Are the latest Android flagship phones female friendly?

I’m sitting here today with my Galaxy Nexus by my side with its wonderful 4.65″ HD Super AMOLED display and I’m feeling a bit of tech envy towards the 4.8″ display that’s set to arrive when the Galaxy S III hits the shelves. I’ve had some hands on time with the HTC One X and its 4.7″ screen and Motorola’s current flagship device, the Droid RAZR, offers up a 4.3″ display. It seems that most Android phone manufacturers are of the view that bigger is better and with the runaway success of devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy Note, it would appear that they might be right.

It’s long been a trend in my household that whenever I buy a new phone, my wife will happily inherit my previous phone. The benefits of this arrangement are two fold; Firstly, my wife knows that I’m very specific about my choice of phone and that I look after them carefully. Therefore she can be safe in the knowledge that any phone she gets from me will be as good as new and more than sufficient for her needs. In turn it then means that I can use her upgrade when it comes around for my own use, a win-win situation I’m sure you’ll agree!

Just recently when I returned from the Samsung Unpacked event in London, I decided to show my wife some of the photos and videos that I grabbed. In the middle of my enthralling presentation she remarked “You do know I won’t be able to use that phone when you’re finished with it, it’s far too big” Referring to her Nexus S, she continued “This phone is as big as I’d ever want to go” It was only then I recalled the conversation I’d had with my sister a few months back. My wonderful sister, for her sins, had been an iPhone user for a number of years and actually approached me for some advice on which Android phone to switch to as she’d finally seen the light. Now my sister isn’t a geek like I am but does enjoy having a high spec, capable smart phone so without hesitation I recommended the Galaxy S II. “That’s way too big” she proclaimed, the search would have to continue. In the end she opted for a Droid RAZR due to the thin profile and durable kevlar build (she’s dropped and smashed her last three phones in a row). I checked in with her after a week of use for the verdict. She loved Android and was more than happy with Motoblur and seemed to have adjusted fine to the differences when compared to iOS, “It’s still a little bigger than I’d have liked” she concluded.

With only two cases to go by, I decided to do a little more local research to see if it was just a coincidence. A healthy number of my social circle are Android users, perhaps due to my influence but that’s another story!  A few of my friends have a similar set-up as I do regarding passing their old phones on to their partners. From my extremely limited research I came across an HTC Desire, another Nexus S and an original Samsung Galaxy S all of whose female owners agreed that they wouldn’t be comfortable with the size of the Galaxy S II let alone a Galaxy Nexus or Galaxy S III.

With my ‘extensive’ research complete, I ventured on-line to see which high end, new smartphones are a bit more modest in size. It didn’t take me long to come to my conclusion. If you’re looking for the latest and fastest processor, the most RAM, oodles of internal storage, the sharpest screen and the latest software all with a sub 4″ display…  you’re pretty much out of luck. It looks to me that there’s a very obvious gap in the market for this particular niche. The question is, just how big is the requirement, which is why I’ve decided to write this piece.

I’d be interested to hear back from the female Android enthusiasts out there in order to gather your thoughts on the latest batch of flagship phones and how they suit your needs. Are all the females I know overly picky with small hands or is the market missing a trick. Check out the comments below and be sure to let us know your views.

About the Author: Chris Stewart

Originally from Inverness in the Highlands of Scotland, I'm now living in the UK's second city, Birmingham. I've had a passion for gadgets from a very young age, it all started with my Commodore 64 at the tender age of 2 years old. I purchased my first mobile phone aged 17 and it was from there the obsession began. Having now gone through 33 phones in 13 years it's safe to say my passion for phones is alive and well! My current phone is the Galaxy Nexus as I'm a big fan of the pure Android experience. I've been working in the Banking industry for the past 10 years and I'm currently working in Human Resources for one of the World's largest Retail Banks. I spend my spare time with my wonderful wife and young family and when I'm not fiddling with phones and tablets I can be found playing football (soccer for you guys in the States!), watching Mixed Martial Arts, tinkering with cars or listening to music.

  • Scott Johnson

    Having previously hated touchscreens, so was updating from a Sony Ericsson X10 Mini Pro, my other half got a Galaxy Note this week.  She loves it.

    She actually said that if she HAD to go touchscreen, she wanted a screen big enough to deal with.

    I’m still stuck with my Galaxy S original until the contract runs out next Jan.

    • Ctsamados

      What about the HTC One S hasn’t that got pretty much a top notch spec but just in a smaller size compared to the One X?

