I’m very stubborn about what I require in a cell phone. The basics, of course… wi-fi and 4G connectability, access to apps, good phone call quality, good sound quality, and so on; the kind of stuff that most people today expect in a smart phone. I like having a portable internet, and as it gets better, I get happier.
But there are four specific things I require that seem less and less popular these days as more and more companies move away from them. The various reasons people give for not needing these things anymore are nice and all, but I simply don’t agree.
Unfortunately, some of the best phones on the market currently lack these features, meaning I have to sacrifice performance for their sake, which gets more and more annoying as time goes on.
For example… I’ve reached a point of abhorring my current phone, the LG G4. I got it, in part, because it offered all the features I want, plus many others that had me excited. Many of those features, however, have become useless as this phone breaks down with major, annoying lag. And apps like Clean Master don’t help; they largely just make it worse. Despite even that, however, I still demand these four features, and until technologies are good enough that even having them as a security blanket is pointless, I will continue to demand them.
First… I require the ability to replace the battery. In part, it’s because I have had a need to replace the battery. For both my Galaxy S4 and my LG G4, having an extra battery, even with an external, portable charger, has been a huge help. Both started out really great in terms of battery life, but ended up running through battery charges like a bad habit in the end. I have a habit of heavy usage, what with downloading and listening to podcasts, checking email, sending email, Facebook, Twitter, Android Central, counting steps, using alarms, using Mint (a constantly updating budget app), multiple apps running in the background… and that’s just a sampling. I occasionally find my memory being maxed out, and at the end of their frankly pathetically short lives, the phones will overheat (especially, in the case of my G4, when I’m trying to listen to podcasts and use GPS to get somewhere), which can really destroy the battery life.
And so the batteries just don’t last.
But even if I get a phone that keeps a battery well-charged through the heaviest possible level of usage, just knowing that I can replace the battery, and that I have an extra one on me, serves as a security blanket that helps me feel better in general. Even if I have a phone that is so good at maximizing battery life that I only ever need to charge my phone over night once a week, I still want to know that I can remove the back and replace the battery… just in case.
Second… I definitely use the cloud, but I don’t trust it. Not having a physical back-up of my music, videos, pictures, podcasts, and so on, is a major problem for me. And with music and podcasts, I refuse to stream. I refuse to be beholden to shoddy Wi-Fi and 4G connection. I want my music and podcasts downloaded onto a physical storage device (the podcasts are deleted immediately after listening). So I want expandable storage.
And yes, it’s excessive… so excessive, in fact, that most would see it as ridiculous and unneeded. But the second the 2TB MicroSD card ends up on the market at an affordable price, I will purchase and use it. Why? Because I’m nothing if not excessive. Having that physical, external storage is extremely important to me, and I’m not likely to be happy without it anytime soon.
Third… it seems we’re moving further and further away from wires as wireless technology, especially Bluetooth, gets better. Nowadays, Bluetooth headphones are proliferating, and they offer many cool features.
One such pair of Bluetooth ear buds that I very much want (but cannot currently afford) are the Here One Wireless Smart Buds. The whole concept (hear or cut off external noise, apply EQ to everyday noise, etc) fascinates me, and I’m definitely interested.
Plus, there are major benefits to going wireless. Don’t you just hate it when your headphones are plugged in, and you’re listening to music or a podcast while performing a task like, say, gardening, and the wire gets stuck and pulls your headphones out of your ears? And isn’t storing wired headphones just frustrating? You can’t wrap them up because, if you do, eventually, one of those buds is either going to lose volume or go entirely silent, leaving you with just one working bud and another useless one. Jeeze wires can be annoying! I can absolutely hate them. Plus, there’s the added benefit that wireless earbuds are safer to sleep in, if you’re the kind of person who goes to sleep easier with meditation prompts, or music, or even just complete and total silence; whereas, with wires, there’s the danger of them wrapping around your neck which, at best, can be uncomfortable, and at worst… well… let’s not think about that.
But you know what else can be annoying? Listening to Led Zeppelin live at the O2 when, suddenly, the battery on your Bluetooth headphones dies, and you have to charge them for usage again (god forbid your charging case is out of charge… then you’re screwed until you get home or otherwise near a plug; BTW… those Here Ones battery life is 2 hours). Or trying to listen to that episode of TWiBPrime while walking through the city, but for whatever reason the Bluetooth connection is shoddy and keeps cutting out. Or the headphones just randomly decide to drop your call, leaving you talking on the physical phone because reasons (that has actually happened to me… Bluetooth headphones just deciding not to carry the call anymore, and me having to grab my phone out of my pocket and hope I don’t accidentally hang up so I can continue the conversation).
Suddenly, those wired headphones don’t look so bad. Suddenly, having that as a back-up seems like a pretty good idea.
And yet, for some odd reason I can’t quite figure out, more and more smart phone manufacturers are getting rid of headphone jacks.
Screw you very much, but no.
My smart phone better come with a headphone jack, or you can throw that crap out.
And finally… fourth… (although this one isn’t germane to iPhones… yet) the age of wireless charging is upon us, and yeah, it has it’s draws. With the right equipment, you don’t need to be near a plug. If you’re the type of person who likes to keep your phone above 50% 100% of the time, wireless charging is easy and convenient. No need to keep track of wires and cables, no need to worry about ware and tear on your connector. Plus, there are rooms out there that start charging your phone the second you walk in, no wires required.
You know what’s annoying, though? Having to make sure your phone is placed just right. Hoping that your portable wireless charger has enough of it’s own charge (and keep in mind that charging that is not actually wireless). Figuring out what wireless charging standard your station uses. The fact that your “wireless” charging station isn’t actually wireless. Worrying about how much hotter your battery is getting while charging due to the indirect connection. Having to sit around because the wireless charging is generally slower than wired charging.
Sure, having the option to charge wirelessly is nice, but you lose that connector for a charging cable, you lose me as a customer.
Luckily, I seem to be in a majority on this one, as very few phones have lost that connector. And here’s hoping it stays that way for a long time yet. However… there are some phones on the market that have no such connector, relying entirely on wireless charging. And all I can say is “great! I won’t be buying them, then”.
Three out of four of these requirements are why I haven’t made the jump to the iPhone. And since Apple will probably never have those three features on their iPhone, I guess I’ll never have one.