Smartphones have advantages as they have matured. It is possible to find affordable models for the average user. However, the drawback is that innovation is becoming increasingly difficult. Innovating with a purpose, that is, offering solutions to problems or satisfying demands of users, is challenging.
Many new functions may not meet a real need and are designed more for marketing strategies. These features may appeal only to a small niche of users or tech enthusiasts who enjoy experimenting. In this article, we discuss the most 5 overrated smartphone features that are not useful.
Top 5 Overrated Smartphone Features
144 Hz refresh rates
Not long ago, smartphones had a 60Hz refresh rate. Then in 2019, OnePlus 7 Pro was launched and the sector started accelerating the refresh rate from 60 to 90 and then 120 Hz. However, the first phone to implement 120 Hz was the 2017 Razer Phone.
Initially, 120Hz panels were limited to high-end phones until 2020 when they became available in all ranges. Despite the democratization of high refresh rates, adding more Hertz that the eye cannot appreciate may negatively impact the battery.
In reality, the jump from 120Hz to 144Hz is imperceptible. Additionally, few people can distinguish a screen with 90Hz from another one with 120Hz. Although gamers may appreciate higher refresh rates, most mobile games do not support 120Hz.
I want to discuss my experience with wireless charging. I have been using phones with wireless charging for years now. Initially, it seemed like a great idea to charge the phone during the night and wake up to a fully charged phone. However, I found that sometimes the phone didn’t charge properly because it wasn’t placed perfectly on the charging pad.
Also, when my lightning slot got wet, I had to resort to wireless charging. But I barely used it because of its inefficiency. It turns out that until the Qi2 standard arrived, wireless charging was not efficient. In fact, a study showed that it requires almost 50% more energy than charging a mobile phone with a cable.
Moreover, wireless charging is not entirely wireless. You still need to charge the phone near the socket where the base connects. And you can’t lift it from there. So, while technology is improving little by little over the years, until we reach the Qi2 standard and its virtues, we are facing an inefficient function.
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Nowadays, Quad HD screens are relatively common. These screens have resolutions of 1440p, which translates to 2560 x 1440 pixels. They have been among the flagship features for a few years, and they deserve more credit than they get. Quad HD screens are noticeably sharper and offer more detail than Full HD screens.
However, the downside is that they require more energy to function, which directly affects the battery. This is a crucial factor for people who want their phones to last the entire day.
Another critical aspect to consider is that the resolution is directly proportional to the diagonal of the screen. For example, 32-inch televisions are Full HD. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it has a diagonal of 6.8 inches. Its size prevents us from fully appreciating the maximum resolution it offers. Experts believe that the balance is the 2K resolution.
We believe that more pixels do not necessarily mean better image quality. Although phone manufacturers love to boast about their megapixel numbers, it doesn’t always translate to better photos. In fact, some of the best camera phones on the market, such as the Google Pixel and the iPhone, do not have the highest megapixel count.
Having more megapixels does help to increase the resolution of the photo, allowing you to zoom in and crop parts of the image without losing too much detail. However, this comes at the cost of taking up more space on your phone. While this may be useful for some people, it’s not always necessary. High-end phones already include a zoom lens for taking photos of distant objects. And for standard photos, you don’t need as much resolution.
It’s important to consider that if you plan on sharing your photos on social media or messaging apps, they will be compressed. This means that the extra detail provided by higher resolution photos may not be noticeable in the final photo. Therefore, having more megapixels does not always equate to better photos, and other factors such as lens quality and software processing are equally important.
8K video recording
For almost a decade, we’ve been using the 4K video recording function with a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels. Samsung was one of the first brands to integrate this feature, with the Galaxy S5 in 2014, but back then it wasn’t a highly important feature.
Nowadays, 4K is a common standard that makes more sense with the help of more powerful hardware. Although it does take up a lot of space on your phone. This is especially true since we consume content on devices like phones, tablets, and laptops with screens large enough to see the difference between 1080p and 4K.
However, jumping to 8K (7680 x 4320 pixels) doesn’t provide a noticeable improvement. In fact, aside from professional gaming, 8K resolution is meaningless for mobile video.
The truth is that most smartphone users do not take advantage of these features. They are more interested in basic functionalities like messaging, calling, and browsing the internet. Therefore, it is vital for smartphone manufacturers to focus on offering solutions that align with users’ actual needs and demands to improve their products’ usability and user experience.