Despite some people’s belief and the often repeated statement that smartphones have become dull, there are several improvements and features that are now available on phones that were not possible about a decade ago. Hardly a week goes by that a new smartphone isn’t announced, and these devices have to find ways to stand out from the competition.
From phones that can fold to those that can charge incredibly fast to those with breathtaking camera capabilities, manufacturers are constantly working on innovations and new features to improve the smartphone experience. Some of these improvements and features can only be found on flagship devices. Others are available on practically all phones, regardless of their price tag. Furthermore, certain flagship features eventually trickle down to even the cheapest phones.
The display is practically the most crucial part of any smartphone as that is how a user gets to interact and use the available features, so it is no surprise that it has improved. Apart from screens being bigger and fitting into a smaller form factor, additions include a high screen refresh rate and a high touch sampling rate. The advantage of the former is a smoother and snappier experience when scrolling, playing games, or viewing supported content, while the latter results in a faster response time to touch inputs. The best examples of phones with both features are the ROG Phone 6 Pro and REDMAGIC 7S Pro, which have a refresh rate and touch sampling rate of 165Hz and 960Hz, respectively. In addition, modern smartphone displays are also better protected against scratches and drops with solutions such as Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus and Apple’s Ceramic Shield.
Faster Charging & Better Cameras
Another aspect that has received significant development is fast charging. Although the average smartphone released in 2022 has a much bigger battery capacity than phones released a decade ago, the more exciting upgrade is how fast they can charge. At the moment, the fastest charging smartphone is the iQOO 10 Pro. With its 200W fast charging capability, its 4700mAh battery can be charged from empty to full in 10 minutes. Unfortunately, the iQOO 10 Pro is a China-exclusive device. However, the OnePlus 10T, sold in the U.S., also boasts incredible fast charging with its 125W fast charging technology that can fill its 4800mAh battery in 20 minutes. Both charging durations are way shorter than the approximately two hours it took to charge the Galaxy S3’s 2100mAh battery. Wireless charging has also gotten much better and is now even faster than wired charging in some cases.
The cameras on smartphones are also exceptionally better on modern smartphones than their counterparts from years ago. Modern smartphones now have cameras with ultrawide angle and telephoto lenses that allow them to capture photos with a wider field of view and objects far away. However, one of the most significant upgrades in the camera space may be Night Mode or its many aliases. Thanks to a combination of better and larger image sensors, HDR and proprietary algorithms, smartphones can now capture detailed images in low-light environments without the need for flash.
On the software side, there are also several improvements. Most modern smartphones have built-in virtual assistants such as Google Assistant and Siri. While some have existed for over a decade, they have received improvements and are now capable of much more, including controlling other devices. In addition, a handful of modern phones can now work without a physical SIM card, thanks to having support for an eSIM. This feature first debuted on the Google Pixel 2 and has slowly increased in popularity, although most phones still have a physical SIM card slot. Finally, some smartphones can serve as digital keys to unlock compatible cars. Compatible phones will not only open the car but even start it.