Opinion: Smartphones have gotten so good, it’s hard to really get excited anymore

by: Matthew BensonMarch 22, 2016
2.4K

Midrange smartphones 2015-8

It’s almost remarkable to think about the devices we use today: just a few short years ago, “commonplace” components like a QHD display would be unheard of. “Mundane” features like High Fidelity audio would be unthinkable. Heck, even something as “basic” as biometric security was impossible to find. Mobile devices – be they of the smartphone or tablet variety – have truly progressed in an explosive and impressive degree over the past few years.

In turn, many manufacturers have gotten into the mobile game. Over a thousand by account of a piece The Wall Street Journal published last year. The larger and more prominent OEMs have been solid staples for years: Apple, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Samsung. So too, were companies like Nokia and Sony. These days however, the names Huawei, Xiaomi, One Plus, and Oppo are but a few of the “new” comers to the Western world.

galaxy s7 vs htc 10 vs lg g5 aa (8 of 10)See also: Best Android phones (March 2016): our picks, plus a giveaway457

The problem, ironically, is that despite there being so many absolutely fantastic devices, there is an intangible lack of something else. Nothing shocks me anymore; nothing jumps out as “buy me” these days.

I will be the first to admit that, for personal purposes or for the purposes of writing pieces for Android Authority, I test out a lot of devices. My habits are hardly in-line with the average consumer, or even some of the more “standard” enthusiasts. Nonetheless, there is a commonality I have arrived at, and a somewhat disappointing one at that: these devices that were once so special, are now not even holding my attention.

The First Wave of Apathy and a temporary panacea

Around the middle of 2014, I bemoaned what I felt to be the “death” of the industry’s interesting ideas. Products like the Galaxy S5 and the LG G3 simply didn’t excite me at all. The Galaxy Note 3 from the year before had been a major “meh” for me despite it also being a great product in its own right. On more than one occasion I had told friends or family that I felt “bored with smartphones” and “not sure if I could be interested in a new one the same way I once was.”

samsung-galaxy-note-edge-review-aa-23-of-26

The Galaxy Note Edge

When the Galaxy Note Edge was announced however, I was enthralled. This was a device that dared to be definitively different. It was instantly a polarizing product with the curved display and high price tag. And yet, it was seemingly nothing short of pure brilliance. A new way to interact with the same old product, and a new way to present it to boot. Ultimately the Note Edge was so influential that it would be the catalyst that earned me a writing position at Android Authority…

The Galaxy S6/S7 Edges

…so imagine my surprise and disbelief when the Galaxy S6 Edge was released several months later – Spring of 2015 – and I found myself on the other end of the jump-for-joy jamboree. Here was a product that, while it looked nifty, was seemingly a major step back from the intuitive features shown in the Note Edge. In a very real sense, the Edge display was marketed as Samsung for nothing other than being a novelty.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Touchwiz-7

When the S7 Edge was announced just last month, my reaction was even more mundane. As someone who didn’t care in the slightest about the missing microSD or waterproofing from the S6-era, the appeal of the new product was lost, given its retaining essentially the same design.

The ease of upgrading

Making this overall problem more profound is the fact that companies – carriers and manufacturers – have made it easier than ever to upgrade devices. Carriers have long mandated two year contracts, sometimes even three. But as smartphones began to take off in earnest, it became more and more obvious to their balance sheets that customers were suddenly spending like never before. This of course, would translate to more money and thus facilitating an easy upgrade program is in their interests.

Likewise, Apple and Samsung have their own internal programs wherein customers can get tangible benefits by upgrading through the company itself. And then there are sites like eBay, which also facilitate the upgrade process by offering minimum sale price guarantees so the Seller doesn’t have to worry about taking too big a hit.

The Clear Case of Comoditization

Ultimately this situation culminates in the simple reality that smartphones – and tablets by extension – have become commonplace commodities. When one thinks of toilet paper for example, it would be safe to assume there is very little consideration put into the selection process. While prospects like cars, televisions, and smartphones all cost considerably more money, aside from brand loyalty there is very little to differentiate the lot these days.

flagship smartphones aa (14 of 18)

Apple fans will love Apple, and Samsung fans Samsung. This much is a given. But for those who aren’t committed to a specific manufacturer; for those who are open to choice and have changed brands before, they can more-or-less pick the “same” product from over a dozen different vendors nowadays.  Smartphones are so “commonplace” that they have ceased to be different; not because of any given lack of initiative per se, but simply because with so many of the same products being sold, there is truly only so much that can be done to differentiate.

Have Hope (!/?)

