Pick up your phone, yes that one. The one that’s never more than an arm’s reach from you at all times. The one that has probably been in the bathroom with you more times than the toilet roll has. Yes, that one.
Of course, if you’re already reading this on your smartphone then I do apologise for being an idiot by choosing this intro, but I digress.
How does your smartphone feel? And no, I don’t mean this in a metaphorical out-of-body-experience sense, I mean this in a literal sense. We spend every waking moment (some sleeping) of our lives holding onto a little brick that probably weighs no more than a really heavy spoon at a posh restaurant, but most of us put little to no thought into how a device feels in the hand when deciding on a purchase. It’s all about specs and that’s rather unfortunate.
I was scrolling lazily through r/Android one day when I noticed an interesting entry by u/liquidspacedragon (props for the dope name) asking the subreddit about what Android phone they felt had the best feel in the hand. Honestly, the responses surprised me — there were a surprising number of non-metal smartphones.
That got me thinking, what was the best feeling smartphone I’ve ever held in my hand? With all the smartphone manufacturers pursuing metal and glass bodied phones as the agreed ‘standard’ for a premium build and feel, the question becomes: Does that really give the best feel in the hand? Based on the Reddit thread the answer was no. So, I asked the other writers here at SoyaCincau.com, as well as the other sites under the Mind Blow network, to see if we could find out.
Here are what we think are the best phones we’ve ever held in our hands before. Keep in mind, specs don’t matter.
“Plastic never felt so good.”
Ah, Nokia’s famed first and last MeeGo smartphone. It was certainly attractive, with its rounded plastic unibody that seemed to blend seamlessly with the device’s curved glass display. It looked like it came out of a Sticky shop — colourful, bright and eye-candy-licious — simply sinful even to look at. It was a marvel of plastic engineering, inspiring premium Lumia designs for generations to come.
Apple iPhone 4
“The iPhone 4 used glass panels for the front and rear housing, it was the first time glass was used to make a phone body. It was revolutionary at the time and it pushed the boundaries for smartphone construction”
I’ll admit, when it came out, this smartphone definitely caught my eye. But, in my youthful stubbornness, I refused to admit how beautiful this device was. It was just two pieces of glass glued to a metal frame right? At least, that’s what I told myself. But when I revisited the device in December, my gosh did I wish Apple never departed from this design. That said, it doesn’t particularly fit well in my hand. My fists of ham definitely prefers a smooth curved back over a square wafer-like one.
OnePlus One (64GB Sandstone Black)
“It’s functional and pleasing on the eyes. It’s supposed to be brash but isn’t, with the black undertone looking sleek while still showing some texture.”
The OnePlus One is one of my favourite phones. It was a potent cocktail of power, build and affordability that took the budget-midrange smartphone market by storm. While the 16GB white version had a nice texture, it was nowhere near as nice as the 64GB Sandstone Black edition. It wasn’t so rough that it became uncomfortable, but it was rough enough to let you know that this smartphone isn’t messing about.
“It’s unreal how good this phone feels in my hand. To think that HTC was capable of achieving this level of premium using only plastic and a nice rubberised soft-touch back. Embarrassingly, I have been caught multiple times rubbing the back of the device on my face.”
I’ll be honest, it felt kind of weird putting my own quote in my own article. Kinda weird and kinda vain but all for the sake of a uniformed theme eh? Anyway, yes, the HTC Desire — my first and, by far, favourite phone to hold in the hand. It’s just so satisfying, even now with all its bumps and scratches.
“It’s like holding on to a bus’s handrail. Good build.”
No doubt we have all seen the memes. The legendary Nokia 3310 is the Chuck Norris of phones, a cockroach that you can use to make phone calls (don’t try this with an actual cockroach, that’s disgusting), a really, really, really durable device. It gives you a sense of security y’know? The kind your current wafer thin smartphone doesn’t. Unless you can throw it like a ninja star.
“It is the first metal body that feels truly as sharp and as thin as a razor.”
Motorola skyrocketed to the top of the mobile phone pecking order with their razor-thin Motorola Razr flip phones. However, there were many who didn’t like the clamshell form factor and as a result, the Motorola L6 was born. While it was intended for the ordinary user with its reasonable price, it did lack a little in performance. The device still kept Motorola’s razor sharp good looks and feel though.
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Sony Xperia U
“Because phones could never fit in my hand after that.”
The Sony Xperia U was certainly a cute little device. Coming in at a tiny (by modern standards) 3.5”, this was never a flagship device, nor was it meant to be. But with its quirks, like the transparent multi-coloured bar and its removable chin (though admittedly it doesn’t really do a thing), the device definitely won the hearts of quite a few people — myself included.
“Feels natural in the hand and has a great slider.”
The proper BlackBerry slider. Not this Android sliding nonsense. The Torch has a good feel to it, with nice rounded edges that help it sit comfortably in one’s hand. Nigel’s Torch looks like it has seen better days, but that sliding mechanism still works fantastically. And this is despite him admitting to his bad habit of sliding the device open and shut repeatedly for no reason other than to feel the slide.
HTC One M7
“It’s all-metal unibody finish really brought premium to a whole new level. Plus, those front-facing speakers are simply unmatched.”
HTC redefined what a premium smartphone was supposed to look and feel like with their One M7. It was glorious. The gentle curve of that otherworldly aluminium unibody set the standard for how good smartphones could feel in your hand. It’s too bad that HTC are on a downward spiral because clearly they know how to make premium smartphones.
It seems we have reached an impasse. Nine people, nine different phones. A good mix of both metal, rubberised soft touch, plastic, as well as a wealth of smartphone sizes. They say that beauty lies in the eye of the beholder and I guess good feel lies in the palm our hands too. There is no one standard for what a smartphone should feel like and we hope manufacturers realise this. Not everybody wants metal.
But, we’re just a bunch of enthusiastic people who like point stuff out, in the end, it’s up to you to break the curve. Though, we do admit that if someone turns up in the premium smartphone market with a fantastic-in-plastic device we will judge them. So, maybe we have a bad habit to kick too.
What do you think about this? What is the best phone you’ve ever held in your hand? Do let us know in the comments section below.