It may or may not come as a surprise to learn that I’m not much of an expert on the technical aspect of phones so much as I genuinely just enjoy phones. I’m fascinated by the things they can do and enjoy watching them progress year over year. I’m an avid smartphone fan, no matter the operating system or manufacturer. I just like phones and always have.
However, something that’s bothered me about smartphones is that there’s this huge stigma associated with certain aspects like brand or platform. Pick any brand name or platform and there’s some stereotype associated with it. Even if it’s a name nobody has heard of, it’s often assumed that if nobody has heard of it it’s for a good reason, thus making the phone “lesser” somehow.
Sometimes I try to wrap my head around the phenomenon. For a while, I thought it was just an age thing. As a teenager/early 20-something, it was almost expected. Younger people often look for ways to make themselves feel better, and what better way than to subtly target something as mundane as a person's taste in smartphones. But as I get older and often find myself hanging around adults of all ages, I still come across some surprising remarks regarding somebody else’s phone. This happened the other day at the bank when a pair came in together. One asked the other, “Is that a such-and-such phone?” “Yeah, I just got it last week.” “Oh. Those are awful. You should get the such-and-such phone instead. I’ve had one for a year and it’s great.”
This isn’t an incredibly common occurrence to come across in the wild, but it isn’t the first (nor the last, I suspect) time I’ve overheard or been a part of a conversation like this, and this particular instance once again had me pondering: Why do some people care so much about what phone another person is using?
In this case, the one who started the conversation probably had honest intentions and was just trying to help. Frequently, however, especially on the internet, it’s common to come across people who genuinely dislike when others use certain platforms or brands – even people they’ve never met and likely never will meet, and will never communicate with aside from a lone comment. And during this holiday season, when people are likely to receive smartphones as a gift or take advantage of the many deals going on for an upgrade, all I have to say is…
You like what you like, and that’s really all that matters.
This is particularly aimed at younger people out there because even just a few years ago I found myself easily swayed from one way of thinking to another if I read enough opinions on it. It’s easy to get swept up in the hype or negativity surrounding a phone and it’s easy to let those opinions persuade your own. If I had just stuck to my guns and stuck with what I liked, I could have saved myself a lot of money. I liked smaller compact phones that were easy to use with one hand, but I kept getting phones with larger screens because everybody seemed to like phones with giant displays and it felt that soon “compact” smartphones would be a thing of the past anyway. While I could appreciate a large display for some things, I still preferred a phone with a smaller screen. Now I use an iPhone SE and I’m way happier with it.
I had also avoided iPhones for so long because only snooty people used iPhones and the platform was “garbage” compared to Android. Turned out, once I actually used an iPhone for myself I loved it. When I made the decision to switch back to Android, I was lightly condemned by others because I wouldn’t be able to use iMessage anymore. Guess what? I lived. And they lived. And we still texted each other. Maybe they considered me a lowly “green” person after that, but I had a really good time using my HTC One regardless.
I’m not saying don’t do your research on a phone. You should. There are some phones out there that are legitimately more trouble than they’re worth. But more often than not, whatever phone you choose or get is going to be just fine, especially if you stop caring about what other people think about it. The best smartphone is the one that you like best. I know that sounds about as corny as Time magazine naming "You" as 2006's Person of the Year, but it's true. You're the only one using your smartphone, so only you can figure out which one works best for you.