Future phones: packed with new features but 'hopelessly dorky'
February 28th, 2012
09:44 AM ET

Future phones: packed with new features but 'hopelessly dorky'

By John D. Sutter, CNN

(CNN) - If you've been following Mobile World Congress, the tech show happening this week in Barcelona, Spain, you've heard a lot about the technical specifications of the new class of smartphones.

They're faster, bigger - and one has a 41-megapixel camera.

Lost in all of the talk of photo resolution and processing power, however, is a glaring trend: Phones also are getting super nerdy.

Some are so big they'll no longer fit in a pocket. Average-sized people would have trouble holding them up to an ear to make a call.

"You have to be either an NBA star or the Jolly Green Giant to place a call on that," Mike Gikas, a senior tech editor at Consumer Reports, said of one of the newer phones from Samsung. Of another, he said, "It's pocket-sized for a kangaroo."

On top of the whole size thing, there are a few other nerdy trends that have come to light this week. Among them: the comeback of stylus pens, which phone makers want us to use to scratch notes onto smartphone screens that can also be controlled with the touch of a finger; cell phones that work as office projectors; LED lights that illuminate on the outside of the phone based on what you're looking at on the screen (if you see a photo of a sunrise, Wired writes, the phone will shine red); and 3-D smartphone screens.

A reviewer from the blog VentureBeat recently wrote that the Samsung Galaxy Note, a "phablet" that has a 5.3-inch screen (compare that to the iPhone, which measures 3.5 inches diagonally), is "hopelessly dorky" - but also interesting:

"While an oversized phone with an archaic input mechanism doesn’t exactly sound like an iPhone killer, the Galaxy Note has enough going for it that it deserves a second look. That is, as long as you don’t mind looking like a huge dork while using it."

Perhaps that's the case for many of the new phones. Maybe there's something below the "hopelessly dorky" exterior that makes them worth a look. Gikas, from Consumer Reports, said "it's like the Wild West right now" in terms of mobile phone development and functionality. Phone makers are just throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall and hoping one will stick.

And some people seem to feed off of whatever's new. Of a new LG phone that includes a stylus pen, Wired writes:

For folks who insist stylus-based data entry is still relevant in 2012, it’s all an intriguing package. Indeed, the Vu promotes doodle scribbling and free-hand note-taking at will.

As Gikas sees it, however, there's something lost in this race for phones to be bigger-faster-brighter. Phone makers may end up ignoring the things consumers actually care about most, he said: battery life and usability.

If it's difficult to use a phone, it probably doesn't matter how many megapixels it has.

Post by:
Filed under: Innovation • Smartphones • Tech
soundoff (149 Responses)
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  9. Dejohnz Sillettou

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    July 30, 2012 at 12:52 am | Reply
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  11. parvo00

    Scrapbooking? Dorky.

    Computers? Dorky.

    Scrapbooking + computers? Pinterest

    Which just happens to be the latest, greatest media darling and craze amongst those hundreds of thousands of social Facebook butterflies who would otherwise consider themselves "non-dorky".

    So I've got bad new for you: The whole world's becoming more and more "hopeless dorky" as technology permeates modern culture further and further. Most just haven't realized it yet.

    March 1, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  12. Jeff

    More narcisstic electronic crap so people can get addicted to and cause auto accidents. I had to laugh at the poll, 70% are in denial. Mirror, mirror on the cell phone/texting, who's the most fairest......

    March 1, 2012 at 11:30 am | Reply
  13. DisReverent

    Oh whoa is this world, with it's magic talking machines, wagons with invisible horses and devil flying machines.

    March 1, 2012 at 11:16 am | Reply
  14. TisJustMe

    What the article describes is not "nerdy", it is poorly done product design.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:57 am | Reply
  15. branon

    Well, if apple wants me to use the ipad in the classroom, I would like a way to doodle notes, highlight stuff, during the lectureetc. I can clearly see the benefits too while attending a conference presentation.
    So a well functioning stylus sound like a great accessory.