Despite the relatively negative portrait painted in this piece, there are a few important things to keep in mind:

  1. The vast, vast majority of the general public does not purchase new devices on an annual cycle. While this may indeed change in the future given how major carriers are keen to eliminate two year contracts and companies like Samsung and Apple are pushing their own upgrade programs, most people simply don’t care about technology to the extent that they need the latest and greatest to survive. For these individuals, new devices will always hold a more special sense of sentiment, because they are both a less common occurrence and because the new product itself will likely have significant upgrades from their previous one.
  2.  While dazzling devices are indeed a thrill to purchase or use, their intrinsic value are – like with everything – of a finite level. Everything is amazing when you first get it, hence many referring to it as the “Honeymoon Period.” It’s only after that ends that a device can truly do what it was designed to: provide communication functions. With all the hoopla and hype put into these products to make them larger than life, at the end of the day we’re still talking about a phone here, not a cure to acclimatization.
  3. It is possible that there will be a device released in the next year or so that truly wows even jaded journalists like myself.

Wrap Up
samsung galaxy s5 smartphones color options 2

While I am clearly not so enthralled with the latest and greatest products that are priming the market, keep in mind that I am not suggesting they are in any way bad products. Ironically the problem, at least as I see it, is that the products are just so good that. The specs have arguably gone beyond the very uses the devices are made for, to the point where it’s seemingly just a spec increase for spec increasing sakes at times.

S7-edge-thumbnailSee also: Samsung Galaxy S7 edge review95

I am particularly interested to know what you, the reader, thinks. Are you also getting jaded by these new devices? Or are you more interested than ever before? Feel free to answer the survey question below, and then post your thoughts in the comments section!

  • Ethan Campbell

    I couldn’t disagree more

    • Diego

      Why do you disagree.
      Or did you mean agree?

      • Ethan Campbell

        I never had a phone before, so any phone or tablet would be exciting for me, and I only care about the operating system.

  • Kevin

    This post is true…..I’m using a 2013 flagship device. It runs all the apps I need there is no lag, expandable storage, a 20mp camera and six inch screen.

    Why change? I have no plans on getting a new device this year. This one does what I need it too and there is no stand out feature that screams drop 600USD on a new device

    • Nikilauta

      I have 1+1 and i know how you feel.

    • cloud strife

      I’m in the same boat. As long as there’s a cm support on G3, it’s going to be hard shelling out money for something that an old device can do. I don’t care about the specs as long as battery is removable, there’s micro sd support, and still get latest os update officially or unoficially.

      The only thing that entices me for a G5 is the band 12.

    • Aditya

      Me too. Still using the nexus 5. I don’t feel the need to upgrade.

  • Ronald Sims

    Finally someone said it. The appeal of new smartphones are slowly but surely decreasing.

  • Their is no groundbreaking or cool new feature to get excited about anymore now that all phones have gotten more advanced

    • samster11

      Disagree. I still see people on iphone 6s going into apps to see transport information when Google Now just pushes to me. That’s huge.

  • Raul

    I wholeheartedly agree, the only reason for myself to upgrade from my current phone which has specs that are about the middle end of today’s market would be to change it for someonething that looks better, yes looks matter for me.

  • mrochester

    This is the problem when the market homogenises around the most successful player in the market (Apple), rather than trying to be truly innovative with hardware and software. Everyone just plays it safe in the hope they will benefit from some of the few scraps that Apple throws them. We need more Apple-like companies to rebalance the market.

    • For that u’ll need a visionary with bravery to sacrifice not profit-loss calculating CEO educated from the same system that’ll only lead to same thinking and decisions.

    • Gibbs

      Nvm

    • Mike

      Apple make over 80% of the profit with around 15% of the sales. Local at global sales, particularly it’s North America that has fetishised apple devices as status symbols, and people burn money for a good phone, but not one worth that much. They are stagnating the market by forcing all android, windows, and other Linux phones to compete for a much smaller remainder of the market. With China subsidising their vendors to sell at cost, the non-apple market will get squeezed more, and original design will be the exception, not the rule. Sadly this poor market is driven by short sighted consumers.

      • leavesremix

        I’d argue China festishizing iphones as a status symbol, just as much, if not more than North America.
        Also, the asian market is much larger than the western market.

      • mrochester

        Instead of criticising Apple for making products that are very desirable and very profitable, you should instead focus your criticism toward Android OEMs for failing to mimic that. Android OEMs just need to start making desirable, profitable products and they’ll be fine.

