Exactly. If the resolution on my measuring device is 2 m then all I can measure is multiples of 2 m, so 2 m, 4 m, 6 m, etc. This is perfectly acceptable for distances many times greater than 2 m, and would give me a pretty accurate measurement of a 10 km distance. I would be very happy with the amount of error present in a 10 km measurement made with such a device. But I couldn't measure 1 m with that any better than I could measure the spark plug gap for the plugs in my car with it.
It's not just that they can't even determine that it was 12% in that case. They're simply doing it wrong from the beginning. "Let's take a technology that gives us a measurement that contains a possible error of more than the length we are trying to measure, and then complain about how much of an error we got in that length!" The best accuracy I've ever seen reported on my GPS is 2 m. Why would I try to measure 1 m with that?! Go do the experiment with a 10 km square and see what your error is then. *sigh*
Smartphone battery ~ 5 W-H, electricity ~$0.15 / kW-H, so 1333 complete drain/charge cycles = $1.00
All Finagle Laws may be bypassed by learning the simple art of doing without thinking.