With technology forever evolving and used daily worldwide, what the future holds isn’t just in the inventor’s hands, but determined by the people that use it too – the consumers. This is especially relevant in the designing of new smartphones, with consumer-demand for specific features, driving forward technological advancements.

Considering this, we conducted a new survey to determine what the most impressive and useful features are (or were) on their smartphones to date, followed by what dream features they would most like to see in the future.

From longer battery life to flexible screens, the results of our ‘ultimate smartphone’ study revealed that the key features of today and tomorrow, are largely practical.

Favourite Smartphone Features

Participants voted it both the most useful feature on a smartphone, and the most impressive - coming out on top is a longer battery life. The need for 24/7 access outweighed some of the newer, more stylistic features of a modern smartphone. Over half (58%) of those surveyed expressed that a longer battery life is the most impressive feature of a handset, with 68% stating it is also the most useful.

Fast-charging was also popular, with it being voted the second most useful feature (40%) and the third most impressive feature (34%).

A long-standing feature of smartphones is the camera, and 42% of respondents voted a high megapixel camera the most impressive feature on their handset (but it sat in fourth place of the most useful features).

As voted by the UK, the top ten most impressive smartphone features are:

  1. Long battery life (58%)
  2. High megapixel camera (42%)
  3. Fast charging smartphone (34%)
  4. High-speed processor (315)
  5. Waterproofing (28%)
  6. Large screen (28%)
  7. High durability (23%)
  8. HD display (16%)
  9. Wireless charging (16%)
  10. Ultra-slow-motion video (13%)

In comparison, the top ten most useful smartphone features are:

  1. Long battery life (68%)
  2. Fast charging smartphone (40%)
  3. High-speed processor (32%)
  4. High megapixel camera (32%)
  5. Waterproofing (30%)
  6. Large screen (26%)
  7. High durability (24%)
  8. Wireless charging (13%)
  9. HD display (13%)
  10. Ultra-slow-motion video (12%)

Long battery life was revealed to be of high importance across the UK, but this was especially important for older phone users. Two thirds (67%) of 55-64-year-olds said a long battery life is the most impressive feature, and 79% believed it is also the most useful. Comparing this with the 25-34 age group, 47% thought a long battery life is impressive, but they were more impressed by a high megapixel camera (48%).

Nearly half of 18-24 millennials (48%) agreed with the older generation that a long battery life is the most impressive feature. However, they are also the age group that are most impressed by newer features such as Face ID (12%), waterproofing (32%), and a high-speed processor (35%).

Interestingly, men appeared to be more interested in ‘high tech’ features than women. Features such as a high-speed processor impressed 36% of men, whereas only 27% of women said they find this impressive. Moreover, HD displays are also more impressive to men (21%), than women (12%).

On the flip side, women said they are more impressed by the more practical uses of a smartphone. A high megapixel camera is not only more impressive to women (45%) than men (36%), but it is also more useful to women (37%) too, compared to men (30%). Other practicalities that women find more impressive and useful include waterproofing, with 30% of females impressed by the feature and 33% finding it useful, compared to just a quarter of men (25%). Lastly, 42% of females find fast charging useful compared with 37% of men.

Smartphones Around The World

Expanding on the research, we looked at the most weird and wonderful smartphone features from around the world.

LG G Flex – ‘self-healing’ feature
A brand known worldwide is LG, yet its LG G Flex model is less commonly known. The speciality of this South Korean handset is its self-healing powers . When scratched, the self-healing technology naturally fixes the scratch and any blemishes leaving the handset looking brand-new again.

YotaPhone – ‘dual screen’ feature
Less commonly known throughout the UK, the YotaPhone, developed by the Russian company, Yota Devices, sports a practical feature many may find handy. The phone is the world’s first to display a dual screen – that’s one screen at the front and another at the back. A multi-tasker’s dream, the YotaPhone is ideal for consumers leading a busy lifestyle.

ZTE Axon M – ‘folding, two-screen’ functionality
A similar concept to the YotaPhone is the ZTE Axon M. Developed by the Chinese multinational telecommunications company, ZTE, the impressive smartphone feature on the ZTE Axon M is the folding, two-screen functionality . Although the phone looks thicker in size than other modern smartphones, when folded over, the second screen can work both as one larger screen, and as two separate working screens.

Holofone – ‘projector’ feature
A handset made for the businessmen and women alike is the Holofone. Akyumen Corp, the American based company behind the smartphone, created an impressive feature valuable at any business meeting – a projector phablet . The built-in projector helps display key concepts and draws attention to the ideas shown when presenting.

Runcible – ‘pocket-watch shape’ design
Last, but certainly not least, the smartphone that stands out from the crowd is the Runcible. Developed by a small California-based start-up called Monohm, the most noticeable and fascinating feature is its pocket watch shape . Featured as the smartphone that will enhance your life, not interrupt it, the Runcible works just as a normal smartphone does, but is palm-sized and shaped.

A common ground between the different smartphone features from around the globe is that so many are practical, thus corresponding with our ‘ultimate smartphone survey results that showed practical solutions are favoured over purely stylistic features. This insight could help developers in the future to build handsets that are better-suited to the average British consumer.

Smartphones of the Future

In the last decade alone, we have watched as phones have advanced, and yet the evolution isn’t over, with smartphones of the future set to become even smarter. As part of our study, we asked participants what dream features they would most like to see in smartphones of tomorrow.

The most-aspired smartphone feature yet to be introduced is the ability for your smartphone to hover above ground, if dropped. With over a third (37%) of people expressing desire for a hovering smartphone, it reinstates again that practicality is what we desire most.

Furthermore, it can be frustrating when you’re out in public and someone glances over at your smartphone screen to see what you are doing. In fact, we find it so frustrating that over a quarter (26%) said they would like one-way glass on their handset so only they can see the screen.

Another desired feature was holographic projections, allowing mobile content to escape the confines of a pocket-sized display, and come to life in three dimensions.

The top five most desirable features consumers would most like to see in smartphones in the future included:

  1. The ability to hover about ground if dropped (37%)
  2. One-way glass so only I can see my screen (26%)
  3. Holographic projections from the screen so you can move things around (24%)
  4. Modular i.e. the ability to upgrade individual parts of the phone and flexible screens (23%)
  5. Weather sensors (22%)

With so many different smartphone features from the present and the future inspiring us all, you can find a handset with specs that impress at www.mobiles.co.uk.