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Opinion 5 min read 7 comments

10 functions that every smartphone should have

Choosing a brand new smartphone is a tough decision, and even when you've narrowed it down to two or three, they still might not have everything you need. In this article, we list several features that every new device should have.

Fast access to the camera

Nowadays, cameras are one of the main things we associate with smartphones: it's one of the important features we consider when making a purchase since we want our smartphones to capture our most memorable moments, and a great camera is the most convenient way to do so.

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Motorola has an interesting solution to open the camera app quickly. / © AndroidPIT

If you have the opportunity to take a good photo, you want to be able to do it fast. It's therefore important that it doesn't take the camera more than a few seconds to be ready after opening the app. Motorola for example has a good solution, where you only need to click twice on the power button and voila, the camera app will open. It would be great to have this kind of shortcut available on all devices.

Ambient display

It's essential to be able to access important notifications quickly and easily. This is a fairly new way to show your notifications, and it's also interactive. When your phone is on the table, and you pick it back up again, the notifications will be visible to you, as well as the amount of battery left and the time. Some of you may prefer this to the LED flash notifications.

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OnePlus devices have an ambient display.  / © Techradar

Systems such as Always On from Samsung, Moto Screen from Motorola or the Android Display Environment should be available on all smartphones, but it's also important to customize this function to suit your needs.

Protection against water and dirt

The cost of smartphones is getting higher and higher. In my opinion, any phone above $200 should have this kind of protection. It's inevitable that they will be exposed to dirt and liquids at some point.

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Samsung already treats some S-line and A-line devices with IP protection. / © AndroidPIT

The current technology for this is pretty expensive, and makes the device thicker and heavier, but the technology will of course eventually be perfected and become cheaper and easier to implement.

Mobile payment support

This is still not a widely used technology, and it hasn't quite caught on yet with either companies or users. However, it won't be to long before this payment method becomes a way for you to pay for your everyday items. 

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Payments with your cell phone will become more and more common. / © AndroidPIT

For this reason, it would be great if smartphones were already using both the NFC chip and the technology that allows the different types of mobile payments, as many people will still be using the same smartphones in a few years, when this payment method will become the norm.

Stereo sound

It's about time we had stereo sound on smartphones. Our devices are one of the main ways we use for media, and stereo speakers by no means require complicated or expensive technology. 

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The Sony Xperia XZ comes with stereo sound. / © AndroidPIT

Biometry

We carry a good part of our social life in our phones. I'm not just talking about Facebook and WhatsApp, I'm talking about passwords, documents, private conversations and other things that we would not want to fall into the wrong hands. So, biometric unlocking methods should be a priority for all smartphone manufacturers, even for cheaper phones.

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Huawei's P10 has a biometric sensor for optimal security. / © AndroidPIT

A good battery life

If you're paying good money, it would be ideal to have at least two days worth of battery life. A battery that is always running low is pretty frustrating. Wouldn't it be great to not have to worry about when we'll be able to charge our phones next? It doesn't necessarily need a very high mAh, it just needs to be effectively optimized to the system.

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Portable batteries have become popular. / © AndroidPIT

Fast, wireless charging

While we're on the subject of batteries, it makes sense to talk about wireless charging. These are fast, practical and easy-to-use. The possibility to charge them quickly would be perfect for those situations where you need to leave the house, but you've only just realized you have a low battery. 

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Wireless charging is a huge convenience. / © AndroidPIT

Handoff: Full integration across platforms

This is a function that comes with iOS, but not Android: Handoff. This allows you to transfer your tasks between your devices. For example, whatever you're doing on your computer will automatically go to your smartphone and vice versa.

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The world would be better with fewer cables! / © AndroidPIT

If these two devices are to be used in our day-to-day life, the least we can hope for is that they're fluid, totally wireless, and easy to use.

Enhanced reader mode

Lastly, this is something that is far from happening. We spend a lot of time looking at the small screens of our gadgets, but most of the time, the size and brightness can harm our vision, but we of course need our devices for important things, so this is unavoidable.

To have a reading mode that did not harm our eyes, we would need something similar to what Pixel Qi was proposing before the company went out of business. The idea was an LCD display that could switch between reflective and transflective, therefore improving the reading experience. This last feature could take a while to be seen on our smartphones.

What do you think are the essential functions for a smartphone?

7 comments

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  • Sounds like you're pretty much describing the s9 plus


  • Big battery...found that several years ago with the Huawei Mate series. 4,000mAH batteries. Amazing the only thing no one ever mentions, is how well they operate as A PHONE. Stereo sound? 6" spacing (at the most) for speakers really isn't going to get you any real "stereo separation". Water & dirt protection, well I guess I'm different. Considering what manufacturers & carriers charge for these things, I keep them away from water and dirt ;)


  • Fast charging, or a battery, and setup to make the phone last for a day, no matter how much you use it. Hmm.


  • Mike 4 months ago Link to comment

    Essential for s smart phone? The ability to make a phone call.


  • What I'd ideally like to see on any smartphone is a programmable button, to fast access a function set by the user.
    Another essential feature would be a durable rear panel: the glass used on many phones nowadays make them too brittle and not worth the expense, not to mention that many people use covers anyway.
    Another feature (among many more) should be the ability to act as a desktop computer once connected to monitor and peripherals, via Bluetooth and other means.

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