Fancy smartphone features matter less than battery life, say consumers

Curved screens, eyeball tracking and fancy specs are all less important to smartphone owners than basic functions like battery life and usability, research has found

Smartphone manufacturers may be turning to ever outlandish new features in an effort to distance themselves from the competition, but consumers still value battery life and usability over flashy gimmicks, according to new research.

Longer battery longevity, simplicity of use and decent mobile reception are primary concerns for mobile users, over curved or flexible displays, customised exteriors and eyeball tracking, according to data from uSwitch.

Of 5,306 smartphone owners, 28 per cent said usability was their most-prized feature, followed by 21 per cent prioritising reception and battery life.

Other practical aspects like anti-shatter screens and waterproofing were deemed as adding value to a handset by 70 per cent and 57 per cent of owners respectively, while just under half (49 per cent) said a zoom camera lens was a useful addition.

Just 11 per cent were excited by 3D graphics as seen on Amazon’s Fire Phone, while 8 per cent were impressed by customised exteriors like theLG G4’s leather back, and 4 per cent valued curved displays as showcased by the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and newly-revealed Edge+.

The curved edge of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +The curved edge of the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge +

Flexible smartphones, like the LG G Flex and G Flex 2, were considered beneficial by only 8 per cent of respondents.

“British smartphone users are wise to gimmickry. While mobile makers need phones that stand out from the throng, they sometimes forget that a phone is primarily a phone, and it still needs to do all the basics extremely well – such as make calls and not run out of battery,” said mobiles expert Ernest Doku.

“Britons might be cynical when it comes to smartphone specs, and we can sniff a gimmick from a mile away, but we also crave real innovation. And when manufacturers get it right, as they have with fingerprint technology and zoom camera lenses, it vastly improves the smartphone experience.”

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