phabletAh, first world problems. Phablets are too big to comfortably use one-handed. The post on ReadWrite goes into some detail about how inconvenient large screen phones can be. (Check it out for the image of the phone ring on the iPhone 6+. I didn’t know they were a thing.) Basically, the point comes down to if you can’t use it one-handed, it’s not worth getting.

I admit the post had me rolling my eyes. (If you read the comments, others had the same reaction.) It’s not like this should actually be a surprise to anyone.

I used to be in the camp of “smaller phones are better.” I intentionally bought an iPhone 4S after the 5 was released because I didn’t want to deal with a larger phone. (I still dislike the proportions of the 5. Too narrow.) Then I bought my HTC One M8, and I discovered the advantages of a larger phone. Like how web browsing is lots easier.

I’m working on a post about how I’m not happy with Android as a phone operating system, so I’ll leave the details of my discontent for that post. For now, just know that my next phone will probably be another iPhone (sorry, Paul–going back to the dark side). And, yes, I am seriously considering an iPhone 6+. Since I won’t be upgrading until next year, I’ll have plenty of time to see how this year’s releases will stack up. When I got my Fire HD 6, I discovered how wonderful it is to have a device of that size. I recently compared my Fire to a 6+, and they were close. (The 6+ is a bit shorter and quite a bit narrower.)

My Fire fits everywhere, except a pocket. I’m small, so my pockets are too small even for my phone. But it fits in my shoulder bag, my waist pack, anything. For months I had been wanting a tablet-like device that was basically the same size as my Paperwhite. The Fire is it.

Which started me thinking. What if my phone were about the same size as my Fire? No more belt clip, true, which is okay because my M8 looks so silly on my belt that I usually don’t bother. Yes, I will look weird if I hold it to my head to talk, but mostly I use a headset, so I can live with that. An iPhone 6+ might just be that elusive “perfect device.” Okay, probably not, but it would be close. I could still have an iPad for functions which require a larger screen (like writing).

CNET had a survey today which asked about the future of technology in five years. Because I know things go in cycles, I said, “Phones will be smaller and tablets will be bigger. And I will hate it.” It’s true. I used to think large phones were anathema. Until I owned one. Now I think bigger just might be better.

Yes, I am aware of the irony that I am the same person who wrote a post on how our love affair with the tablet isn’t over. I still think my points in that post are valid. I don’t intend to never have a tablet. It just might leave the house less often.

What about you?


  1. I try to be pragmatic. I view all these devices a fulfilling a range of necessary tasks. My Mac mini and two large displays are a must for editing and publishing. Nothing less would do.

    My iPhone 5 is a must as a phone and for on-the-go activities such as listening to podcasts. Like you, I see little reason for a larger screen if it interferes with clipping to a belt or going into a pant’s pocket. I don’t want to have to carry something else to have a smartphone with me all the time. That rules out phablets.

    In between those extremes, I’m not convinced that I need both an iPad and a laptop. Both have a role for away-from-my-desk reading (mostly Instapaper) and writing. The iOS version of Scrivener, which should be out this summer, means that with a Bluetooth keyboard I’ll be able to write drafts as easily on my iPad 3 as on a MacBook Air. Then there will be little that a MBA can do that my iPad does not also do. Even carried about in a bag, they’re much the same with only about a pound difference in their weight. Why have both?

    Apple has created that situation. In its vain pursuit of thin, it has so stripped down its low-end laptops, that they’re like iPads with keyboards rather than touch screens. I once insisted on owning both a desktop and a laptop, so the latter could replace my desktop were it to crash. But today’s MBA is so limited in ports and has no upgradable RAM, that it can no longer play that role. I’ve thought of getting a used MacBook Pro, but see no reason to do that.

    Finally, tilting me heavily toward an iPad are the marvelous iOS apps that Adobe had developed for the Creative Cloud. Just like Scrivener will let me draft books on my iPad, they let me draft book covers and similar products on my iPad. I can literally layout a book cover in Adobe Comp and sent it to InDesign, where it will open as an ID document. Those quite handy iOS (and sometimes Android) apps have no equivalents for laptops. There, I’d have to work with heavy weight tools such as Photoshop and InDesign. For that, I prefer a multi-display desktop.

    I do feel an urge to simplify and live with fewer gadgets and that helps me resist the temptation to pick up, for instance, a heavily discounted, refurb Kindle Fire from resellers. What would it do that my iPad doesn’t do? Nothing. It’d just be another gadget to keep up.

    So those three, a Mac mini, and iPhone 5, and the iPad 3 seem to meet my needs so well, I’m not looking forward to the day when the “march of technology” means I need to replace any of them. They do what I need to do with no major gaps between. That’s a happy state to be in.

  2. I have a different perspective, but I suspect a lot of it has to do with my age and generation. I have a 12-year-old Dell laptop that gets used once a year for a few days. Otherwise, it sits idle. I dislike very much working on a laptop. For my work, I use a full desktop (PC) that I had custom built to my specifications with 3 24-inch pivoting monitors.

    As for a cell phone, all I want from a cell phone is the ability to make and receive telephone calls. I don’t surf the Internet using it and I don’t read email on it — I use my desktop for that and when I am not at work at my desktop, the very last thing I want is to be “connected”. I want to enjoy life, not be a slave to a device. So for me, the smaller the phone the better. I use a Motorola Razr M. It continues to work fine after 2 years so I see no need to update the phone.

    If I were to update, the last thing I’d update to is a phablet. I don’t carry a purse or a waist pack or something else into which I could fit an oversize telephone — it needs to be small enough to be comfortably clipped on to my belt. And all it needs do is be a telephone.

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