        • Mike

          So you’re saying all android phones should be iPhone clones, and then people will pay irrational amounts for them too? That’s insane. Talk about suppressing innovation further and ignoring both economics and human nature. Android is a superior OS but is haltered by fragmentary OEM updates and maintenance. Becoming more like iPod would be both pointless and would lessen the differentiation.

          My point is that apple charge people a wealth tax to own a phone that does nothing extra other than to advertise that the user can afford it. Android already matches the features, and with the right OEM, the design. But when apple command most of the profit, the market is choked and this is where the similarities and sovereignty ennui come from.

          Apples SE will reduce the cachet, and the iwatch is just jewellery. Apple need to innovate or else they’ll erode their own position – although those who use it as a fashion brand won’t care.

          • mrochester

            I didn’t say Android OEMs need to make iPhone clones, I said they need to make products that are as desirable and profitable as iPhones. At the moment, they are failing to do that, hence so many are financially gimped. They need to give us a reason to pay premium prices for their products like Apple does.

  • daftrok

    I disagree. It seems like every year phones get better BUT…there is a but. It has a glass back and is slippery as hell. It has a crap mono bottom facing speaker. The OS is bloated with crap. It isn’t waterproof. It doesn’t have OIS. It still has micro-USB. Honestly, phones have a way to go. But what is great now is phone makers are running out of options and eventually will have to create a phone that has all of the above. And once they do, THEN phones will no longer be interesting because they will have checked off all of the boxes.

    • They’ll have new boxes to tick. 2017- Dual Cameras with 1.3 Aperture, SAMOLED Edge Screen, Ultra-Sonic Scanners..

      • drake

        Absolutely agree bro…we’ll never be 100% satisfied and there will always be the next big thing that’s missing, or that everyone wants ad infinitum!

    • peejay

      “…eventually will have to create a phone that has all of the above.”

      This is exactly what I came down here to post. They can’t be commodities if you still have to do a comparison to figure out which flagships are missing which features.

    • Rob Norris

      Technically Samsung uses a heavily skinned version of stock android which is Linux based. Samsung doesn’t have their own “os”. It’s just a heavily skinned version of stock android. Its not an operating system, lol

    • Total Security

      Please… Why clickbaiting so much? You are not disagreeing. Not even the slightest… You are 100% agreeing with the OP. Like me. The thing is: There will come a time where our “smartphones” will become holograms showing us the best and most necessary information we would like to know or need in fitting moments. And I hope it doesn’t take the industry still like 10 years from now on. I hope they will achieve that within the next 4 years. With 5G Internet it would make absolute sense!

  • Chuck Jones

    Why do you guys always include Oneplus in that mix.
    It barely has a small toe in with the rest you named.
    I can only believe you were paid by Oneplus to include them.
    They had one decent phone, but the rest are a big disappointment to consumers.
    Next time leave that company out, as their customer service is atrocious.

  • Diego

    I agree.
    smartphones hit a dead end in 2015.

  • jamie kuester

    I couldn’t agree any more. I used to get as many phones as I could buy n sell. I’m on the moto x pure now, and it’s perfect. It’s not the fastest, but it’s a phone, Im not a gamer. It also doesn’t have fingerprint reader. I work for a living so my hands are constantly cut up and none of those work for me anyway. I have no urge to go out and buy the latest.

  • Abhijith S

    Very true… until LG G5 with its replaceable modules. I’ve never used an LG device before. Hope it turns out to be good

    • Diego

      The g5 looks promising, Tho I don’t hold much hope for it.

  • Igor Božović

    Two years ago I bought SG S5 and it was so unbelievably cool and powerful (compared to my earlier device). And now, two years later, I can’t find the device that brings me thrills. Nothing so new and precious to make me want a new device. Yeah, sure, phones are faster now and they make better photos, but there is nothing really important that my phone can’t do, what new ones can. So it’s now like laptops, I buy new one only when old brakes, and I buy midrange device, nothing special, they all can do Office and browse and play videos and music and edit photos or sound and check e-mails… And none of my colleagues or friends ever gets excited when I bring new laptop to office or to some meeting. More like: Meh, You got a new machine.

  • saksham

    the whole problem is with the software . nexus users will be more prone to become uninterested . honestly in 2014 i switched apple and i became interested in what the device had to offer but then the s6 edge came and i got that beast . ive also tried out windows phones . this back and forth of OS will help u out of this misery

  • samster11

    With respect , the innovation is coming from software – that’s the exciting side. For example, one of, if not the, biggest innovations over the past two years has been Google Now. The hardware is a factor, but the *services* one consumes, aided by the OS, is the important bit.

