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Xiaomi 12 confirms trend: Are phones finally getting smaller?

Xiaomi 12 series nextpit4
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The launch of the Xiaomi 12 confirms it once again: Smartphones will be smaller and lighter in 2022. After several months of using the iPhone 13 mini, I'll now explain why I find this trend to be a very welcome pattern. In my opinion, using smaller smartphones is liberating and in some ways, healthier.

I still remember making a paper template of the Huawei Mate 20 X for a size comparison when I was an intern. The smartphone, which was not yet released at the time, arrived with a massive 7.2-inch display, and we wanted to compare that directly with other models. In 2022, this trend has apparently reversed: The launch of the Xiaomi 12 series showed that once again with its 6.28-inch displays and other signature design changes.

Although there are still large smartphones like the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, models for the masses are gradually shrinking in width, height, and thickness. In my opinion, this is a very positive trend for the very reason that it is able to be held much more in the hand.

Small smartphones are less noticeable in everyday life

I've been using an iPhone 13 mini for several months now and have returned my Pixel 6, which I bought shortly before that. This is not because I prefer iOS to Android or because I want to convert NextPit readers to be an Apple fanboys. Rather, it is because one thing bothered me about Google's smartphone. The phone is really huge with its 6.4-inch display, sporting a thickness of almost 9 millimeters while tipping the scales at 207 grams, in addition to the clunky-looking Pixel chassis. And that's exactly what bothers me increasingly in everyday life.

NextPit iPhone 12 Mini screen
Apple's smaller iPhones have an advantage that I would never have considered a few weeks ago. / © NextPit

From one extreme to the other, I switched to the iPhone 13 mini, which has an almost cute form factor. With its 5.42-inch display complete with thin bezels, it not only takes up a smaller space in my pocket, but also in my life.

After all, the Pixel smartphone often felt like a millstone in everyday use, because it was always noticeable in trouser pockets or in my jacket, and during times when it dangled against my legs or hips when I walked. The small iPhone, on the other hand, is discreet enough to fade into the background until it vibrates to let me know that someone is interested in me, even if it is just a notification from an app. Sounds stupid, but it's a proven concept in other areas of life.

Before you complain in the comments: This text is not meant to speak out against the Pixel 6 or being for the iPhone 13 mini. It is just about a trend in smartphone design.

Small phones and heavy keychains

The idea that size and heaviness have an impact on our relationship with objects is not pulled from thin air. Some good examples include gas stations and hotels, where they have been taking advantage of this for years. Keys to gas station restrooms, for example, always come with a huge tag. The sole purpose of this is to ensure that people don't forget that it is in their pockets after relieving themselves and take it with them into the car. The heavy key is much more present, even if you might be traumatized by the overall cleanliness of toilets at gas station.

NextPit Google Pixel 6 test
My Pixel 6 became a burden - what's your experience? / © NextPit

The Google Pixel 6 had a similar effect on me. I was always reminded that I was carrying a phone around, and with that came all the duties and associations that apps and social networks just bring. From my experience over the last few weeks, you forget about small phones more quickly in everyday life. And for me, that's something I absolutely have to relearn in 2022. A smartphone should help me as and when required, and not the other way around.

Being more mindful through downsizing

I learned that the constant presence of smartphones can trigger a lot of stress based on my conversation with digital detox expert Dr. Daniela Otto. In addition, there are these barely noticeable actions that many people have trained themselves to do: See a phone, pick it up, go through all of your favorite apps. See a phone, pick it up, go through all of your favorite apps, ad infinitum. A small smartphone triggers the first step in this chain reaction less often, and so the automated actions that follow happen less often as well.

Sure, this isn't the idea behind the smaller displays in newer smartphones. In my opinion, it is a side effect that should not be forgotten and that I have not considered including them as a buying recommendation so far. And somehow, we need to learn to cope with even more invasive technologies in a healthy manner, especially when we see developments such as smart glasses.

Do you agree with my theory that smaller smartphones are "healthier"?
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Do you agree with me on this matter and do you think the size of a phone somehow translates into everyday life presence? Maybe you think it's stupid to buy a phone only to end up using it less frequently. I'm very curious to hear your opinion on this topic!

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks
Product Reviewer

Benjamin works as a freelance journalist and is always on the lookout for special features that make new cell phones, headphones and gadgets interesting for the reader. If he doesn't succeed, he comforts himself by writing short stories and using his digital camera.

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