The 5 worst things about modern smartphone design

The 5 worst things about modern smartphone design

Smartphones are becoming more and more competent in carrying out our daily activities. Year after year we see huge improvements in camera quality, performance and bigger, brighter screens. However, amidst all these advancements, smartphones have not been able to come up with improvements in terms of design and feel in the hand.

From huge fingerprints to slippery glass backs and hefty drop repair fees, smartphones aren’t getting ahead in design and user experience. Read on for some interesting footage as we tackle concerns in the current sea of ​​modern smartphone design.


Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra green color
Image credit: Samsung

Larger displays offer a more immersive experience when enjoying content on phones, but they also make one-handed use a nightmare. Reaching all four corners of the display without having to completely readjust the grip has become practically impossible with the growing size of smartphones.

Larger displays also need denser batteries, which contributes not only to thickness but also to weight. Add to that the fact that most people also slap a case on their already rugged phones, and the pocketability takes a hit as well.

While Apple has been trying to revive the market for smaller phones, the iPhone 12 Mini hasn’t sold well. Most users want bigger phones, but unfortunately this comes at the expense of usability and ergonomics.

2. Slippery glass backs

White and black iPhones with a glass back

Choosing between choosing sleek glass and aluminum sandwich phones over something more ergonomic like plastic or metal has gotten quite annoying. Of course, everyone likes to have the finest materials in their hands, but at what price?

Most premium-end devices already cost a fortune, and using them without a form-fitting case is a recipe for disaster. Luckily (and ironically), this problem seems to be disappearing with cheaper phones that end up being handy and less likely to slip out of your pocket.

We’d love to see a new OnePlus phone with the signature sandstone back panel, or a throwback to older HTC devices with metal unibodies.

3. Expensive repairs

Glass is more expensive than plastic. Glass is also much more brittle than plastic. Incorporating a delicate material on the entire back of a phone not only makes it slippery, but also prone to cracks and scratches.

It gets worse knowing that most modern smartphones aren’t very easy to fix, to begin with. A back glass replacement for an iPhone 14 Pro Max can cost you over $300. Expensive repairs might be a reason to purchase an AppleCare+ warranty for iPhone or equivalent repair programs for other phones, but it’s still an inconvenience you have to deal with. .

4. Design inconsistencies

The large camera module of the iPhone 14 Pro

Aside from Apple and Samsung of late, it’s quite difficult to find smartphone OEMs that stick to a design formula that not only looks good but is also functional. The camera bump on iPhones has also gotten comically large with each iteration.

Other brands, including OnePlus, Xiaomi and Oppo, have a clear lack of design standardization across their huge product range. Some phones have a mute switch on one side, while others flip the volume rocker to the other. Even the camera modules have become unmistakably ugly and inconsistent just to have something “fresh” with each new release.

5. Lack of playfulness

Samsung Galaxy A34 in all color options
Image credit: Samsung

While smartphone innovation is by no means dead, we’d argue that bold, quirky, and playful designs definitely are. Gone are the days when people were genuinely excited about what a new Samsung or Apple phone would look like.

Most of the colors that we get in phones now usually consist of muted colors and the competitors are simply offering the same range of color options as each other.

The lack of playfulness somewhat extends to the user interface as well. Despite the sleek and stylish look of iOS and most Android skins, some of us miss the skeuomorphic design that once dominated the look of smartphone software.

At least Google’s Material You design has once again brought a dash of customization and a much-needed splash of color to the smartphone UI.

Maximize the ergonomics and aesthetics of your phone

With more and more consumers demanding big, powerful phones with better cameras and bigger batteries, there’s only so much smartphone makers can do with the phone’s footprint.

Despite the inevitably large and slippery designs of modern smartphones, there are things you can do to ensure you keep your phone safe as well as personalized, such as choosing from a myriad of different types of cases to avoid external damage or simply slapping a skin on to greater customization.

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