What is your ideal size for a mobile device?

Posted on: January 24th, 2013 by Michelle Stramel 33 Comments

The other day I got in an unexpected discussion with my 14-year old nephew about iPad minis. Like most 14-year old boys, he is an expert on all things electronic. He informed me that when he heads to high school next year, they will each be given an iPad by the school. He then mentioned he was glad it was not an iPad mini because he finds them to be worthless devices with no purpose for existence. He feels the mini is the wrong size for anything meaningful. Too small to replace a laptop. Too big to carry around. And definitely the wrong size to play games on.

I own an iPad and iPhone. I haven’t even held the mini let alone considered purchasing one. However, I have been drooling over the Galaxy Note to replace my iPhone for many months (so long in fact that the Note I wanted has become the Note II). Bottom line, I want a bigger phone. From Twitter to PocketBible, I like the bigger screen size of my iPad yet I don’t want to lug it around everywhere. So the solution in my mind has been to get a bigger phone like the Note.

Today I came across this article on ZDNET by Matt Baxter-Reynolds, “Has Apple redefined the tablet as an 8-inch device?” where he explains how he fell in love with the iPad mini and ditched his iPad. He makes a case for this middle size device becoming the new norm with the popularity of devices like the iPad mini, Google’s Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire. He’s got me thinking about getting a mini to replace everything!

What do you think? Could you live with one device for everything? What is your ideal mobile device size?

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33 Responses

  1. Peter Schott says:

    Totally depends on the device. I have a tablet, phone, laptop, and desktop. My laptop is basically a portable workstation and I use it as such. My phone is helpful to take basic notes, read, play a game or two, and maybe respond to e-mail. For more serious things, I find that I’ll either use the tablet, laptop, or desktop. I can take the tablet with me easily so often will use that for that intermediate-level work – basic doc editing, reading, composing e-mails, and such. The desktop gets used when I need to concentrate on a task in a certain area – bigger monitor, better keyboard, more power.

    I tried to use my Nook as a 7″ tablet and found the screen was just too small to do a lot of things I needed really well. It worked, but wasn’t satisfying. So I guess I tend to agree with your nephew – a larger screen to get something done is a priority for me. A combination of phone + ultrabook/tablet would be my ideal. Phone for the quick things, tablet/ultrabook for tasks that need a bit more.

  2. Kirby says:

    I work with 10 inch androids, iPad, 7 inch tablets, and my ancient 3.7 droid incredible. Both the 10 and the 7 are very enjoyable to use when ‘somewhere’. The increased screen real estate over my tiny phone is a wonderful thing. Both the Nexus 10 and 7 are very enjoyable devices to use.

    But, for me, convergence is king. “The best XYZ for the job is the one you have with you.” I don’t want multiple devices. My plan is to replace my Droid Inc with either the Note 2 or whatever other device comes out in the next 2-3 months that is large.

  3. Peter and Kirby, I think you are both getting at my personal frustration. I really can’t find a device that does everything (but that is what I want). I still need a desktop. I sort of want a laptop too because my iPad isn’t really a laptop. I find myself often in a spot where I have the wrong device (I have iPhone in hand but wished I had my iPad. Or my son has my iPad and I’m stuck with my desktop). And I haven’t figured out how or taken the time to get my entire life in sync so it doesn’t matter what device I have at the moment. But there are worse problems to have 🙂

  4. Bruce Gilliland says:

    I don’t think you will find one single device that will do “everything.” Each type of device has its pluses and minuses. With my 4.5″ screen Android phone, I can quickly look up Bible scriptures and (now) sync with a commentary or Bible notes. But it’s only two small screen sections.

    With my 9″ Nook HD+, I can have up to five panes open in PB, so I can see a second or third Bible, and a second set of notes. Plus, it’s much lighter than my laptop, and small enough to fit in my briefcase.

    Both devices work well (for me) for general reading with the Nook or Kindle book apps. The phone is clearly better for other on-the-go tasks. The Nook tablet stays at home most of the time on the table next to the recliner in my den.

    But for serious Bible study, I use PB for Windows on my 15″ laptop or my desktop PC with a 23″ screen. I can simply do much more there than I can on the smaller devices. The laptop weighs only about 4 pounds, so it’s fairly portable.

    Each type of device fits certain needs as to what I want to do and where I am at the time.

  5. Steve Long says:

    Ideal size for a mobile device is one that fits easily in my pocket without being noticeable.

    The Motorola Razr (not the Droid Razr) was a great size, although admittedly not ideal for a smartphone.

