Friday night topic: how much do you ask of your phone?

While I was writing about Huawei's Kirin 980 launch this morning, I was wowed a bit by that SoC's CPU cores and graphics-processing chops, courtesy of ARM's latest core IP. I was also impressed a bit by the potential of its dual neural network processors and blazing-fast LTE modem, among its other specifications. I also found myself wondering just how much of the thing's power I would ever use were it inside my personal device. 

See, my phone use is extremely narrow and extremely boring. According to Apple's battery-life tracking features, over 75% of the time I spend on my iPhone 6S (a number that is way too large to begin with) is spent browsing the web via Safari these days, and when I'm not doing that, I'm using the camera. Maybe I'd notice more single-threaded performance from my device's SoC as a result, but the Apple A9 still feels plenty snappy, and early testers of iOS 12 have noted how that update seems to breathe new life into their devices.

I don't do any more than the most basic gaming from time to time on my phone, and it's not for lack of choice. Maybe I might play with artificial-intelligence or augmented-reality applications if my device supported them, but at the same time, I haven't felt compelled to spend my computing dollars on any of the new features Apple, Google, Samsung, and company have shown off at their respective keynotes over the past couple of years. If I need to do anything really computationally demanding, I'll go fire up  my PC.

Perhaps the camera improvements or some other feature in the next iPhone or Pixel device will shake me out of the sense of adequacy I have about my nigh-on-three-year-old phone, but at the same time, I can think of several other things I'd rather spend a thousand bucks or more on than one of today's flagship handsets.

With all that in mind, what's the most demanding thing you do with your phone? Where is it adequate for your needs, and where does it come up short? Are mobile device makers doing enough to compel you to upgrade, or have you gone many years between new handsets? Let us know in the comments.

Comments closed
    • credible
    • 1 year ago

    All I can say is I finally got a phone 2 years ago and I’m kind of surprised how much I use it and rather impressed with them in general, just not most of the people using them:)

    Still a desktop guy though.

    • Voldenuit
    • 1 year ago

    Things I ask from my phone:

    Sideload apps
    Carrier unlocked
    Security updates
    Offline GPS and maps
    External storage and file manager
    Good battery life
    Multitasking
    Good/Decent camera

    Basically everything which nokia did 10 years ago with Symbian^3 and took Android 10 years of false starts and backtracking to get around to.

      • ermo
      • 1 year ago

      I agree to the tune of 3 upvotes.

    • Krogoth
    • 1 year ago

    I’m on a “dumb” phone that is only used for phone calls and texting. Anything more is just excessive and pointless for my needs.

    I have a bloody computer if I need to look up something online.

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      Apparently Krogoth is unimpressed with a piece of technology.

      Since when did this become a thing?!?

      But wait… Smartphones make up the largest segment of computer technology that uses integrated graphics. So if Krogoth is unimpressed with smartphones, does that mean integrated graphics are dying?!?!?!!

    • K-L-Waster
    • 1 year ago

    SMS, WhatsApp, mobile internet, online banking, and the odd actual phone call. As Jeff says, for anything more serious I use one of my multiple PCs (gaming box, HTPC, home laptop, or work laptop, depending on context.)

    • Ninjitsu
    • 1 year ago

    Just upgraded from a 3 year old Moto G 2nd Gen to a Moto X4. Quite happy, everything is so much faster.

    I don’t expect much out of my phone – i don’t game on it. So just day to day app performance needs to be snappy. My Moto G2 would stutter badly for example. And if i put it on charge during a video call, it would pretty much freeze the video, as it would be unable to handle both the download and the call. Sometimes it would just restart.

    The X4 on the other hand is smooth as butter, handles everything i throw at it (which is admittedly not much – Discord and other IM apps, YouTube, mail, calls and text, video calls, news and weather apps, Adobe Reader, etc. Nothing special. It also supports 802.11ac, even though I don’t have a router for it. I’m also seeing “4G+” speeds on it, whereas the G2 only had 3G. Finally, it cost me 230 EUR, which is honestly as much as I want to spend on a phone.

    Where it loses points is for being too big, too slippery, and a fingerprint magnet (which is funny for a device that can be unlocked via fingerprint…). Oh and the camera housing is raised, which always makes me feel like i’ll break/scratch it if i put the phone down on a hard surface. The phone feels fragile in general. The Moto G2 felt super sturdy by comparison, and was just the right size for me. I had also put it in a tanky case, so it’s survived a lot of drops over the past.

    P.s. whatsapp’s backup-to-Drive and restoration feature sucks. By which I mean it silently fails and doesn’t let you know that it has. WhatsApp support is also non-existent. Never using the cloud backup thing again.

    • dragosmp
    • 1 year ago

    Until a few months ago my daily driver was the ancient Nexus 4. It spent its life in a rubber case, so the screen wasn’t cracked. It ran everything except Maps, where it got very hot after 10-15mn. It had its battery replaced after 3 years of usage and it ran every day on messaging, browsing, health things , maps and games.

    Now I have an A53-based Xiaomi Note 4, the best selling phone in the world apparently (despite not selling many in the US for some reason). It does better pictures, doesn’t overheat, and the battery lasts 2-3 days on quite heavy use. Skin takes some getting used to, but it has better battery management than stock (not more aggressive, just more customisable). See, 14nm A53s don’t consume a lot anyway. This does everything the Nexus 4 did, just slightly better.

    It’s amazing we get such good phones for such low prices. How about some good smartwatches now? I’m waiting, cash in hand 🙂

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      The Apple Watch already exists mate.

