today’s generation spends more time than ever on smartphones. A recent Counterpoint research gives us a glimpse into this generation’s smartphone use patterns. The report states that on an average users are spending over five hours on their mobile devices every day. Most of that time is spent browsing the internet, gaming or messaging. With that in mind, smartphone screens are increasingly becoming adept at consuming different kinds of content on the go. These days we see devices with displays stretching to the extreme edges with little to no bezels on the sides. The wide aspect ratios too are best suited to watching videos.

Now, I admit big-screened devices don’t really fascinate me. But part of my job is to review different smartphones, and most these days have screen sizes between 5 to 5.5-inches. I have relatively smaller palms, which make it difficult to use most smartphones with one hand. When commuting in crowded Mumbai local trains, I’m constantly in the fear of dropping the phone. I’ve said as much, when I reviewed the big screened Apple iPhone 8 Plus.

Despite that, it is far from easy for me to go back to a smaller screened device. Be it watching the Punisher on one of his killing sprees, or writing/editing stories on the move, a big display is a boon. I can no longer imagine myself using a phone that has a 5-inch display, much less one with a smaller display. In fact, when I held my friend’s iPhone 5S, I couldn’t believe that not long back this was my primary driver for over a year.

It’s not just my personal opinion either. Even experts believe that small screened devices are a dying breed. An IDC report from earlier this year, shows how demand for small display smartphones has been on a decline, and it is predicted to keep falling in the coming years.

As per reports though, Apple and Samsung believe there are many consumers who prefer a small-screen device. Apple is reportedly working on the next-generation iPhone SE that is likely to feature the same 4-inch display. Samsung, on the other hand, is said to be working on a Galaxy S9 Mini that could feature a display a shade smaller than 5-inches.

What are your thoughts on this matter? Will you buy a smartphone with a small display, or is a large screen an absolute necessity? Let us know in our comments section.

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  • Published Date: November 27, 2017 4:33 PM IST
  • Updated Date: November 27, 2017 4:50 PM IST