Cool features to look for in your next smartphone

Finger print sensor, fast charging and more—these features are no longer restricted to high-end smartphones alone


If your smartphone’s battery has been running out on you to often in a single day, it is better to invest in phones with features like fast charging. Photos: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
If your smartphone’s battery has been running out on you to often in a single day, it is better to invest in phones with features like fast charging. Photos: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Buying a smartphone can be tricky. While looking at features such as processor, the size of RAM, the quality of the camera and the amount of storage on offer is still the key to finding a dependable smartphone, there are a few elements that can lift your overall use user experience to newer heights and make your life a lot more comfortable. Here are some of the cool smartphone features you should look for in your next smartphone.

USB Type-C

This is a new USB standard that is available in even budget smartphones like the LeEco Le2 and YU Yunicorn. What makes this new USB standard better than micro USB is its design and a couple of features that can improve overall user experience. USB type’s C reversible design allows it to be plugged from any side, unlike micro USB where getting the orientation right before charging a phone or transferring a file is a must. Due to its compatibility with USB 3.1 specifications, USB Type-C can transfer content at speeds of more than 10Gbps, which is two times more of what micro USB can muster. It also allows faster power transfer and is the reason why most smartphones which support fast charging come with USB type C standard.

Finger print sensor

Another feature which is very popular with smartphone users is the finger print sensor. It works by keeping a record of the user’s finger print and then uses to match with the finger print that is used to unlock the phone. The technology was used first in Apple iPhone 5s in 2013 and is available in a number of budget smartphone these days. Finger-print sensor adds an additional layer of security by doing away with the need to type password or pin, every time a user had to unlock the phone. This reduces the time taken to go to the homescreen from lockscreen and also keeps your phone’s password or pattern secure from prying eyes.

Fast charging

If your smartphone’s battery has been running out on you to often in a single day, it is better to invest in phones with features like fast charging. Phonemakers like OnePlus, Samsung, Mototola, Asus and Oppo have developed their own fast charging technology, many phonemakers rely on Qualcomm and MediaTek’s fast charging technology. Some of these phones can charge a phone’s battery by upto 60% in just 30 minutes. Fast charging technology works by enabling proprietary phone chargers to send a much higher voltage to the battery. In some of the new smartphones, like the Nexus 6P, the charger can send 15 watts of power to the battery.

4G VoLTE

Though operators had started rolling out 4G services in India since December 2015, the real uptake of 4G began with Reliance Jio’s entry into the market. The promise of free SIM cards and free data at 4G speeds made Jio an overnight sensation and saw an increase in the sale of 4G smartphones. According to IDC’s Q3 report, published on 15 November, 2016, the shipment of 4G smartphones in India increased by 24.8% over the previous quarter. On 4G network a user can get a download speed of up to 100Mbps. However, due to poor signal and high teledensity most operators have not been able to deliver the promised speed and have managed to provide 20-30 Mbps of speed at most.

One of the benefits of 4G is VoLTE or Voice of LTE, which automatically transfer calls made on conventional Circuit Switched voice network to LTE network and then breaks it down into data packets. Now a regular call would work like a VoIP (WhatsApp or Skype) call and use internet speed to deliver high quality audio. To access it you need 4G smartphones which support VoLTE technology.

Big display

Smartphone with screen size of 5.5-inch or 5.7-inch is no more restricted to a few high profile devices. Big screen smartphones allow greater legroom to users who rely on it for work, watching movies or playing games. Manufacturers have found new ways to incorporate big screen on smartphones. Reducing the size of bezels on the front panel, replacing physical navigation keys with on-screen navigation keys and keeping the weight in check are some of the tactics used by phone makers to make big screen phones look as compact and feel as comfortable to handle as a 5-inch smartphone. The likes of Xiaomi has even gone further with devices like the Mi Max and Mi Max Prime, which offer screen size of 6.4-inches yet are only 7.5mm thick and weigh just 203g.

Colour options in display

Spending a lot of time on smartphone is not good for the eyes. Smartphones with higher resolution are often brighter and can be more stressful for the eyes. There are smartphone which comes with bluelight filter or colour customisation options in the display settings. These, when enabled, can help reduce stress on the eyes by switching off the blue light or switching the colour of the display to warmer tone. They are useful when you use the phone in low light as the when the glare from the screen is often higher.

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