Smartphones that weren’t all that smart

John Show
By -



Technology is constantly changing. The fads that go along with it are also true. If, on the other hand, you are like me and were forced to sit in a corner and reevaluate the year that had passed in terms of smartphones and technology, you would undoubtedly be overjoyed by the appearance of new form factors on occasion. You would also be pleased to see that foldables are gaining popularity and that the misconception that a device is only considered flagship if it has flagship internals is slowly but surely beginning to dissipate.


You would also remember some trends and particular devices that you would not want to see continue in the coming year. And while the initial two ideas contain a lot of pieces, let's take a look at the devices or concepts that didn't work.


Some of these phones or concepts are so incomprehensible that it takes some time to figure out what the brand was trying to do. You just hope that other businesses don't pick this idea because many brands just copy what Apple does. Yes, Apple is also on our list, along with a few others.


OnePlus Nord


 In order to comprehend this, we will need to retrace the company's beginnings and examine how it built such a strong following that OnePlus phones became one of the most popular premium phones in the nation in such a short amount of time.


Since the first OnePlus phone was released, fans have adored them. The brand was an instant hit not only in a market that is price-sensitive like India but also in a number of other countries because the concept of offering flagship-grade specifications in a package that was decently (affordable) priced made a lot of sense. The brand's aggressive marketing tactics also contributed to this.


OnePlus was able to sell a lot of its products, but the company had to raise prices in order to stay profitable, so it also moved away from the affordable flagship label.


Even though the company's co-founders repeatedly refuted the idea, OnePlus Nord was launched in 2020, according to various rumors.


OnePlus claimed that it listened to the community's feedback and wanted to fill the void left by its move into the premium market. Ironically, the company never heard from the same community about things like wireless charging, better cameras, IP ratings, and the removal of the headphone jack.


Despite this, the Nord lineup was supposedly designed to offer affordable, high-end devices similar to OnePlus; however, the products in this lineup are made of a lot of plastic and look like Oppo phones. Devices sold under the Realme and Oppo brands may resemble one another if you pay close attention.


Having said that, rebranding devices is not harmful; however, are users simply paying a premium for the skin?


It is undeniable that any brand must maintain its commercial profitability. OnePlus, on the other hand, could have done a lot better, especially since some really good devices have raised the bar so high. Because the company claims to be "different" and "community-driven," one only hopes for the best.


LG Velvet


Everyone hoped that the South Korean company would rebound after a difficult few years. The company has a reputation for trying new things, being creative, and taking risks. The company had a different point of view and had unique phones. For instance, the LG G5, a semi-modular device, may have failed, but I loved the concept of customizing features.


LG's take on foldable devices is another such concept. A secondary display that can be removed when not in use was added. The LG G8X sold a lot during the recent holiday sales because it took the company several iterations to perfect it. And LG Wing, who can forget this year? Even though these cutting-edge gadgets may not be for everyone's taste, they are nothing short of pure gold for technology enthusiasts.


Coming back to the LG Velvet, the phone that is part of LG's renewed focus on flagship models, it is a beautiful device to begin with. awe-inspiring due to its stunning display, 3D arc design, exquisite camera setup (without a bulge), and shiny rear panel. However, a smartphone cannot be sold solely on its appearance, and it would be unreasonable to expect users to buy one when the company is selling a device with a chipset that is two years old and can barely connect to a 4G network for Rs. 50,000 (Rs. 36,000 with only one screen).


The global LG Velvet variants have MediaTek Dimensity 1000 series or Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G chipsets that are ready for 5G, whereas the 2017-introduced Indian variant has a Snapdragon 845 chipset.


We tried, but were unsuccessful, to comprehend their pricing strategy and the baffling logic behind it. We even attempted to communicate with LG executives to gain a deeper understanding of the situation, but to no avail. Therefore, despite our wishes to the contrary, the LG Velvet is included on this list due to its odd pricing and out-of-date processor.


Samsung Galaxy M31S


Similar tactics have been criticized in the past for the. Frequently, their phones lacked a sensor or were repackaged devices with minor branding changes. The Galaxy M31s, which was released earlier this year, is a great example of a product that should not have been released.


