Is a Phone with a Larger Screen Better?

If you’re a small-screen smartphone person, then the most recent iPhone releases were a complete letdown for you. They are all larger than Apple’s previous models. Yet, initial reports are that the iPhone XS Max is selling better than its smaller counterpart. That leads to our question this week, is a phone with a larger screen better?

Our Opinion

Miguel says it depends on how large. Anything larger than 6″ diagonally with an 18:9 ratio is just too much for his slightly-above-average-sized hands. He’s on the go a lot and appreciates being able to use his phone with one hand. While there are features that makes one-handed use easier, for him it “defeats the purpose of having a large screen.” While that makes larger phones more usable, he considers it a hassle and prefers 5.5″ or 5.6″ like his Huawei P10.

Ada doesn’t think a larger screen is necessarily better. She doesn’t like screens that are too large either because “they are uncomfortable to hold,” while being too small to watch videos, browse photos, or read on them. Even 5.5″ is too large, as she’s frequently dropping her smartphone, even though she only uses it occasionally.

Phil tends to think “there’s a sweep spot for form factor.” He feels the bigger iPhones and Androids are too big “like you have a table mat in your hand.” He thinks the perfect size is somewhere between an iPhone 5 and iPhone 7.


Damien finds 5.5″ to be the max size of screen for him. Anything bigger than that “is heavier and can’t be handled with one hand.”

Andrew doesn’t go for big screens but gets why some people would. Big screens are great for bigger hands, and if you’re doing mostly games, media, and document editing, he can see why that’s preferable. But for him, “I’m mostly just using it for apps that don’t require a lot of display power,” and he prefers having a shorter battery charge time and a phone he can use with one hand.

Afam never thought he would love big screens, yet it seems phones just keep getting a touch bigger. “I feel uncomfortable with my new phone the first couple weeks, and after that it stops feeling big and uncomfortable.” He loves his “comfort zone” size, but when he’s forced to go larger, then that new size becomes his new comfort zone.

Kenneth watches a lot of media online, and he’s downloaded a lot to his phone, so for him, “the bigger the better.” He figures his next phone will have a screen that is more than 6″ and that will have a QHD display.


Simon understands why people love big screens and thinks it comes down to how you use your phone. If you use it more as a portable movie and video player that has phone capabilities, grab a big screen. But for him, he likes something he can comfortably fit into his pocket and that doesn’t require two hands.

Alex says, “Just give me an iPhone 5S chassis with iPhone X internals, and I will be happy.” He believes it’s all about shape, as raw screen dimensions don’t necessarily tell you how big a phone will feel in your hand.

I jumped up in size to my iPhone 7 from an iPhone 5 a few years ago. That is the biggest I would want. I do have small hands. When I was considering a new iPhone this year, I would have had to go to the one that was about 1/4″ bigger all the way around, which I wasn’t happy about.

Your Opinion

What is your preference? Do you prefer a smaller or bigger screen size on your phone? What factors do you take into consideration when choosing a screen size? Is a phone with a larger screen better? Join our conversations in the comments below.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. It seems that smartphones are following in the steps of cars between mid-50s and mid-70s as far as size. Every year an inch or two would be added to the length until Chrysler, Cadillac, Lincoln were building aircraft carrier-sized models. The same thing is happening to phones – size creep. Some manufacturer will come out with a 7″ screen. Then there will be a phone with an 8″ screen. Eventually, somebody will put phone capabilities in a 12″ tablet.

    1. “Eventually, somebody will put phone capabilities in a 12″ tablet.”

      No ‘eventually’ about it…the 12.9″ iPad Pro (and, for that matter, the 7.9″ iPad mini 4, the 9.7″ iPad and the 10.5″ iPad pro) can be gotten with cellular capabilities, so we’re already there.

        1. Actually, just after I got up this morning (Sunday), something occurred to me: tablets have always had Wi-Fi connectivity, so they’ve also always had phone capabilities…via VoIP. Skype has been cross-platform on desktops for decades, so it’s not surprising that it also embraced mobile devices when they became popular…and while Skype is technically a video chat program, it can make calls to regular phone numbers. I did DDG searchs for “iOS VoIP” and “android VoIP” and there were plenty of hits for lists of VoIP apps for both platforms.

