In May 2012 – approximately two years ago – I got my hands on the HTC One X. The One X was the first ever quad-core smartphone that I handled. It was also the largest smartphone that I had handled at that time. It had a 4.7-inch display that I found “a bit large for one-handed usage“.
Today – two years and some more quad-core phones later – I have the Huawei Honor 3C. Though it has a 5-inch display – larger than the HTC One X’s 4.7 inches – I find it very comfortable for one-handed use. What happened? Did my hands grow larger between 2012 and now? No; they didn’t. I am 41 – way past the age of physical growth. At this age, my body is basically maintaining itself, if not even deteriorating in some areas.
What happened was “perspective”, pure and simple. Back in 2012, 4.7-inch displays were rare and were the cutting edge of smartphone size. 4.0 – 4.5 inches of display were more standard for flagships back then. Handling a 4.7-inch display device felt uncomfortable. Today, having used phablets like the Samsung Galaxy Note II, TECNO Phantom A3 and the Nokia Lumia 1520 – all ranging from 5.5 to 6.1 inches in size, handling a 5-inch display smartphone suddenly doesn’t pose a problem. Perspective.
Facts versus Perspective
Perspectives change with experience and exposure. Facts remain the same.
For example: it is a fact that a 5.9-inch display is larger than a 4.7 inch display. Fact. But when I say that a 5.9-inch display phone is difficult to use, that is perspective. Usually, the person with the lesser exposure thinks that a thing or act is more difficult, dangerous or unusable, because of his own state. He is limited by his exposure.
I remember my first time on a flight. There was some excitement. I wondered if the plane would drop out of the sky and all that. Then I reminded myself that the pilots and flight crew flew it every day. That brought in a fresh perspective. To them, flying from Lagos to Abuja or Port Harcourt was like driving to Ikeja or Victoria Island. I was the one with the issues. I needed exposure.
The Fallacy of Best Phone
People often ask me, “What is the best phone in the market?” They are usually taken aback when I respond with, “There is no best phone for everyone. You need to tell me your specific needs for me to tell you what phones are best FOR YOU.” That is because people are at different places of needs, wants and exposure. What works for one user may not work for the next.
If you ask for the most powerful phone, I can answer that, because that deals with facts. Power can be measured. If you ask for the smallest or thinnest, I can answer that. But the best phone? Best at what? Music playback? Photography? Portability? Email management? Multitasking? Battery life? Each phone is a mix of several factors and so has pros and cons depending on what you need or want.
Using display sizes as an example again, there are users who won’t settle for anything less than 6 inches in size. It will feel like a downgrading to go lower than that. Yet, there are others who won’t buy anything beyond 4.5 inches in size. No matter how good and cutting edge the latest 6-inch phablet is, it can not be best for them. Perspective. We can use other yardsticks, of course. I’m just using display size as an example.
We must be careful not to push our perspectives (which are framed by our exposure and experience) as facts. It is even worse when we try to force it on others and then judge them based on it. The world is bigger than our little corners. There will always be facts and there will always be perspective.
Back to mobile phones, I still find phablets a bit of a stretch to use. The 5-inch size appears to be the optimum size for me right now. But who knows? In 2016, I might just be singing a different tune. Perspective – mine.