    But the article misses out on some really nice designs that came out during the MWC- Xperia, Lumigon, etc.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  16. gggg

    I want a phone. All done. If I forget to plug the thing in for a week, I'd like it to still be usable as a phone. If I wanted all those other features, it would be called a laptop. So, when that PC type new phone comes with the monitor that unfolds to a 19 inch screen and the keyboard unfolds to a full size keyboard (with the ability to choose dvorak) and the stylus acts as a mouse on the touch screen, and it has 8G of ram and 1T of storage, I'll buy it. But it has to fit in my pocket and for a phone call it must fit comfortably in one hand so I can hold it up to my ear. And since it's a phone, I still want at least 3 days out of the battery.

    March 1, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
  17. Mark

    Beyond the idiocy and obvious trolling in the article I would say it misses the basic reasoning behind what is being made. There are plenty of smaller screen phones, they just aren't the big named phones. Why you ask? Well a smaller screen simply means less usable, less pleasant to browse or watch movies on, so they don't need lots of processing power and such because people simply aren't going to use them for tasks that require it. So the advances for those style phones are more or less done on the processor/screen res/etc fronts so they aren't going to be the big name flag ships. But they still exist. Calling something "nerdy" like this is just pathetic.

    March 1, 2012 at 8:22 am | Reply
    • jwk

      You watch movies on your phone? You are a nerd then.

      March 1, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply
      • Mark

        I don't, I was just pointing out a use case. However my wife spends about an hour each day on the metro and she enjoys watching movies and reading books on her phone to kill the time. For me I find a bigger screen makes web pages much more pleasant to view. My phone is older and has a screen around 3.5 inches but my wife's phone is new and has a 4.3 inch screen and I was surprised to see how much a difference that makes. I hate using my phone for anything but basic looking up something when it comes to web use but her phone I could actually enjoy browsing.

        March 1, 2012 at 10:56 am |
      • Ben

        and you come off as a jerk with that one statement

        March 1, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  18. Jessica

    Considering that the styling of cellphones was essentially based on Star Trek communicators, I don't think we can really say that any ONE phone makes you look dorky. The only reason they even exist in the first place is because a bunch of dorks got together and thought up all the dorkily cool things a phone could do, and how they could be just like Captain Kirk while doing it. I guarantee you that if somebody can think up a real-world practical use for a light saber, it'll be at CES for 2013. Because people just like that dorky stuff.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm | Reply
    • Teeph

      Instant (or nearly so), infection free, automatically cauterized amputations.

      Okay. There's your real-world application. NOW GIVE ME MY LIGHTSABER!


      March 1, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
  19. dd

    The author missed the obvious. Your kids can use these phones. Intelligent adults can get great productivity gains with these phones. The author says "dorky". Well, the author should watch a 10 year old kid operate one of these phones. Why doesn't CNN use intelligent people to review technology? Doesn't it have any?

    February 29, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Reply
    • GBnSC

      Come on, you are speaking about CNN. They can't even report news openly and without an editorial opinion.

      March 1, 2012 at 4:55 am | Reply
  20. WillH85

    And that's why I like my iphone. I'm not going to say that Android phones sometimes have more features than iphones, but I rarely see any extra features that I really want. I don't want a huge phone that's overly bulky, I have an ipad for that. More features does not always make a better product.

    February 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Reply
    • Sarah

      Yeah, why have one device when you can carry two? That's not dorky at all. In fact, how about three. Nah, make that four . . .

      February 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • oubie

      How about being able to use your phone as a wireless access point for your pc and letting your colleagues on as well, or even simple phone tethering?

      Iphone users are just too dumb to know what they are missing.

      February 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Reply
      • Brian in TX

        @oubie – maybe you want those features in a phone, but i don't. doesn't mean you're smarter than anybody else. you're just a jerk.

        March 1, 2012 at 12:48 am |
      • Monty Boaconstrictor

        "How about being able to use your phone as a wireless access point for your pc and letting your colleagues on as well," Good way to get hacked. Keep your hot pix on a different phone.

        March 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
  21. Caspian

    They just don't get it!