  • neural_physics

    I disagree, the s7 edge is totally amazing and the hype IS real.

    • No Gods

      Returning mine today but I can’t disagree. It is simply amazing. However not perfect. The glass back is ultimately what drove me to return it. Just smudgy, greasy and gross. Samsung would have had a new customer for life if they had not done that. Say what you will about wireless charging, I find that a novelty that wore off back in the Nexus 4 days.

      • monsterdonutkid

        Of course, because cases and skins do not really exist and are only figments of imagination.

        • No Gods

          I don’t like putting a sticker on my phone and I do not keep it in a case 24/7. Besides that’s pretty bad if one buys an $800 device and can’t even touch it without covering it with something. I loved the phone that display is just stunning, and I do wish I could have kept it though but oh well.

      • coldspring22 .

        Yes Samsung should have given end user choice of flagship phone with sealed unibody/glass back or more traditional open back with removable battery. Clearly Samsung can easily do both, but looks like there is mental block at Samsung HQ

      • Total Security

        What phone are you going for now? :)

        • No Gods

          I have the G5 on pre order.

    • dvdlgh

      Especially that amazing sound. LOL

      • neural_physics

        Yup. Only thing I really miss about my M8 besides the IR blaster is the speakers. They are amazing on the m8, just okay on the s7.

  • Don Rambarran

    If Android Authority wasn’t so used to overlooking, underestimating LG, this article wouldn’t have been necessary.

    • Seeing LG sales, that means the World is overlooking too, this comment than wouldn’t have been necessary.

      • Don Rambarran

        You have to be a special type of “special” if you equate innovation with sales. Apple has cookie monster using Siri, Samsung has Lil’ Wayne pouring champagne over the S7….these companies simply are better and more dilligent marketers than the rest of the pack.

        An entire article is spent mourning the lack of innovation in smartphones….referring to the edge as basically the last new innovation….yet the G5 which is a completely different concept from everyone else is completely overlooked!!! And instead of seeking to enlighten others, you run with the establishment in the most Donald Trump-esque fashion to downplay actual innovation by virtue of popularity. Talk about a cheerleader!!!

    • Mike

      They are one of the few companies who can still afford to innovate to differentiate

  • Nezumi

    Whilst I always enjoy reading about flagships, what I personally find exciting is what the Chinese are doing in the mid-range space. YMMV of course.

    • sdelfin

      Same here. Many brands are making great phones at a lower price point from the top end. I’m also really interested to see how the new SD 650 and 652 chips perform in real-world usage.

    • Le 2, Le 1s.. 32GB base storage, Fingerprint-scanners all in a metal casing at that price.. lower than the Moto G, really it is something ab’t the Chinese phones.

  • musique

    no removable battery = zero interest from my side.

    • retrospooty

      They make wireless charging cases that 100% eliminate the need for that and are much easier to carry around than a spare battery when you are ont he move and away from electricity.

      • coldspring22 .

        Not from my perspective. Say I am away from any power source for more than a day – there is no way I can get by without my spare batteries. (external battery bank are clunky and I prefer not to use those). Another great thing about removable battery is that I never have to tether/sit down my phone at one place. With external battery chargers, I always have charged spare batteries ready to go, and my phone is with me at all times, never plugged in to anything!!

        • retrospooty

          How many batteries do you carry arond with you? LOL. Also I am talking about wireless charging cases not external battery banks or chargers. This just fits on your phone like a case only a bit thicker.

        • The Doctor

          I’m confused…carrying around a credit card-sized external battery bank is “clunky”, but carrying around a spare battery isn’t clunky?

          WTF?

          Your post makes zero sense.

          • musique

            I know……kids these days! :)

          • leavesremix

            The difference is, when it comes time to recharge, you have to set your phone down, or carry it around with a cable and external battery hanging off.
            If you had an extra battery, you swap it out and can leave the dead one on a charger as you go about your business.

          • The Doctor

            Minor inconvenience.

          • Matt

            I have gone from using removable batteries to having to use an external battery pack, and I gotta tell you, not having a removable battery SUCKS. Have you ever carried around an extra battery? They’re extremely thin and tiny. If your phone gets to 0%, You swap the battery and you’re back to 100% in 5 seconds. Removable batteries beat external battery packs in Size, speed, and convenience every day

          • The Doctor

            A spare battery is literally the same size as many external chargers.

