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It’s time to answer a question no one really asks but I think it’s important to think about before you buy your next smartphone. What are some of the features in that phone you could do without?

 

Well, I don’t know about about you but here is my Top 5 useless features in today’s smartphones. ¬†If your prefer a video over reading any further than jump to bottom of this list now.

1. Top Mounted Power Buttons

A picture of the Asus Zenfone 2 phone and all its colors

Source: Asus

  • This is one those things that shouldn’t have to be said but apparently some mobile mfgs have R&D engineers with extra long fingers or big ass hands. Whatever it is, putting the power button at the top of the phone alienates all of us with normal hands. Forcing us to have to shuffle the phone constantly to reach that power button.
  • Mfgs before you release a phone like this, please understand Knock-On, Double-Tap to Wake, and other software screen-on features are meant to be alternatives should the user actually want to use them. They are not features that the user should feel they HAVE to use cause you didn’t make the power button easily reachable.

2. Heart Rate Monitor/Sensor

Picture of the Samsung Galaxy S5 all it's colors

Source: Samsung

  • Putting any features like this on a phone is just another small reason for mfgs like Samsung to add a few more bucks onto the price without any real benefit to the user.
  • Smartwatches like the Moto 360 and fitness trackers like the Misfit Shine or the Fitbit are widely available and are the only place features like this belong. Fitness trackers being even more so around the time Samsung pulled this foolishness to break into the fitness market.
  • See my video for what I think would be a great alternative for this. ūüôā

3. Skinned OS

htc-one-m9_silver_left

Source: HTC

  • In Android, the dreaded skinned android OS is always a foot. Mfgs are getting better at this but we still have a ways to go and by “a ways” I mean one simple screen that would allow users to choose.¬†Check the video down below to see what I mean by that.
  • Skinning the OS to customize the user experience is not all bad but it’s usually not all good either. The¬†good is getting custom software apps and features built by the mfg like Samsung’s Dual Window, HTC Blink Feed, and LG Smart Suite.
  • Then there’s the bad. If you noticed the last 2 software features mentioned above were just replacements for the¬†vastly better Google Now which is still on those devices along side of the mfgs alternative and you can’t remove either of them. Skinned operating systems bring in a few wanted features and TONS of useless apps/widgets along with poor design choices that¬†slow down the phone. All this results in destroying the preferred user experience that Google or the original maker of the operating system had planned for it’s users. This is the one of the few things I think Apple was right on from the start.

4. Sound Enhanced Audio

ZTE ZMAX Dolby Audio Widget

  • No matter whether it’s Beats Audio, JBL, Dolby, or Bass whatever enhancement, these sound enhancing apps that come pre-installed by mfgs are mostly TERRIBLE, useless features and do nothing to truly make your listening experience any better than without them. As a matter of fact, most of them make it worse.
  • I’ve ran into problems with all of them. Also, when it comes to YouTube, some videos sound better while others straight don’t play correctly or at all with the sound enhancement on which is weird. As far as music is concerned, I have to constantly switch my settings in the sound enhancement app/settings to find one that sounds decent for the type of music I play and for the headphones I’m using which leads me to my BIGGEST problem with this.
  • Sound Enhanced Audio simply doesn’t sound good across ALL media which means you have to keep switching profiles or turning it off and on all the time depending on what you’re listening to. If I have to keep jacking with something every time my media changes, I’m just gonna leave it off all together.

5. Big Screen Resolutions

Picture of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium in gold

Source: Samsung

  • We have all kinds of crazy displays out there now. Curved displays, Edge displays, Quad HD, and now we have officially gone off the deep end and put 4K on your mobile phone with the recent release of the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium. That’s ~806ppi by the way.
  • Here’s the thing, most of the people who had a first look and hands on with the phone couldn’t tell much difference between the Xperia Z5 Premium’s screen and the screen of the high-end smartphone in their pocket. It looked no better then a great 1080p screen with ~400-500ppi which falls right in line with the Samsung S5 and the Apple Iphone 6 Plus screen.
  • After 1080p the only real noticeable improved screen was the LG’s Quad HD display on their LG G3 which¬†made the CPU run hot according to several reviewers but LG fixed this problem with the release of the G4 later.
  • After that, it became a useless feature to put any bigger screen resolutions in the phone and that goes double for using curved display’s in the phone like Samsung’s Galaxy Edge lineup and the LG Flex. Both of which fail to improve the user experience at all on those devices in my opinion.
  • The funny thing is we’re making all these improvements to the screens on the phones while sacrificing battery life. The Sony Xperia Z5 Premium doesn’t run at 4K all the time cause the battery life would tank like a Bugatti in the last gear. Our only “improvement” to the battery has been when Motorola figured out how to put a bigger one¬†in their phone without adding to much bulk when they started the Droid Maxx lineup which is now the¬†Droid Turbo. That’s it. All everyone’s been doing since then is slapping bigger batteries in their phones without making much advancements to the mobile battery itself. Let me tell ya, we’re long overdo for that.

Alright that’s it. That’s my Top 5 useless smartphone features. What are yours? Did I miss anything or am I wrong about any of them? Let me know in the comments below!

 

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