    February 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  22. John

    What I don't get, is when computers were first made, They took up a whole room. so they started trying to figure out ways to make them smaller. they shoved more technology into a smaller space, and they sold more of them. Now with cellphones, They used to be bag phones, so they made them smaller, and now They're trying to make them bigger?!? I don't get it. why don't they learn from the past. I'm perfectly satisfied with my Droid x That fits in my pocket, and does everything I need it to do....and more!

    February 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
    • Mark C

      I agree they're getting too big, but unlike with dumb phones, a larger smart phone does have a major advantage: a bigger screen. Not exactly a big mystery if some people prefer that.

      February 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  23. Ron

    With all the fancy new features, one of these days a phone manufacturer is going to forget to add one little thing to a phone – the ability to make phone calls...

    February 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Reply
    • Joe

      I agree these larger devices are probably best for people whose primary use for them is NOT as a phone. What they should do to head off complaints about how dorky they look when held up to the head is simply remove the microphone and speaker, and include a bluetooth headset for telephony. Not for everybody, but so what, the most common usage is already well-met by other phones already on the market.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:21 am | Reply
  24. Bella111


    February 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
    • Everyone


      February 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
    • AnthonyPSPSPSPS

      I won't be happy until my phone has a built in tazer and airport security scanning device.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Reply
    • Herby Sagues

      Don't mess with my phone. I want to carry my basic phone around, and be free to carry my Winco LP player to play music, my whole Rand McNally collection to figure out how to reach my destination, my pocket calculator, my pocket agenda, a notepad and some pocket games. But leave the phone alone, it was good as it was ten years ago.

      March 1, 2012 at 2:41 am | Reply
    • Joe

      Google "cellphone for old people." I'm not kidding, there are many very simple models available. As a bonus they get fantastic battery life.

      March 1, 2012 at 3:25 am | Reply
    • David

      Do not buy these new devices then. There are plenty of dumb phones that you can pick up for cheap. I do not care about the phone portion of these devices. I might call someone ever 2-3 days or so, but I am constantly using it to read books, serf the internet, listen to podcasts and music, check email, text people and get directions. I am glad there are options that focus on making those tasks easier and faster.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  25. Jon

    I dont think that the larger phones are a problem at all. There will always be smaller alternatives if you dont prefer them. People that benefit will be tablet users. For instance, if you carry an iPad with most of the time anyway and you can now make calls from it just use a blue tooth ear piece or headphones you dont have to also carry a cell phone anymore. It looks more like a merger between to common devices.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Reply
    • Bella111

      WE NEED SIMPLE PHONES NOT A MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS!!!! There are no viable simple alternatives!!!!!!!!!!!! You can't hear anything if you get a cheap phone. It doesn't work. Corporations want to sell overloaded and over priced "phones" to everybody. Charge people for data that we don't need and all this for one reason, to get our money, as much as they can.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
      • Herby Sagues

        What you say makes no sense. There are hundreds of cheap unlocked phones. You can buy them online or at street stores everywhere for as little as $30. Would you want to use them? No. because evem you prefer something more functional than a basic phone. But nothing prevents you from buying that stuff.
        Of course, if you go to AT&T or Verizon to buy a phone, they don't sell those, because they have better things to do with their floor space than selling unprofitable devices. But coming with a conspiracy theory that claims that something that is readily available all around you doesn't exist because the corporations don't want you to use it is childish.

        March 1, 2012 at 2:51 am |
      • David

        I need a mobile entertainment center, not a phone. There are thousands of dumb phones. Go buy one.

        March 1, 2012 at 12:05 pm |
      • Monty Boaconstrictor

        "Corporations want to sell overloaded and over priced "phones" to everybody. Charge people for data that we don't need and all this for one reason, to get our money, as much as they can." The purpose of a company is to make money, not be benefactors of Mankind or missionaries of enlightenment.

        March 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm |
    • JHX

      My wife just got one of the Samsung Notes. She carries a large purse, so the size is not a drawback, and the big screen and stylus input (you can use a finger if you want) make for very precise inputs.

