While comparing all the new flagship handsets and sharing them on my Instagram account, we got a lot of feedback from a lot of people about their preference. This gives us pause and also ask the same existential question — is beauty only skin deep?
Unlike many other devices or gadgets, a mobile phone can be considered as an extension of a person or a reflection of themselves and how they perceive things. The level of affinity is not the same compared to other devices like a camera or laptop.
So when we ask the question what’s the best smartphone for you, we tend to immediately associate it with beauty, perhaps even at par or higher in importance than hardware/performance (just look at the iPhone). That’s also the reason why phones are also a status symbol.
Sony Xperia Z2, HTC One M8, LG G3
So where do we look for signs of beauty?
Design. The most obvious and the clear choice for many. How a handset is designed primarily reflects how good-looking it is.
Materials. The type of materials used plays a huge factor in the perception of what is beautiful. The market is foten torn between aluminum alloy and glass but from time to time, polycarbonate materials can score a point or two.
Color and Finish. Why a champagne gold iPhone 5s is twice as expensive as space gray is no longer a wonder. That’s also the reason manufacturers gravitate towards feminine colors like pink or younger vibes like lemon green. How the device feels is also a factor — form pure glossy finish, to matte or textured, and the popular brushed-metal look.
Logo. Brand affinity and loyalty can be blinding. It trumps everything else. This is why Apple has been in a very strong position for a long time and the same reason why Samsung is spending so much money in marketing. (Thus, the title of this blog post.)
So yes, beauty is still subjective because our criteria for judging can vary and the weight that we put into each criteria are not equal.