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opinion 111 Shares 5 comments

Here's the best thing about bad viewing angles

Many steps have been taken to improve viewing angles. Today, many smartphones use IPS and AMOLED screens, resulting in way better viewing angles than on older TFT LCD devices. But I think this is a waste of time. Who cares about viewing angles? Moreover, what if a bad viewing angle is a good thing? Allow me to explain.

motorola moto g 2015 screen viewing angle
The most pointless way to judge a display. / © ANDROIDPIT

Everyone's having a peek

Human eyes have a knack for looking at what they're not meant to. We're hardwired voyeurs, constantly looking over shoulders and shooting sideways glances at the intimate moments of unsuspecting strangers.

On the flip side, concerns over privacy in the digital age seem set at an eternal boil, and everyone is concerned, to some degree or another, over who has access, and how much, to their private digital mind.

Yet we walk around with our displays set at full brightness. We sit on the train, the bus, in cafes, at work, with our screens blaring out, "look at me!" Nothing attracts the eye more than a bright, flickering screen. I've spent hours watching strangers play Candy Crush on public transportation, or sort through their calendars or type messages on WhatsApp. I'm not that interested in what they're doing, it's just a convenient distraction. But it's not just me – everyone's looking.

AndroidPIT privacy hero
What if there were an easier way to stop people looking at your screen? / © ANDROIDPIT

Maybe it's not that smart to go around entering your bank details while you wait for your cappuccino to arrive, yes; maybe you shouldn't browse your photo reel on a 5.7-inch phablet in line for a ticket at the cinema, true. But, also, isn't this exactly what smartphones are meant for? If we were only meant to do these things at home, with the curtains drawn and the doors locked, we'd be doing them on a laptop, and we'd feel a strange sense of guilt and shame.

No one watches videos at a 167-degree angle anymore

Smartphone manufacturers now brag about their screens having almost 180-degree viewing angles. This is absurd, useless. Like most human beings (I presume), I hold my phone in my hand and look down on it with my eyes at a roughly zero-degree angle. Never have I lamented the fact that I can't read the morning news at an acrobatic 142-degree angle; never have I wondered why it's the case that all the colors in the game I'm playing look strange as I peer down the barrel of my phone (perhaps I'm angling the speaker at my face?).

AndroidPIT screen viewing angle 1294 2
Something's wrong here. / © ANDROIDPIT

Judging 180-degree viewing angles is like caring how the Mona Lisa looks from atop the Eiffel Tower. There's only one way to look at it: up close, head on. Likewise, I only need to look at a screen, and particularly my smartphone screen, from one angle.

Let's make them worse

Having smartphone screens with deliberately inhibited viewing angles, like you see on bank machines, might actually be advantageous. Fewer people would witness how bad I am at level 125 of Candy Crush, steal my identity and empty my bank account.

And even if we're not likely to be victims of identity theft, it would, at least, stop people from peering in that subtle but actually really obvious way at what others are reading, playing, browsing or otherwise doing.

What do you think? Might we be better off with worse viewing angles? Leave a comment.


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  • Alex R. 5 months ago Link to comment

    Yeah.Bad viewing angles sometimes protects your privacy by allowing other not to watch your Phone screen while you are up watching something it may also help to prevent the users to view the Phone numbers you type and call and yeah its some times safe to have Phones with bad viewing angles.

  • Alex W. 6 months ago Link to comment

    Very good observation! I remember how the improved viewing angles came in 2-3 years ago. Everyone was happy to get better viewing angles and I must agree sometimes they're quite useful- when you place your phone and just want to take a glimpse at something that is playing or when you want to do something on the phone with another person, like go throught photos. But on daily basis when you use the phone on the go it's exactly as you say, a threat to prying eyes. That's why as soon as those great viewing angles were incorporated there should have been a feature put in placce which would hinder the viewing angles. kinda the same thing again- technology advancements creating new threats, and needing additional 'improvement' which actually moves us back a bit.

  • it should be an option to toggle if you want a good viewing angle or not

  • That's True but a decent viewing angle can be nice to show a photo or video to multiple people.

    I do agree that 180 degree is pretty useless but a decent viewing angle has its advantages

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