      My requirements are different. For work I use a supplied phone with keyboard (email on a touch screen is a non starter). But for myself, I want a phone that's waterproof, shock resistant and can sit in a jeans pocket without using a case. My old Samsung Rugby does that pretty well

      February 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
  26. PatriciaD

    They have to stop making these mega phones. We're running out of air space. Soon those of us who just want to be able to make a phone call or text a little won't be able to do that. Less is more in this case. Let's look out for our future cell phone us and lighten up! Stop with all the gadgets already. Let's get back to basics.

    February 29, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • AgentJ

      Go back to the basics, like text messaging? Hmm...

      February 29, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Reply
    • David

      Do not buy these phones. No one is forcing you to, but some people find them useful.

      March 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  27. JBHedgehog

    Since when do we ascribe human characteristics to a cell phone? It's a phone...grow up.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:33 am | Reply
  28. Scott

    I am guessing that the future of mobile will be a trend towards some sort of kinetic sensing so that you don't physically interface with the device coupled with some sort of HUD style display (whether projected, implanted, whatever).

    I'm waiting for my Nokia sunglasses with a direct neural interface and photorealistic augmented reality.

    February 29, 2012 at 9:13 am | Reply
    • migraine@knology.net

      I am with you....! I just got a Droid Razor Max!.
      I got it because it was big and does a lot .....I have no problems using it and I am 49.
      it's the 21st Century, unless your 85 years old, there is no reason you can figure out how to use a smart phone.

      If not "READ the MANUAL! no manual? download the PDF file from the makers web site ...And if you don't know what a PDF file is then you must be 100* years old {no offense if you are} or been in a coma for the last 20 years.

      February 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Reply
  29. Conrad Shull

    One prominent feature of the latest and greatest smartphones is they are crappy phones with crappy sound connected with crappy phone service. (Can you hear me now? Yes, but barely, one of us has a bad signal, call me back.)

    February 29, 2012 at 8:54 am | Reply
    • Drowlord

      If you can hang up... I had an iphone that crashed while I was leaving a voicemail message. I couldn't hang up. I couldn't pull the battery. The UI crashed and the touchscreen wouldn't respond. I couldn't do anything about it. I was just stuck leaving an awkward 7-minute message until the voicemail service hung up on me.

      February 29, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  30. Caly

    Haha. I think we are in the matrix.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  31. Trevor

    How dare these companies offer a variety of devices with differentiated forms and functions to a world of people of all different shapes and sizes with different preferences! Apple knows that one device with one button is the best for every person on the planet, because everyone on Earth has the same preferences!

    And people wonder why Apple's market share never increases...

    February 29, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
  32. Copy Paste

    Copy this article, then paste it into a 4 year old paper. Voila, still true!

    February 29, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
  33. SilentBoy741

    This entire article is already obsolete - "hopelessly dorky" now begins and ends with the GoJo hands-free cell phone holder. Nothing in this article could possibly out-dork being seen with your cell (or even Laptop!) strapped to the side of your head... unless you were caught that way at a tailgate party in a Snuggie.

    February 29, 2012 at 12:55 am | Reply
  34. Bob T

    I just want my phone to make calls.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Reply
  35. chris

    Why would the Jolly Green Giant need a cell phone?

    February 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Reply
    • Cinderella's shoes

      Because he wants to be a hipster and not be left out just because his disjointed, hulkish, arthritis-ridden fingers require more space to get IM'ing kahunas.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:28 am | Reply
      • Ding

        Do they make skinny jeans in his size?

        February 29, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  36. Tony Bowling

    It is a poor article because it lacks pictures of the products. I want to see this oversized phone.

    February 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
    • teaser38

      Did you click on the links?

