Hit or Miss: New flagship mobile phones are boring

4 min read
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mobile

Mobile World Congress has come and gone. It’s the place where, traditionally, the major mobile manufacturers unveil their brand new flagship phones. I say traditionally, because this year, Samsung’s opted to show off its impending Galaxy S8 at its own event later this month. We’ve seen LG’s next premium phone, the G6, had a look at the Huawei P10, the new Sony Xperia XZ and of course the newly redesigned…Nokia 3310.

And like these manufacturers, Apple will likely show us the iPhone 8 later this year. Here’s the thing. I’m really struggling to give a damn. I once needed to stand at the forefront of mobile technology. I had to have the latest phone, the greatest gadget. If I wasn’t playing with the newest flagship from some or other provider, I wasn’t happy.

And now I just don’t care. Perhaps it’s the perpetual barrage of very new, very expensive high-end phones. Perhaps it’s the fact that a much cheaper, decent mid-range device does everything I need it to. Perhaps I’m older and my priorities have changed, but I just no longer see the point in forking out R15K (or paying R599 every month on contract) to have the newest devices.

It seems I’m not alone. I asked the team what they thought about getting new phones:

Noelle:

“I really don’t consider new phones to be better any more. In fact, I think we’ve actually gone a bit backwards. I just feel tied into Apple because I have bought things off the App Store. And by feeling tied in, I am resentful of that, to be honest.”

Kervyn:

“I used to always stay on the bleeding edge when it came to phones because of… Well, I genuinely don’t know as I realized that despite my need to always be in the latest tech conversation, I really just need a phone with a solid battery, great display and enough hardware oomph for a responsive UI. And as somebody who takes photos about as regularly as our President admits to guilt, I’m not even too fussy about the camera.”

Trevor:

“I’m perfectly happy with a basic smartphone, I use mine for reading more than anything else. That said, it’s nice to have a decent phone that gives me the option to do other stuff on the odd occasions I’d like to.”

Zoe:

“It’s a bit tricky for me because I’m so embedded in the Apple ecosystem. I will pretty much only consider an iPhone, even though the handsets themselves are crap compared to flagship Android phones. That said, iOS and my collection of apps make my experience superior, I suppose it’s sort of worth the ridiculous price tag. I just wish someone could get iOS to work on the latest Sony or Huawei top of the line handset.”

Craig:

“I like new phones and gadgets, especially if it offers something different. I will be honest though, I am starting to grow a little tired of it all. A new phone is amazing for a few months, thereafter the excitement wanes and you’re just happy to have a phone that keeps you on contact.”

Darryn was too busy playing with Batman dolls to respond, while Gavin was happy to just have something to play Candy Crush on.

Read  Friday Debate - Are you ready for the end of the world tomorrow?

What of you? Do you still get excited by new phone launches – or is this all becoming a bit humdrum?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Critical Hit as an organisation.

Last Updated: March 10, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • PoisonedBelial

    I have a S7 Edge and to be honest, I’m not overly enamored with it except for the camera.

    There is pretty much nothing which will convince me to get the top of the line phone ever again, mainly due to the fact that I can’t see anything that will be a standout feature.

    What has not been done on a phone these days?

    The only massive thing most people are waiting for is a battery that can last for ages. (and not explode :P)

  • HairyEwok

    There was once a time when mobile phones came out and had a significant leap from its previous release.

    These days its mostly the same thing with bits either replaced with something less relevant or remains exactly the same.

    People who keep buying the best flagship phone every year in my eyes are people who want to stay trendy and have the FOMO fear.

    • PoisonedBelial

      I got the S7 Edge as it was a significant upgrade on my G2.

    • HvR

      I mostly view these people as having too much money and no idea what to spend it one.

      Insane to think top of the line flagship phone costs more than a 1080ti

      My checklist:
      Decent battery
      Big enough screen to read on
      Cheap as possible

      • HairyEwok

        Yeah, most people who buy the flagship phones only see the monthly cost on contract and hardly ever see the final price. They see that R400-R700 monthly price and think it isn’t that bad.

      • geel slang

        I use my phone way more than my graphics card, it would be insane to think I would pay more for playing pretty games than an essential tool like a phone.

  • I’m perfectly happy with my mid-range Huawei, tbh. Would I like a nicer camera? Sure – but this suits my needs fine. Spending R15K on a phone these days just seems silly.

  • MonsterCheddar

    I’m looking at Huawei next. But my iPhone is still good for a couple of years. I don’t need to have the newest of everything

  • Magoo

    Very true. I realized when I got my Z5, and compared it the next day to my colleague’s Z3, that not only was it on par with most of the Z3 features, it actually lacks some things that the Z3 has going for it. It’s not a flagship it’s just a different phone. It doesn’t NEED 8 cores when the last one’s 6 cores could do everything but 1 thousandth of a second slower.

    • Ir0nseraph

      I loved my Z3 and was actually planning to keep it a while longer, but it was removed from my person involuntarily 2 weeks ago, so I grabbed a S7 Edge, I wanted to wait for something newer but my backup phone was horrible and I had to get going again.

      Very happy with it now and yeah I think phones have hit a place were it’s hard to find a bad one, as long as I can upgrade the OS to the newest available I am happy.

  • Magoo

    It actually doesn’t matter what you think, there is something that thinks for you and it’s called PLANNED OBSOLESCENCE

  • Matthew Figueira

    Yeah new phones are meh :/ havent had anything WOW for a good long time now.

  • Admiral Chief

    13 comments…

  • juzzlehizzle

    Last phone I bought was the Nexus 5 back in 2014. A shattered screen and frustrating lag brought an to a beautiful friendship.

    So I went with the P9 lite and I was a bit blown away. I think the intervening years meant I didn’t really appreciate the strides made in the midrange market which is why I’m so impressed that this thing comfortably batters my old Nexus in terms of performance.

    Whatever, spending over R6000 on a phone strikes me as laughable now.

  • chimera_85

    I felt the same but now all I want is a responsive phone with good battery life. Using a Xiaomi Redmi Note 3 and it’s great.

    I do still however prefer iOS but iPhones are way too expensive and the battery life sucks donkey balls.

    I just don’t get why people love samsung phones, their UI is so ugly, they don’t even try.

  • geel slang

    Its something I carry around everyday, all day. I use it constantly and consider it one of the most important things I own.

    Might as well get the best, in the big scheme of things its not that expensive for the amount of use it gets.

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