Whilst we all love and use our smartphones because of their latest designs or for the top of the range specs which are stuffed inside them, we often forget about the features which really make our phones a joy to use.
Whether it’s a flashy new camera feature, or something as simple as a bigger battery, it’s these kind of things which decide whether a phone ends up selling by the bucket-load or end up on EBay for little more than £20.
But which were the most exciting mobile features of 2015? Here are some of our personal favourites.
You only need to take a glimpse at some of the biggest smartphones that were released over the course of the year to notice a common commodity. 2015 was the year of biometric brilliance, with the iPhone 6s improving its Touch ID scanner, and the likes of Sony and Samsung also jumping aboard the same boat.
The technology is no longer a gimmick either, opening the door to much more than a faster way of unlocking your phone. Now, your fingerprint acts as a way of paying for goods via NFC or online, as well as letting you download apps without remembering tedious passwords.
There’s plenty of competition between manufacturers to create the best fingerprint scanner now, so its development should be interesting in the near future as well.
Wires aren’t exactly our best friends, are they? They get lost, tangled and sometimes just stop working altogether for no apparent reason. That’s why wireless charging has become such a good feature over recent past.
Instead of making us hunt down a cable which only works when it’s placed at the perfect angle, wireless chargers simply have us place our phones on a pad or port, and then recharge our batteries right away.
This helps avoid obvious day to day struggles like finding our cables in the dark (like before or after bed), and relying on having a working cable at all times. Samsung have bought this to the fore recently with their launch of the S6 and are expected to enhance this with the Samsung Galaxy S7 deals available later this year. With the feature forever improving, it won’t be long until most phones feature it in some shape or form.
We’re a clumsy bunch, and one of the least friendly things you can do to any electrical item is to drop it into a body of water. Believe it or not, we lose thousands of phones to fates like this each year - that was until we started seeing waterproof smartphones make a break for it.
Now, we see dozens of phones tagged with IP68 certifications, along with other ratings that ensure that a slight dip in the sink or the bathtub won’t spell goodbye to your smartphone.
Phones like the Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung Galaxy S5 and more all pack some kind of waterproof protection, and with more phones joining the ranks, it seems like IP ratings are here to stay. So if you’re a bit of a clumsy person, it looks like you’re in luck.
One of the biggest developments in terms of design over the year gone by has been the creation and implementation of curved screen smartphones. They might not offer a revolutionary way to make use of your phone, but in terms of design they look superb and they do offer some practicality.
Uses include added notification tickers and quick settings panels if the curve is edge based, whilst vertical favouring curves help dodge on-screen glare and other elemental baddies.
There are already a few specialist phones which now only deal with curved displays, with the likes of the S6 Edge+ and LG G Flex2 both being parts of suck product lines. Given a few more years, curved screens could well feature much more commonly.
HD was so 2014… Now it’s QHD that’s got us all raving, offering one of the best quality mobile displays in the business, QHD resolution is arguably this biggest feature to hit 2015 smartphones, and won’t be going away anytime soon.
Whilst it does do some extra damage to that battery percentage, the feature does provide a brilliant viewing experience for films, images and simple menu navigation. In fact, despite a few phones which take things a step further, it’s as good as you’ll get from a flagship phone.
Of course, with 4K getting more and more popular amongst tech loving fans, it’s only a matter of time before it takes the throne, but until then it looks like QHD will rule the roost.
Written by Luke Hatfield