      February 28, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Reply
    • Bella111

      You haven't seen them at a Verizon store? Any Android or iPhone is over-sized. WE NEED SIMPLE PHONES NOT A MOBILE ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS!!!! WHY DO THEY CALL THEM PHONES? I guess because it is a phony business.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  37. John N. Seattle, WA

    John Sutter, why dont you just stick with your "feature phone" and leave the "smartphones" for the grown-ups! It's obvious you have never used these phones that you are talking about or you would have better insight as to why they are on the market. Just so you know, the Samsung Galaxy Note is just one of at least a DOZEN handsets that Samsung has on offer. Dont like the large screen with stylus input? Great, go to the 4.3" Galaxy S II. Dont like the low resolution of that? Go with the Galaxy Nexus. Want something even smaller? They have a new entry level phone with a 3.7" display. Its all about choice, sir.

    Personally, I am due for an upgrade in July, so I am hoping the new Galaxy S III will be out with the 1080p resolution screen!

    February 28, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • John

      Shouldnt you be on the apple article making fun of them for releasing one a year instead of bragging up androids 10 a month release schedule?

      February 28, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Reply
      • Miguel

        Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hareempd by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass' favor.

        April 30, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • T

      It must be so cool to be a nerd like you – NOT

      February 29, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
  38. Jeff

    Oh dear, heaven forbid anyone seem "nerdy" in the tech revolution of the 21st century!

    Silly, useless article.

    February 28, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  39. MisterK

    It's awesome that the "Padfone" is written in Myriad Pro (the font Apple's been using for years). C'mon fellas... SO RIDICULOUS!

    February 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      I didn't realize Myriad Pro was a programming language.

      February 28, 2012 at 6:59 pm | Reply
    • phoenix39

      You don't Apple that much that now you're blaming them for the font in an article? Hater!

      February 29, 2012 at 11:13 am | Reply
  40. matt

    Archaic input system? Hardly...obviously the author has no understanding of what an active digitizer is and does. For me, this is the only way to turn a tablet/phone into something useful that I can create on instead of a smudged up piece of #$%^ to watch movies on.

    February 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Reply
  41. bill

    Using SIRI is dorky not using a larger more usable phone.

    February 28, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • bob

      posting on cnn is pretty dorky too

      February 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
      • the average joe

        lol that is pretty true

        February 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
      • Cinderella's shoes

        Dorky is a kind of 'cool' classiness all if it's own when the wannabes don't trend it out.

        February 29, 2012 at 1:22 am |
  42. Catfish

    A big dorky phone that does a million things is PERFECT for leaving at home. Take your baby phone with you and leave the big one at home. Makes perfect sense to me. I want a 10 inch home phone with a ton of apps on it. Great idea Galaxy...keep em coming,

    February 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Cinderella's shoes

      If they would just add a TV remote app on these. I mean. Roku did create an iPhone app for their system. So come on!!!

      February 29, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
    • Rasha

      – Love love love!!! You are so good and so classy, Kelly. Beautiful poelpe. Each one is unique and fantastic. Love the one peaking through the cake stand. the one through the window is so so good. your colors are so rich, and real. I am your total fan.03/10/2011 8:50 pm

      May 2, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  43. Josh Godwin

    Reality Check: Everyone becomes a "dork" the minute they download the first app for their smartphone. Apple, LG, Samsung, doesnt' matter...Your are still perfering the company of your little device instead of human interaction by keeping your face glued to it for hours at a time.

    And BTW, interacting with other people on your device doesnt count...

    February 28, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
    • Tiffany


      You're more likely to use correct grammar if you're coming in contact with written language.

      February 28, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
      • Tiffany

        On your smartphone, of course.

        February 28, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • MusicDoc

        yes, true....also "preferring."

        February 28, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
      • Bucara

        Good question Cary. Most sttaes are now passing new laws banning even GPS on smart phones. States like Massachusetts have already enacted a law that prohibits texting, e-mail, surfing the web and GPS on ANY handheld device. A cop really does not know what exactly you are doing with your phone but will stop you if it looks like you are using it. He then will examine your phone to see if there are any recent calls, texts, e-mails etc. Hope this helps.*This is information only – not legal advice*

        August 22, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  44. ctomkat

    I fail to see how big = 'nerdy'.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Reply
  45. Buzz Killington

    I watched the movie Zoolander the other day. In it he has a ridiculously tiny phone – at the time everyone tried to have the smallest phone imaginable. Now things turned 180 and you are talking about phones that are 5+ inches.

