Clint on Mobile

Nexus 5 – Bigger is better

One thing I came to really appreciate about my experience with the last two Nexus devices: the large screens.

LG Nexus 4. A decent if unspectacular Android flagship. One thing I don't want to give up: its large 4.7-inch screen. In fact, my Next-us should be 5-inch+. Go big, or go home!

LG Nexus 4. A decent if unspectacular Android flagship. One thing I don’t want to give up: its large 4.7-inch screen. In fact, my Next-us should be 5-inch+. Go big, or go home!

My Android experience forever changed when I made the move from the trusty (and extremely well built) Motorola OG Droid (2009) to the Samsung Galaxy Nexus (2011). Gaining an extra inch of screen (from 3.7- to 4.7-inch) was a major breakthrough for getting the most out of the phone- not to mention the improved processor, and slick Ice Cream Sandwich operating system upgrade. Hail Holo!

The bump last year from the GNex to the Nexus 4 wasn’t quite as monumental; what LG had done with its first at bat with the Nexus felt respectable, but certainly far from jaw dropping.

One thing I came to really appreciate about my experience with the last two Nexus devices: the large screens.

After spending a few years with a 4.7-inch screen, using anything smaller feels cramped. It’s like going back in time, when cell phone displays were not a whole lot bigger than postage stamps. Or maybe it feels like a bit like switching back to standard definition after being spoiled by HD.

Whenever I pick up my wife’s iPhone 4S (invariably to perform software updates she ignores) I marvel at how tiny the thing is: “How can you live like this!!!?” I wonder.

ALSO: What’s next for Apple?

I actually never thought I’d say this, but I hope the Nexus 5 comes with at least a 5-inch display. Even bigger would be better. 5.2-inch? Yes. Sounds great.

The latest N5 rumors, however, have the screen size going the other direction. That it will be smaller is gaining momentum amongst Android circles. It would mark the first time in the history of the Nexus brand, that a screen would get smaller with a new model:

Nexus One (early 2010) = 3.5-inch display

Nexus S (late 2010) = 3.7-inch

Galaxy Nexus (2011) = 4.7-inch

Nexus 4 (2012) = 4.7-inch

Nexus 5 (2013) = 4.5 inch? (please no!)

I’m not sure why Google would decide to reverse directions when it comes to size. One possibility that comes immediately to mind is the Apple iPhone. It’s the best selling smartphone of all time (though the Samsung Galaxy S III recently overtook it for a few quarters last year). Nexus? Not so much. Despite the stock-outs at launch, the Nexus 4 has not sold in iPhone-like volume. Maybe the buying masses prefer the smaller 4-inch screen found on the iPhone. Hence the next Nexus should be smaller as well. But–the head scratcher–look at how well the 4.7-inch equipped S III is selling. No problems there.

If Google goes smaller, it would be bucking the trend. Both HTC and Samsung have gone bigger with their latest flagship Androids. The (gorgeous) HTC One has a 4.7-inch display, and the feature-laden Galaxy S 4 comes with a 5-inch HD beauty.

SEE: Interview: Steve Wozniak on the history of Apple, voice recognition and his post-industrial business card

Long-time Stark Insider readers know I’m a smitten Android user. Android notifications are (by far) the best in the business. Home screen customization is also tops. And just about everything about the OS feels more modern, powerful when compared to the aging iOS. Nexus 4 is with me for work and pleasure 7/24. I do everything on it – schedule meetings, check up on social networks, review proposals, navigate Bay Area roads, follow the NHL (Sharks, wake up mes amis!), and even edit short documents. A bigger screen would benefit every single thing I do on the Nexus. I’d even be willing to sacrifice a minor bit of batter life in exchange for a screen 5-inches or larger.

If N5 comes it at 4.5-inches, I’ll be skipping this round and probably looking at the S 4 or some other large Android, maybe even the Note III.

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Clinton Stark
Clint is based in Silicon Valley and co-founded Stark Insider. A new media venture, the goal was to fill the increasing gap in arts and food & wine coverage. This site has consumed his every fiber. Yet, he still has time to talk Android, praise Pebble, and shoot videos. More: Clint's story...
  • http://twitter.com/Andresgmb It’s me

    I completely agree with you. I won’t buy it if the screen is smaller than 5 inch. With 4,5 inches it’s impossible to surf the net properly. Greetings.

  • Rabid Rotty

    The Sharks? oh come on LOL but hey no better than my Oilers LOL we lost to Nashville last night. Oh well at least it wasn’t Columbus LOL

  • Tristan Goodchild

    I disagree, I want a phone not a tv in my pocket! A phone should be able to be used with just the one hand and all 4 corners should be reachable with the thumb. I dislike how phones are getting bigger, especially since battery performance hasn’t kept up with the pace. I say go smaller than 4.5, my nexus one was perfect, throw in a better battery and a higher res screen and ill be happy! Lots of people have tablets these days, we dont need Phablets too!!!

  • vperl

    4.8 inches is my size. it is the user, not the tool .