The Most Over-Hyped Features
So, my advice is to ignore many of these over-hyped features, especially as the basis for a phone buying decision within the next six months or more. It will be some time before these features have fully matured, and while they may be useful for bragging rights, they may not live up to your expectations.
That said, there are a few features I would call out here that are under-hyped and worth keeping an eye out for. First of all, I hear so many complaints about call quality that I'm surprised more people don't base buying decisions on special sound technology. I've tried a few different phones with dual-microphone configurations, and these usually perform better than your average device. The microphone on back helps to filter out background noise, and in my tests this feature usually makes a huge difference.
Cameras are another wildly popular feature, but instead of megapixels, look for a few other camera features. A 2-stage camera button always means auto focus, and being able to aim your shot before you take the picture can be a big help. I also look out for touch focus cameras, and a Xenon flash bulb, which is still a rarity on phones, but produces a more balanced color than LED.
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If you love text messaging, be on the lookout for a phone that uses a threaded messaging style to display both sides of a conversation at once. All smartphones have this feature, and it's slowly working its way down to less expensive, quick messaging devices. If text messaging is how you spend most of your time on your phone, this feature will help you make sense of your long chats.
In other words, instead of focusing on the coolest new features at the bleeding edge of technology, find some features that will really make a difference for you, based on how you use your phone.
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