Top 10 Features in Phones That Are Gimmicks Only

Top 10 Features in Phones That Are Gimmicks Only

With the advancement in smartphone technology, the market is flooded with countless features whether it be multiple camera madness, foldable displays, under-display fingerprint reader, and even an under-screen camera. However, many of these features that entice customers are gimmicks. Always think about features before buying a phone. There are smartphone experts online to help you out. Anyways, from the no.of camera madness to wireless charging, what are these gimmicks? Let’s find out:

1) The High-Resolution Camera Race

108mp-camera-mobile-phones-list-upcoming---7

What does a 108MP camera or a 200MP camera sound like? Cool, right? It makes us believe that the photo generated will have a super high-resolution image. Well, such large pixels may sound exciting on a specs sheet, however, they really have 108MP and 200MP cameras, even the lower ones which are 64MP and 48MP cameras.

Remember, back in 2015 and 2016 we had interpolated cameras. This means that an original 8MP camera was upscaled to 16MP through image scaling. In 2022, they are back, but with a better technology called ‘pixel binding’. This allows a lower megapixel camera to generate a higher resolution image by binding small pixels to generate a large pixel hence a larger resolution.

For example, a 12MP Samsung GM2 camera sensor with a 1-9 (3×3) pixel binding technology can generate a 108MP image by default. Thus, on hardware, this camera is actually 12MP but on phones such as Xiaomi 11 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, it is advertised as a 108MP camera sensor.

The 108MP and 200MP camera phones are partially a gimmick with some actual useful features but also some drawbacks. The pros include a detailed image and zooming in on daylight images. However, the drawback is poor lighting during nighttime or low light scenarios when compared to an original 12MP camera with the same specs.

2) The Number of Cameras Madness

Nokia 9 PureView DxO

In the good old early days of Android phones, we had a single camera that was optimized to capture every possible type of image whether it be bokeh, portrait, wide, and even ultrawide. The best thing was that the well-optimized sensor didn’t have to change at all to any other sensor in any of the modes. This means that a 20MP camera would generate a 20MP camera photo in all modes.

Then came the dual camera, triple camera, quad camera, and even a Penta camera setup in Nokia 9 Pureview. But the problem with such a setup is that the numbers may look great on paper and even a dedicated camera lens for a specific mode is better than a single camera, however, apart from the main camera, other cameras are either not well-optimized with the software and other cameras or have poor camera specs (low resolution, old model sensors, low aperture, and the list goes on.

I might not have considered this a gimmick if almost 90% of the manufacturer did provide good multiple cameras both with good hardware and software.

3) Under-Display Camera

ZTE Axon 30 5G front camera

In order to achieve the complete 100% screen-to-body ratio, we have generated the era of Under-display cameras thanks to ZTE.

I consider this UD camera or under-screen camera a gimmick looking at the current development. To compare the traditional selfie camera vs the UD camera, we must look into the design of each camera. The traditional selfie camera has a separate area in the chassis and a dedicated opening on the front protected by crystal clear glass. Because of this, such a camera sensor isn’t restricted to size and aperture and can capture more light in the images. You can even fit a 1-inch Sony IMX989 if the notch is large enough or even via a motorized mechanism.

Meanwhile, under-display cameras are placed under the display which limits the space and size of the camera. Moreover, the worst part is that nice there’s no clear glass on the camera lens, but instead, microscopic glass holes are used to capture light. First of all, that camera opening is pretty much visible while operating the phone. Secondly, light capturing is a nightmare when compared to traditional selfie cameras. Last but not least, breaking your display means that you are putting that UD camera at the risk as well. Such LED/OLED displays are super expensive if they are embedding fingerprint readers and/or under-display cameras.

Currently, I think this technology is more of a gimmick just to show off.

4) Blue Light Filter

Top 10 Features in Phones That Are Gimmicks Only - Blue Light Filter

This one is a software-based gimmick, not a completely useless gimmick, but a gimmick for what it is advertised as. You might have seen this slogan on many posters on electronics with a display:

Blue light filter is better for your eyes which helps reduce digital eyestrain

According to a recent study; where equal individuals were exposed to a blue light screen and a screen with a blue light filter; revealed that a blue light filter doesn’t help reduce digital eyestrain. So what helps reduce eyestrain? Viewing frequency, viewing angle, and breaks between viewing all these help reduce eyestrain and corneal damage.

However as said at the start, the blue light filter isn’t completely useless. Reducing the blue light from the screen, especially in the evening or at night, does improve the body’s circadian rhythm, allowing you to sleep at night.

5) Dual Curved Display

Meizu 17 side curved edges

Curved displays might be attractive and improve the overall look of smartphones. After all, they are featured in flagship phones only. Just to provide you with an almost borderless viewing experience, phone manufacturers are now providing dual curved displays with a curvature of up to 90 degrees.