  • tsiguel

    I am male but I still support that point of view, There are two things that phone manufacturers seem to agree on which drive me nuts: massive screen and no physical buttons. Pretty much as far as iphone goes it IS the most powerful device for its screen size on the market. I’d love to see a sub 4” flagship phone but until then I’m forced to use mid-range…

    • RTWright

       I disagree here, the iPhone is not the most powerful, it’s just one of the most used due to popularity.  If Apple had not put it on different carriers than just AT&T, it wouldn’t be nearly as popular and used as it is now and would be taking a huge backseat to Android phones.  It’s still barely percentage-wise keeping up.  There have been many test ran that show the iPhone slacking behind, maybe the iPhone 5 will save them with that.  I have nothing against the iPhone other than it’s a proprietary device that you can’t upgrade without buying an entirely new phone and we know how that works.

  • Alexander Burr

    My girlfriend went from a 3in LG EVE to a 4.5in Samsung Infuse. She LOVES it!!! Last year most online blogs bitched about the Infuses size, and now this year are calling it OK…Its important to note that the most important factor is device size and shape, therefore feel in hand and not a screen size. Aspect ratio of the screen  is also fundamental to usability. I have an HTC EVO3D with a narrow feel screen say compared to an HTC HD2 or even my girlfriends Infuse.

    • LoLo

      I have the HTC sensation, Samsung galaxy s2, just bought the Google play galaxy nexus and the GNote….know which one is my favorite? The GNote…why? Because it’s 5.3 inches of screen perfection. If I could carry around a 10.1 inch galaxy tab and use it as a phone I would….for me, being a girl, bigger is better. My sensation grew to be too small once the sgs2 came out…that got too small when the GNex came out….and when the GNote came out I thought “this is it! My perfect phone! And so far it is.

      • LoLo

        Also, I think if you’re not a heavy use you would be more inclined to go with a small screen….I do everything on my phone, bills, Web browsing (I don’t even use my laptop half the time because I prefer the phone) video chat….I’m a very heavy user, hence needed a big screen. If you are a moderate use then I can see being mite comfortable using it….I am not, I can’t even deal with a 4.3 inch screen sometimes.

  • Guest

    My last phone was an LG enV Touch.  I tried out my sister’s android (something from Verizon, last summer) and decided I wanted a smartphone so that I could have a truly all-in-one device.  After research I was going to get the Galaxy SII, but discovered the Galaxy Note was due out and set my sights on that.  I bought the international version 6 months ago.  I love it and it’s size was the reason I bought it.  I’ve even used it for taking notes in a class instead of my MacBook and it worked so wonderful I stopped bringing my laptop.  BTW, I am a 5′ 2″ petite female tech-geek, but I’m married and almost 40 so I don’t go clubbing and don’t need to fit my essentials into a 5″ purse…and my art teacher/hunting fanatic husband has a ruggedized non-smartphone because his first iPod Touch was stolen by a student and he’s waiting for the Note 10″ to fulfill his android envy ;)

  • Cupcake_fl

    I got the Samsung galaxy s2 a few months ago when I dropped the google mytouch in the toilet. I love the specs and it’s a fantastic phone, the selling point was it fitting perfectly in my jean pockets. I am 5’so size matters, I wouldn’t go any bigger than the galaxy s2, unless I have a growth spurt and end up with manhands.

  • E Hugus

    I have very small hands and feet too, but I love any phone with a larger screen since so much more info is found on most of the websites today. I have a Galaxy Nexus and love it. The size is just right. I have not dropped it yet. I do not have in a case either. Now I am holding a Galaxy 10.1 Tab which does feel large. I do think that all devices should not have a case that is slippery when held. That is where I would like to see some changes. Since my hands are small, I could never type with my 2 thumbs so I was able to really hang on to the phone with one hand.
    I also like fun colors so it would be nice to have phones that are more a fashion statement. Black, grey, and white are too common.

  • Danjimaru

    It seems that in the cellphone business every company is afraid to innovate in terms of design. This dates all the way back to the 90s when 3210 was “in” and the GD90 was runner up. Nobody is able to think out of the box but a very few execs… it’s no wonder that we see cell phone generations such as; Brickphone, Foldable, Foldable Dualscreen, Touch, …. it’s strange since typically each generation rarely overlapsed into another…

    The saddest part for me is the loss of the monochrome display. I dream of an e-ink phone with a week long battery pack (2850 mah) 256 shades of gray, android os and perhaps a switchable backlight.

    Moto F3 sold an incredible amount of feature phones at an even more incredible production cost… it’s a mystery why anyone would give up on the idea of eink phones…

  • Frans-Peter van der Leur

    The Galaxy S3 is a female phone. I skip it and wait for a normal S4 next year.