    The HTC Droid Eris or the slightly bigger Droid Incredible are nice sizes. I’ve avoided upgrading to a larger phone, although I could probably trade up to a slightly larger screen provided the body is thinner to compensate.

    Actual computing work calls for something other than a mobile device.

  6. Jeff Crowder says:

    Now Michelle, you know you can’t replace an iOS with android. PocketBible is still in alpha! I love the three-way combo of reading on my Motorola Milestone X, preparing lessons on my Windows desktop and then syncing to my iPad for teaching and preaching! No one device is perfect, but all are made better my the perfect Word we add to them!

    • Jeff, I am having a hard time making that leap from iOS to Android but PocketBible for Android is looking so good that I can’t use that excuse anymore! It sounds like you are a multi-OS person and surviving so maybe it can be done 🙂


  7. Desmond FUller says:

    I find since I have an all Apple eco-system. Laptop 17″ (used less and less), 10″ iPad and iPhone 4S that I have found that different sizes have their place.

    If I need to look up a bible passage I use the iPhone but if I’m going to take notes or use a commentary (split-screen) I use the iPad. This weekend I was at a retreat and used the iPad (with Bluetooth keyboard) to write all my notes (I write in Markdown) while having the iPhone open to the NASB bible.

    Daily I find I use the iPhone purely as a phone, music player and podcast listening. The iPad became where I do 99% of my reading. PocketBible, Kindle, iBooks, etc.

    I couldn’t really see having a bigger phone or a smaller iPad. I think I have the groove exactly the way I want it.

    • Desmond, it sounds like you have a wonderful rhythm going there. I think my problem is my iPhone still being a 3G. It is so painfully slow I hate to use it for anything but texting. It is definitely time to upgrade in one direction or another 🙂


  8. Craig Horlacher says:

    For a phone…I thought the 4.3″ display was perfect on my Droid X. I upgraded to a Droid Razr Maxx HD and now I would never go less than 4.7″. I’d bet a 5″ screen is the perfect size for me but I’m very happy with a 4.7″. A phone screen also needs to be 16:9 or 15:9 aspect ratio. This is as important as the size and resolution. I do love having a higher resolution on my new phone as well. I don’t see the need for higher than 720×1280 on a screen this size since over 300dpi becomes about useless. I’m not saying 1920×1080 wouldn’t be awesome at 5″ but I don’t think it would be worth the performance and battery life hit. 720p is a real sweet spot to me.

    For a tablet…I’ve used 7″ and 10″ tablets that I’ve liked. I happen to have a 7″ tablet and it works well for some things. Tablets need to be 16:10 or maybe 16:9 aspect ratio. Again, the aspect ratio is just as important as the size and resolution. I think 1920×1200 is a great resolution for a 10″ tablet and 1280×800 is perfect for a 7″ tablet.

  9. Craig Horlacher says:

    Peter, I wonder if you had an original Nook. If so, that would explain why the 7″ display seemed too small. It was only 1024×600 resolution compared to 1280×800 of current 7″ tablets. That could make a big difference in how useful it is and the screen will look sharper.

    Michelle and Kirby, check out the Asus Transformer Infinity. It’s an incredible tablet, very well made with a high resolution display. The thing that really sets it apart is the keyboard. Buy it separately but it’s worth it. It gives you a second battery to extend usage while it’s connected as well as a full size SD port and USB port. They keyboard has a good feel but most of all it just feels like one solid unit when you connect the keyboard to the tablet. It’s nothing like any other tablet with a keyboard. This feels and looks like a very small laptop.

    Jeff, why not? I’m pretty sure I could replace an iPad with an Etch-a-Sketch;)

  10. Jeff Crowder says:

    @ Craig H. I answered the “why not” in my post. I meant to say ‘YET’. But PocketBible on iOS is fully functional, Android is not. I am not the techy you are, but I must say, that everyone is seeming to agree, there is no one ‘device’ for everything. If I had my preference, I would have all Windows devices. I would toss my iPad and Milestone X for a Windows phone and a suface tablet if money was no object AND PocketBible was fully functioning there. Why? No one does spreadsheets like Office. The android apps are getting close However, I regularly use my WM 6.1 HTC Diamond as a pda just for the spreadsheet capabilities.

