Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (2023)

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (1)
C. Scott Brown opinion piece

There is no doubt that when it comes to buying a smartphone, consumers have almost limitless choices. There are more than a dozen well-known manufacturers, some of which release over a dozen phone models each year alone. This does not even include the offers from smaller providers.

But as limitless as that choice may seem, the pool of options gets much smaller once you start considering your essential smartphone functions. These "deal breaker" features are aspects of a smartphone that you absolutely cannot do without. When you first start shopping with these essential smartphone features in mind, your choices may be so limited that you're left with just one device that suits your needs. Sometimes you will find that nothing at all suits your needs.

Maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about. Maybe you don't have a mental list of all the things a smartphone needs to have or do to make it worth the money. If so, check out my personal list of top smartphone features below. This list can help you draw your own conclusions and become a more informed buyer.

For the sake of clarity, I will not go into the "basics" of a smartphone, such asBluetooth support, Wi-Fi support, a front and rear camera, etc. Yes, of course, these are essential smartphone features, but you will hardly find a recent phone that does not offer them.

These features are not listed in any particular order as they are all equally important to me. When you're done reading, vote on the poll below and let me know what your top smartphone features are! Who knows, you might change my mind.

An elegant android skin without bloat

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (3)

Unlike many Android fans, I'm not crazy about itVanilla Android. I find it too powerless for my personal taste. I like it when companies enrich the Android experience by incorporating interesting features, designs, and extra touches that make using Android a pleasure in everyday life.

However, some companies go too far. Many Android skins I've used are so overblown with proprietary features and bloatware apps that you can almost feel the phone slow down when navigating while some other design changes have been madeMakes no sense, are ugly, or both. Creating an Android skin is a bit of a delicate art.

Android skin bugs that don't make sense. functions

In my experience, no Android skin has ever made itOxygenOS, the skin that comes with OnePlus phones. It's simple, beautiful, and offers key features missing from vanilla Android without being overly intrusive.

I also like Google's Android skin, available on Pixel phones, which is very similar to the vanilla Android, albeit with subtle tweaks.

However, I have to admit that Samsung is newA user interfacelooks incredibly interesting. I absolutely loathed both TouchWiz and Samsung Experience, but this new version seems quite balanced. I'm interested in trying it out soon.

Fast loading support

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (5)

As of late 2017, it seemed like everyone was desperate for itWireless charging. I've never seen a need for wireless charging myself, as I only ever charge my phone in two places: on my bedside table when I go to sleep and in my car. Sticking a wireless charger in my car would be pointless, and I don't want to take the extra two seconds to plug in my phone before I go to bed.

This is how fast charging really works: Your guide to wireless and wired fast charging

Which really means a lot more to me than wireless chargingfast charging. When my phone's battery runs low at an inconvenient time, I don't want to plug it into a charger for a few hours to charge it. I want it to be charged and ready to go within minutes if possible. On the other hand, wireless charging and standard charging just don't work, which is why I would never buy a phone without fast charging.

One day, wireless charging could be more easily integrated into my life, offering speeds as fast as a plug. When that day comes I might change my mind, but for now I'm all about charging as fast as possible.

USB-C port

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (7)

Speaking of charging: the times of the micro-USB connection are over: for me it isUSB-COtherwise I won't buy your phone.

Granted, almost every major flagship from the last two years has a USB-C port, but you'd be surprised how many phones we've covered in 2018 had a micro-USB port instead.

What is USB Type-C? Or is it USB-C? Leader

Luckily, the only thing I have to worry about is a company releasing devices with a non-standard proprietary port (*cough* Apple Lightning *cough*), so it's easy to avoid. But until Micro-USB is 100 percent dead, I always double-check if a new device has a USB-C connector so I can be sure I'm getting both fast charging speeds and fast data transfer speeds.

Also, I have some USB-C dongles that I'd rather not replace.

The company's history of regular and comprehensive software updates

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (9)

That's huge. Buying a new smartphone is an investment: I expect to use it for at least two years, maybe longer. Granted, I'll probably upgrade sooner because I love smartphones and want the latest stuff, but I'll keep the phone anyway.

Are Android updates getting faster? Let's look at the data functions

What's the point of making such an investment only to find out less than a year later that the manufacturer isn't releasing software updates (or, worse, security patches)? It's a bad investment.

