7 smartphone trends that really should stop in 2021

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

2020 was an necessary 12 months for the smartphone trade in some ways. 5G grew to become accessible to extra than simply flagship gadgets, we obtained foldables with improved sturdiness, and mid-range telephones took a serious step up in options.

It wasn’t all nice although. For each welcome trade transfer in 2020, there was a pattern we wouldn’t prefer to see continued in 2021. Right here’s our full checklist.

Slapping 5G on the tip of each title

LG V50 5G logo closeup

It’s comprehensible that we’d see telephones obtain a “5G” suffix within the first 12 months or two of 5G’s world availability, however help has grow to be commonplace amongst flagships as we speak. Hopefully, producers ditch this naming conference for high-end telephones subsequent 12 months. As they’re set to grow to be much less frequent, wouldn’t it really make extra sense for manufacturers to make use of the “4G” moniker to indicate 4G fashions as a substitute?

Learn extra: What to anticipate from 5G and 5G smartphones in 2020

One other foolish pattern seen in 2020 has been a transfer by Verizon. It went one step additional and slapped “UW 5G” on its telephones, denoting ultra-wideband or mmWave 5G protection. Most likely the worst title on this regard is the Nokia 8 V 5G UW. How about simply calling it the Nokia 8.3 Verizon?

Cease utilizing plastic/”glasstic” on $1,000 telephones

samsung galaxy note 20 review logo

Credit score: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority

We don’t have an issue with Samsung’s “glasstic” — the model’s tackle plastic that’s meant to really feel extra like glass. Our actual concern, nonetheless, is that the agency opted to make use of glasstic on the $1,000 Galaxy Observe 20.

It’s one factor to make use of a plastic design that appears and appears like plastic on a less expensive cellphone, but it surely’s one other matter if you’re spending over $900 on a high-end system. We hope Samsung restricts this materials to gadgets just like the Galaxy A sequence and Galaxy FE/Lite fashions. Alternatively, we’d prefer to see the agency tweak the glasstic materials to really feel extra like glass.

Another excuse why we took concern with glasstic on the Observe 20 is as a result of Samsung didn’t really beef up the cellphone’s spec sheet accordingly. I’m positive many customers wouldn’t thoughts plastic if it meant the cellphone bagged a excessive refresh charge and/or extra spectacular cameras, however they didn’t get any of that.

Pointless 2MP cameras

OnePlus Nord quad camera module rear

Credit score: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Probably the most annoying digital camera developments within the final two years has been using low-quality 2MP sensors. It’s a clear try to bump up digital camera numbers. We’ve seen everybody from Xiaomi and Realme to Samsung and Oppo undertake this technique, usually utilizing two 2MP cameras to allow them to brag about providing quad rear cameras.

See additionally: 2020 smartphone mega shootout — the very best digital camera telephones examined

We’d positively prefer to see extra manufacturers determine on a high quality over amount method for cameras in 2021. In different phrases, we’d like manufacturers to enhance their foremost, ultra-wide, and even macro cameras as a substitute of merely including extra lenses. On the latter, if manufacturers nonetheless insist on providing a macro lens, then hopefully we see increased decision sensors with autofocus as a substitute of token 2MP cameras.

Sluggish wired charging from lagging manufacturers

Google Pixel 5 back cover 2

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

It’s exhausting to imagine that you may really purchase telephones with 65W and even 100W+ charging speeds in 2020, such because the Xiaomi Mi 10 Extremely and OnePlus 8T. What’s even tougher to imagine is that there are nonetheless flagship telephones on the market that don’t supply quick charging.

Associated: The rise of ultra-fast charging — how 2020 modified the best way we recharge our telephones

Units just like the Motorola Edge Plus and Google Pixel 5 high out at a disappointing 18W, whereas the iPhone 12 sequence and LG V60 are slightly quicker at 20W and 25W, respectively. Both method, we’d prefer to see 30W+ charging from all main flagship smartphones as a pattern in 2021.

Some customers fear that quick charging may degrade the battery over time, however what’s to cease manufacturers trickle charging from 80 to 90% onwards? In any case, that is what a number of ultra-fast charging telephones already do. Oppo additionally reportedly claimed that its Ace 2 battery degrades to 90% capability after 800 cycles (i.e. two years) of 65W charging. Lastly, manufacturers may all the time ship a cellphone with quick charging however disable it by default in the event that they actually wish to.

Poor replace commitments

OnePlus Nord N10 front face

Credit score: Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Google already commits to providing three years of system updates to its Pixel telephones. Samsung additionally joined the membership this 12 months by providing a three-year dedication to Android model updates for some gadgets. That was one of many few shiny spots on this regard in 2020.

The 12 months noticed OnePlus verify only one replace for its Nord N10 and N100 telephones, whereas Motorola thought it may get away with pledging one model replace for its $1,000 Edge Plus cellphone. Moto ultimately modified tack and switched again to 2 model updates, however why did we have to undergo this within the first place?

Between customers holding on to their telephones for an extended time frame and the financial uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it solely is sensible for extra manufacturers to remain dedicated to software program updates.

Main worth hikes for flagships

OnePlus 8T rear hero shot

OnePlus 8T

Credit score: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

Xiaomi, Realme, and OnePlus all supplied 2020 flagships at the next worth than predecessors. A part of that is apparently because of increased flagship silicon costs this 12 months. Nevertheless, exterior of some welcome surprises, it’s nonetheless slightly disappointing to see a dearth of inexpensive flagship telephones in 2020.

Learn: One of the best 2019 flagship telephones nonetheless price shopping for in 2020

We’ve additionally seen mmWave variations of telephones coming in at ~$100 costlier than the usual 5G variations. Some examples of this embrace the Verizon variations of the OnePlus 8 and Pixel 4a 5G. Hopefully, we’ll see extra sensibly priced flagship telephones in 2021, however we’re not holding our breath for mmWave telephones to return down in worth.

High quality over amount

Poco F2 Pro back 2

Credit score: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

One of many extra irksome developments in recent times is that many OEMs are providing a ton of telephones with solely minor variations between them. Do we actually must see all these Realme Narzo sequence telephones when the mainline Realme telephones supply the same expertise? Do we actually want seven or eight Redmi 9 variants when half would do?

We’ve addressed it earlier than, however we’d additionally prefer to see manufacturers tone down the rebranding considerably in 2021. Positive, there are sometimes good causes for rebranding, however firms like Xiaomi definitely went overboard for its Poco model. Even OnePlus couldn’t restrain itself with the N100 — primarily a rebadged Oppo A53.


Are there another main smartphone developments you wouldn’t prefer to see in 2021? Tell us within the feedback!