What makes a smartphone great?

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Last week, on the Spin-Up Show, Alex and I talked about what makes a smartphone great. To me, this is a very interesting question, and one that I want to explore more. Every smartphone nowadays has a big screen on the front, a camera on the back, some type of home button at the bottom, and a power button on the side, but yet, everyone still has a different phone. What gives?

When I shop for a phone, I want to find something that is different, but not too different. For example, the LG G5’s modularity wasn’t something I wanted to mess with. I had a feeling it wouldn’t be successful, and it wasn’t a feature I needed. However, the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S5 I still own today was a feature I knew would come to love. I didn’t know it would become a staple of every great smartphone, but I knew I wanted a fast and safe method for unlocking my phone.

Now, however, the scene has changed. Almost every phone, be it an iPhone or Android, has similar features and specifications, so buying a new phone really comes down to the nitty-gritty details and any extra cool features.

It is about time for me to start looking into a new phone, and I already have my heart set on the Galaxy S8. To me, that phone is exciting because of the nearly bezelless display (my monitors at home and my computer both have less than 7mm bezels). Small bezels are a feature I covet, and since most phones are very similar, it is a factor that is driving me towards Samsung’s soon release.

In addition to small bezels, the phone’s design as a whole looks great. This is absolutely a matter of personal preference, as I certainly believe it should be, but to me, the Galaxy line looks the nicest. Above all other Android phones, I like the glass look and the shape of the phone, which is one of the only aspects of a phone that cannot be easily copied.

Another feature that stands out to me on the Galaxy S8 is the software. Call me crazy, but I actually really like the way TouchWiz looked, and I think Samsung is doing a really nice job of balancing practicality, usability, and beauty. I love the very quick access to WiFi and Mobile Data toggles, and among other features, being able to hide apps and put apps in folders in the applications view makes finding an app very easy.

While it is sad that phones have become so monotone, it allows the once-in-a-while devices to really shine. Every phone has its amazing features, but ultimately, the choice is up to you about which company gets your $700, which to me is why small extra features and design tweaks make or break a phone.

When I buy my next phone, I’ll know to look for those tiny additions that let me know my new phone’s company stands behind their product. You might look for a great camera, a large battery, or a certain amount of storage, but regardless of what you need in a phone, the reason so many phones exist is to satisfy everyone’s feature list.

Whenever it’s time to shop for a new phone again, I encourage you to take your time and figure out which phone will check the most boxes. It’s an important decision that you’ll have to live with for two years, so choose carefully.

What features do you look for in a phone? Make sure to tell me down in the comments. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Zachary Sherman

Since I was a small child, everything tech has interested me. A few years ago, I started watching tech YouTube and after putting two and two together and meeting Alex, we started creating New and Improved.

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