Today’s phones can do almost anything, but it doesn’t mean they should be our only devices

Nick James
January 28, 2020

What a time to be alive! Technology practically revolves around us, bombing us with new and sophisticated products that improve our daily lives and make our work easier, entertainment more fun, and rest more valuable.

If one sector of tech deserves more credit and appraisal than its counterparts, it’s definitely the smartphone world. It has grown from something very elementary and basic to these powerful monsters that can easily outperform many desktop-class devices.

From a “brick phone” to “power phones”

Just to put it in perspective, let’s remember the times when our personal companions, the mobile phones were enclosed in a teeny tiny chunk of plastic with the smallest displays ever. The first thing that jumps out to everyone’s mind is a “brick-phone” – Nokia 3310.

For their time, these Nokia phones were exceptional in terms of durability, it’s well-known Snake Xenzia, and the ability to even hack banks – yes, I’m not exaggerating. So, these seemingly monochromatic phones were actually quite capable at that time.

And to compare that phone to the current iPhone 11 Pro or Samsung Galaxy Note 10, one would find a world of differences between them. I mean, where to begin? The cameras, processors, RAM, displays, designs – all of these things are massively improved in the newest smartphones.

Although, one might argue that the battery life has gotten worse, which is quite true, however, it’s not because the batteries themselves have shrunk – it’s because the features have drastically improved and they demand more juice.

So, we’ve established that the smartphones of today are really powerful. And they can do almost anything that other devices can do. But, contrary to the narrative the smartphone companies are pushing right now, we don’t need our smartphones to do everything at once. Here are some examples that will make this point clearer.

Consoles and PCs are irreplaceable for gaming

Gaming, for example, is one of the most popular sectors of entertainment right now. Be it actual video games with jam-packed graphics or the online casino games, this sector is full of addictive pieces that captivate gamers’ attention.

Before smartphones became such a hit, these games were exclusively designed for PCs or consoles. For instance, The Witcher series, Call of Duty, and other visually thrilling action games were enjoyed by millions of gamers on their gaming devices.

But when the smartphone boom became apparent, the companies started to focus on those devices as well. And the result is quite remarkable: we’re seeing some visually enthralling games like PUBG, Fortnite, Call of Duty Mobile, and many more that actually garner quite an extensive consumer base. And even online gambling has seen some revival as a result of the smartphone boom; for example, some with some providers in New Zealand pokies available on a mobile so that wherever they are, their online casino companion is always on the go.

And while playing these games is fun and entertaining, still, it doesn’t come close to playing on a full-fledged gaming device. When players want to completely immerse themselves in the world of gaming where, for instance, the Dragons and Ghouls are endangering their virtual survival, they always go for PC or PS/Xbox.

Well, that’s because the computer graphics are much more appealing than the smaller screens of our phones. Besides, certain features and actions are only available on a full-on gaming device because of their incredible hardware and software. Yes, I said that today’s smartphones can outperform many desktop devices, but it doesn’t mean they come close to competing with the actual gaming hardware.

To be fair, there are some cases where smartphones and gaming devices can be used in combination. For example, Sony has recently released PlayLink which allows more socialized gaming experience by pairing smartphones as the gaming controllers.

But even this crossover is somewhat flawed because the feeling of controller buttons is what makes console gaming so easy. On a smartphone screen, you cannot know where the buttons are all the time and if you always look at the screen, then what’s the point of playing the console in the first place?

Netflix is much better on a bigger display

But perhaps more important than gaming is watching content online, particularly Netflix. Recently, the streaming services have taken a huge leap from mediocre popularity levels to sweeping the highest number of Oscars nominations this year.

This trend is undoubtedly accelerated by the expansion of smartphone devices. People increasingly find themselves watching movies and TV shows on Netflix because maybe they’re on the road, stuck in traffic, hiking, or anything else. The point is, their Netflix account is always on the go with them.

But it certainly doesn’t mean that smartphones are replacing the bigger screens for this purpose. Sure, people find smartphones to be much more convenient for reading books, surfing the web, checking social media, and watching YouTube, but when it comes to movies and TV shows, there’s simply no way of smartphones becoming superior to laptops, TVs, or even tablets.

And the reason is quite simple: movies are shot in much higher dimensions that just beg for bigger screens than five or six inches. Sure, there are some short movies that shot using smartphone cameras, like those iPhone 11 Pro movies that Apple promotes on YouTube, but even those movies are shot in 4K and watching them on a smaller display just doesn’t serve the creators right.

Even the filmmakers are begging their fans to ditch smartphones when watching their projects. For instance, when promoting one of his recent films, The Irishman, Martin Scorsese explicitly asked the audience not to watch this film on their smartphones. I would suggest, if you ever want to see one of my pictures, or most films – please, please don’t look at it on a phone, please. An iPad, a big iPad, maybe,” said the director to the Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers.

Smartphones have their use and desktop-sized devices – theirs

So, yes, the smartphone revolution is right here and right now. We’re living through that time already. These pocket-sized devices are capable of doing some extraordinary things, putting their predecessors to shame. Reading books, listening to music, browsing the desktop-class webpages, checking up e-mail – these and other tasks are completely inherent to the smartphone ecosystem.

Besides, there are other, quite graphic-intensive tasks like mobile gaming that are also pretty well-established in this sector. Games like Fortnite, PUBG, and others are constantly rising in popularity among gamers because they still manage to provide some quality graphics, even though they run on smartphones.

However, gaming still cannot shift from the actual gaming devices to smartphones completely. There are a lot of hardcore games that are much more immersive and entertaining than their mobile versions.

And even when watching movies, desktop devices or TVs are much more effective in producing high-quality content that almost every film has. For those and other reasons, it’s highly unlikely that smartphones will replace our desktop-sized devices completely.

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