There are certainly benefits to a bigger screen: Using the Galaxy S IV's big, beautiful high-res screen relieves the eyes compared with an iPhone's little window into the Internet. But there are also some obvious drawbacks, only one of which the new mini-er screen on the Galaxy S IV corrects: battery life.
A larger screen with better performance means not-so-good battery life, as Slate's Farhad Manjoo noted in a recent column. "A bigger phone allows for a bigger battery, which allows for a faster processor," he wrote. The Galaxy S IV reportedly had better staying power than its predecessor, the S III. But an even smaller version should last longer and placate worries about the mid-day recharge. "Be warned," Manjoo writes. "The most powerful phones are going to be much more pleasant to use than everything else on the market — until about lunchtime, when you’ll need to recharge them." Still, the slighter body of the new S IV Mini won't house quite as much power when it begins to the UK market in July, with a less impressive processer than its big brother. Other than that, though, the Mini will look and pretty much act like the S IV — now with more juice.
The other issue with a big screen, however, is an issue the still pretty large Mini does not fix: usability. Even with the iPhone 5's 4-inch screen, new users complained that they could no longer navigate with one hand. It's certainly not possible to do that with the Galaxy S IV's 5-incher, as Manjoo — a general Galaxy S curmudgeon — noted Wednesday on Twitter. "The most obvious, unsolvable problem is that you can't use it well with one hand, because your thumb can reach only about 70% of the screen," he wrote. And the Mini's 4.3-inch screen won't not solve that issue either, unfortunately, but at least it will fit in your pants pocket a little better.