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    In order,

    [list<][*<]Satnav [/*<][*<]Question answering/fact-checking [/*<][*<]Email/IM [/*<][*<]Occasional gaming (but most phone gaming is still awful) [/*<][*<]Camera with cloud-backup of photos.[/*<][/list<] My biggest demand is still on the battery and IP68 rating - not the CPU nor the GPU, and I'd really appreciate a more efficient screen technology than the battery-heavy 500ppi ultra-sharp screens that exist solely for VR headset reasons. Honestly, 720p at 6" may sound a bit backwards but it's plenty sharp enough for normal people and you know it's going to double your battery life and effective GPU performance! Also both my phone and my mental wellbeing are better for being scoured clean of social media these past few months.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Honest question – do most people call it “satnav” in the UK/EU?

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        Uh, I guess so. What’s the US word for it?

          • DancinJack
          • 1 year ago

          Ehhh, there isn’t necessarily one term people use, but “Navigation” is used fairly often. That’s what Google calls it too so that’s probably where it comes from mostly. A lot of people just say “maps” when what they mean is anything having to do with Google/Apple/whatever maps app they use whether it be navigation or whathaveyou searching on their particular maps application of choice.

          I just hadn’t really heard anyone use satnav outside of say, a formal environment like work/gov’t here in the US.

            • Chrispy_
            • 1 year ago

            It’s sold as ‘satnav’ in cars, which is – or at least was – the primary use for it in the EU.

            Western Europe has had good network coverage, large data allowances and multi-nation free roaming agreements for a long time, so Google Maps superseded dedicated satnav devices and I think that vehicle use of phones in cars instead of the (usually inferior and awkward) integrated satnav means that we just call it satnav over here now. I can’t speak for everyone but I and most of my friends/colleagues just bluetooth their phone to their car, stick it in a dedicated dock or clip-on holder and use it as the carphone, satnav and music/podcast player all at once.

            I’ve heard it called GPS navigation, or just GPS by a few that don’t have English as a first language, but yeah – most European languages include the word or abbreviation of “satellite” in their colloquialisms for GPS satellite navigation.

            • FireGryphon
            • 1 year ago

            The term I hear used colloquially in the States is ‘GPS’ as in, ‘put that into your gps.’ ‘Satellite Navigation System’ is used as a marketing term, but it isn’t used by regular people.

            • ermo
            • 1 year ago

            GPS is used in Denmark. Car dealership lingo says Navigation, but everyone uses GPS because it’s less effort.

            • tritonus
            • 1 year ago

            In Finland the integrated one is usually called ”navigaattori” (Navigator). In practice, smartphones are used (for reasons Chrispy stated) and there GPS is the term.

    • ET3D
    • 1 year ago

    I use my phone mainly for phone calls and WhatsApp. In fact, WhatsApp was the reason I got a smartphone. I was an early adopter of smartphones but moved back to a Nokia S60 phone for a while.

    Other uses: SMS (mainly because some services use it for authentication), occasionally taking pictures and videos (mainly of the kids, when my wife’s phone isn’t available for that), browsing, navigation, occasionally passing the time with Rider (only game I have installed). Not doing any of these much though. I mostly have a PC around and prefer that for most things.

    • Kougar
    • 1 year ago

    How much do I ask my phone? I ask it not to blow up while I wait for a replacement battery to arrive later this week. [url<]https://imgur.com/a/j7PNxjh[/url<] I use it as my navigation tool, fitness tracker, music player, and coupon sale/discount promo tracker. Also use it as a calculator, wifi analyzer, camera, web browser, and occasional emergency tethering. That said, it does not replace my e-ink e-reader. Games and movies are also reserved for my desktop. Defective batteries aside, I love my 20-month old HTC 10 and will probably keep it a few more years if able. Physical OIS, SD card slot, headphone jack, decent battery life, and ~6 month upgrades to the latest Android build. Improved battery life alone isn't worth the cost of upgrading to me. A person could spend twenty bucks on a power bank if better battery life is all they needed from their phone.

    • Unknown-Error
    • 1 year ago

    I look for IP68 (since two of my previous phones got screwed due to getting soaked in rain) and since I can’t afford premium phones my choices were limited to Samsung and Sony. Now it is just Samsung since the new Sony line up does not include an M4/M5 equivalent. Only the premium line-up has IP68. My old M4 is still running but it is slow. It has been soaked in rain and my sweat, partially submerged in water, fallen countless times but still running. The only option for a decent upgrade would be the 2017+ Samsung A series phones. Even the A3 has IP68 which going to come in handy the next time I get soaked (My Job and life hazard).

    • End User
    • 1 year ago

    So it seems like a heck of a lot of TR members don’t do much with their phones.

      • DancinJack
      • 1 year ago

      Accurate. Which is fine, but it also explains the rather negative attitude towards almost every single phone released these days. TO HELL WITH COMPROMISE!

      • ptsant
      • 1 year ago

      I think it depends a lot on the type of job you’re doing. If you are already in front of a computer all day, odds are you don’t need a phone very much. But if you’re a student, running from class to class and to a library or coffee shop, or a consultant running from client to client, etc…

        • End User
        • 1 year ago

        At work I had a MacBook Pro. I don’t need to carry it around to get work done as my phone/watch keep me connected at all times (very helpful as I am a technology support person and I’m always on the move) and supply me with the apps/tools I need.

        When I’m using my Windows PCs at home I have to have an iOS/Android deceive with me because Windows has become almost completely disconnected from my connected world or it is too much of a pain to complete the same task on Windows as it is on a mobile device. Even when using my MacBook Pro I find that I have to have an iOS/Android device handy.

