Five flagship features that all budget phones must also have
When it comes to the Indian smartphone market, the budget segment is where all the action takes place. This is evident from the fact that most major brands, as well as Chinese handset makers, are targeting the segment, with the most expensive of these phones priced at around Rs. 20,000. This inevitably leads to a higher level of competition. high with brands bringing advanced features in order to stay ahead in the fast-paced race.
The race is already on with brands like Xiaomi and LeEco bringing high-end features such as fingerprint scanners and fast charging to smartphones at a price below Rs. 12,000. But most budget smartphones are still lacking features that high-end smartphone users may take for granted.
Here are five features that all manufacturers should now consider bringing to phones of all budget segments, because of their usefulness.
1. Fingerprint reader
With the Marshmallow update, Google has added a number of key features, including support for fingerprint scanners and it makes sense that budget smartphones would have this feature as well.
A fingerprint reader is not a simple gadget to unlock your device in the blink of an eye. It encompasses security in a broader sense. Fingerprint scanners can be used to act as a stamp for your credit card details so you don’t have to enter your details online again and again, as your fingerprint will suffice.
It can also be used to open a desired application or task without even waking the handset by simply placing your finger on the scanner. The Indian handset market already has devices such as the LeEco Le 1S, several Lenovo handsets, and the Coolpad Note 3 Lite, one of the most affordable devices to include a fingerprint scanner. If Coolpad can pack it into a device priced below Rs. 7,000, surely other manufacturers can follow suit.
USB Type-C is being hailed as the future of USB connectivity and (although not everyone agrees it’s time) I think it should become a standard across all smartphones, including the budget segment. Currently, the Type-C port is not so important for most users, but it has many advantages. Smartphones with USB Type-C charge fast by default which is a huge plus for most Indian users.
Moreover, it also supports reverse charging. However, currently, few manufacturers are making USB Type-C accessories. If the budget segment adopts the feature, that will change quickly. It’s the future of USB ports and it’s been offered by the LeEco Le 1s, showing that it’s not beyond the reach of budget devices.
Laser autofocus should be an essential part of every smartphone camera, as it is a must-have technology for capturing candid shots in a flash. The Asus Zenfone 2 Laser already offers this feature in the budget segment, and other manufacturers should take note.
These days, most smartphone makers market the imaging prowess of their budget smartphones as a selling point. However, all of this is for naught if the camera you have on your device fails to focus fast enough that you miss what might have been your best shot.
If you’re promoting the smartphone camera, it should at least have phase-detection autofocus to be able to focus enough to capture any candid moment. Otherwise, what’s the point of having a world-class camera?
4. Quick charge
This is probably the most important feature that should be present in budget segment smartphones. This is because these smartphones already have a smaller battery, and with the focus on design, more and more devices come with a sleeker and slimmer chassis, which leads to smaller batteries.
Fast charging will help users compensate for diminished battery power by helping them charge faster. It is slowly becoming a more mainstream feature and hopefully adoption will increase soon.
This is in tandem with Google Pay and the fingerprint reader. NFC happens to be the safest way to use Google Pay and given that this is the future of online transaction, it makes sense to offer NFC in budget smartphones. However, technology is not limited to making secure online payments and the possibilities are limitless.
There are NFC tags available in the market that allow you to set specific tasks and all you have to do is tap your smartphone on the tag to activate the predefined task. Now imagine this, you can have an NFC tag attached to your workstation and all you have to do to put your device into office mode is tap it on the tag, which is handy. Similarly, you can create tags for multimedia, games, Wi-Fi toggle, etc. This feature is very useful and the Lenovo Vibe K4 Note already comes with NFC support in the budget segment.
These are the top 5 high-end features that I have witnessed in a few budget segment devices in the recent past. These features are not too expensive for brands to integrate and should be adopted by all manufacturers now, not just for flagships.
Sanjeev is a tech enthusiast who blogs about mobile technology at PriceRaja.com. You can find him on Twitter @kumarsanjeev_me.