          So, making phone calls from a tablet has never really been a big problem. And watching a video/movie on a tablet is a far better idea than trying to do so on a 4″-6″ smartphone screen :-)

  2. I’m a big screen guy basically because of my age and the fact that I need reading glasses. A large screen makes text easier to read specially when you don’t have your reading glasses on. As for 1 hand operation I have a 6.1 inches phone and medium small hands and have no trouble operating single handed and as funny as it may sound I find it more stable and easier to use than a smaller phone. Conclusion go for the size that fits your needs and that you are comfortable with.

  3. “[Ada] doesn’t like screens that are too large either because …. while being too small to watch videos”

    If she thinks the large screens are too small to watch videos on, I’d hate to hear her opinion about trying to watch videos on pre – iPhone6+ – sized phones :-)

    Personally, I’ve never been able to understand how people could watch movies on phones the size of the iPhone6 or earlier…the screens are simply too **small** for that; either the whole picture isn’t there or it’s squished down to fit on the screen, most of the detail is lost, and you have to hold the phone too close to your face in order to see the picture, which is (very) bad for the eyes. I’ve not seen any of the larger phones (6+ or newer) in person (just the pics on Apple’s web site) so I don’t know if my opinion will change with them, but I guess I’ll find out, as I’m going to be getting an XS or XR this year.

    “Even 5.5″ is too large, as she’s frequently dropping her smartphone”

    Sorry to say so, but size of the screen has nothing to do with how frequently she drops her phone.

    1. We buy 65″, 70″, 75″ and larger TVs for our homes but then watch movies on a mobile device?! There’s something wrong with that picture. How well can one see on even a 6″ screen?

      1. Than again, you have said you don’t own a mobile phone, so it may be something you wouldn’t understand.

        1. Nope. *I* own a mobile phone and, as I said at the start of this thread, I don’t understand how people can try to watch movies on such small screens either.

          As support for what dragonmouth and I are saying, I’d like to point out that it was only a handful of decades ago that people watched TV on 9″ screens…which were about 1.5 (or more) times bigger than current smartphone screens. Then came 13″/14″ TV’s…because the 9″ ones were *too small* to decently watch shows/movies on. Then came 19″/20″/21″ TV’s…because the 13″/14″ ones were *too small* to decently watch shows/movies on. Then came … well, you get the idea. The point is that people have *never* been happy trying to watch shows/movies on small TV screens, even when those screens were *much* larger than smartphone screens are…so it’s difficult to understand why people would now be happy trying to watch movies on small smartphone screens.

        2. One does not have to own a mobile device to “understand”. Long before modern mobile devices (phones, tablets, laptops) hit the market, there used to be “tummy TVs” with 5 inch screens and 9 inch portable TVs that would work off a battery pack or a car cigarette lighter or a wall socket. I used to try to watch sporting events on them. Not only could you not make out the ball, you couldn’t make out the players. All you could see was a bunch of little dots chasing each other around the screen.

          I also have one of the early Compaq luggable PCs. It is the size of a portable sawing machine, has a 5 inch black/green screen and runs MS-DOS 5.0. Whenever I get the urge to use my wife’s smartphone for anything other than a phone call, I fire up the Compaq (yes, it still works) and after squinting at the screen for a few seconds, the urge promptly goes away.

          1. I’m thinking technology has changed “a little” since the years of “tummy TVs.”

  4. Why should anyone buy an iPhone at these high prices, when there are many 2K, 4K mobiles at much cheaper prices from other manufacturers? Mind you, iPhone is also made in China, not in the US.

    1. “Why should anyone buy an iPhone at these high prices”

      Quality. Security. Privacy. No spyware. No viruses. They don’t explode.

      “at much cheaper prices from other manufacturers”

      There’s an old adage that applies: you get what you pay for. There’s also another reason those other phones are so cheap. Hint: it’s the same reason Google services are free.

      “Mind you, iPhone is also made in China”

      So? Not sure what your point is, since most of the stuff that comes out of China is really cheap – both in cost and quality – while iPhones are exactly the opposite of that. Besides, isn’t practically *everything* made in China these days :-(

      1. “There’s an old adage that applies: you get what you pay for.”
        Open Source Software is free and very good in comparison to the sometimes very expensive pay-for products. :-)

        (No, I AM NOT trying hijack the thread or start a religious discussion!)

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