I have always been a fan of feature phones. There wasn’t much to do. Almost all of them did the same thing, and it was dead simple to select which one to buy.
In 2017, buying a new mobile phone feels like picking a college or a professional course. You have to go through a lot of them, see which ones you can afford, talk to others about their views, and still end up confused at the end of the day. It pains me every time I have to buy a new mobile phone for myself or someone in the family. It’s just too painful.
Needless to say, we have been successfully spoiled as well as primed by smartphone companies over the years. We now seek perfection from our smartphones. And why not? When we’re ready to shell out a month or two’s salary for just a mobile phone, we deserve nothing but the best.
A Powerhouse Processor
I don’t think anyone who wants to buy a new smartphone skips reading processor specs. Even if it means horse shit for most of us. Dual-core, octa-core, pig-core, core-core…who cares, just bring it on. Smartphone manufacturers want to slap as many cores and gigahertz worth of processors they can on a flagship smartphone.
It’s true a better processor will only help you in your user experience, but it only works well to an extent. Beyond a basic specification, you’re simply counting stars. A high-end processor won’t help if the mobile operating system on your smartphone isn’t capable of using the processor’s juices to the max.
Nevertheless, if you purchase a lower end processor you are doomed. You family will disown you. Your friends will stop talking to you. You are done.
The Best Camera
Honestly speaking, this isn’t too much of an ask. It’s 2017 and if the camera on a smartphone sucks, the phone deserves to die a Game of Thrones death. Smartphone manufacturers keep improving their cameras every single year. You could buy any high-end flagship device, and I can promise you that the camera won’t disappoint you.
The only thing that can indeed disappoint is your photography skills. If you are like me, you can put the best smartphone cameras to shame. I have probably done worse but then that’s just one of things that one needs to be careful about. Even though smartphones have made it dead simple for anyone to take great photos if you don’t follow the basics you’ll end up in the hall of shame on any social network.
A Mobile OS That Just Works
Mobile operating systems make all the difference in the world. There was a time when iOS was clearly ahead (and in some ways it still is) of Android but it’s 2017 and Google is clearly catching up. There’s almost zero difference in terms of overall functionality while both mobile operating systems have their own advantages and disadvantages. Every year, both Google and Apple post a major revision to their mobile operating systems, claiming theirs is the biggest out there.
But there’s not much of a choice you have today. If you are buying an Apple smartphone, you’ll have iOS and if not you’ll have Android running your smartphone unless you take an unlikely route of going with something weird (like a BlackBerry). Luckily now you have a much wider choice with Apple smartphones, including last few years’ flagships which fare pretty well with most current mid-level Android smartphones.
It’s 2017 and there’s no reason for an app to act sluggish. If I spent two months worth of salary on a mobile phone, and an app is stuck on it, it’s not good. I could blame the hardware or I could blame the app itself, but one expects both sides to test functionalities before pushing the code. On the Android side, things are crazy as it is so it’s almost acceptable given the fragmentation involved. On iOS, it’s unacceptable but it’s also very hard to find such an app.
We expect the world from the apps on our smartphones, and why shouldn’t we. Apps are at the center of our smartphone experience. I don’t usually follow statistics but I am assuming you’ve come across these wild numbers on the number of apps each user uses on their smartphone on a daily basis. Both Google and Apple are nuts about the number of apps and money paid out to developers each year. The whole scene is pretty sick.
And it’s going to get even better and bigger with artificial intelligence, machine learning, mixed reality, and all the other fancy words you and I don’t know anything about coming inside our smartphones. There was a time these things could be accomplished only using the most powerful supercomputers placed in large rooms.
The Right Price
Unless you’re filthy rich, money is always in a limited quantity. Flagship smartphones continue to be priced at higher levels, thus inviting terrible kidney jokes every year. There’s some sanity amongst Android manufacturers who are willing to make less money per smartphone and eventually sell more phones. Apple is just evil at this game, according to many. They want to make these great smartphones no one can resist and charge a premium for it. I’ve been paying the Apple Tax myself for the last few years.
But can anyone price these smartphones in a way that it doesn’t hurt?