          • Matt

            Pretty definitive statement there. Laughable tho. But I’d like to do a comparison since we’re talking “literally” here. The battery for my galaxy S4 was 63 x 57 x 5.3mm and 49.3 grams heavy. Please give me one, just one (don’t need “many”, it’s okay) example of an external battery charger that is the same size as this. Including the cable of course, since I’m assuming that you would need one to use an external battery charger. Annnd go:

          • The Doctor

            If you have enough room to carry around an extra battery, you certainly have enough room to carry around an external battery pack. You’re just looking for another excuse to do more pointless whining.

            It took you this long to reply? I moved on and forgot this post even existed.

          • Matt

            Couldn’t find one eh? It’s okay. You tried

  • Gibbs

    Are you insane? Phones are all terrible these days! And i vote for something else but it counted it as something else for me and it won’t let me change it i now see how accurate these votes are!

    • Mike

      Grampa Simpson?

      • Jeremy Dale

        Best comment ever.

  • Gibbs

    Nothing is improving. Samsung is forcing everybody to upgrade with their software updates which makes Samsung phones disposable.

    I don’t find any good phones anymore, and you can’t mod any of them anymore

    I got a note 4 as a gift and I consider it a downgrade from my nexus 4. Also phones have so many problems. Its like they don’t even test them. They dont need to as they know everybody will buy them anyhow

    • k4ever

      Nothing is worse than a stock Android/Nexus fanatic! IMO, you guys are worse than iOS fanatics and don’t really add much to the overall conversation. You got a Note 4 and thought it was a downgrade from a Nexus 4? A Nexus 4? Seriously, fanatic much? The Note 4 is a way better phone hardware (and software) wise than a Nexus. Google won’t impress me, or the hoards of other Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, etc users until Google allows microSD card slots on Nexus devices and stock Android stops being so damn boring to use.

      • Mike

        It used to be true, but Samsung and the others have learned not to screw up stock android so much anymore. There’s less in the difference now, bar patching. Although this is handy in the age of exploits like stagefright. All it would take would be one very damaging exploit and vendors would have to wake up to patching, at least the current and one less major versions.

      • Gibbs

        Yeah yeah I know the specs are better. Let me explain why I persoanlly think of this as a downgrade. Ok not a downgrade but not what i was expecting from a freaking 800$ phone

        Pros:
        The display is just so god damm brilliant. I can stare at this for hours like its some kind of art! (Other then slight purple smudges and bad whites compared to my friend,s iphone or hrc one m8 or my tv)

        S-pen before it had gone crazy was amazing

        Battery life ks better then my stock nexus 4 but only slightly

        Amazing Camera when it works! (I dont use it anyway :D)

        Cons:

        Lags lagsags lags god damn lags
        Its 1000x better on the last update but still does it. More then my nexus. Game performance is almost the same(main)

        Late or no software updates(main)

        Not as beatiful as my nexus 4 :P

        Quality issued(main)

        Ok so my s-pen has gone crazy after a few months. My screen is full lf scratches with good care(my nexus didnt have front scratches)

        My camera doesnt focus unless i shake my phone vertically :S

        Thats why i hate my note 4. I had s4 before my nexus 4 and I considered buying nexus as an upgrade (my first and only nexus) and my note n7000 were all bad so I dont feel like going. Near super expensive samsung phones again :S

  • Oobiewan

    now show me a phone under 300 USD that will still be a phone without any problems after 1.5 years.
    I see that quality and UX is getting better, but it doesn’t matter how good it is when I still have to spend hundreds of dollars for phones every 2 years. I’ve been using my laptop for more than 5 years now (it costed as much as a flagship phone back then), and with a cheap SSD upgrade, I can still use it for everything I need it including some games. If you want a normal phone experience (without any new edge screens and dual cameras and all hocus-pocuses) for 5 years, it starts at 1200 dollars.

  • Nikilauta

    1+3 hypetrain, ready to go!

  • retrospooty

    I would have said its hard to get excited anymore up until a few days ago… Until I actually laid eyes on my S7 edge. The screen is just brilliant, the battery life is amazing. I am really happy I got it.

  • Christian Baumler

    I hate that the LG G5 is not getting any respect for being substantially different. It is the closest thing to a modular phone right now, and I just cannot believe that is not getting any credit. Sure, phones have a lot of the same things, but the decision is nowhere near as simple as buying toilet paper. Different prices are going to get you different things, and if you treat the phone you have well enough, it will last for a long time. I can see how not getting hyped for new iPhones makes sense, but I still get hyped for whenever a new Android phone is released.

    • Jeremy Dale

      Kudos to LG for the modular system. It’s a good idea, but I haven’t seen any module yet that is useful to me. Maybe the swappable battery, but isn’t the battery fairly small to begin with? Like maybe 2500 mah? Not hating, I’d just hate to have to swap batteries every day.

