/ Technology

What phone features are most important to you?

What’s most important to you when you buy a smartphone? Fingerprint scanning, voice control, 3D graphics…? Somehow I don’t think it’s any of those.

Ease of use – a third of Brits voted this as their most important smartphone feature in a uSwitch survey. A fifth put phone call reception top, with an equal amount choosing battery life. Flash features fell by the wayside.

Sure, a fingerprint scanner is nice and all, but at the end of the day it’s of no use when the battery runs out.

I own a Google Nexus 4, and I have to say the things I appreciate most are its speed, ease of use and the ability to customise the software. What do I most dislike about it? Its poor battery life and its average camera.

Uswitch’s survey confirms that better battery life would sway customers, with 89% saying that this would make them more likely to buy a particular phone. Interestingly, waterproofing or a zoom camera lens were also popular reasons to buy one phone over another.

An aversion to gimmicks

Ernest Doku from uSwitch comments on the results:

‘It’s becoming increasingly hard for smartphone makers to differentiate their handsets from those of their rivals. They hope that flash features like fingerprint ID on the iPhone 5s, or Amazon’s Fire Phone and its “Dynamic Perspective” display, will give their phones the edge.

‘However, our research shows that Brits can spot a gimmick from a mile away. It’s actually the basics that affect the every day user experience – like long battery life and a robust design – that people really care about.’

What smartphone features are more important to you? And if you’re loyal to a particular make of phone, what one or two features in a competitor’s phone would make you want to switch sides?


Electrocuting people driving motor vehicles would be top of my list. Or failing that, the phone automatically texts the nearest police station.

I just need 3 things on my mobile.

1) To make calls
2) To listen to music
3) To have Twitter

That’s it, when massive phone companies come out with all this “fancy” stuff it just makes me worry about the price truth be told.

Well that goes without saying :p

It is probably cheaper to have a whole swarm of functions on every smartphone so people can select what they want. What would be a good idea is to have a way of hiding those they don’t use so the screen only shows the ones they want, such telephone, music and twitter in the case of this Mr Beaumont.

In fact I think there is a product on the market that does this, aimed at elderly people, but the name of it escapes me.

Agree with John, the ability to uninstall the “integrated” apps which I will never use.
My prioirties are Battery Life, ability to use camera without unlocking phone and a screen I can see in bright sunlight !

Yes, there are many apps on the phone that I don’t use, but it’s a bit like a Swiss army knife and it does a lot of useful things…. make phone calls, send texts, use the diary, use the calculator, look up things and download PDF files, occasionally take a photo, connect it to my car, look at the maps and use the attached keyboard, which is the most important feature on the phone. I have bought a larger battery which still needs charging too often. Twice I’ve used the word processor, just for editing a ‘Word’ document on the go. Serious typing would be daft. I can print things wirelessly, too. I used to look at the weather forecast, but a glance out of the window is just as good.

Quite so.

There are an awful lot of people who would never consider buying a computer, but are quite happy buying a telephone. The manufacturers’ solution:

Call a computer a telephone. People seem to love telephones. Eventually people start using the other functions.

The sad thing is, that a desktop computer with a proper screen and keyboard is so much easier to use. (Although you can’t take it with you when you are spending hours in waiting rooms.)

Barry Cooper says:
10 August 2014

A replaceable battery. When my Nexus 4 and Nexus 7’s batteries die the whole thing will need to be replaced.

Products of that nature should be discouraged. They are ludicrously wasteful, but I suppose governments with high sales taxes like them on account of the tax revenue achieved upon their replacement.

What I most dearly want from a smart phone is the ability to go directly to my calendar pages whilst making a call with one, yes ONE press of a button! Also ONE press of a button again whilst on a call to my CONTACTS pages! My samsung Note doesn’t seem to allow such a simple and necessary task now that I’ve updated the software to 4.2.2. AAAAHHHHGH !

Pablo says:
13 August 2014

Screen always seem to crack. Why dont they design them for easy screen replacment so if the screen goes you dont have to pay for 50% of the new phone value to get it fixed.

DerekP says:
21 August 2014

I just did a diy screen repair on a Huawei 800. This cost me £7 (on ebay) for the glass & tools plus about an hour of my time. Better than scrapping the phone….

I would like to open my next smartphone without breaking my fingernails. I would also like a better battery life and a replaceable battery. The rest I’m unsure of as I am just getting to grips with it and carrying a basic Nokia 108 phone as a backup.

DerekP says:
21 August 2014

I like:

good audio quality

easy to make calls & texts

useful alarm, calendar & calculator functions

an easy to use internet browser

the ability to “tether” a “proper computer”

Please don’t ask me how I know this, but the ability to “bounce well” also comes in handy.