  11. dr rob g says:

    I have the Galaxy Note 2, affectionately known as a Phablet 🙂 (Phone/Table) – so far I love it – I thought it would be too gigantic at first, but carrying in a case on my belt is not cumbersome at all – a great feature of the Note 2 is that you can do a split screen, ala Windows style, but I like it mainly for the size, I feel I can really enjoy reading articals, web, etc – honestly, I had a hard time deciding between trying the iphone and Note 2 because I know the Laridian program was well established on the iphone and risked that growth would take off soon w/ the Android and to my excitement that latter has happened !! plus having a stylus attached to the Note 2 is nice too, it’s so much more comprehensive, so Thumbs Up on the Gal Note 2 !! 🙂

  12. Jason Chamberlain says:

    I have an iPhone 4 and a Nexus 7. I like using the Nexus 7 for my daily Bible reading and various other things and have come to the point where I don’t really like doing much on my phone if I can help it. I too really want (covet?) a Note 2. I think that will be a good balance when I’m out and about. Plus, I like the idea of the S-Pen. If they have that in the Galaxy IV I may do that since I will be due for my upgrade this summer.

  13. Craig Horlacher says:

    Jeff – good point…you do have a full version of PocketBible on iOS as well as better versions of some, probably many, other apps too.

    I am extremely impressed by the PocketBible Alpha on Android. It’s really getting good. I love the fact that it has the continuous scrolling that the Windows Mobile version did. I don’t think I’ve seen any other Bible program that does that, at least for mobile, and I think it’s very helpful.

  14. Craig Horlacher says:

    Man I just feel like the Note 2 would be too big for me but everyone who gets it seems to love the thing! Does it fit in a front pocket of dress pants?

    I love the size my Maxx HD. I could see going a little larger maybe for a 5″ display but 5.5″, that’s a big jump! It sure did feel great though going to a 4.7″ display from the 4.3″ of my Droid X.

    It is funny to me how many people I’ve seen that a few years ago said things like “my droid incredible is the perfect size” or “my droid x is a great size but I would never want anything larger” and they have since moved to a Galaxy S3 and love the thing! They aren’t complaining about the size. They’re loving a bigger display (more usable due to the higher resolution as well) and the fact that it’s faster and has better battery life. I’m just using the Galaxy S3 as the most common example.

  15. David says:

    Here’s my two cents…

    I have a full size iPad, an iPhone and MacBook. I always have my iPhone with me, therefore anything that I must do, I can do it there. My iPad has has the larger screen real-estate which is much better for PocketBible, that’s the device of choice. My MacBook is where I am most comfortable doing serious work, but referring to PocketBible on the iPad.

    I use my iPad for preaching, but I am seriously considering sizing down to the iPad Mini because it is smaller & lighter. I think I can trade the screen real-estate for the better portability.

    Bruce is bang on when he says that each device has its strength. That’s the reality between android and Apple too. Each has strengths, each has weaknesses.

    Since there won’t likely ever be the “one perfect device” the best we can do is get our “groove” as Desmond has commented.

    Just my two cents…

  16. John Gallant says:

    I have the Samsung Galaxy S3 and I LOVE it. I would say go for the Note II for sure.

  17. Bruce Gilliland says:

    Way to go, Michelle.

    You found a topic that is more interesting than Craig and Jon’s Android upgrades. Keep it up.

  18. Tim says:

    The right size for me is one that is as big as possible but able to fit in my pants pocket. I use it all the time and need to have it readily available when I need it.

  19. John Hopkirk says:

    My life revolves around my Galaxy Note. I find it fits into every shirt pocket even with the “casemate” covers on. I listen to my downloaded sermons when Im walking,gardening, driving etc. I read at night,with the black screen on, and its a handy size to hold. I enjoy getting out Geocaching and it has all my offline compasses,GPS and Geo sites. I have a car window support and use my note for my trip navigator. With the 8 mp camera and video I can get great pics; I have all my verses to learn on the main page under “Remember Me”App,I have chess on it to keep my 70year old brain active.I enjoy painting and sketching and having some great artist apps the stylus is always by there for quick drawings.I also play guitar and again the Note comes into its own with Unusual chords I need plus tuning programs etc. I brought the note out at christmas time and played the fullsized strings with chords app. My wife finds hers a handy size for her purse or bag and has all her contacts, email etc. BUT HEY THATS NOT ALL! It’s even my phone as well. I have measured my Note against the Note 2 and found the new 2 is 4mm smaller in width but Samsung are about to launch Note 3 with a 6″ screen plus an 8”. We both have 10″ Notes as well for using at home with larger stuff. We do all our devotions/study on both. If the phone was any bigger I know I would tend to leave it at home hence the ideal size of the smaller Note. I would Go Note 2. And NO I don’t belong to Samsung.