      I have no indecision when it comes to toilet paper… Charmin ultrasoft every time!

  • Until we start getting mid range phones with Dual SIM, dedicated micro SD slot, dual front speakers. Decent DACs. Full manual controls for stills and video for front and back cameras. User replaceable battery. IR blaster. Quick charge, Nearly a LG V10. Day long battery life. There is still a long way to go.

    • Jarvic Suguitan

      Midrangers do have dual sim support and a dedicated micro sd slot , Look at Sony’s Midrangers unlike Samsung , A dedicated micro sd slot is almost non existent to them

  • RunningGreat

    Speak for yourself.

  • King_Android

    Nexus from here on out unless something magical comes out. But with the 6P I have no interest in the current crop of smartphones, with HTC and LG included. Maybe the next Nexus might make me jump but it would have to come with it to beat out the 6P.

  • The Doctor

    I’ll get excited for cell phones again if they make metal phones that have an IP68 rating and wireless charging.

  • Speak for yourself. I’m excited for a flagship handset with a Snapdragon 820 and adoptable storage enabled by the OEM. None of the above exist so far.

  • Professor Chaos

    I’m finding that I’m becoming more excited about the wearable market than cellphones. They’re so good it’s hard to feel like I have really squeezed out all of the functionality out of my Note 4. But I’m intrigued about the idea of a wearable becoming as indispensable (or moreso) as a phone while the technology matures.

    • Total Security

      And that, my dear fellow friend, is becoming the new mobile market ;)

      Well felt!

  • James Theodore Retuya

    Yeah another whiny opinion article.

  • Jason Birdsong

    I do believe the publisher has the correct idea,these phones are slowly merging into the same thing, everyone is using the same processor (snapdragon 820) or same camera (sony), everyone just copies each other because that’s what they think people want. But there not listening to their customers, we know what we want! Everyone is a little different but honestly why can’t they make a phone with a huge battery? I would take a phone that was 2mm thicker for a 5k mah battery, make a phone with a replaceable battery at (5k) and make it ip67 certified. Have that amazing samsung display with stock Android! Don’t leave out the SD card because although some people don’t use it, some people do and those people want 128gb card full of movies for a long trip (and those replaceable 5k mah batteries should help with that). I think we have truly hit a wall with phones, cheap phones are getting better while great phones are losing there value. Companies like LG have to come up with crazy designs just to peak the interest of the consumers and at some point it won’t make any sense to upgrade every year because my phone from this year will be the same thing as the Samsung 8 ,or the nexus 7, or the iPhone 7SE Pro Air.
    Obviously consumers are pushing these manufacturers to the edge with design and user interfaces but at some point the spec war will end and the pricing war will begin (that’s when it will get interesting).

  • Herman Blume

    It’s hard to get excited about minor variations on a theme when one is still asked to shell out 800 bucks per year.

  • Jarvic Suguitan

    I’m not interested in this year’s phones that were released , the Smartphone Producers just keep on making useless gimmicks that would hardly make any difference on daily usage (*Cough LG G5 Cough*) I would rather have a Powerful and one with a long lasting battery phone than a Phone that has Edged Screens, Also I hate it that OEMs keep on making big smartphones , I’d rather have a small and compact phone that fits me and my needs than a large phone that almost everyone uses just to be in the trend

    • YOTOPRULES .

      Ain’t that right, 6 inch phones are way too big. My Nexus 5 is still good and I’m looking for a cheap upgrade.

      • ROB

        Motorola G 3rd generation

        • Jeremy Dale

          Nice phone except the bezels are too big. Try a 2013 Moto X. Great form factor, and even with an old S4 pro it runs smoother than most new flagships because Moto doesn’t bog the phone down with junk software. Mine only got retired because I needed better battery life (Droid Turbo 2), but I still think about popping my sim back in that phone on a daily basis.

  • Jason

    The you don’t get excited is because nobody does it right still.

    I have lighting charge and smiled… But lack wireless charging, lack water resistance.

    Or I have water resistance, with crappy software, terrible battery life.

    Give me an HTC or Motorola phone software with great battery, wireless charging, Sony’s water proofing. Motorola’s lighting charge and gestures. Good wifi, HTC battery saving modes, in a form factor that’s not a tablet.

  • Jason Wilson

    Announce the Xiaomi Mi5 is coming to the USA for $250 and I’ll do backflips from excitement.