          • ptsant
          • 1 year ago

          It is true that for some tasks I find the iphone handier than the PC. For example, buying a train ticket is easier on the iphone because the app is much more polished than the website. And I always keep it close for the N things that need 2-factor authentication. But I don’t use it as much as my brother who runs from client to client and usually needs to charge it during the day or carry a power bank.

        • travbrad
        • 1 year ago

        Yeah obviously the biggest advantage of smartphones is the mobility combined with being “good enough” to do most things. Other devices are certainly more capable or pleasant to use but it’s just much harder to bring them with you or use them on the go.

    • Freon
    • 1 year ago

    Occasional hotspotting is probably the most “intense.” Otherwise, browsing and various communication apps. My current and last phones were the OnePlus 6 and 3 and I feel a sort of mid-range phone is plenty for me.

    ATT doesn’t seem to detect my hotspotting from the either OP phone against the tether limit I have.

      • ermo
      • 1 year ago

      Am I to understand that your provider has the power to decide whether or not you can tether and for how long?

      If so, that seems fairly outrageous to me, but then again I’m in the northern part of the EU where consumer protection is an actual thing.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 1 year ago

        It depends on the carrier. For some of them, data is data and local or tether counts towards the cap. For some of them, especially the ‘unlimited’ one’s, the tethered data is capped while the phone using it directly isn’t.

    • DancinJack
    • 1 year ago

    Bunch of curmudgeons up in here. Makes me laugh.

    • Ifalna
    • 1 year ago

    Hmm lets see, pone duties:

    Transmitting voice calls (mobile)
    Transmitting voice calls (landline via VOIP)
    Whats App
    Alarm clock
    Tuner
    Metronome
    Take and send the occasional pic

    Uuuh… that’s about it, really.

    • firewired
    • 1 year ago

    My phone only needs to:

    Send and Receive phone calls.
    Send and Receive text messages.
    Play music I physically transfer to it.
    Play videos I physically transfer to it.
    Take pictures or record video in emergencies.
    A battery charge that can last 54 hours of the above usage.

    A phone that does anything more than that is a recipe for the devolution of humankind, as it is clear that people do not have the discipline to set the devices aside to deal with Real Life.

    If you are in a crowded public place just stop for ten minutes and look at the people around you and you will understand what I am referring to.

    Or, as Ferris once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

      • travbrad
      • 1 year ago

      People could just use some self control too.

      Okay I see your point. We’re all doomed.

    • crabjokeman
    • 1 year ago

    I don’t own a phone, and haven’t for years.

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    People today are too spoiled. Back in the 1800’s we didn’t have portable music, no portable cameras, no calculators, movies were unheard of, no internet. Heck we didn’t even have microprocessors. Now a $200 cellphone can do the job of a thousand different things and yet people still want moar.

      • tipoo
      • 1 year ago

      What were the 1800s like, Louis de Pointe?

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      “We”?

        • NovusBogus
        • 1 year ago

        Don’t make me summon Morally Ambiguous Bogus, he just loves having that particular conversation. 😉

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 year ago

          WE ARE NOT AMUSED

        • chuckula
        • 1 year ago

        It’s like.. [url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E09LU6XVyxs<]the royal we[/url<].

      • Pancake
      • 1 year ago

      Back in the 1600’s we didn’t have potable water, people used to die of the plague or in childbirth and those who didn’t mostly had a bleak, miserable, short existence. Now you have canned food and yet people still want moar.

        • freebird
        • 1 year ago

        When I was a kid…

        “We lived for three months in a rolled up newspaper in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at six in the morning, clean the newspaper, go to work down t’ mill, fourteen hours a day, week-in week-out, for sixpence a week, and when we got home our Dad would thrash us to sleep wi’ his belt”

        [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ue7wM0QC5LE[/url<]

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        Brilliant

      • jarder
      • 1 year ago

      All lies:

      [quote<]Back in the 1800's we didn't have portable music[/quote<] Seriously!!? portable musical instruments predate the 1800's by many many years, it's just that they took some skill to actually produce decent music. [quote<]no portable cameras, [/quote<] Kodaks famous box camera camera came out in 1888 and it was preceded by many other portable cameras. [quote<]no calculators,[/quote<] Portable machanical calculators have been around since the 1850's: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmometer[/url<] [quote<]movies were unheard of,[/quote<] A number of films were created before 1900: [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Film[/url<] maybe you were just not paying attention? [quote<]no internet[/quote<] I'll give you that one, I don't think I could seriously argue that the old telegraph network was an early internet. Still though, very poor show, I'm starting to think that you're not from the 1800's at all.

        • Amiga500+
        • 1 year ago

        I believe Verizon were supplying “unlimited” internet connections back in the 1600s.

        But due to their rather unique definition of “unlimited” everyone was throttled to speeds similar to telegrams.

        Plus ça change eh?

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 1 year ago

        Rip ronch.

        • unclesharkey
        • 1 year ago

        And if you didn’t have access to the internet you would not have been able to come up with all of these anecdotal facts.

      • albundy
      • 1 year ago

      to be fair, you only lived into your late 20’s back then. plus, you had much better entertainment with brothels at every corner. nowadays, that’s been replaced with staring at screens all day.

        • just brew it!
        • 1 year ago

        It’s a myth that most people died in their late 20s or early 30s. Average life expectancy stats were massively skewed by high infant/child mortality. If you made it past childhood, you had a reasonable chance of making it to middle age and beyond.

    • yeeeeman
    • 1 year ago

    Xperia z3 compact user. Browsing, Facebook and maps work great on a snapdragon 801 with 2GB of Ram. Battery life is also great, I get two days of light usage after all these years. I do intend to get a snapdragon 855 based phone next year.

