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How is this good? How is this considered to be a hack? You make this sound like something that can be achieved in a more sophisticated way. How?

It's good because it's not something that should be done.

Ask yourself why you need to detect the user agent.

Why? Because it can help improve the user experience (page payload, image sizes etc). There's a good reason why Google, Facebook, Netflix, eBay, Yahoo, BBC, Amazon etc. do it. It's also part of RFC 1945 (HTTP 1.0) and RFC 2616 (RFC 1.1). Not exactly a hack -- it's designed into the HTTP protocol since 1996.

To allow folks to read legible text. To ensure that elements aren't that small you tap on the wrong thing. To provide a reasonable user experience to your audience.

How exactly would you resolve the problem?

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