The 8 most overrated smartphone features
Image 1 of 8
1. Lightning port replacing headphone jack
Smartphone providers are always looking for new, exciting features to include in their devices. Here are some that are not worth it.
Apple stopped featuring its 30-pin connector charging port after the iPhone 4, replacing it with a smaller lightning port for charger. While this change was probably necessary in the long run to make the iPhone thinner, eliminating the headphone jack as well was not.
While Apple may think it is convenient to only have one plug for charging and listening, this change left users with multiple pairs of unusable earphones. Additionally, users can’t charge their phone and use their headphones at the same time, forcing us to either buy adaptors or new devices.
SEE: Mobile device security: A guide for business leaders (Tech Pro Research)
2. Wireless charging
The latest smartphones feature wireless charging, eliminating the need for charging cables. While the wireless charging function may sound neat, it still requires you to have a cable plugging into the wall, as users must have a charging pad. Wireless charging also requires the phone to be lying face up on the pad, which doesn’t really allow users to effectively use the device while it charges. Further, testing of wireless chargers has found that they may kill overall battery life faster than typical chargers.
3. Voice assistants
Whether its Alexa, Siri, or Cortana, voice assistants remained a huge hit in 2018. However, smartphone voice assistants don’t tend to be as reliable or accurate as those on smart home devices. While voice assistants are meant to be able to text, call, and open applications for you, they often don’t understand, or require you to visually confirm they completed the request, which defeats the purpose.
The launch of Apple’s iPhone X brought Animojis, the animated emoji that mimics a user’s facial expressions via Face ID sensors. The lifelike emoji faces don’t really have a purpose, serving more as an entertainment feature on the iPhone. Android attempted to produce its own version of Animojis, which failed miserably, as Apple’s version probably should have too.
The smartphone notch, also known as the small black portion at the top of new smartphones, is where the front-facing camera is placed. Made widely popular by the iPhone X, the smartphone notch is hated by most smartphone user, as it takes up precious screen space that should be used to present data. While smartphone manufacturers boast about larger screens without bezels, screen space is still taken up by the pesky notch. Users are supposed to enjoy the top-to-bottom screens, but that’s hard to do with the notch prominently displayed at the top.
6. Front-facing flash
The front-facing camera is vital for taking quality selfies, however, the front-facing flash is not. Not only does the flash momentarily blind the user, but the pictures usually come out overexposed or out of focus. The concept is great, but the execution is poor.
7. Large amounts of RAM
Smartphone manufacturers boast about larger amounts of RAM on newer devices, and while 8GB or 10GB of RAM may sound like a good thing, there isn’t much difference in daily operation. There are plenty of other things on a smartphone worth increasing, like battery life, which would actually be noticed in day to day operation. More RAM sounds like a good thing, but isn’t at all noticeable.
8. Super slow motion video
Another new trend in smartphones are the extra slo-mo video capturing capabilities. Manufacturers love to promote this feature, but there are very few opportunities in which one would think to use it. If someone is taking a video of something, it is typically random and spontaneous. A user wouldn’t think to turn on the super slo-mo option, leaving it rarely used.
- 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)
- IT pro’s guide to the evolution and impact of 5G technology (TechRepublic download)
- BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policytemplate download (Tech Pro Research)
- The 10 best smartphones of 2018 (ZDNet)
- Best mobile VPN services for 2018 (CNET)
- The 10 most important iPhone apps of all time (Download.com)
- Smartphones and mobile tech: More must-read coverage (TechRepublic on Flipboard)