      • NimbusTLD
      • 1 year ago

      That’s oddly specific… May we know why?

        • End User
        • 1 year ago

        Future proofing.

    • Blytz
    • 1 year ago

    Motorola G5s here (My Nexus 5X carked it about 2 months ago and I am waiting for the new pixel)

    I use my phone for a little facebook, instagram, word games, news surfing from the google feed, email, instant messaging the family.

    The most demanding thing I did was bit of high speed video and photo taking.

    If my Nexus hadn’t died I’d still be getting a new pixel, I chase the vanilla android updates, so to that end, while I wont return to iphone, apple has this bit correct.

    Maybe now it’s “in house” google will update these phones for longer.

    Things I don’t care for,
    higher resolution (I run 1080p on 32″ desktop and it’s sharp enough for my eyes so 720p is probably more than adequate for me)
    faster processors (if it can handle the high speed video, it’s fast enough)
    an uber fast gpu

    What I would like to see is some sacrifice in the svelte-ness of phones for more battery and improvement on screen efficiency rather than shoehorning in more pixels and cpu efficiency rather than more grunt, all adding up to more SoT and life away from the power tether.

    • FireGryphon
    • 1 year ago

    I use my iPhone 6S+ for phone, FaceTime, photos, email, weather, and occasional web surfing. It does all of those things well. Heck, my iPhone 4 could have done those things just as well, probably. I require the most of the camera function. The iPhone is just good enough that I don’t have to carry around a separate camera to snap decent photos, but there’s room for improvement.

    My next phone will probably be smaller. The 6S+’s larger size is better for things like FaceTime, but the phone itself is less pocketable and I want my next phone to fit easily into my pocket.

    • NovusBogus
    • 1 year ago

    I am quite uninteresting when it comes to smartphones. Occasional phone calls and text messaging, maybe 1-2 calls per week and 2-3 texts per month. No data usage most months, which is convenient since I’m on a prepaid plan and the first megabyte costs a couple of bucks. The camera is nice to have, but not something that gets much use. Also a homebrew note taking app mostly used for shopping lists and taking quick notes at work.
    I had written a simple color-matching game back in the Windows Phone days, but never got around to porting it over to Android so no games for me–that’s what PCs are for, anyway.

    • Laykun
    • 1 year ago

    I only use my smartphone as a flash light since it’s no longer the latest model and therefore worthless. — Galaxy Note 8

    • Jellyfish
    • 1 year ago

    Apparently the quickest way to get downvotes is to confess that you have (and enjoy) a Windows phone!

    • LostCat
    • 1 year ago

    Pandora for five or so hours plugged into the car, basically.

    Occasional calls, texting, and browsing when I’m out and about.

    • Alexko
    • 1 year ago

    Texting, browsing, pictures, reminders, calendar, podcasts, and that’s pretty much it. I’d like for the camera to be better, and for the battery to last longer, but honestly, the thing’s fine as it is.

    If I get a free phone with my next job, then great, otherwise I expect I’ll keep the one I have until it breaks.

    • chuckula
    • 1 year ago

    I ask it to make it to the end of my 2 year contract without spontaneously self-destructing (and no, I’m not dropping it, dunking it, etc.).

    Guess what.. as of last night it just started self destructing.

    YOUR TIMING IS IMPECCABLE KAMPMAN!

    • jihadjoe
    • 1 year ago

    Quite a lot, but none of it particularly heavy.

    Aside from making calls and texts it’s the usual chat and remote apps (Remote Desktop, Foobar2000, MPC-HC, Plex, etc.), Maps/Waze, and tethering.

    • TheEmrys
    • 1 year ago

    If I could find a phone that just had Google Maps, I could be happy with a flip phone.

      • just brew it!
      • 1 year ago

      Believe it or not, I still used a flip phone until about 3 years ago.

        • bthylafh
        • 1 year ago

        I used a slider featurephone until about two years ago. Excellent battery life and I can use the thing by touch alone, and now it’d make a great backup phone if mine ever breaks.

    • tsk
    • 1 year ago

    I mostly browse and watch YouTube, still want the fastest performance, night and day difference between say a snapdragon 810 vs my 845 device.

    • just brew it!
    • 1 year ago

    My phone is used for mobile browsing, Slack, text messaging, listening to music, GPS, taking pictures, and occasional tethering when I need to get work done on the train and require VPN access to the office.

    It’s all fairly undemanding stuff. Aside from Slack, PowerAmp and Google navigation, my app usage is pretty light. I do like to store my entire music collection locally, so I want a SD card slot.

    Still running an LG G4 here.

      • arunphilip
      • 1 year ago

      Very similar use case – commonly used: calls, mobile browsing, messaging via WhatsApp, music, and photography. Occasionally used: GPS, mobile payments. And yes, I too prefer my music onboard, so the microSD card slot is a requirement.

      I just looked up a review of the G4 – first thing that caught my eye is that even for such a recent phone, its design has character. And the review was very positive about the camera. So yes, it does seem like a phone that can hold its own 3 years down the line.

    • Zizy
    • 1 year ago

    I want the bloody thing to work as a phone. Something that is ever harder to get I fear 😀 Nice photos are a plus. That seems to be it for me.

    I was satisfied with 8S but it got painfully slow later on. Very slightly less satisfied with L640, the thing was a nice phone but too big and slippery, so it kept falling down until the screen finally broke. Now I am even less satisfied with the current Redmi something. Slippery again, metal is annoying and it just doesn’t work as reliably as a phone. Could be Redmi or Android, can’t know, but I dislike both.