Certain companies have proven themselveswhen it comes to software support, including OnePlus,Important, Google (obviously) and evenSamsung(The company has made great strides in the past year). Meanwhile, many other companies have a pretty bad update reputation, including LG,HTC, and Motorola. I definitely keep these calls in mind before I buy a phone.

Front-facing fingerprint sensor

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (11)

This will probably be the most controversial entry on this list for some readers. The debate over fingerprint sensor placement can get quite heated for some people, with both sides claiming the superiority of both options.

I fall straight onto the side of the forward facing sensor.

How to lock apps and files with your fingerprint

I've used one for a long timeOnePlus 5Like my everyday car that has a forward facing sensor. I then switched to using oneGoogle Pixel 2 XLfor a time, and then at oneOnePlus 6, both of which have a rear sensor. In both cases, I cried every time I had to pick up the phone from the desk to unlock it. It's a pain in the first world, I know, but it was a pain nonetheless.

When I gotOnePlus 6TWith its in-display fingerprint sensor, it was a relief. Finally the sensor is back in the front where it belongs and I no longer have to lift it off my desk to unlock it!

Now I know I can never go back. Until there is a new biometric security system that is better than a fingerprint sensor, I will only buy phones with a sensor on the front. It can be a built-in sensor or a regular sensor - I'm not picky - but it has to be on the front.


Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (13)

I love using itGoogle Pay. Nine times out of ten, when I'm in line at a store, I already have my phone in my hand. When I arrive at the checkout, why should I put my phone away and reach for my wallet instead? It's much easier to pay by phone.

So I would never buy a phone without itNFC-Chip (Nahfeldkommunikation).inside to enable these contactless payments.

I have to admit that I've never used NFC to set up a peripheral like a router or anything. But maybe I will in the future, who knows?

Either way, for me, the NFC chip is an integral part of every Android smartphone, just for Google Pay.

actually taken

Conclusion: These are my 7 essential smartphone functions (14)

I saved this for last as it is the most variable of all seven important smartphone functions on this list. When I say a "fair" price, I don't necessarily mean a "cheap" price. Of course, I want to spend as little money as possible on a smartphone to get the features I want—but I'm not a cheapskate either.

It's clear from this list that I have quite a few choices when it comes to buying a phone. My current everyday driver — the OnePlus 6T — ticks every box on this list, starting at $549. But I could easily have bought oneGoogle Pixel 3, which starts at $799. I could have gone wild and paid $1,000 for itSamsung Galaxy Note 9.

How Much RAM and Storage Does Your Phone Really Cost? functions

Ultimately, if I thought $1,000 was a fair price for a smartphone, I would pay it. Unfortunately, I think the Galaxy Note 9 is overpriced, and I also think the Google Pixel 3 is overpriced. There aren't many reasons for either device to make me think they should be that expensive, especially when the OnePlus 6T offers everything I need for hundreds less.

In the future there may be a phone that is very expensive but offers features that justify the price. If so - and it meets my other six requirements here - I'll buy it. As long as the price is fair.

What are yours?

Depending on your own preferences, you and I might have a lot in common when it comes to essential smartphone functions. Or we share little or nothing at all. You may be amazed that I don't care about the latest high-end processor, camera quality or IP ratings. You might be glad I didn't put "no level" because you're tired of talking about "level". You could almost explode because the term "headphone jack" doesn't appear once in the entire article.

Well let me know how you feel! Cast your vote in the poll below and let us know in the comments if you have anything to add.

I'm curious whatAndroid authorityReaders say about their own essential smartphone features. I'll hang around in the comments section and chime in from time to time. Show me what you have!

NEXT:The best manufacturers of smartphone cases



Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edmund Hettinger DC

Last Updated: 05/10/2023

Views: 6444

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 85% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edmund Hettinger DC

Birthday: 1994-08-17

Address: 2033 Gerhold Pine, Port Jocelyn, VA 12101-5654

Phone: +8524399971620

Job: Central Manufacturing Supervisor

Hobby: Jogging, Metalworking, Tai chi, Shopping, Puzzles, Rock climbing, Crocheting

Introduction: My name is Edmund Hettinger DC, I am a adventurous, colorful, gifted, determined, precious, open, colorful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.