  • Andrew Spice

    So I guess the author didn’t know about the LG G5 when writing this article… How can you sit there and say that manufacturers aren’t doing anything different? I know it doesn’t tick every box for everyone, and even if it turns out to be a massive flop, LG are the only company who can say they tried something different.

    • Thisath Ranawaka

      I donno, something about the G5 doesn’t seem right. Maybe it’s because I watched the G5 reveal- the most cringiest show ever, or that fact that I don’t believe that LG can sell the modules well. This is coming from a LG ‘Fanboy’ , I’ve owned a G2, got my mum two former LG midrange/flagships and am writing this on a G4. The G5 leaves everything I loved about the LG behind, the quiet matureness, the outlandish quality of design, and the silent champion attitude they had with the G3 and G4. The G5 seems so childish and moving back to the ‘rest of the pack’ with its flat metal camera bump inclusive design. It seems so… Gimmicky and that’s not something I’ve associated with LG since the G2 software – gimmicks belong with Samsung! However, I applaud LG for trying something new, but the fact that it’s trying to fit in with the ‘cool kids’ again at the same time doesn’t seem right!

  • ichuck7

    I still get excited about new phones, but I mo.linger feel like I NEED TO have the latest and greatest. There’s tons of good phones that are old that still suffice. It’s hard to justify upgrading to the newest when I can buyou two phones from last year that areven still awesome.

  • lance

    Actually u only have choice if ur with Android I’ve noticed ove last year as Android has kinda run away from ios in terms of clearly being superior in every way, that the same arrogant apple turds that used to say how apple was soooo SUPERIOR, nkw have the habit of talking about something where adroid is light years ahead and then saying both adroid and iOS r both great options…. Yeah one is free a d works better with more features and Better presentation, while.other is pricey each month and is worse for money than the comparison

    • k4ever

      I agree with your statement (just not the insults to iOS users). Android devices offer more choice, are more versatile, have more manufacturers, and are superior to iOS devices in almost every way. If you are “locked” into the Android ecosystem, you have over a thousand devices to choose from from over a thousand manufacturers. If you are “locked” into the iOS ecosystem, you only have a handful of (IMO boring) devices to choose from from just one manufacturer. Android offers way more freedom. I am starting to recommend Android to all of my friends and family, even the technologically challenged ones who I would have recommended Apple devices to in the past. This is strictly because Android just offers more.

  • Jeremy Dale

    Totally agree with this article. Nothing released so far this year has been impressive. They’re all the same. In fact, Apple is the only who has done anything that really stands beside the crowd (by releasing a nearly flagship level, small screen phone).

    Although, I am partial to Motorola, I’m no stranger to using other devices as my daily driver. Currently, it’s a Droid Turbo 2… 90% for the battery life, 10% for the shatterproof screen. Otherwise, I hate it because it’s a big screen with big bezels, and it’s terribly unergonomic.

    I tried the new S7 because the form factor is great, but the software, however useful, make the phone lag more than my 2013 Moto X does (I still use that phone as a guitar tuner, and it’s still quite lovely sans the battery life).

    There are only a couple manufacturers that stand out to me… Moto for the shatterproof screen (which will hopefully get some smaller bezels and be seen in all of Moto’s models in the near future)… Blackberry for the keyboard and added security on the Priv… LG for the modular design (if there is any real world use for the average consumer, I fail to see it)… And only one of those came in 2016.

    HTC’s new phone will be just as boring as Samsung’s, and nothing else interesting is likely to be released anytime soon.

    It seems to me that these companies would want to distinguish themselves… Not just put out a phone with the latest snapdragon and about a 5″ screen and 3000 mah battery, and make it look as much like an iPhone as possible without getting sued.

    I’d bet there’s a US market for a flagship with a 5000 mah battery. Another market for a sub 4.7″ flagship phone. Another market for an OG Droid type slider. Etc, etc, etc.

    It seems that every OEM just makes a conservative phone that will be received well by most. If we did that with automobiles… Everyone would be stuck in a compact SUV because the niche trucks, compact cars, and vans would all have inferior engines and interiors, be missing key features, and be generally outdated.

    Why not try to meet the needs of everyone?

    • k4ever

      Bull crap! Your post was just a sleazy Apple advertisement disguised as a legitimate post. So many folks have graduated beyond 4 inch phones and larger phones have become much easier to handle due to better design that what Apple released this week was not innovative at all. For the most part it was laughable and completely out of touch with the market. Apple is catering to a niche crowd with this product (the SE).