    My ideal phone would be Lumia 1020 update. Current gen camera sensor tech, a current gen SoC and a current gen screen. With preferably the same old design and everything else. Maybe HTC’s soft plastic instead. It looks a mess very fast, but still feels the best.

    • sweatshopking
    • 1 year ago

    I stuck with windows phone for so long because they had the best cameras, MS office, and a decent browser and that’s all I use my phone for. I now have a one plus 5t, and I still just use edge, office, and the camera. I don’t have a single game installed. Should andromeda ever launch i’ll head back to Microsoft.

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      Upthumbed because downthumbing Windows Phone User[s<]s[/s<] is just plain bullying at this point.

        • Chrispy_
        • 1 year ago

        There was never anything wrong with Windows phones. For use cases like SSK’s they were pretty much the ideal devices.

        What generated hate for Windows Phone was Microsoft and their fanboys trying to pretend that the small, limited app ecosystem didn’t matter, and that a buyer could do everything* an Android or Apple user could do.

        *for certain Microsoft-approved definitions of [i<]everything[/i<].

          • ermo
          • 1 year ago

          For *years* Microsoft’s biggest problem was their tone-deaf echo-chamber. Luckily that’s changing for the better it seems.

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    Back in October 2016 I got myself a phone from Acer with 4 x 1.3GHz A53 cores, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage + 64GB SD card. Oh and a huge 5,000mAh battery, which is a real plus. I just call, text, Waze, Viber, stare at pictures of everything from photos to CPU die shots to cars to etc., watch videos, surf, and sometimes play very light games on it. Serves me very well. I think the combo of 4 light cores + big battery is great.

    Too bad Acer seems to have quit the mobile phone market already. I love my phone. It’s just $160 at the time of purchase and it’s a real workhorse. Survived many drops too. Yes it’s not made of unobtainium (heck its white textured plastic at the back) and doesn’t kill Geekbench 4, but so what. Come on, Acer, don’t be such a quitter.

      • MOSFET
      • 1 year ago

      Liquid Zest, how clean you are

        • ronch
        • 1 year ago

        Yup. Liquid Zest Plus. Acer probably hired marketing people from Procter & Gamble.

    • End User
    • 1 year ago

    The A11 in my iPhone X is very powerful so, for this upgrade cycle, performance is not my focus. I’d like to get the XS Plus (larger display) and hope that Face ID is faster.

    My phone is my life:

    – OBD2 Car Diagnostic Scanner app
    – Apple Pay
    – Apple Wallet (ticket management)
    – Microsoft Office
    – Email
    – Motorsport streaming apps (WEC/IMSA/F1 (soon))
    – Home security (Nest)
    – Home lighting (Hue)
    – Home audio (Sonos)
    – Apple TV and Chromecast control
    – YouTube
    – TV control
    – Twitter
    – Notes
    – Transit (Uber, public transit, and city guides)
    – Calendar
    – Reminders
    – Music
    – Movies
    – Magazines
    – Books
    – Photography
    – Remote access
    – Terminal app
    – Google Drive
    – Chat (Skype/Messages/Hangouts)
    – Navigation (Waze/Google Maps)
    – Streaming apps (Plex/Netflix/Prime Video/CNN/Motor Trend/TSN)
    – Podcasts
    – Weather
    – Network utilities
    – Office 365 Admin
    – Password Management
    – Games
    – Food apps (Tim Hortons/Ritual/Swiss Chalet/OpenTable/Uber Eats/Starbucks/etc)
    – Store apps (Amazon/Home Depot/LCBO/etc.)

    • BIF
    • 1 year ago

    Music and podcasts, mostly in the car. Then after that, it’s an instant encyclopedia, though more like Funk & Wagnalls and less like Britanica. 😉

    I don’t game on it, but I do use it for texting, emailing, self education, and more. It’s great for taking pictures to help me with explanations and so forth.

    It’s an iPhone 6 Plus and suffers from response time issues (mostly when launching an app), but it has given me good service for the last 5 or whatever years. I’m looking forward to upgrading to an XS Plus (or whatever it’s going to be called).

    • Star Brood
    • 1 year ago

    I wish my S8 could run full Windows 10. Alas, I will need to buy a netbook.

    • rechicero
    • 1 year ago

    What I want:

    Several days battery (that means not only big battery, but intelligent hardware, no need for 4K in a phone, eating the battery up)

    Small enough to fit the phone in my front pocket

    Good enough to do basic things without a lag (communication features, camera, google maps, some list managing, etc).

    Good camera is nice, but I wouldn’t trade it for battery life or sane size.

    In a nuthshell: small enough with great battery, and medium end characteristics for the rest of it.

    • albundy
    • 1 year ago

    i ask my V20 to wake me up in the morning with the soothing sounds of Rick Ross’s Hustlin’. Then after some wake up gangsta rap to get me angry and riled up, the phone helps me turn on the tv and sound system so i can watch the news, and then helps me turn off my ceiling fan and the air conditioner when I am about to leave for work. literally no point for getting any logitech harmony.

    I also love the removable battery and microSD storage. although the future of removable battery looks grim, its nice to see 256GB and 512GB phone storage finally come to fruition after so many horrible and torturous years stuck on 8 and 16GB capacities. the large storage should negate the need for microSD card slots, if and only if the makers continue the trend towards 1TB storage space and beyond, because, 4k videos take up 1GB per 3 minutes.

    its also nice to finally make use of my h900n cans for FLAC audio support over bluetooth and better aptx HD and LDAC support.

    either than that, i refuse to use my phone for financial transactions, like NFC payments and android pay, credit card apps, bank apps to deposit checks , etc. there is no incentive to use any these, as i am not willing to risk it if the phone is lost or stolen.

