I understand what you’re pondering. This is the following click-baity article with no substance in any way. Allow it for you to pass judgment on this viewpoint, but after I spent some time with one extremely captivating phone you’ve potentially never heard about, I was compelled to write it. We can lament the slow-paced evolution in the smartphone field all we like, but the reality is, we’re all complacent and contributing to the issue. I mean, even we, as reviewers, have a tendency to slide down that slippery slope.
Many individuals believe that phones are flawless, and the present design is the most ideal we’ll ever receive. I strongly disagree. We’ve simply grown accustomed to how contemporary smartphones feel and look, and as flexible human beings, we have learned to live with all the shortcomings.
But let’s skip to the point. Take the S24 series, for instance. And let’s examine the cream of the crop, the S24 Ultra. People commend it, and reviewers laud it, but to me, it’s the identical phone as the S23 Ultra, which in turn is the identical phone as the S22 Ultra.
The elephant in the room
Examining the titanium iPhone Pro and the materials used on the Galaxy S24 Ultra, it’s evident that the industry is following trends. Who sets them? Who determines that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will retain the same design of the back camera system but swap the frame for titanium? There are two sides to this predicament. I don’t believe that we’re the ones to blame, at least not directly. Companies have hundreds of analysts and specialists to weigh in on how a certain change would impact sales, manufacturing costs, profit, etc.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max next to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, there’s a trend here
We’re an indirect part of the problem, however, because we keep purchasing the same phones over and over again and giving the same design high scores in our reviews. Is there a way out of this vicious circle?
The first step – change your perspective
The last phone I took for a spin was the Nubia Z60 Ultra, and even though it was far from perfect, it overheated like a hairy dog under Georgia sun, and it was digging and cutting in my hand, this phone showed me for the gazillionth time that innovation nowadays comes from China.
Look, Neo! There’s no spoon… I mean selfie camera…
But it was all irrelevant because this phone had something that completely changed my perspective. The under-display camera. I know you’re letting off a long sign at the moment and probably shaking your heads. But hear me out. Using this phone for a week made something magical. It reset my perspective on how a smartphone screen should look. I realized I grew so accustomed to the cutouts for the selfie camera that they stopped bothering me a long time ago. When I got back to my iPhone 13 mini, the notch felt unbearable. I tried to use an older Galaxy S22, but still, the cutout was sticking like a sore thumb. There’s another point here, and I should mention it for objectivity. Samsung is trying to implement the under-display selfie camera in its Fold lineup, and I understand that these companies want to perfect the technology without sacrificing the quality of selfie pictures, but come on. If Nubia can do it, a company with billions of revenue such as Samsung and Apple could as well.
How do you break the status quo?
Yeah, testing an obscure Chinese phone with an edge-to-edge display is cool and fun, but people are still almost religiously buying Galaxies and iPhones. It’s really hard to break the status quo for various reasons. For one, companies like Nubia are not exactly popular, and people are afraid to take risks and leap into the unknown. The same goes for telecom providers, big retail stores, and us reviewers as well. We try to be as objective as possible (I sincerely do), but sometimes we tend to give more weight to well-established brands and be suspicious toward unknown ones. And this happens subconsciously in the minds of millions of other people as well. There’s one way we can make a difference, though. It’s a bit radical, but I think with the latest trend in software support, we can do it.
Don’t buy the latest flagship
Blasphemy! I can hear the head of the affiliate department running toward my office with his tiny feet to give me a lecture. Okay, let’s paraphrase that. Don’t buy the S25 Ultra if it lacks at least one feature that would make you go, “Wow!” Be that an under-display camera, a totally new design, a holographic display, a composite back, a new type of camera, or a solid-state battery. You probably don’t need it anyway, stick to your S22 Ultra or S23 or your good old iPhone 12 Pro, for example if you bought that one. I guarantee these old flagships will get you 99% of the experience of the newest ones, and for zero new investment, as well. And it will be a wake-up call for lazy companies. The same goes for Apple, I won’t spare them anything here. Since the iPhone 12 series, everything looks and feels the same, with such minor incremental upgrades that sometimes you can’t even tell the difference. If you have a flagship phone that’s a couple of years old, why don’t you hold on to it and wait for some real innovation. I’m not urging you to buy Nubias, but when Apple’s and Samsung’s sales start to drop, they might wake up and finally invent something.