"Bro, it's so big." That's an actual thing I heard from an actual person. The man was a personal trainer at my gym, the "it" was a Galaxy Note mutant phone. He clenched the massive thing in his iron grip.
For some reason, he loves it. I wish he didn't. Because he and the 4,999,999 other Galaxy Note buyers are making the world worse for the rest of us. All of you need to to stop, before it's too late.
There are ample complaints you can level against the Galaxy Note—the stylus is antiquated to begin with, and doesn't even work well—but the prime offense? It's just too fucking big. Unless you have abnormally large hands, you can't hold and use it like a phone. The Galaxy Note isn't just designed poorly—it's hardly even designed for humans. In fact, there's ample evidence it was designed for wild elephants.
This isn't a matter of "bias," or "it's subjective, dude" or any of the other critical copouts that flop around when the Note is skewered. A good chair needs to fit your ass, support your back, and not collapse. A good screwdriver needs a comfortable handle and a point that won't dull easily. A good phone needs to fit well in your hand, and allow you to use it without a lot of fussing around. Human fingers are only so long. Like the screwdriver, it's a tool—and a tool is only a good tool if it's designed to be used well.
The Galaxy Note? It won't fit in a pocket or your hand, the two places you're going to want to put your phone. For some reason, five million people don't seem to care. Five million people purchased this distended LED baking sheet not caring that it's too big to use well. For them, more is more. For them, a screen that's too big is like something from a Mountain Dew commercial; it's just awesome! The Note is a big, neon top hat of a handset—look at me and my giant phone, everyone. Look at how big it is. A shiny bauble. I can't wait to go home and look at my big phone.
Most people have poor taste. Cold and insulting as he might have been, Steve Jobs' idea tyranny got one thing right: the masses don't know what they want. They don't care about design unless it's foisted upon them, and would prefer their objects stand out than stand any test of time. Enter this $300 hybrid monstrosity.
But why should anyone else care? Leave the tacky and ignorant to their own mess, right? Because it's not their own mess. It spreads. As PC Mag's Sascha Segan points out, big phones are becoming bigger, as manufacturers realize supersized screens might be the only way to counter the iPhone's dazzle. The trend of ballooning, throbbing handsets will only accelerate with Samsung's multi-platinum feat, and like Segan, I'm "worried that the Galaxy Note's success will encourage more manufacturers to build giant beast-phones." He's right. It likely will; phone makers are notoriously envious of each other, and quick to leap into any trend.
The 5.3-inch phone is now something to emulate if you're a company and want to make money. There will be more hulking brute phones like this. And the more there are that resemble the Note, the fewer phones there are that don't—there can only be so many phones for sale. For those of us not in that x-treme aircraft carrier phablet cohort, this means the taste of ignorant millions pollutes our next phone buying decision. It means more design copycatting instead of ingenuity and creation. It means more cheap product cash-ins. It means more gadget monotony. And it means more bad taste spread thick and wide—your conspicuous shit stew is splattered all over our menu.