    • anotherengineer
    • 1 year ago

    I ask it to keep on working so I don’t have to buy another one for a long time 😉

    Keep on trucking iphone 4.

    • travbrad
    • 1 year ago

    Web browsing, listening to music, guitar tab app, singing practice app, YouTube, podcasts. Oh yeah it’s a phone too. :p

    All of that stuff runs well on my Moto G5 Plus, a mid-range phone from 1 1/2 years ago. The things that actually require phone replacements tend to be non-replaceable batteries and lack of Android updates, neither of which have anything to do with performance.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 1 year ago

      I got the moto g5 plus 4/64 a few months ago instead of the moto g6 with the larger screen. I like mine a lot and it’s fast enough for my uses.

    • bthylafh
    • 1 year ago

    I don’t really game on it besides playing Tetris DX and occasionally other games in Game Boy/Game Boy Advance emulators; none of the ones I’ve tried look interesting and/or I just don’t care for touchscreen gaming. Can’t get into mobile Minecraft at all but my daughter loves it.

    Playing music doesn’t take much power, and I rarely watch videos on it. Mostly it’s for email, IM, browsing, social media, and reading books. I’m a bit pathological in my book reading: I’ve got like five different e-reader apps, three of which I use fairly regularly, each with a different book open so if I’m in a boring spot in one book I can switch for a while. I’m the same way with print books.

    I upgraded to a OnePlus 5T late last year after my Nexus 5’s battery died again and I didn’t feel like another round of the battery lottery, otherwise I would probably still be using it. The #1 thing I dislike about the smartphone industry is the utter lack of standardized batteries. Just agree on a few standardized form factors already and make them easier to replace; I think everyone besides Apple cultists would agree that standardized chargers was the absolute best thing to happen to cell phones since iOS and Android got decent.

    • odizzido
    • 1 year ago

    Phones aren’t anywhere near my PC in usability. I use it mostly for navigation and light internet use which it does just fine. I’ve tried using it for spreadsheets and other things but it’s an exercise in frustration and minimal productivity. Even typing this out on my phone(on the train) is painful compared to a desktop. Thing is though I don’t think it’s because the phone is trash, it’s the interface. But if you want a good interface the phone would be way too large.

    So yeah…I ask reasonable things of it….to call, text, GPS, and be online a little. If it could do more I would ask more though.

    • ludi
    • 1 year ago

    I have one brutal requirement that many flagships can’t even meet.

    I sometimes require a headphone jack.

    After that, casual gaming and web browsing. Camera and BT car audio are tied for third.

    • DragonDaddyBear
    • 1 year ago

    I’m just going to be honest and say what most parents would say if they were honest: too much when it’s not important. It all started with a good high end phone thet didn’t annoy me just unlocking it because I got a job where my phone actually was needed. I found it in my hands way too often. Then I bought a smart watch and couldn’t be happier.

    Now, I try to leave it in the charger at home. I still use the phone for GPS and music. At work I leave it on my desk most of the time. The watch has cellular service so I can still get all notifications. No need to be tempted by the phone when there are more important things to do.

    Don’t get sucked into the hype. I admire your restraint.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      I attacked this problem a different way: I deleted all my social media accounts. Now there’s not as much to look at on my phone, and I can (as you rightly pointed out) do more important things.

        • DragonDaddyBear
        • 1 year ago

        I only had a Facebook and gave that up years ago. Trust me, there is lots of Internet to browse.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 1 year ago

          La la la I can’t hear you!! lol

    • Wonders
    • 1 year ago

    Man, you know what would be great?

    If one of these powerful SoC’s could go into a mobile device with little removable gaming controllers, so you’d have the option to insert it into a charging dock and play on a big screen.

    If I had something like that, I bet my phone use would become (and stay) extremely narrow and extremely boring. I’d probably only use my phone for browsing the web via Safari, and occasionally using the camera.

    Of course, due to practical considerations this new device would probably require a spacious memory card (sold separately), a carrying case, and other accessories. I just wouldn’t be able to justify upgrading my phone, which by comparison would have become a kind of glorified pocket Chromebook.

    Fun fact: As I typed that last sentence, someone at the Apple campus in Cupertino spontaneously burst into tears, but didn’t know why.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      I laughed. +3

      We got a Switch for my daughter for her birthday. Suddenly she doesn’t want a phone anymore. Which is weird, because I thought all adolescents were eager for the day they could get a phone.

    • Redocbew
    • 1 year ago

    Add me as another minimalist phone user. I talk to people(wait, what?), I text, I browse, I sporadically take a few really awful pictures, and I play songs through Spotify. I’ve also been known to watch the odd youtube video when I’m away from home and don’t have easy access to a bigger display.

    That sounds like a lot, but I have a feeling it isn’t in comparison to most other people. I’ve had the phone for nearly four years now, so I suppose what I ask of it the most these days is to not die. The charging port stopped working a while ago, and I’ve been dependent on wireless charging ever since, but I see no reason to replace it yet as everything else still works fine.

      • Waco
      • 1 year ago

      This. I just want a phone that can text, browse, handle GPS not terribly, and have good battery life.

    • Wildchild
    • 1 year ago

    My first smart phone was the Galaxy S2 when it came out. The power switch went faulty less than a year of owning it and, because I had it rooted and couldn’t even get it to turn on normally to revert everything, there was no way I could have it exchanged. I’ve never spent more than $150 on a phone since because, like most people, I only use my phone for the most basic of things and I quickly realized that spending $500+ for a delicate piece of tech that will eventually get dropped at some point just doesn’t make much financial sense.

