What do people look for in selecting a smartphone for personal use? There’s cost. There’s specifications (for those who want the most powerful devices). There is the question of 3rd party apps. Then there’s experience (I’m not sure if to include performance in here, as there is a wide range of performance to look at). There’s battery life. Some areas are grey, but valid all the same.
There are those who think that everything is about having a phone with the highest specifications possible – you know, the largest display, most powerful processor and all that. I disagree. In my opinion, a lot more people care about other things apart from the specs sheet.
On a personal note, before the current crop of mega smartphones arrived, I was keen on having the most powerful devices possible. Incidentally, once display sizes outgrew 4.5 inches, I lost interest. You see, the most powerful devices had the largest displays. Unfortunately, those huge displays hinder my experiences. My sweet spot is 4.3 – 4.5 inches. Give me a 4.5-inch display smartphone and put in the most powerful processors, and I wouldn’t mind. But anything bigger just inconvenienced me.
I loved the HTC One X while I had it. Everyone could tell that I did. But I never fully got used to the big 4.7-inch display. Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note II? That is another powerful device that I loved, still I couldn’t get used to the 5.5-inch display. Note that I am speaking about my personal preference here. There is nothing wrong with all display sizes. There are people who prefer larger displays, but there are also those. Point: it is not always about the highest specifications.
The Sony Xperia P, with a 4-inch display, a superb camera, and great music capabilities, is one of the smartphones that I have found the most comfortable and convenient to use in recent times. One-handed use was a joy. It was powered by a Dual-core 1 GHz processor. It wasn’t the highest specified smartphone in the market, but it was a sweet note with me. Besides the poor battery life, that device gave me a very good experience.
The iPhone 5 runs on dual-core processors, as against what obtains on Android smartphones where quad-core CPUs are the present kings. Yet, there are people who prefer the iPhone experience every time. Apple has refused to join the specifications race, yet they have a loyal following. Yet iPhones keep selling by the bucketful. Smaller displays than the average Android flagship, less rated processors too. Even the OS is more limited. Yet, because of the experience, iPhone lovers abound. Specs are not everything.
Most people will buy devices based on how they feel about those devices. Anyone can scream specs all they want. I believe that we are moving into a period where specs will become mostly meaningless. Perhaps save for the niche geeky crowd, the average consumer will care nothing for those specs sheets. By the way, I am yet to meet anyone outside of the geeky crowd that has ever asked me if a phone does multitasking. Oh; multitasking is important to me, but none of the average phone users that consult me have ever said to me, “I want a smartphone that does multitasking.” The word largely means nothing to them on a mobile. Perhaps multitasking is overrated after all. Dunno. I want it on my device though, because it enhances my experience.
The ecosystem is another factor that influences mobile choices. There are those who need (or want) access to tons of apps. There are those who require certain services, and this weighs in on choices. Battery performance is another factor for others. Preferences vary from person to person, but one thing is clear: people are not as excited about the specs race anymore like they used to be. I am one of them.
We are already seeing scenarios where less specified devices outperform more powerful devices in real life use. Who cares about benchmark scores? The specs war is becoming overrated. Experience is (almost) everything.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.