      The real innovation this year goes to Samsung (for making large dual edge phones, with great cameras, that are easier to hold) and LG (for making a unibody phone with a removable battery). Apple gets no points for “going retro.” What’s old is new again is such a terrible slogan — not used by Apple, but the concept is the same.

      • Mike

        Easy there. He called out a number of OEMs, not just apple.

        • k4ever

          LOL! I wrote this at 1am after a long drive. Guess I should have read the whole post before overreacting. My point still stands (although I should have been less forceful making it), Apple did nothing special with the SE.

          • Mike

            Agree with you on the SE. Apple are diluting their brand too.

          • Jeremy Dale

            I guess you just saw a positive comment about Apple and assumed that I’m a fanboy. Not at all true. I’ve tried Apple, and while I generally like their hardware… iOS just fails to be real competition for Android these days. That said, I do use an iPad for reading (and nothing else).

            The reason I say that the iPhone SE stands out is because it does. Over the past couple years, quality phones in this size range have entirely disappeared. Samsung ditched the S series mini, HTC ditched the One Mini, Motorola caught a case of giganticism.

            Sure, most people like a 5″ phone, and there are some that like a 5.7″ phone… But there are also some that like a 4″ phone.

            My point is that where the Android ecosystem once consisted of an exciting variety of devices… Spanning all feasible sizes, and offering all kinds of different features catering to many different wants and needs… Now you only get to choose between different manufacturers’ take on the same device.

            Thus… Boring. As the article states.

          • Thisath Ranawaka

            I think you have point, but you fail to look at the Sony Z5 Compact. Utterly amazing flagship in a small body. I can’t really think of anything wrong with it except that’s it’s a bit expensive and the camera isn’t _that_ great.

          • Jeremy Dale

            I have done a lot of looking at the Z5 Compact. I’m not honestly sure what’s stopped me from getting it. It took a long time to make it to the US, and when it finally did it was missing the fingerprint sensor and isn’t compatible with Big Red. Otherwise, it looks like a good phone. Maybe it was just too little too late for me.

          • Thisath Ranawaka

            God dammit Sony. I totally forgot what they did with the Fingerprint sensor. I honest don’t know wtf they were thinking when they removed it. In that case, it was wise of you to step back from it. You shouldn’t put up with stuff like that. I really do think Sony, of advertised properly, could do well in the American market. But that ships sailed now, and even the ships they’ve managed to get in are sailing away from them.

  • durghe

    I am excited, im waiting meizu with ubuntu. Someday they will release a final version of ubuntu phone with all the apps and then i’ll be too old for understand how does it works.

  • max

    Jaded as you.
    I have been changing flagship every year , but I decided to stop to gift my money to companies.

  • Alexandru Diaconu

    We don’t need new phones each 6 months.

  • Roberto Tomás

    Personally, I am starting to look at smartphones as complete PC replacements — why ow a PC when any wireless keyboard/mouse and television would do? Yes, I realize there are answers, like gaming, or android studio .. but I expect those distinctions to crumble. Any Helio X10 or Snapdragon 650 or better phone is already performing as well or faster than a ~250-$750 intel-based tablet, even the very best of those. The top end in mobile right now is getting pretty darn close to my current ivy bridge desktop (except the graphics card). That include storage and ram speeds.

  • Andy

    I used to live in the US where tehcnology is probably cheapper then in any country. Upgrading was no problem… Here in Brazil, things are different and very few people can afford upgrading their devices every year. Even the ones who can, are thinking twice for the exact same reasons you explain in your article above. I am using a Moto X 2014 since a few months after it was released and I still love it. It is a great phone and I will probably stick to it for another year or say, at least when I am not able to upgrade the Android OS anymore.That I make sure I can have. The updated Android.

  • Simon Quach

    That statement is true if you own a flagship Android phone. But if you own an iPhone you still got so many things to get exited about since they’re still playing catch up.

  • onstrike112

    The only one device that’s different from the sea of Apple and Samsung ripoffs is the BlackBerry Priv, and past that, I don’t see changing for a long time. Samsung hasn’t learned that touchwiz needs to be ditched, LG needs to learn what real innovations are, HTC needs to stop dropping innovations they made already, and those Chinese vendors need to stop copying Apple and innovate themselves.

  • Markoff

    I dunno man, what about LG G5 or yotaphone (eink display on back), those were pretty innovative phones though it seem like gimmicks not so practical in real life but she i could use eink display for time and notifications

    you should also blame more and more leaks, of course if you know what to expect your mind won’t be blown by surprise

    me personally am not very impressed to ask myself “wow how did they do it?” since i don’t see anything revolutionary in recent years