The breakneck pace of technological advancement means smartphones date very quickly, with futuristic features soon looking anachronistic.
Remember the excitement when downloadable ringtones became available? And how cool everyone felt brandishing a flip phone?
Today’s handsets will probably seem just as dated in a decade’s time – but they don’t have to be obsolete this time next year.
Adhering to our list of essential and desirable smartphone features ought to ensure your shiny new handset retains its lustre for a couple of years, at least.
As we approach the end of 2018, these are the smartphone features worth shortlisting for your next handset…
Plenty of storage
The increasingly complex Apple and Android operating systems occupy more hard drive space than ever, while undeletable manufacturer bloatware is also on the increase.
Games are expanding to become voracious consumers of hard drive space, while a single photograph might require the best part of ten megabytes of storage.
If your preferred handset doesn’t have at least 64GB of space, ensure you can insert a microSD card for additional storage. You’ll need it in the fullness of time.
Remember the days of laboriously typing in a six-digit PIN code every time you unlocked your handset?
That might have worked when smartphones were occasional-use items, but the average Brit now checks their phone 28 times per day.
It’s quicker and easier to hold your thumb over a button (or the screen on Vivo’s X20 Plus) to unlock its contents.
With car manufacturers integrating charging mats into their dashboards, and wireless charging stations popping up across the UK, low battery anxiety may finally be behind us.
Wireless charging frees us from the tyranny of cables, adaptors and scratched phone sockets.
Although it’s slower than plugging a USB cable directly into the mains, wireless charging is one of those smartphone features every consumer will expect in a year or two’s time.
A 5.5-inch screen
Today’s smartphones offer split-screen app functionality and HD content streaming.
Trying to view this on a screen smaller than five and a half inches will always lead to a compromised experience.
Even so, we’d recommend visiting a nearby mobile phone emporium, to ensure larger handsets (some with screens measuring seven inches across) are still comfortable to use.
Instagram has turned us all into amateur photographers, but it’s easy to become frustrated with the output from single lens cameras.
Manufacturers are increasingly adopting dual-camera setups, with one lens handling range while another captures intricate details.
Huawei’s P20 Pro combines three separate images for optimal composition, though most people will be happy with the results of any decent dual-camera array.
There’s a real buzz about the next generation of smartphones, which are reported to be foldable, shockproof and able to see through walls.
Even so, you probably don’t need to worry about certain innovations at this stage…
Yes, trials are currently taking place around the UK. And yes, 5G will be transformative when it’s universally available.
But it’ll be several years before a robust 5G network has been rolled out across a sufficient proportion of the UK; in the meantime, you’d be paying a premium for a patchy service.
The futuristic Honor Play smartphone delivers 7.1 channel audio, which is a standard of audio reproduction associated with surround sound systems retailing for four figures.
It’s a clear example of the ongoing arms race between handset manufacturers – launching increasingly advanced smartphone features, even though consumers don’t really need them.