iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

Summary: I have always liked phones with large displays, but I ordered the iPhone 4S with its small screen. Why do I think it's not an issue? Because of tablets, of course.

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I have always liked big smartphones with shiny screens that can display a web page nice and large. I jumped on the first Android phone with a 4.3-inch display, and got excited when the first 4.5-inch phone appeared. I used my phone for so many different tasks that the jumbo-sized screen was a benefit. So why do I think the measly 3.5-inch iPhone 4S display is big enough? Tablets.

See: Why I ordered an iPhone 4S

I jumped on the EVO 4G with its wonderful 4.3-inch display when it first hit the scene and I loved that big screen. Surfing the web was a great experience, and overall I found the big display to be a tremendous benefit.

When I switched to the Nexus S 4G a few months back I was concerned that the smaller 4-inch display would yield an inferior user experience strictly due to the loss of screen. Over time I have come to realize that's not the case.

I always have three or four tablets around here, and seeing me with one of them in hand is a common sight. It may be an Android tablet or perhaps the TouchPad. I use tablets all the time, as they are the perfect tool for working the web.

When I was debating whether I should order an iPhone 4S or not, I kept coming back to that small display. Having used so many phones with nice, large displays, how could I be satisfied with a paltry 3.5-inch screen? The more I though about my recent phone usage, the more I realized the screen size wasn't that big a factor.

While the Nexus S 4G is a great phone, I came to realize that I wasn't using it for web surfing much at all; that can be attributed to my heavy tablet usage. When I intend to get on the web for any extended time, I grab a tablet. The bigger tablet is much better for that, and the phone (any phone) not so much.

Another factor is web apps. Many popular web sites have good web apps designed to use the small phone display to maximum effect. ZDNet has apps for major phone platforms, for example, and other sites do too. I find I use them when away from a tablet and just have the phone in hand. They work just as well on small phone screens as they do larger ones, so the size is not an issue.

I admit I was surprised when I realized how little I was now using the phone for web stuff. I still do occasionally but it is no longer a major task. My main use for the phone is for running apps, and most make good use of smaller screens. For heavy lifting online I use a tablet, for lighter stuff the phone is fine. My heavy usage of tablets has eliminated my need for screen on my phone. A 3.5-inch display is just fine.

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Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Mobility, Tablets

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58 comments
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  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

    Regarding your opinions on the iPhone's small screen size. Your experience is but one more example of the axiom that real world experience trumps preconcieved reasoning.
    kenosha77a
    • Especially the fact that not everyone has gorilla hands

      to hold such a monster phone.
      baggins_z
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @baggins_z <br><br>True. I will add the large percentage of consumers coming from last century dumb phones, with tiny screens. Or Blackberry phones even. The iPhone 3.5" screen is humongous compare to those, but still a practical size as for as touch screen goes.
        dave95.
  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

    I have a 10.1" tablet and find myself using my phone more to check email and read news. It's just more convenient and I can read it while travelling too. No way am I going to carry a large tablet around just to do basic information reading.

    3.5" screen is too small.
    jhughesy
    • Perfect size; 100+million/year sales figures confirm that

      @jhughesy: iPhone is already maximum size for convenient use of the device as <b>phone</b>.

      4.7" smartphone of course would be more convenience for use of spatial applications, but it is huge, and it inconvenient and even ridiculous to use as phone, it does not really fit in any normal pants' pocket.
      DDERSSS
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @DeRSSS No, your argument is ridiculous. I carry the Dell Streak 5" around all the time in my jeans pocket. No problem. 3.5" screen is way too small.

        But we all know that Jobs had refused to increase the size because it would eat into the sales of the iPad. It was a marketing decision to brainwash Apple customers into buying both the phone and tablet.
        mrxxxman
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @mrxxxman

        You must be big person because a dell streak is a huge budge even for fairly big guys. I'm 5'10 and would not want that thing stuff in my pants.
        ryan_v
  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

    Maybe people like larger displays because they can, you know, see them. My dad grabbed the Samsung Infuse 4G as soon as he saw it, simply because of it's giant 4.5 inch screen because he could, you know, see it. This is in spite of using an iPad every day for work. Tablets really have nothing to do with phone display size, simply because you're using (or should be) using them at entirely different times.
    Aerowind
    • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

      @Aerowind My dad uses the Droid X too because of it's large screen. He couldn't be happier, whereas I fall into the same boat as the author. I don't want a huge bulge in my pocket I want a nice crisp screen that gets the job done still.
      deftdrummer
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @deftdrummer So you would rather spend the money on two devices than just one because of a huge bulge in your pants? I think most guys would prefer having the huge bulge. :)
        mrxxxman
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  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

    I couldn't agree more but I would just add that, personally, the point is driven home to an even greater degree when using a 7" tablet as it's with you more because of its portability.
    veethree
    • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

      @veethree But it's not a phone so you would carry around two devices with you everywhere? That doesn't make sense when you could do the same things with one device that's 4.5".
      mrxxxman
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @mrxxxman Have you ever thought that maybe it isn't an issue or inconvenient for him to carry around two devices? Just because it would be for you doesn't mean it would be for everyone else.
        non-biased
  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

    Again, because you have money to burn. An iPhone and a tablet. Talk about duplication. Go on and make things more complicated than it needs to be.
    LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
    • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

      @LoverockDavidson_ That's just your opinion of course. I sense a hint of envy with a tinge of jealousy since you cannot afford multiple high end devices. That's unfortunate, but don't take that out on those who can.

      You say "complicated" I say uncomplicated and more convenient. There are many situations where sitting down with a real device with a larger screen is helpful - rather than sitting and piddling around on your phone like a 15 year old. For 5 minutes the phone serves its purpose, for 30 minutes my choice is clear.
      deftdrummer
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @deftdrummer
        Your Spidey senses are wrong.
        LoverockDavidson_-24231404894599612871915491754222
      • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

        @deftdrummer Exactly, but you use a netboot or laptop for those situation, not a tablet. And especially not an iPad. Having one device that will fulfill 90% of your mobility needs is ideal. It's the ultimate. For that other 10% of your heavy duty work, use a real computer. That's what I do. I take my Dell Streak 5" everywhere and use my 4 year old Macbook Pro 15" for the more intense work.
        mrxxxman
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  • RE: iPhone 4S small display: Tablets eliminate the need for screen

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