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Opinion: Could There Ever Be Such a Thing as a “Perfect” Smartphone?

April 20, 2013 - Written By Brandon Wann

Over the course of 2011 to now, we have seen some amazing devices come off the rack and into our pockets.  As not only fans, but also as consumers, some of us now have a favorite brand that we look forward to.  We can agree or disagree on who is the best, but that’s pretty much a dead horse by now.  In essence, though, that’s the beauty of Android, so many choices, and so many designs.

Despite those choices, though, in this year’s flagship lineup, did you ever notice that each manufacturer who produces a premium smartphone has one or a few drawbacks included?  Whether it is aesthetic design, software, or even hardware, there always has to be one thing that puts a con to all the pros. That could easily be dismissed as a way to save consumer dollars and keep it at a reasonable amount, but what sense does that make when the device is marked up drastically from the manufacturing cost anyways?  Sure they gotta make a buck or two, but who’s saying that people won’t pay that extra cash for the greatest out there?  After all, we have people, still to this day, lining up in front of nameless stores, spending their hard earned cash for more of a brand logo than a smartphone.

So what if, now bear with me, but what if there was a company who stepped up to the plate and decided to go all out?  What if some company woke up one morning and said, “Screw costs, we’ll make the best of them because we’re [insert company name here] and we don’t care!”  Some may say, “Well that would take years of R&D because what people want always change!”  Who needs most of that research and development anyways, when you have social media fans stating explicitly what they want over their networks without abandon? 

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Still with me?  Good.  Now, I’m not much for speculations when it comes to a premium smartphone, so I’ll give you a couple concrete examples of what I’ve noticed to be a “normal” reaction in regards to the drawbacks of a smartphone.  I could easily throw Apple’s iPhone in the mix, but that would be too fun to rip apart (you’re welcome to do so in the comments, though), so in this scenario, we will pick on the two main competitors in the Android world.

First off, we have HTC with their popular One.  Not to be confused with last year’s One, this is a One too, but the One that’s upgraded to full specs of 2013.  Finally, we have Samsung’s anticipated Galaxy S4, not to be confused with the Galaxy S3.

HTC One is a great, okay excellent premium smartphone, and many will brandish it with pride.  With its aluminum eye candy build and its 4.7 inch full HD display, there’s a lot to be desired.  What is the drawback?  First off, let’s face it, the camera isn’t that great.  To state the obvious, it’s 4 mega pixels, but on the bright side, it uses UltraPixel technology.  Sure they have coined the phrase “UltraPixel” in their latest innovation of technology, but unicorns come in different colors.  Last but not least, one of the most common complaints is lack of expandable storage and a non-removable battery.  To half the crowd, they don’t need these features and can accomplish all their tasks without them.  To the other half, however, they see these as a deal breaker.  If it were up to me personally, I’d include them anyways, and if people don’t need them, then they don’t have to use them, but they’re there if they do.  Franz Kafka said it best when I quote, “Better to have, and not need, than to need, and not have.

 Samsung Galaxy S4 has the specs we could expect out of a premium device in 2013, it has a 5 inch full HD display, it comes with a removable battery and expandable storage.  But the main complaint is pretty obvious, it looks like last year’s model and it’s made of plastic.  Okay, to be fair, it’s polycarbonate.  But let’s face it, the way they designed their “polycarbonate” reminds me of something…oh yeah, that was last year’s design.  It’s shiny, a fingerprint magnet at worst, and they seemed to have put no effort to update their design from last year’s models.  So much so, that some people have dubbed it the “Galaxy S3S” in regards to the lack of design update.  Even if they were to update their design just a “little” and drop the cheap glossy feel it has, it would be a lot better than staring at a one year old concept.

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According to these complaints, a perfect smartphone is hard to come by since people tend to nitpick everything down to its submolecular level, but it’s not impossible to accomplish a smartphone that everyone can agree on.  So far, an aluminum-related build that would be able to work well with a removable battery, expandable storage, an updated design that will turn heads with eye-gouging quality, a great camera and a reasonable price (I don’t care how good a smartphone is, I won’t pay around $900 for a 64 GB device) is a good start.  It also wouldn’t kill anyone if they can actually have on-time updates and always adopt the latest firmware, or even vanilla Android right out of the box with an option of having a custom skin on the side.  Am I missing anything here?  You tell me, but I think I covered the more important aspects that’s missing from the premium quality devices here.