Hit or Miss: New flagship mobile phones are boring

3 min read
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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.

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

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Geoffrey Tim

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.

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