The Difficulty in Calling One Phone 'The Best'

September 5, 2014 by

Forbes tech columnist Ewan Spence wrote an article a few weeks ago (Aug. 13), saying he won't recommend the iPhone 6, the Galaxy Alpha, or any other smartphone. Why? "Mostly because I find one of the hardest questions to be asked online is 'which phone should I buy?'" he writes.

"Itís a question that doesnít have an easy and honest answer. There are safe answers, but thatís not necessarily the best answer."

Spence says safe answers are an iPhone (if they own Apple products) or a Galaxy S5 (for everyone else), but admits the best phone for someone depends on what that person wants the phone to do.

Such a conundrum reminds me of a blog post a colleague of mine, Collin Prior, wrote back in May on The Commoditization of Smartphones.

"Phones are going through a similar period to what laptops went through a while ago," he wrote. "There are few things to dramatically improve upon in smartphones as they appear today."

A month before that, I made a similar statement in my video review of the Galaxy S5: "Everyone I know has a high-end smartphone now, so it's that much harder for manufacturers to impress us with new phones." Back when we were upgrading from a feature phone (or no phone at all) to a smartphone, it felt like a quantum leap. Nowadays? Not so much.

To conclude, I'll quote (as Collin did in his blog post) WIRED's Mat Honan (May 18): "Itís gotten easy to get blasé about high end flagships," Honan writes. "The processors, cameras, screens, and, increasingly, the apps are all very, very good. Weíve reached the point of incremental improvements. They have parity. You basically know whatís coming, year after year."

That parity is what makes it so hard to recommend a single phone as "the best."


Posted in: Apple iPhone, Google/Android, Industry News