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opinion 3 min read 7 comments

The 3 must-have features for flagships in 2019

No smartphone is perfect. Many devices have passed through our the editorial office and there's still no one smartphone to rule them all. There are always flaws, even if some are easily forgivable. However, there are some features that we would consider essential for the smartphones of the future.

1. The end of the notch

Essential has done it, Apple has copied it, and now many manufacturers have decided to follow the same trend. This notch has manifested on most flagships in 2018. This trend, which takes different sizes and shapes depending on the manufacturer, is nevertheless quite unsightly. 

Some manufacturers say that this is a necessary evil to increase the screen surface but the temptation to copy your rivals (and especially the iPhone) is also one of the reasons for this design. Many users don't seem to really like the notch, nor does our community, according to our polls. But when Apple makes a design change, the rest of the industry tends to follow.

AndroidPIT lg g7 5303
Even LG jumped on the bandwagon. / © AndroidPIT by Irina Efremova

In any case, the result is the same. Most of our high-end smartphones in 2018 are very similar on the front side and overall we are not necessarily fans of this new design policy. We therefore look forward to the death of this trend in 2019 and remain hopeful for the return of variety to display design. Oh, and speaking of displays...

2. In-display fingerprint readers

Facial recognition is fine, but when light conditions deteriorate it quickly becomes a problem to unlock your smartphone. So while most flagships have anticipated this problem by offering a classic fingerprint reader to alleviate this concern, this is not the case for everyone. Recent models like the OPPO Find X or the Vivo NEX are there to remind you of this.

Yet the fingerprint reader technology under the screen exists (and we even tested it on Huawei's Mate RS) and works perfectly. It even has the merit of helping manufacturers find a way to save space on the front of the device.

Huawei Mate RS fingerprint scanner
Unlocking has never been easier. / © AndroidPIT

And when we know that, according to IHS Markit, the fingerprint reader integrated into the screen will even become extremely widespread in 2019 with no less than 100 million smartphones produced, any flagship that respects itself must therefore offer this feature.

3. Wireless charging for everyone

Although wireless charging is becoming more and more popular, many flagships continue not to offer it in 2018 (OnePlus 6, Xiaomi Mi 8, Huawei P20 Pro...) Compatible accessories are however more and more numerous and marketed at increasingly affordable prices. Some hotels or restaurants now even offer furniture or tables offering functionality.

Samsung has long been the best ambassador of wireless charging for years. Apple having decided to adopt the functionality on iPhone 8 and iPhone X, we can hope the same movement of the industry as for notch. Because it is useless to deny it: a flagship in 2019 must have this feature or it will be terribly outmoded in the coming months. The future is wireless we tell ourselves (and if you don't believe me look what happened to the headphone jack)!

What features do you consider essential for a flagship in 2019?

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  • I don't agree with #3. It's of limited value, much like removable battery.


  • I'll add 2 more:
    4. Reintroduce wide body phones
    Wide body phones with a minimum of 3-inches wide for a easier typing on a wider keyboard. Today's phones like the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, S9 or even the Plus or Note versions are all slim and tall phones. A slim phone means a smaller keyboard and a smaller keyboard means more errors when typing.
    4.1 Reduce the height of the phones
    Why are phones like the Samsung Galaxy S8, S9 or their Plus and Note version so tall? It does not fit the pocket. If the display is non-scrollable, then it is understandable why a tall phone is useful, but the screen is scrollable and a tall phone is not helpful.
    4.2 Bring back the non-edge displays or even some bezels
    Non-edge displays prevent unintended screen/item activation and provide fall protection when dropped on a non-glass edge.

    5. Include Notification LED
    This is a very useful feature which is more effective than the Always On display


  • I don't agree that any of those are essential or must have. They're mostly aesthetic fluff. Wireless charging particularly is of low value. It's so SLOW.


    • The Samsung S5 managed to have removable back and battery and still be water resistant.
      I have a OnePlus 5 which has probably the quickest charging of all the phones, so wireless charging not needed. There is no point in wireless charging because it still needs a wall plug, and as said, pitifully slow. Ok for office workers, no good for people away from a powerpoint.
      I had to buy a powerbank for a few long journies to keep phone topped up. These are quite heavy and again slow to recharge.
      A spare battery weighs very little, takes up virtually no room in pocket/bag and is an instant fully charged phone.
      Face Unlock works well on the OP 5 as does fingerprint reader, how many more ways to unlock do some people need ??


    • I disagree that wireless charging is of low value. I use it all the time and it's easier to not have to plug/unplug every time you want some juice. If I need a quicker charge, I'll plug it in. Although I do miss the ability to swap batteries.


  • IHS Markit missed a crucial factor; fingerprint reader belong on the BACK of the phone, where the finger naturally feels when you pick up the phone. So a fingerprint reader under the screen is not an advantage.

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