    • RTWright

       Ummm, just because it doesn’t have the sharp edges, corners and that super techy look that you probably desire doesn’t make it a pure -female- only phone.  I happen to like it a lot and can’t wait for it.  I seriously doubt their will be an S4 next year, maybe the year after….

      Though I agree with the women who say that phones are too big, as it’s getting where smartphones are growing in size each new version.  But….  Catch 22 here!  They’re not just phones anymore, they’re being used for watching Movies, playing Games, Video Conferences ( More than just one picture on the screen at one time ) and a vast amount of other things than just email, text and phone calls.  So this is why they’re getting bigger because they’re getting more popular with this style of use.

      I still think they could always afford however to have two different size versions of their flagship phones just for this reason.  No it wont be quite as nice watching your favorite Movie/Video or playing those new fancy games and such, but if that’s not what you’re in to?  Then I think the cell phone companies should indeed keep this in mind.

      I use an Evo4G, it’s not the size of the SIII or One X, but it’s still big and it’s not nearly as light as these newer devices coming out.  I will say I tend to like a little heft in my device so I know it’s in my hand.  But that’s not something I’d complain about losing either.  I think the GSIII however because of it’s design, would be more comfortable to hold for longer hours of use.  Nothing about that is feminine at all, it’s all personal taste there.

      Love the comments in this article however, I do hope the companies like Samsung, HTC and Sony do read them and take note.  It would be nice for them to realize not everyone in the world has big hands or desires a almost 5″ screen ( I’ll admit I wouldn’t mind it but that’s me! ).

      Have a great weekend to all! 

  • Selzi

    I’m a 5′ 6” tall female with rather child-like hands. My first Android phone was a 3” LG GT540 Optimus, but after 6 months I ditched it for a 0.5” larger ZTE Blade. 5 months after that I got my current phone, a 4.2” large Xperia Arc. It fits great into my hand, but it’s too large for me to use with one hand already. No big deal, though, I got used to typing with one hand while holding the phone in the other quite fast.

    When the Xperia S was announced in January I rejoiced. Only 0.1” larger than my current phone, that shouldn’t make too much of a difference, right? Wrong. I had planned to buy it right after its release in March, but when I first held it in my hands it was just too big and chunky for me to feel comfortable. So I decided to skip the Xperia S and wait for the Xperia P (4”) instead.

    Last Wednesday the Xperia GX was announced with its 4.6” screen – I was thrilled since it looks like a worthy successor of my beloved Arc. Yesterday I read about its measurements – and I know that I won’t be able to use it comfortably since it’s about the same dimensions as the HTC One X, that gorgeous yet huge thing. ;-)

    Now there’s nothing wrong with buying the Xperia P or other phones of that screen size, but it bugs me that I’ll have to live with inferior hardware compared to the larger models. Currently hardware quality and speed indeed seem to be proportional to screen size, and that makes me sad. :-(

  • Ben

    I have been looking for an android phone for my girlfriend for at least a year now.. And I’m still searching. Basically I am looking for the same as what this article states. A new high (or high-ish) end phone but without a big screen. I have had my galaxy s2 for a year now and I love it but my girlfriend says it just to big for her taste. I’ll keep my fingers crossed that someone will deliver something soon

  • Brad hoff

    My girl friend is an odd one when it comes to phones. Last year I convinced her to try the lg optimus and she was OK with it. Like the author I get the benefit of having mine and my gfs upgrade so I upgraded to the epic touch(sprints version of the s2) with her upgrade and gave her my 3d. Now she has a bigger phone and wants the note. She’s like me on phone screen size anything smaller than 6 inches and bigger than 4.5 is perfect. Before the optimus she was an avid blackberry fan and now loves the android is and finds is to be super boring and hates she couldn’t make it look to her likings and hence why she tried the optimus. I’m now trying to teach her how to flash custom rooms so I don’t have to do it for her.

  • Brad hoff

    My girl friend is an odd one when it comes to phones. Last year I convinced her to try the lg optimus and she was OK with it. Like the author I get the benefit of having mine and my gfs upgrade so I upgraded to the epic touch(sprints version of the s2) with her upgrade and gave her my 3d. Now she has a bigger phone and wants the note. She’s like me on phone screen size anything smaller than 6 inches and bigger than 4.5 is perfect. Before the optimus she was an avid blackberry fan and now loves the android is and finds is to be super boring and hates she couldn’t make it look to her likings and hence why she tried the optimus. I’m now trying to teach her how to flash custom rooms so I don’t have to do it for her.