    Not making a point – it is just amusing to me.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • gg

      "god.. is that you?"

      February 28, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • Nex5

      And back before cell phones, when the wall phone rang, no one even wanted to answer it. "I'm not answering it – you go answer it!" "No, YOU go answer it!" And suddenly we all buy mobile phones and start talking all day long to people we previously didn't like all that much.

      February 28, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
      • Cinderella's shoes


        I love it when I forget my smartphone. And everyone chews me out for it after being loose for a couple of hours. I LOVE THAT!

        February 29, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  46. Gerry

    All Apple Haters !! Just admit U want one and buy it. Then you will understand why it's the Greatest!! Face your fear ! It'll be okay.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • Marty

      Once apple invents a phone that makes reliable phone calls, I'll consider buying one.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Reply
      • MusicDoc

        ...falling for the old outdated "antennagate" FUD myth, are we? I love people who THINK they know what they're talking about.

        February 28, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
      • Andrew

        Verizon has been selling iPhones for a year. Try to keep up!

        February 28, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • michael

      Just admit U r a Hipster.

      February 28, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Cinderella's shoes

      i wanted one and then bought one.

      Then it was no big deal anymore and I want something else.

      But I had something else between this and the last one I wanted.

      And I didn't want that one either.

      And before that I had the old analog brick phone. And that was all there was to want, that and the contrast selection for the screen and paging and voicemail.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:45 am | Reply
  47. Peter

    How much is Apple paying you CNN?

    February 28, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
    • DontBeGoogle

      As much as Google is paying every other phone makers to use their Android OS like a wh0re

      February 28, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  48. Adam

    John D. Sutter, written like a true Apple fanboy and mindless lemming. Everything other than Apple products are so dorky, nerdy, and uncool! All the cool kids have iPhones right? Grow up, I guess CNN will hire anyone these days.

    February 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • gg

      wow.. someone sure loves their android.. ha ha

      February 28, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Reply
    • Cinderella's shoes

      i have tried various phones etc. also, various desktops and laptops. Both the PC and Mac, Apple, Droid and Android. I have a love-hate relationship with each machine that much reflects that of Gates and Jobs, and they weren't the only people that I wish had gotten their product out.

      I would love to see an open source OS and apps on a customizable-hardware phone.

      The quantum movement is starting. I wonder if they're going to patent the physics of quantum ness.

      Sheldon, any theories on that?

      February 29, 2012 at 1:35 am | Reply
    • boarddog

      "Apple fan boy" had to be the stupidest, most over used term of the last couple of years. You Apple haters should really come up with some new material...

      February 29, 2012 at 7:21 am | Reply
      • Adam

        Shhh...hush now lemming, the adults are speaking.

        March 1, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  49. WdL

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read this is that Apple (or Apple lemmings) are seeing their technology being surpassed (at light speed) and falling back on their old "style over function" argument. It's "cool" to have an iPhone but "dorky" to have anything else.

    My HS-aged son just got the Galaxy Note and he is the envy of the school. I guess he must go to a school that is all dorks.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Reply
    • Guest 171

      "My HS-aged son just got the Galaxy Note and he is the envy of the school. I guess he must go to a school that is all dorks."
      Yeah, with that comment I think you just pretty much confirmed that he does.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
      • Jhonatan

        In most cases you do not need long distance svierce. What you need is just a regular landline svierce that can call local number so you can call you calling card access number. Or your svierce must be able to call toll free numbers. Tried about a few calling cards in the past and I don't need long distance svierce to use them.

        August 19, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • InVT

      Another standard of the iShills is the insistence that 'one size (Apple's) fits all'.
      I like the diversity. That way you choose technology that fits your style, not forcing people to adopt an 'i-lifestyle' to fit a particular technology.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
      • cee

        Yeah that choice has worked out great for all my friends with Android phones they hate.

        February 28, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
      • AppleWorm

        Diversity rules, Apple drools!

