Open Question: How important is a mobile device's "feel"?

The limitations of mobile seem to put the focus on interaction, not tech specs.

Open QuestionWhether you buy into Apple’s “post-PC” spin, the rise of mobile computing does seem to shift the perspective from raw tech specs to overall experience. That’s likely born from mobile’s obstacles: it’s harder to text than type, it’s harder to swipe than click, and it’s harder to scan when your big beautiful monitor has been replaced by a mini screen. The sheer horsepower of a mobile device doesn’t mean much if you can’t interact with the thing.

Most of us have adapted to mobile methods. Our thumbs are nimble and our swipes are filled with purpose. But it’s also clear — to me at least — that adaptation is only part of the equation: a good mobile experience is connected to the overall “feel” for a device. (Note: My definition of feel goes beyond hardware. The speed, responsiveness and elegance of the software shape my opinion of a device.)

Am I alone in this thinking? That’s what I hope to find out through the following questions:

  • When considering a mobile device (phone or tablet), how much importance do you place on technical specifications?
  • How about the device’s overall feel — does that factor into your decision?
  • Do you have to hold and interact with a mobile device before purchasing it?
  • In your experience, which mobile devices have the best feel? Which have the worst?

Please weigh in through the comments.

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