  • lostsync

    My wife uses a Bionic. She has bad eyesight and vastly prefers it to the Eris she upgraded from. I think she would enjoy a Galaxy Nexus as well (and I tried so hard to get her to wait for it, but…well, she had a Droid Eris, so I can’t say I blame her), but I don’t think she’d be comfortable with anything much bigger than that. I find the Galaxy Nexus to be just about perfectly sized. We’re both pretty small people (I’m 5’8″, 120lbs) and I don’t really think they need to focus on getting phones bigger and bigger anymore. They’re pretty big now.

  • Someone

    I recently came back from Hong Kong, and there seemed to be a massive Galaxy Note user base. seriously, on the subway, you could one or two being used regardless of where you were standing. A lot of these people (I might even hazard a guess of more than half) were women. If you think Chinese women are big, I laugh at you.

    Most peoples hands save midgets are big enough to use two handed – which most people do anyways! the only time you see one handed use is when you are making a phone call – which can be bypassed with a headset

  • Mia

    So does it mean that are only men out there in the mobile business?
    The “too big” issue bothers me as much any other woman I know. It’s common for us to say: it’s nice, it has all the features I want but… it’s too big!
    I don’t have child-like hands, but I like my mobile to desappear in my hands, to be small enough to be handled with only 1 hand, and to fit in my handbag. It’s about privacy and being practical. And if it has also a nice color that makes it more easy to find among the infinity of stuff in my bag, so much the better.
    That’s why I still use my 2-years-old Sony Ericsson X10 mini, and I’m anxiously waiting for the Sony U release – and never showed the slight interest in getting Arc, for instance (I confess I’m a Sony addicted. Love design, and Samsung’s are too big.)
    How come the mobile industry didn’t realise it yet?

  • Andz

    I don’t know why but I’m a female and I prefer phones with bigger screen, but right now I am just using a 3.4″ one. But if I ever get to have a new one I’ll take something of a bigger size. Maybe it’s just preferences.

    And yes I feel the increase in screen size of android flagship phones isn’t so bad, in fact I like it.

  • Cynthia

    I came from a HTC desire and now have the galaxy nexus and I love it! When its in my pocket it doesn’t feel that much bigger.. I can swype with one hand easily just have to hold the phone on my fingers instead of in my hand.. but I’d love an s3 or one x!

  • Jenny

    I totally agree! I chose the HTC Wildfire on size alone. Although I’ve been kicking myself ever since for buying such a crappy phone, and hating it from week one, I haven’t been able to find a replacement without compromising in some way. I want the best camera, sharpest display, best performance, and it should all fit in my jeans pocket. And it should be an android, not iPhone… What surprises me is that my dad feels the same way! As he recently retired, he no longer wears suits and therefore has limited pocket space.

  • Boris

    May I recommend the HTC one v if you are looking for a phone with goods specs and a nice size to it.

  • banjoonmyknee

    Agreed.  I’m looking at the new Incredible 4G LTE to replace my aging HTC “Droid” Incredible.   I really don’t want anything that much bigger.   I have a 7″ Kindle tablet for movies, video, and e-book reading.    But for my phone, it has to fit in a pocket and be usable with one hand.  

    Here’s a radical thought. Why not have a woman staffer write this article?

  • Fright

    Well what i can add to this is this my wife has never been interested in “smart” phoneso i always opted form a straight nokia dial buttons and nought else now last december i decided to opt foe 2 galaxy nexus phones and gave her on under duress and many complaints too big too complicated etc now 5 months on i cant get her off it she nowlikes that so called interweb thingy as she calls foreverusing the pulse app reading aboutgardening her first love using skype to speak with the kids and forever drawing whatever on a app called draw free that her sister put on the nexus for her now what i get from this is girls dont like tech untill they have it then they wont let go for any bride so go ahead get your nect smartphone then i will put money on it they will love it once they useb it

  • heyheythere

    I originally thought the galaxy nexus would be too big, but I’ve gotten used to it, although I do two-hand it a lot. The only reason it doesn’t feel much different than my old phone is because it’s thinner, so my hand is kind of redistributed around it. I actually like the gnex better than the razr because my hand curves around the back, versus on the razr the back goes straight across and my hand doesn’t quite fit. On the (droid life?) argument about headphone jacks, though, all the men wanted the jack on the bottom because when they hold their phone in their fists to put them in their massive pockets, they put the top in first. However, girls’ pants are way tighter with smaller pockets, so my phone doesn’t really fit. I put it in my pocket by pushing straight down, top on top, bottom on bottom, so I would have to put it in upside down if I wanted the headphones to.stick out. Men just couldn’t undetstand that my hand doesn’t even fit in my pocket. Kinda sad that all these women get their husband’s secondhand phone, though.

