Phone owners value battery life over snazzy features
Forget 3D graphics, eyeball scrolling and flexible glass; British smartphone users just want a device that is easy to use, has reliable reception and good battery life, according to a new survey.
Despite efforts by smartphone companies to cram their devices with newfangled features, the top priority for almost three in 10 (29pc) smartphone-owning Britons is that their phone is easy to use.
Call reception is the primary concern of almost one fifth of Brits (19pc), followed by battery life in third place. One in ten said apps are their chief concern, while only 3pc put quirky or unique features first.
Fingerprint-scanning security – for which Apple’s iPhone 5s can claim bragging rights – is regarded as the most useful quirky feature on a smartphone, with more than half (56 pc) using it more than once a day.
In second place is the camera, with more than a fifth using their smartphone’s camera more than once a day, and almost half using it a few times per week, according to the research by uSwitch.com.
However, gimmicks like eyeball-tracking technology (as seen on the Samsung Galaxy S5), voice control (like Apple’s Siri or Samsung’s S Voice) and 3D graphics (as shown off by Amazon’s Fire Phone) are failing to win over customers.
Even those who do have these features on their smartphones rarely use them, with 66pc never using eyeball tracking and 55pc never using voice control. Interestingly, almost a third (32pc) who have fingerprint-scanning security never actually use it.
"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," said Ernest Doku, telecoms expert at uSwitch.com.
"However, our research shows that many 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."
But it doesn’t take long for science fiction to become reality in the mobile world, and Doku said that features that were considered to be gimmicks just a couple of years ago like touchscreens and front-facing cameras are now integral to our daily smartphone experience.
"Whilst great handsets are available that do the job, sometimes a bit of futuristic phone tech is just what’s needed to move the industry forward,” he said.