  20. frederick says:

    As an ex Palm user, the Samsung Galaxy Note has got to be the best nowdays. 5.3 inch High Res screen and all the bells and whistles :-). The new tablets are a bit bulky, to me at least, and why oh why do people use them as cameras???

  21. John Hopkirk says:

    Michelle I found this most interesting in that a Note 2 replaces a desktop PC.
    Regards. John

  22. Trebor says:

    Personally, I have an SGS3 and an ASUS Transformer Pad Infinity. They each have their uses. I don’t think I’ll ever have a smaller phone again.

    As others on here have said, what I’d really like is one device for everything. So something along the lines of an ASUS Padfone 2 running Ubuntu for Android. 🙂


  23. PaulH says:

    I like my nexus 7 because it fits in my coat pocket – very helpful for taking to church.

  24. Craig Horlacher says:

    John and Michelle,
    Many current Android Phones and Tablets can mirror what’s on screen to an external display (look for MicroHDMI port or MHL which uses a MicroUSB port for display) and any or nearly any can also use a standard USB or bluetooth keyboard or mouse. You’ll need an adapter for a full size USB port of course but the software supports all of that.

    One warning about the MHL…they’re not quite all the same. The Galaxy S3 uses a different MHL cable than all the others. I think the Note 2 also requires this cable. MicroHDMI cables cost less then MHL and are all the same. Both HDMI and MHL are nice because they pass both the audio and video over one cable.

    The Note 2 does have the advantage of offering the split screen mode. The Galaxy S3 can do this too or it will very soon. Unfortunately the split screen funtion only works with a handful (I think it’s 5 or 7 or something like that) of Samsung approved/supported apps.

  25. RickT says:

    I have the iPad mini and love it. For me it is the perfect size. Never bought an iPad because I thought it was too big and not portable enough. Prior to the iPad mini coming out I had considered a 7 inch Android tablet but I never went in that direction primarily because of Pocket Bible. For me pocket Bible is a must have app. I have it on my iPhone and also the Windows PC version. Since the Android version is still in Alpha development and doesn’t seem to be progressing real fast, I hesitate doing anything with Android if it means limiting my PocketBible functionality. IPad mini was the answer and I have zero regrets – I just wish it cost $100 less.

  26. After much thought, I went from the first iPad to iPad mini because it fits in my purse. Putting a font sizer in my bookmarks bar solves any size issues I’ve encountered. My hands are free and I am using it even more than before. Works for me – maybe not a teenage boy. Pocket Bible works well on it.

  27. Lester says:

    To those who are waiting (like Craig) to update to a mid sized device my advice is wait for the Galaxy Note 8 which should be out soon, it sounds like a game changer. I use the HTC EVO3D and the PocketBible works wonderfully on-the-go, the 4.3 inch screen is small compared to the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen but it fits in my pocket so that’s the compromise. When I’m going to do more serious length sessions at church I switch to the iPad as the screen is much higher resolution which is easier on the eyes. When I’m home, my laptop feeds my 50″ TV and I access it with a wireless keyboard/mouse. The key is to use the right tool for the job. I disagree with the one tool for all jobs approach, it doesn’t work anywhere else in life and in computers it’s even more so.

    And to those who have not installed a ‘Voice’ (it’s a text-to-speech add-on for the PocketBible on the iOS platform.) in the PocketBible, I highly recommend it, here’s why: Ask any professor about retention. He’ll tell you we only remember ~10% of what we hear or read but when we do both simultaneously that number jumps way up according to several studies and according to a study done in 1956, reading and hearing simultaneously the material was more effective than either reading the material through once or hearing the material, but not significantly different from the results of studying the material. This is not to say you should not study because retention is similar to that of just reading and hearing simultaneously, just to say that the retention is similar. Study serves understanding and is an interactive process with the guidance of the Holy Spirit while reading/hearing for retention feeds the Word into our memory for the Holy Spirit to recall and apply to our daily walk. Both are necessary. Another study shows that the speed we read is extremely important and that’s where the PocketBible really helps. First it eliminates distractions that can slow down reading speed and secondly it improves retention when you read at a quicker pace. With training you can increase your reading speed to 1000 wpm. (I used the QuickReader app by Inksoft.) For more insight on those studies I suggest you Google it.

  28. Andrew says:

    I am currently contemplating getting an ipad mini. I find that a regular sized ipad is too large / heavy for the duration of a service, and we are rather cramped in our small church. I have looked at the various 7″ Android devices, but I think that their widescreen format is too narrow for utilising the multiple window feature that I like in Pocket Bible. It is also very light and yet feels strong. Trouble is the price … 🙁

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