        February 28, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • gg

      if you call requiring a pen on an oversized phone being surpassed at light speed, then yeah i guess. Last time i saw one of those was on a pda in the 90's. its good your kid is in school, he can carry that thing in a backpack.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Reply
      • WdL

        The first thing his friends do with it is slip it in and out of their pocket, and realize that pockets are wider than 2.31" (iPhone 4S width). With the Note being taller and wider, the circuitry inside can be spread out more (and is) so the phone very slim. (this was written on my iPad by the way, so I feel I have a fairly objective perspective)

        February 28, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
      • Cinderella's shoes

        there is a school dress code limiting the vast over expanse of pants in some schools. Imagine: A kid pulling something bulky out of their backpack but it's not Tinkerbell or an oozie– it's "GIANT PHONE BUDDY"

        February 29, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  50. more2bits

    No phone is any good without a physical keyboard. The touch screen keyboards all stink!!

    February 28, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Reply
    • 21stNow

      Everyone doesn't share your opinion. I prefer touchscreen, word-tracing keyboards to physical keyboards.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • John

      Swype text is superior to tryiing to type on keys the size of bb's. My first smart phone had no keyboard and i never understood why people preferred them. My thumb covers 8 keys at the same time on a physical phone keyboard. Annoying. I can swype out a sentence in a fraction of the time. To each their own i guess.

      February 28, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Reply
  51. Pete

    "I look like a dork putting this big thing up to my ear!"

    Put phone capability in the things but use a bluetooth headset with them. I thought techies were supposed to be smart.

    February 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • SeanNJ

      Yeah, and then we have nothing but a bunch of people walking around seemingly talking to themselves.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
      • Suhaib

        / Pretty much all emotions as well as beeilf aside, I do think this has the possible for being your better works, would possibly you continue writing this kind of high quality in your long-lasting creating.

        August 19, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Nate

      Walking around with a headset in your ear just in case you get a phone call also makes you a dork. Your phone should not be the size of the very first mobile phone ever invented.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:40 am | Reply
  52. mobetta

    Why do any of these twinkies with a phone grafted onto their hand think ANYone cares what they do, where they are, or what they have to say? And those bulging thumb muscles are SO unattractive....

    February 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  53. Raxtich

    The original Motorola Razr was the best phone design ever. Small, FLAT, foldable.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Reply
    • Jordan

      The original RAZR was one of the worst phones ever made.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
      • Raxtich

        to each their own

        February 28, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
    • Jim

      Too bad it was such a lousy phone, though. It's the only cell phone I've ever hated – the reception was marginal at best most of the time.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
    • cee

      That phone was down right terrible and your the first person I have heard say otherwise. It was the main reason I jumped into the smartphone arena and that was the best part of owning that crap phone because it cause me to buy the first iPhone and I haven't looked back.

      February 28, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Reply
  54. avd

    "While an oversized phone [...] doesn’t exactly sound like an iPhone killer, the Galaxy Note has enough going for it that it deserves a second look. That is, as long as you don’t mind looking like a huge dork while using it."

    You mean, like the iPad when it first came out? Was that your reaction when you saw it? Oh, right, it only works one way – so long as it benefits apple.

    This is such a terribly written article.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Reply
    • Liz

      The iPad isn't a phone.

      February 28, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
    • gg

      i use my ipad to make free phone calls all the time.. although when im out i usually bring my actual phone..

      February 28, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Reply
      • Cinderella's shoes

        just admit you are a free-loading wifi-user. (smile)

        February 29, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Nate

      Yes. If somebody holds their iPad up to their ear to make a phone call they are a dork.

      February 29, 2012 at 1:44 am | Reply
  55. James

    First and foremost, I want it to work well as a PHONE. Next give me compact size, long battery life, and a decent keypad for sending text messages. A decent camera is handy and some basic web browsing is a nice extra. Everything else is just fluff.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Reply
    • harry

      There is something available like the one you described

      iPhone.......go get it

      February 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
      • bill

        And 90 percent of any other phone for 2/3rds the cost

        February 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
      • John

        Hey bill. Its 2012. All iphones cost the same as any other phone. Except the free iphones.