  • ek-w

    I an a 55 year old clergy woman (no particular tech background). I had used Palm pda’s and smartphones before mashing there switch to Android with the Galaxy Nexus. I wanted the flagship 4.0 phone. The size means that it is not one handed for typing, but I like the big screen.

  • Graham Parkes

    Everyday, I see many girls and women here in Hong Kong carrying the Galaxy S2 and Galaxy Note. Size doesn’t seem to be an issue for them.

  • Valeriebeeby

    I am female and absolutely love my Galaxy Note, which is biggest of them all. I was amazed at men complaining that it’s too big, until I realised that men carry their phones in their pockets, whereas I carry mine in my handbag. I have very few clothes with pockets in which I could carry a phone. With the big screen, my Galaxy Note is just right and gorgeous too!

  • TanNimue

    I’m a female Android fan, and I love a big screen.My only requirement is that a phone be thin and fast…quite a few of those to choose from for Android enthusiasts. ;-)

  • Kellybrys

    I’m a female, 19 years old and a little geeky. I really want the htc one x. I now own an Xperia pro (3,7″) but I really think it is too small. Before I had an original sgs and the screen was good.

    I don’t really understand why women have issues with +4″. They have a purse to put the phone in. I always put it in the pockets of my jeans out of habbit

    • Barbara

      Of course there’s the purse to put the phone in, but I have to be able to hold the phone in one hand as well. When I try to hold my husband’s Galaxy Note in my left hand I can hardly bend my fingertips around its outer corner. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with such a huge device, I would always worry about accidentally dropping it!

  • jodytamar

    I’m a 36 year old, 5’0″ attorney/android fangrrl. You can have my gnex when you pry it from my tiny paw! Or when my next upgrade is due. Single hand Swyping can be a minor struggle on occasion, but I’ve figured out the optimum grip for stretching my little thumb to capacity ;)

  • Hackmoonlight

    I’m a girl. Android geek enthusiastic and I say the bigger the better;-)

  • No

    my wife and i had atrixes..she has size 4 ring finger…baby hands..she switched to, and loves the note. im still on the atrix and command all accessories we had bought together. i win.

  • Eric Morrow

    I’m a dude and find all these huge screens to be absurd.  Waiting patiently for the next Dinc 4g and even that has a 4inch screen.  Could also careless about specs- they are getting towards the megapixel battle of yore.  If I can make calls, text my friends, and run all the apps, what do I care about dual-core etc?  My dinc from 2 years ago still keeps me connected just fine (but ready for 4g!)

  • Mei

    I”m a girl and I don’t mind big phones. I prefer 4.3″-4.8″, but don’t mind 5.3″ Galaxy Note size, cause I love the responsive narrow tip stylus that the Galaxy Note has.  Big size phones aren’t bad as long as it has narrow bezel. :)

  • Paul

    My wife has the original Droid and when I upgraded her to a Droid 3 she handed the 3 back to me.  It’s too big she said.  She loves her Doid will will not go bigger.

  • Jorinde123

    I’m a girl, in love with my Galaxy Nexus. And the HTC One× is gorgeous too! So IMO size doesn’t matter at all. In fact, the larger the screen, the prettier the phone! Women shouldn’t be whining about phones being too big. Most of them are carrying large, almost travel sized bags, so they have lots of space to put the phone. They don’t care about the size of their bags, to they? Nor their wallet, which are ridiculously large too…
    I like them phones with giant HD screens, as long as I’m having stock android. No bloatware, no Touchwiz, no Sense. Just the plain Android as Google intended.

  • Travellinman

    I’m a guy and after my HTC Hero which had a 3.2″ display,I had a hard time to find a good phone which had not such a bizarre screen size like bigger than 4″.
    I decided for the beautiful Xperia Ray with its 3.3″ display.

    Everytime I read about a nice looking phone in a reasonable size,it’s called a “beginners” device and the specs are way lower than my expectations. I would LOVE a phone that e.g. looks like the HTC One X and has it’s specs but a 3.5 – 3.7″ display.

    I want to be able to use my phone without the need to use BOTH hands at the same time just to do so.

  • Dave

    I’m a 36-year old guy. I have been sticking with the iphone for the past 4 years simply due to the form factor. I prefer the Android OS, I just want a phone that looks and feels like a phone. The primary benefit of anything bigger than an iphone screen is for entertainment. My PDA is a productivity tool. I don’t care if it had a 5″ or 6″ screen, I still wouldn’t want to watch a movie on it. That is what my 9-10″ tablet is for (on the go, or 50″ screen in my living room).