Samsung appeared to be going back to its old ways with features that are almost identical to those of the Galaxy M31, which was released almost six months ago, and minor improvements to its specifications, but a significant price increase.


Samsung could have also altered the processor. The Exynos 9611 has literally been running about 30 other Samsung phones, including variants, in the same price range.


We are not suggesting that multiple phones should use the same chipset; rather, it might result in excessive use. acknowledged that Samsung manufactures its own Exynos chipsets and has extensive access to them. However, it is completely perplexing that the phone was out of stock for a significant amount of time immediately following its launch as well as later.


In addition, it suggests that the M31s was best suited to fill the cost void left by the Rs. It does not appear to be much.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20


another Samsung product, but this time it falls more into the flagship category and has a questionable reason for being here. The basic Note 20 and the powerful Note 20 Ultra are the two models that make up the Samsung Note 20 Series. While the latter is a kind of powerhouse that packs a huge display with high refresh rates and almost all of the high-end features, it also has a great camera setup, is built with premium materials, can use 5G, and is expensive, just like other flagship phones this year.


Despite being the regular Note variant this year, the Note 20 appeared to lack all notable features in order to ensure that the Ultra takes center stage. The Note 20 was made solely to make the exorbitant price tag of the Note 20 Ultra appear reasonable due to its plastic construction, subpar camera array, and standard 60Hz flat display.


The phone is summed up in our review as "This phone doesn't just have a smaller screen and a lesser camera array than the Note 20 Ultra; It has a plastic back, a lower-resolution, dimmer screen, and a flat front that lacks the finesse of flagship models.


Back in the day, companies would only release one flagship phone at a time, and then they would probably also release a smaller version later. Both of these phones were worth the money because they were good value. Later, brands started launching multiple variants at the same time, including a base variant, a Lite variant that was stripped down, and an Ultra or Pro variant—which could be referred to as the one on steroids—all at the same time.


Because it offered something to buyers regardless of the device they purchased, this strategy still made sense. But with the Note 20 series, Samsung has started to take users for granted. This new trend makes the original Note 20 nothing more than a gimmick, and anyone who buys the vanilla Note 20 will feel like they are missing something.


As the year draws to a close, we hope that other brands will not take their cues from this trend, which only added numbers without adding value to the brand in the eyes of users.


Apple iPhone 12


The year 2020 will be remembered as the first year that even Apple felt the strain of declining demand and low sales. In a single year, the Cupertino-based company released five phones. four iPhone 12 variations and one iPhone SE 2020. Yes, there are five different iPhones, but you would be mistaken if you expected a technological breakthrough or a completely new design.


Instead, you get a design that is, well, not new at all, an iterative update, a higher price, and so on. The iPhone's size notch has not changed despite Android users trying to hide the front-facing camera. According to reviews, the iPhone 12 is extremely uncomfortable for a longer period of time due to its sharp edges, and larger models like the Pro and Pro Max are even more difficult to grip. The design itself appears to have been borrowed from the iPhone 4, which was released a long time ago. It immediately brings to mind a song from a Hindi movie that goes something like, "naye packet me bechein tumko jeans purani."


Agree that a lot of technology has been squeezed into that small space, and the only biometric security Apple devices receive is hidden beneath this notch. However, despite numerous iterations, Apple has not focused on reducing this notch's size. It is argued that the notch gets smaller over time, so you don't notice it as much, but it is still an eyesore and unfortunately nobody talks about it anymore.


Another major criticism of the most recent iPhones is that, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most powerful model and comes equipped with all of the most recent features, the other models appear to be outdated designs that have been repackaged in a new box with a few minor updates.


It is encouraging that Apple has finally joined the 5G train, but paying a premium for a technology that you cannot use in India, at least for the time being, does not make sense. 5G connectivity is available everywhere. Additionally, the introduction of MagSafe is yet another indication that the iPhone will not have a charging port. In fact, the charger has already been removed from the box by Apple, and the charging port will soon disappear along with the headphone jack.


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