In reality, this gimmick is nothing more than a headache to the majority of smartphone users. The internet is filled with users begging manufacturers such as Samsung to use the flat displays in their flagship series. Well, there are two problems with such a display:

  1. Durability: Dual curved displays are not durable. It doesn’t matter even if you apply for the Gorilla Glass Victus Protection on it, one small fall can force you to spend up to $500 for a new display. The damage done is mostly around the edges of the screen and you will see many dotted phones to purchase which are not surprisingly Samsung Galaxy phones and other brands of dual curved display phones. I had a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 three years back and even falling from the bed forced me to change its display 2 times (with the UV protector and back case on). Now, I have a Xiaomi Mi 10T (flat display) and with only the back cover, this brick even survived a fall from the ladder.
  2. Accidental touches: Dual edge displays are notorious for accidental touches. Some smartphones do have settings to decrease touch sensitivity from the edges but still, that hasn’t completely eliminated the problem. That is why most gaming phones don’t have curved displays but instead flat ones.

6) 8K Video Recording

8K

8K video recording in phones was enabled with Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 released back in 2021. Though at first, it did sound cool to capture beyond 4K (4 times the UHD resolution). However, the problem is that the 8K video format isn’t supported on almost every major stream like Netflix. The content available in 8K is super rare. Keeping these problems aside, we also have less than 1% of the displays (TV, monitor, phones) with 8K video support.

Moreover, at the current moment, we have an 8K resolution limited to only 30 fps. It would be much better to record 4K at 60fps rather than 8K at 30fps. In short, it looks like the year 2022 is too early for 8K video recording, and in current smartphones featuring it, it’s nothing more than a gimmick.

7) More the RAM, More the Speed

Top 10 Features in Phones That Are Gimmicks Only -More RAM

This sentence is somewhat true. Getting a phone with a high RAM capacity is crucial for the performance of smartphones, especially if you have many apps installed or running simultaneously. In 2022 with some advancements in the UI and apps, 6GB RAM is enough for daily usage with light gaming, and 8GB RAM for video editing and extreme gaming. Even if you fall short of memory, almost every phone has now an additional 3GB of virtual memory (taken from storage) to help you cover that.

However, those 12GB and 16GB RAM phones are gimmicks for now. At the moment, smartphones don’t have applications and OS that would need such high memory, not even high-end games like Genshin Impact or PUBG: Mobile, when compared to PCs. For example, I have an 8GB Mi 10T which has never come short of memory. With the PUBG mobile playing at 90fps and even WhatsApp running in window mode, I’m still left with 1.5GB of unused memory.

What’s more to look at apart from the RAM capacity?

In 2022, the type/technology used in the RAM is more important than the capacity, bringing brings drastic performance changes. Instead of buying a 12GB LPDDR4x phone, buy an 8GB LPDDR5 phone and you will feel the performance difference. We have written an article as well where we have compared LPDDR4 vs LPDDR4x vs LPDDR5 RAM types.

8) Higher Refresh Rates (Above 120Hz)

gaming phone guide refresh rate

Similar to the 8K recording feature, it’s too early for smartphones to feature higher refresh rates than 120Hz. You do notice better fluidity (smoothness) when you move from a 60Hz display to a 90Hz display and then from a 90Hz display to a 120Hz display. However, the difference between 120Hz and 144Hz is barely noticeable. With the release of the Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro, we even have 165Hz.

With this Hertz madness going on, the problem is that apart from competitive gaming, absurdly high refresh rates (above 90Hz) don’t serve any other purpose. Surely, the smoothing scrolling which improves with an increase in Hertz is too satisfying. But, even almost every competitive game is locked to either 60 fps or 90 fps (maximum). Buying an expensive 165Hz display phone to play a 90 fps locked game isn’t the best of your plans, surely just a gimmick.

Another problem is the scrolling issues which randomly happen when the phone is running at a higher refresh rate than the standard 60Hz.

9) Wireless Charging

Elephone U Pro - Wireless charging

I have mocked wireless charging in the past, and I will still mock it today. This technology is one of the reasons why we don’t have metal phones anymore. Wireless charging is one of the best technologies which saves the precious time of the consumer wasted by plugging the Type-C charging cable into the phone. Jokes aside, it allows the user to charge the phone just by placing the back of the phone on a charging station/plate/dock.

While you can use your phone during wire charging, however, this is not possible in wireless charging. Apart from this, wireless charging power is slower compared to wired charging. As of now, we have 120W on the fastest charging phone via wired and 67W on wireless charging. However, most phones only support up to 10 to 20W wireless charging.

Air charging will solve the current problems of wireless charging (using the phone while charging) but it’s in development.

10) Foldable Phones

OPPO Three-Hinged Folding Phone Concept back
One of OPPO’s foldable phone concept design

Looks like we are moving back to the glorious era of flip and folding phones. However, this time we have a twist. The entire phone can be folded including the display as well. This allows manufacturers to make larger screen size phones which can also fit in a pocket when folded. Well, do we really need larger phones? Well, that’s what tablets are for.

Foldable display technology has many downsides from expensive repairing and replacing costs, to hinge problems and even the weird visual build on the hinge area from where the phone is folded.

Though your friends might get impressed by looking at the foldable phone mechanics. However, this gimmick will cost you your pocket comfort (thicker phones) and the visual display.

Manufacturers continue to introduce gimmicks from time to time and the common audience continues to fall into such gimmicks. It’s time, to sum up, this article. Did we miss any gimmick? Let us know in the comments!