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Opinion 331 Shares 16 comments

Why design is becoming more interesting than specs

In addition to this week’s poll (which you'll get to vote in tomorrow) I wanted to write about my changing attitude towards smartphone design. In the past, I only cared about specs and performance, something born out my general disapproval of the 'style over comfort' mentality. I didn’t care if a phone looked good, I cared about what it could do.

nextbit headphone jack
Am I the only person who thinks this looks amazing? / © ANDROIDPIT

This position has served me well with past phone purchases, but recently I’ve started to change my mind. The reason is that recent developments in phone specs haven’t actually resulted in a change in the way the phones operated.

For example, if I buy a new graphics card, I can see a difference when I play games. But I can't tell the difference between playing them on a phone with a Snapdragon 801 processor or one with a Snapdragon 810, in most cases.

What's more – and maybe I shouldn't even confess to this – I can't really see a difference between QHD and Full HD displays at a glance. Show me a homescreen or app drawer on each and I'll struggle to tell you which has the highest resolution.

I'm devastated that Turing's super secure smartphone has dropped Android as its OS. / © Turing Robotics Industries

So I've stopped caring. Recent smartphones all act in the same way – with minor deviations afforded by inclusions such as a stylus or an extra display area – and, as a consequence, I’ve found myself drawn to those that looked and felt good, ahead of those with the most advanced specifications.

For my next phone, I’m going to completely forget about specs. I’m going to hold the device in my hand, and picture myself using it every day, and see where that takes me.

Either that or I'm going to buy a smartphone with more of an 'experimental' design. But I'll save that for a future article. 

Where do you stand on the design vs specs idea? Let me know in the comments. 


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  • Commissioner Gordon, we are on the same page. I'm starting to worry about my next device. Nothing seems to please me. FYI, I do think also that the cyan phone has an astonishing design and so, dude, what device is that?

  • I say specs first and I mean that in the since of - am I looking flagship, mid-range, budget. But then when looking in the desired category, design would trump marginally better specs.

  • Arvokm 8 months ago Link to comment

    I have noticed the same tendency, and I am also falling nowadays for handsets that are nice-looking in my hand rather than cheaper, but with the topmost specs. I have had my share of using devices made by nearly every major manufacturer. Including Apple. But in the android world I have stopped noticing any PRACTICAL difference in the speed of my device, right after Snapdragon 800 came to Android devices. I have used snapdragon 400, 600, 800 -series up to 805 and 810. Again, there is no practical difference between my Gt-i9506 S4 Lte-A and my SM-G900F S5. As there was nearly no difference between my 801 powered S5 and 805 powered Note 4. And actually, on daily basis, Snapdragon 6XX has no notable lag whatsoever. My conclusion was that the spec sheet, at least the processor part of it, stopped having any importance. And after you can be calm that nearly all modern SoCs can run an UI smoothly, your range of choice widens considerably. And mostly it widens to the flagship devices from the last year. You can buy a S5 for €348 here in Finland. And I used to have a S6, saw my friend's S5, tried it, immediately returned my overpriced S6 (paid €750 for it), got a S5, and you know what? I am more than satisfied.

  • I have HTC one m9 to regret lit on purchase of the 'd rather hate nexsus 6p . but would have htc on the basic of I liked desegnet to side it has htc sense to the sound of course . but it has not so good battery to not so good camera view di 2 things had been better then I had not regretted the purchase. but will rather wait until a phone that is better one nexsus 6p

  • What is great about Android is you can get both great specs and a phone that you like in your hand. For me, I want a phone that I can root, remove bloatwear, and setup to my liking. I accept that is not important to most users, many of whom are happy flocking together with an expensive, well-constructed, closed system, iPhone. To each his own.

  • Albert A 8 months ago Link to comment

    This goes to the mentality on the icrap. If it is fashionable then they buy it. Even through you pay top dollar with no innovation but everyone else has it then it is the best. Well let's stamp out the iSheep mentality go with specs and feel in your hand

  • Mark 8 months ago Link to comment

    Just like the I Phone shitty on the inside looks good on the out side and they sell.

  • yaaaa if not much stylish thn atleast phone should be decent is also a way of fashion in our daily life thn wats wrng if think abt good looking phone

  • It's like us humans, we could look good on the outside, but in the inside we could be destroyed. C'mon people!

  • When you see someone else using a phone obviously first you look at the design before thinking about what phone it is or what specs it has. First impressions count. I have been tempted to buy the Galaxy S6 edge + for that very reason

  • For me function or what a device can do is always more important than design. Good looks only count for so much for me.

  • I cant deny that a good looking phone take more attention from me at the first look

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