Thanks to Apple, smartphone manufacturers have keynote addresses where they reveal to the world the new features of their latest and greatest phones. They usually touch on specific features like how good the display is, the processor, its operating system, the camera, the design and the battery life.
That is how the smartphone industry is nowadays, they focus on those features that will gain the most traction. However, there are some features that we either rarely see them talk about or even never hear them talk about and I wonder why since they are usually equally important.
This is one of those features that are rarely hyped yet they are quite important in the whole smartphone experience. Most smartphones nowadays have touch streen and how fast the display registers your touch input, the better the experience.
Touch sensitivity is usually measured in milliseconds and the lower the number, the faster the touch response.
Back in 2014, the HTC One M8 was found to have the fastest touch response among phones of its era with a touch response of 46ms. At the time phones like the Note 3 had a 67ms rating, the iPhone 5S was 75ms and the Xperia Z2 had a 100ms touch response. It was that good.
Recently however, Apple hyped the touch sensitivity of the iPhone XS and XS Max. They didn’t quote milisecond figures but they said that it will detect your touch at 120Hz, which is twice as fast as current systems, so using that iPhone would seem to be ‘faster’ compared to older iPhones which run at 60Hz.
Focus on calling
It is kinda weird that the most basic function of a smartphone is ignored. Making phone calls is still one of the most important things you can do with your smartphone but for years now, manufacturers have been focusing on other trendier features about the phone.
Generally you will notice that more expensive phones have better phone call quality than cheaper phones. This could be attributed to having better microphones, better noise cancellation, better ear piece and speaker quality and having better antennas for latching on to that signal.
It is also rare to see features that could make phone calls better like an answering machine (Xperia Z2 had that), call recorder, a phone call timer which cuts the connection after a set time limit, wider adoption of voice over LTE networks, wider adoption of dual LTE standby on phones and much more as standard.
Wi-Fi is one of the more efficient ways of browsing the Internet on our phones and it is kind of amazing that the Wi-Fi speed of our devices is rarely mentioned.
This is usually dependent on the modem inside your phones. Flagship phones usually have the best modems the manufacturers can get a hold of that year and that is why they usually have better Wi-Fi speeds than budget phones.
However it is still interesting that they rarely talk about it. For example the Sony Xperia Z2 had a theoretical peak speed of 433 Mbps and 4 years down the line, phones with the Snapdragon 845 can theoretically go as fast as 4.6Gbps, which is 10 times faster!
Comparing with the hyped LTE speeds, the Sony Xperia Z2 had a top speed of 150Mbps which was great at the time and you can find this speeds on budget phones. However phones with the Snapdragon 845 can go as high as 1.2 Gbps, which is 8 times faster.
Wi-Fi speeds have become faster overtime and yet are less hyped than LTE speeds, which I think is a disservice.
Back up and restore
Back up and restore is one of those features that can be a deal breaker for me when I’m choosing my next smartphone. I’m a fan of backing your phone’s data (call history, text, contacts, apps, app data, homescreen layout, photos, videos and documents) onto an SD card which you can easily restore after you format your phone.
This is a feature that I’ve seen being implemented well on Huawei phones and Sony phones and it is baked in on settings. This is a legitimately a great feature to have and sadly it is rarely hyped by phone manufacturers.
Internal storage speed
Internal storage is a critical component in smartphones and it is interesting that this companies rarely hype how fast their storage speeds are. Storage speed affects a device performance greatly since it affects how it is able to retrieve information like your phone album previews or even write data like moving files to internal storage.
Companies like Apple have done some pretty groundbreaking stuff in this front where they started to put incredibly fast storage for phones starting with the iPhone 6S. They were able to somehow put storage that is as fast as SSDs in laptops (around 400 MB/s) which makes the experience fast and fluid in these phones. The iPhone X registers around 1200MB/s read and 500MB/s which currently is class leading compared to the competition.
On Android, Samsung is leading the front with their UFS (Universal File Storage) system. This storage system, unlike the eMMC system we are used to on regular Android phones is fast. UFS 2.1 and 2.1 on phones like in the latest Samsung Galaxy S line of phones and OnePlus phones can go as high as 600MB/s.
I’ve tested a Samsung Galaxy S8 with this storage and it gave me 500MB/s read and 200MB/write speeds and you can feel. The S8 had UFS 2.0 storage and later models have UFS 2.1 which is even faster with read speeds between 750MB/s and 800MB/s. The next version, UFS 3.0 was detailed to have double the speeds of UFS 2.0 so you can imagine we will be having incredibly fast storage in our phones soon.
Faster storage is always better for everyone and it is frankly amazing that this is usually ignored in keynote addresses.