        February 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
      • thrm

        harry, iphone... while it is a great device for mail, web, music, apps, etc... it is terrible as a phone. I've owned every generation and not one of them comes close to being a good phone. If apple would focus on that aspect a little more, I'd go back to one. Outside of that, no way i'd trust doing business on something that requires you to hold your hand a certain way to avoid dropped calls.

        February 29, 2012 at 11:15 am |
  56. Nubadopofloposhopolopolis

    Sorry but the stylus idea is dead...stop trying to bring it back. People don't like something that can be easily lost...especially for a phone, which most people have their lives on nowadays.

    The best stylus is your finger. You most likely won't lose that and even if you do, you have 9 others to replace it.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      "People don't like something that can be easily lost"

      Oh, you mean like a cell phone?

      February 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Reply
      • Davion

        – So very cool that it happened to be US in this photo We're so happy for you and your wiinnng entry Kelly and we're even more thankful that we have a treasure of your amazing work to keep forever and show our little girl one day!!!! THANK YOU!04/16/2011 3:29 pm

        May 3, 2012 at 12:12 am |
  57. -[_:(|]

    ...resistance is futile...you will be assimilated...

    February 28, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Reply
    • mobetta


      February 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Reply
  58. Steve

    I find it amusing that this article isnt about the phone tech, nor is it about which phones are best, or if these new sizes are a good compromise bwteen tablets or phones...

    It merely asks how dorky you might look using one...something I thought most people grew out of by the time you left high school or at least, hopefully, college.

    Friend of mine just got the Galaxy Note and I have to say, it is impressive. I have no problem holding it in my hand, as I do not have little girly hands. He uses bluetooth to talk,as why would you hold your phone to your face if you dont have to. It has a great looking screen, could be a little better though, I will freely admit.

    Otherwise it seems to be a great phone...if thats your thing.

    Listen, if you are so attached to your phone that you feel it actually portrays something about you to those around you, maybe you need to get out more. Your phone is no more of an indicator about you than the false perception that your car is.

    February 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • Jordan

      Some of the new smartphones are really phenomenal. The RAZR Maxx & Galaxy Nexus come to mind. I can't fathom actually caring about phones being "too big." If someone doesn't want a big phone, they can keep buying their small basic phones and do nothing with them...which is fine, because I'm sure some people only want a phone for calling/texting. The majority of people anymore, however, want more.

      This is a stupid article.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Reply
      • RefusingDataphones

        Only one problem with that. There are hardly any basic phones left on the market that weren't made for my grandmother. I like my old Samsung Intensity (the Intensity II feels way cheaper in construction) but I hate that cell phone providers are trying to force me into a data phone. I'm a grad student and I can't afford that kind of monthly payment and stick to an iPod Touch which was a gift btw (grad student = near constant access to free wifi). Please keep some of the pre-tablet phones that don't have giant buttons or gaudy colors! Thanks!

        February 29, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
    • Monty Boaconstrictor

      "Your phone is no more of an indicator about you than the false perception that your car is"

      I drive a pink car shaped like my junk with a big set of trucknuts hanging off the back bumper. What was your question again?

      March 1, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  59. John Sutter

    Thanks Chris!

    February 28, 2012 at 11:51 am | Reply
  60. Chris

    Well said. The fact that a portable device keeps growing in size and weight doesn't do anything for me. I think a 4.3" screen is PLENTY on a phone - even thats a bit big. I think 4" is the sweet spot between good screen size, portability and battery life.

    A lot of phone manufacturers completely forget about battery life - at least the RAZR MAXX is good. Hopefully the consumption of LTE radios will come down over the years.

    February 28, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
    • Jordan

      I think anything between 4-5" is the sweet spot..but anything over 4.5" is a bit large perhaps. I had a Galaxy Nexus which was something like 4.65" and it was slightly larger than I would have liked...but the display was so nice that it made little difference to me.

      February 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        That's what she sa..... oh nevermind.

        February 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

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