7 Most Amazing Smartphone Features We’ve Seen this Year
In 2013, we saw better hardware, Touch ID fingerprint scanners, waterproof phones, and even curved displays in the form of the Galaxy Round and the G Flex. This year, we have a new set of features that debuted in smartphones – so without further ado, let’s take a look at them one by one.
1. Heart Rate Monitor
Aside from water-resistance and the fingerprint scanner added in the Galaxy S5, Samsung went on and introduced a heart rate monitor on the back of their flagship phone. Some may argue about its reliability, but it works great paired with S-Health. For a few people, this might even have removed the need for additional fitness devices, and with Samsung keeping it in devices like the Galaxy Alpha and the new Galaxy Notes, the company clearly has no plans on abandoning it just yet.
2. Laser Autofocus
While Samsung has placed every feature idea that they can on their phones regardless of necessity, LG has taken something that has existed already on digital cameras and placed it on their LG G3 – it’s laser autofocus.
Basically, this allows the device to shoot lasers into a subject to detect depth, allowing faster focus for the camera. Other companies have taken different approaches to how they’ll achieve faster focusing, but this technology takes the cake for us this year.
3. Better Rear Cameras
Cameras get undoubtedly better every year, but this year, smartphone manufacturers have introduced shooting modes for imitating bokeh, duo cameras on HTC devices, and even 240fps video on the new iPhones.
The Galaxy Note 3 had 4K video already back in 2013, so it isn’t really a new thing this year, but you do have to note that it gained more attention and maturity in 2014.
4. Better Selfie Cameras
This year wasn’t only about rear cameras improving; this was also, in a way, a year of selfies! We’ve seen higher resolution selfie cameras this year, and we’ve even seen front-facing LED flashes up front in the likes of the Xperia C3.
If that wasn’t crazy enough, there were several devices this year with rotating cameras that act both as the front and the rear shooter (ex. Oppo N1, N3). Then, it all goes up to the ultimate selfie phone which is the HTC Desire Eye, from hardware to software.
5. 2560 x 1440 QHD displays
Led by phones like the Oppo Find 7 and the LG G3, devices started getting crazy high resolutions towards the second half of 2014. We thought 1080p was enough last year, but apparently not since we have exceeded pixel densities beyond 500ppi.
We don’t think we’ll be seeing higher resolutions next year just yet as manufacturers have yet to solve performance and battery issues with current handsets. Nevertheless, our displays just keep getting better.
6. Fast Charging
Since battery capacities are getting larger every year to power our smartphones, charging them takes more time. It was the latter part of the year when the Galaxy Note 4 and the Nexus 6 started boasting a feature called fast charging. However, we think Oppo started it all with their VOOC on the Find 7a.
We don’t think this one needs further explanation as it really is just about charging your smartphone faster (imagine 30% full in 5 minutes, 70% full in 30 minutes). It might not seem much, but it is useful if you need to juice up fast on the go.
7. Virtual Reality
The Oculus Rift and virtual reality as a whole is cool and badass – but what if you can have that not just on your gaming consoles but also on your smartphone? Google released kits and a simple device called Google Cardboard which allowed you to experience virtual reality easily. Samsung even takes it a step further by introducing Gear VR for the new Galaxy Notes. No doubt, virtual reality will be seen more of in the future.
8. Bendgate When Apple introduced the iPhone 6 Plus, there was a hidden feature that can only be unlocked when you put it in your pocket – and everyone is calling it bendgate, allowing the iPhone 6 Plus to curve just like its Samsung competitor.
What were the smartphone features this year that blew you away? Feel free to leave it in the comment section down below.