    I switched to Windows phones for a while because budget Android phones at the time just weren’t quite there as far as performance goes and, for basic use, it worked great. Finally switched back to the Android team a few years ago and I can’t find any reason to get something fancier. I’m currently using a Motorola E4, which wasn’t an ideal pick for me because it has a bit lesser performance than my previous phone, the Moto G4, but it’s mostly because of how incredibly hard it is to find a decent phone these days that has a 5″ screen or lower.

    The thing I find funny is that, with how advanced phones have become in the last decade, call quality doesn’t seem to have gotten any better.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      A 5-inch screen in the era of full-frontal screens isn’t as big as it used to be. My mother-in-law’s Moto G6 with a 5.8″ display is narrower than her old Droid Turbo and not any taller. There are 18:9 phones in the 5.5″ range that should be smaller than the 5″ Galaxy S5 as a result.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 1 year ago

        I chose the G5+ 4/64 over the G6. The screen size is too large to be practical. I’m afraid of bending the phone on my pockets.

    • tipoo
    • 1 year ago

    This is the thing with me, I’m never one to say no to more power, but I also kinda wonder what we do with it (beyond lending longevity).

    What I kind of want is Apple or Google to double down on the mobile gaming market, pushing vice style controllers and AAA titles for a Switch-lite kind of experience. Top end phones are easily above Switch power even post throttling, but mobile games are 99% the freemium, low end fare.

    If the Switch can run, like, Doom on the go, albeit at 30fps, the iPhone XS with a gamepad vice grip with a battery built in certainly could.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 1 year ago

      There’s a Moto mod for that exact sort of thing but the Z3 has a snapdragon 835 like last year’s flagships

      • aspect
      • 1 year ago

      Makes me wonder if Nintendo will eventually enter the phone market but with a heavily locked restrictive market for apps and like 4 year hardware release cycle.

    • aspect
    • 1 year ago

    The occasional use of the GPS and camera. Then messaging apps, and the browser or music to kill time. Gaming on a touch screen is just terrible so I don’t and I don’t like carrying accessories.

    • brucethemoose
    • 1 year ago

    Media takes up most of my phone’s power. Music, Amazon/Netflix/YouTube, local videos and so on. So, my priorities are:

    – (Analog) audio quality
    – Display quality
    – Decoding block capabilities
    – Wifi/4G that isn’t buggy
    – Battery size
    – System responsiveness/bloat

    Pretty much in that order.

    I’ve actually tried to setup some fancy rendering with MPV Android, only to find that phones are WAY slower than a desktop. So a massive increase in GPU power would be nice, and a smart TV-like interpolation block would be even nicer, but neither of those things are going to happen 🙁

    • Khali
    • 1 year ago

    I don’t ask much at all. I went out of my way to get a simple flip phone that is nothing but a phone with texting. No camera, no browser, no GPS, etc.

    • Eggrenade
    • 1 year ago

    The biggest thing I ask of my phone is that it be small enough to fit in my pocket. Most phones come up very short in this regard, and are way too tall.

    Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t want my phone to be the biggest thing in my pants.

      • Srsly_Bro
      • 1 year ago

      I agree with that statement. I workout a lot and have a hard time finding pants that fit my legs. A phone any larger than my G5+ wouldn’t fit in my pockets very well without increasing change of bending.

      Many see phones are too large for my needs.

      • ronch
      • 1 year ago

      [quote<]Call me old-fashioned, but I don't want my phone to be the biggest thing in my pants.[/quote<] That's what she said!!

      • ET3D
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah. I have a Samsung Galaxy S4 Mini, for this reason. Though recently I got a bit annoyed with its web performance (not browsing on it much, but needed it lately and it wasn’t up to the task) so I’m getting a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact. I’ll see how that works out. I think it’s kind of an overkill with its 8 cores, and it’s a little on the heavy side, and reportedly fragile (I like that the S4 Mini survives falls admirably), but hopefully it’s a good compromise.

        • NovusBogus
        • 1 year ago

        It’s really a shame that Sony moved away from aluminum.

        • plonk420
        • 1 year ago

        i just upgraded from a Galaxy J3 (oLED) to an iPhone SE, partially for size. waaay better camera is nice, as is better CPU and GPU. only downside is the screen isn’t as perfect as the J3’s

      • NovusBogus
      • 1 year ago

      I have this problem as well. One of the biggest reasons I’m still using a circa 2014 Xperia Z1 Compact, aside from it still satisfying my limited needs, is that it’s pocket friendly and fits well in my tiny gerbil paw while having much better build quality and heft than the typical low-end feature phone.

      • Magic Hate Ball
      • 1 year ago

      This is why I love my iPhone SE.

        • OptimumSlinky
        • 1 year ago

        I have a 6S with a dying battery, and I’m leaning towards the SE for my next one. I just want a lot of storage for music (128GB minimum) and a smaller form factor overall (I don’t care if it’s thicker).

          • DancinJack
          • 1 year ago

          The “smaller” of the regular iPhone isn’t small enough? Y’all must have non-existent pockets.

    • Lazier_Said
    • 1 year ago

    The most demanding things that I ask of a phone are to survive a drop and have a decent battery life. They’ve all failed at that miserably. Between the glass backed cases that crack when you look at them cross eyed, the curved screens that don’t fit screen protectors, and the batteries that you can’t replace anymore the new ones are even worse than the old ones.

    From a technical standpoint the S5 that I had four years ago already did everything that a phone needs to do just fine.

