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The pointless fuss for thinner smartphones.

Smartphones are getting ever thinner with manufacturers going on about how slender their devices are which I feel is a very unnecessary topic to fuss about.

Allow me to roll back to the Huawei Ascend P6 which when it was announced was the thinnest phone at 6.18mm. Pretty lean indeed and equally stunning to look at, but it was at the expense of battery size and this gave the sleek looking device very poor stamina. Is it worth the trade off? I don’t think so.


Soon after another Chinese manufacturer called OPPO unveiled the R5 which was even thinner than the P6 at 4.9mm and from their promotional video they really put in some work to ensure it is as structurally sound as possible.


Again it’s 2000mAh battery will refuse to go over a day of normal usage and aesthetically the protruding camera bump stole some style points on this device.

Also since it was so darn thin it had no room for a 3.5mm headphone jack making Oppo one of the first, if not the first to ditch the headphone jack meaning you needed an adapter to use normal headphones. The inconvenience alone.

Later you find Apple bringing us the iPhone 6 Plus which was their first ever phablet with a spacious 5.5 inch display which though a bit chunkier (7.1mm) than the first 2 supermodels above, was a whole 0.5mm thinner than the iPhone 5 before it.


Just a few days after Apple opened sales for the iPhone 6 Plus the tech world was set ablaze with reports that the premium phablet was bending if a bit of force was applied to it. Too many videos under the theme bend test were made showing what happens when the device footprint increases and the thickness decreases.

A most recent case, the biggest tech disaster in 2016. The Samsung Galaxy Note 7 debacle. Results from the investigations performed by Instrumental are suggesting that the reason why the flagship devices were exploding was because the “Aggressive design” that Samsung employed.


Since the batteries were in a confined space, when mechanical expansion kicked in the battery wouldn’t have any room to expand and therefore inflicting stress on the battery.

Now batteries have a positive and a negative terminal which is separated by an insulating layer that prevents the 2 terminals from touching.

So because of the pointless topic of making smartphones thinner the insulators had to also become insanely thin to try and get as much capacity out of the battery in the slimmest possible form factor.

This means the insulators became really fragile as a result of being very thin and very easy for it to get damaged and allowing the positive and negative terminals to come into contact and short circuit.

Add a very volatile electrolyte to the mix and you have yourself an armed explosive. So the death of what was probably going to be the best Android smartphone was because the battery was just way too slim.

The trade offs of making a device thinner I feel are not at all worth it. To me it’s just engineers wanting some bragging rights. If that is the case then I would definitely give Xiaomi credit for their bezelless smartphone the Mi Mix. Bezels have zero functional purpose and therefore are a very inefficient use of a smartphone’s real estate.


I don’t mind a chunky device if i’m getting better structural sturdiness, cleaner design aesthetics and better battery life. However I DO mind big bezels that are adding no functional value to the smartphone. My philosophy is when designing something function always takes precedence over fashion.

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11 thoughts on “The pointless fuss for thinner smartphones.

  1. a slow day at the office techzim?

    my philosophy is to rather keep quiet, than post nonsense about what you think is good or bad in something that really isnt even worth discussing.

    no one cares about about YOUR personal tastes and preferences…besides, lets see the smartphone that you designed which works better than these major manufacturers who spend millions on market research and product development.

  2. my philosophy is to rather keep quite than to comment that somebody’s post is nonsense,,, there are a lot of things to discuss here.

    Besides lets see the article that you write which have got a lot of sense. Big up for the article,,, thin phones are useless (to me),,, we need smartphones with big, removable batteries

    1. these “i defend the author” comments are becoming quite popular on all of Edwins articles lately, especially whenever anyone criticises his articles for being poor. the things that are said, and the style of reply used, almost make it seem like they are being written by the author himself? i wonder…..

  3. True the fixation with thinner size is at the expense of battery power, consumers need better and longer battery power than a thinner phone

  4. 0.6mm (ultra slim), waterproof, unibody bla bla bla all those features are just useless to me. Gimme a smartphone with a 5000mah removable battery, external battery charging cradle, micro SD slot, Corning gorrilla glass even if it z as thick as a brick l dnt care,,, thats my drim phone & l havent yet found it LG z th only one thats trying to get closer

  5. The author z not being defended but its l think its wise to kip quite if yu think that a article is irrelevant (to you),,, constructive criticism is good pane kungoshora,,, ko wanetswa nei,,, the article is good,,, techzim is a tech-site, this is whe manufacturers will find out about the specs that customers are exoecting on a smartphone.

    According to me this article z totally relevant (no need to disrespect anyone or anyone’s opinion)

  6. Honestly speaking. the issue of design vs utility has been a topic for years. remember how Steve job’s perfect cube “next” computer couldn’t make it to market cos the design was just too demanding for any meaningful hardware. this issue is still around and this article cites relevant modern examples. So Kilotango, regardless of how bad ass u think u are being u are just a small internet bully who hides behind a screen and annoys the hell out of everyone while exposing your vindictive pettiness to other readers. iIf you feel like trolling, please go to your reletives’ Facebook pages and spew your hate over therw

  7. Tell me how is this article irrelevant. I agree with the author I would rather have a slightly thicker device which has a large battery. Unfortunately the phones with the best battery life are usually mid range devices. The xiaomi redmi 3,3s,3s prime come to mind. U get two days on one charge but you get a 720p screen with a snapdragon 616 process. Adreno 303 gpu(I stand to be corrected here).

    So my perfect fon will be thick, have a killer processor and camera, adding ample ram to that. Seems only Chinese Oem’s are even trying unfortunately only with their mid range devices

  8. l think thoz ultra slim smartphones are for light users & also thoz with all gadgets (ipad, tablet, laptop, camera) not if yu wanna check yo mails, whatsApp, txt, listen to muzik, tek photos, browse the web using yo 4ne & play games (with a battery that will last jst 2hrs). Such a smartphone will be totally useless to me. @ Addlight yua ryt Chinese seems to kno wat they duin wen it camz to battery lyf.

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