The new iPhone isn't just faster—it's taller. It's your more athletic, better looking friend who you kind of hate. But how does it fit in your mitt? We put together an animated guide versus the competition.

The iPhone 5 isn't wider than its predecessor—just taller. This means that you won't have to stretch your thumb and fingers as much when doing repetitive smartphone hand tasks. This means less strain, faster action, and a more comfortable pocket tool.

I tested out the 3.5-inch iPhone 4S, 4-inch iPhone 5, and 4.7-inch HTC One X over the same four motions: power button, unlock swiping, notification pulldown, and just grasping the things.

For the record, I have normal-sized hands. Here is proof.

Holding the phone

Here's each phone in my hand. The 4S is like holding a little baby chipmunk.

The iPhone 5 is just as thin, so just as palm-able.

The HTC, not so much. It's girthy.

Swiping across the phone

We unlocked each phone with a swipe of the thumb. The iPhone 4S is a breeze.

The iPhone 5 is that exact same breeze.

The HTC's wider and taller screen requires more of a thumb extension.

Swiping down notifications

This is a very important one! Pulling down the notification drawer requires a full upward thumb jump—and it's a gesture you use constantly. This could be bad for your hand.


The 4S is pretty much perfect—you hardly have to stretch your thumb at all to hit the top of the screen.

Apple managed to actually managed to squeeze in more vertical pixels without requiring any further thumb exercise. Only those with baby hands will need to acclimate.

The One X can be tiring. It requires more extension than the iPhone, and that can add up. It's just not as well suited for a hand.

Powering off (or on!)

A phone's sleep button is another handset g-spot, and if you have to work for it every time, it's an actual pain.


The iPhone 4S is perfect in this regard. It takes very, very little movement to hit the sleep button.

The iPhone 5 requires some hand extension. You can feel it.

The One X requires the most, unsurprisingly, demanding an actual hand stretch to reach that spot. Not ideal.

The iPhone 5 is a great ergonomic compromise. It's less comfortable than the 4S, yes, but still manages a larger screen with more pixels without asking us to do things that might make our hands uncomfortable.