      • not@home
      • 1 year ago

      And if you live near water, waterproofing.

      • DragonDaddyBear
      • 1 year ago

      And this is why I have an S8 Active. Between moving way harder than I should in most take and having kids I wouldn’t have a fully functioning phone were it no fit this model being so durable.

        • Lazier_Said
        • 1 year ago

        I just looked that up, I’d love one of those! Unfortunately I’m stuck with Verizon and their crap phone selection that includes seemingly every $900 flagship that I have no use for, and no rugged phones whatsoever.

      • odizzido
      • 1 year ago

      My lg g3 has a replaceable battery….I purchased it because it had that and an sd slot. Both are requirements for me.

      • just brew it!
      • 1 year ago

      Yeah, battery life is where the LG G4 really falls down. To mitigate this, I have multiple wireless charging stands (2 at home, one at the office), so the phone is generally charging whenever I am not using it. I also have a small 6700 mAH portable charger I carry if I’ll be away from an electrical outlet all day.

        • Waco
        • 1 year ago

        We have the G5 and that’s also our only real complaint (battery life). Bigger aftermarket batteries help a bit.

    • gerryg
    • 1 year ago

    I regularly use Email, Safari, Messages, Google Hangouts, Google Maps, Kindle, Camera/Photos, Podcasts, occasionally some YouTube, Shazam, and Amazon (for the UPC scanner/price looker upper). More rare, Google Drive, Steam for SteamGuard, Chik-fil-a app, Great Clips (for haircut appt to beat the line), Calculator, and Geico (insurance docs). I have a dozen or so other apps that I haven’t touched in ages, plus all the misc. built-in Apple apps that I moved to a folder called “Ignore”. I will get Android next time for sure. In the end there’s some usefulness to the apps but limited. I don’t do any gaming, not sure I would. My kids do some games, videos and music, but even then they don’t do that much. Daughter is mostly texting, Instagram, and Pinterest. My oldest has been doing more Google Cardboard 360 degree photos lately, which is cheap fun.

    • Kretschmer
    • 1 year ago

    The only challenging thing I do with my phone is keep 100-150 browser tabs open. Other than that, I wouldn’t even notice the loss of my GPU. I really regret paying the premium for a Pixel 2 flagship instead of getting a “good enough” Android phone and using the dollars saved towards actually cool tech.

    • synthtel2
    • 1 year ago

    Very little. Calls, text, a camera (doesn’t have to be a decent camera), and a web browser pretty much cover it, and I don’t even use any of those functions very much. A better camera would be kind of nice, but not enough to pay significantly more for it. Web browsing seems more limited by screen space and touch input than processing power even with a dual Krait or quad A53, IMO.

    I’d trust phones with more and start actually caring about them if the security and privacy situations were at least a couple steps better than swiss cheese. As is, swiss cheese looks like an impenetrable fortress in comparison. It’d also be worth a lot if they had a MTBF of more than 1.5 years and/or provisions for easy repair.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 1 year ago

    To me it’s just the camera. As long as it runs basic apps at a reasonable speed, I don’t really care.

      • arunphilip
      • 1 year ago

      +1. Camera improvements are the only thing that made me upgrade the last few years. Although I end up with a flagship, I would be as happy with a midrange device with a flagship camera.

        • just brew it!
        • 1 year ago

        I’ve generally been impressed with the camera in the LG G4. My Canon A1200 point-and-shoot hasn’t been powered up since I got the G4.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 1 year ago

        Exactly. I bought the 6+ and then the 7+ just for the camera. I’d be fine if they kept the current performance and just upgraded the camera. It does all I want and more.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    I’m kind of in the same boat. My phone (Pixel 2) supports all the fancy crap, but all I really do is use Chrome, send texts, listen to music, use the camera, and connect it to Visual Studio once in a while when I’m ready to deploy production versions of my day job.

    The most “intensive” thing I do with my phone is (don’t laugh) Pokemon Go. It gets my ass out of the house and it has for nearly two years. I’m down nearly 50 pounds as a result. If you remember my chubby face from the TR podcast in late 2015, it’s changed a bit. I still haven’t lost enough weight, but the difference is noticeable (especially when I look at photos). Back on topic, that game does not push the phone hardware, so I could get by with less there.

    Thing is, with Android devices at least, you need all the single-threaded performance you can get. On browser-related benchmarks, the latest Snapdragon 845 still hasn’t caught the A9. Maybe that’s at least partially because of software, and maybe that’s because Apple can control the whole ecosystem. It doesn’t change the result. So for the web browsing, the more the better on this side.

    • drfish
    • 1 year ago

    Apps are overrated. Phone SoCs are totally boring.

    As long as I can do light browsing, take semi-decent photos, use the GPS, txt, call, and play podcasts I’m good.

    I’ll probably keep my Lumia Icon Windows Phone for the next decade.

      • Concupiscence
      • 1 year ago

      Seriously, give me something that takes some minor pains to protect my privacy, has a headphone jack, runs a few apps to let me keep in touch with people, and has a camera that’s not baleful, and I’m set. My iPhone SE’s going to do what I need until the thing literally stops working outright.

      • RickyTick
      • 1 year ago

      Brand new Icon on Ebay for $119. Get’em while they’re hot.

        • OptimumSlinky
        • 1 year ago

        Is there any kind of micro-SD slot? $120 is a solid price but won’t even handle half my music library…

          • RickyTick
          • 1 year ago

          No SD slot, but it is 32gb.

      • sweatshopking
      • 1 year ago

      Had my phone not died i’d have stuck with it. I wish the 1020 had received the windows 10 update and an upgrade with a faster soc

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