Over the last few weeks, I have been looking in buying a new phone and tablet to replace the ageing ones I have and so far I am liking the Surface Duo and a Surface Pro, mostly based on my experiences with Surface products in the past, but fuck me they both show the problems I have with modern phones nowadays.
Smartphones nowadays are getting more and more powerful with every release and while that is a good thing I imagine many people reading this website likely only browse websites and run the odd few messaging apps and don’t really need the power they provide and due to this, we are starting to see many phone creators do creative stuff to get us to buy the next model.
The first “creative” method is batteries. Seriously, I really miss being able to easily replace the battery in devices nowadays. I remember the XDA Exec and being able to easily replace the battery with third party ones which doubled the battery outright. Nowadays most modern batteries will barely last a day actively doing stuff such as web browsing and not every phone, more so the Surface Duo doesn’t have a battery case although it does have a really nice belt holster.
The next thing isn’t a “creative” reason for buying another phone but instead, something that pisses me off about modern phones and that is the lack of a physical keyboard. Sure some modern phones do but if you look at the major brands you will find none of them has one and very few of them will have a keyboard case that works well with the phone. I know I will compare smartphones a lot to the XDA Exec PDA but the keyboard was amazing as you just flipped up the screen and could use the keyboard in your hand like a laptop.
The second “creative” reason is the changing of inputs. Seriously, how hard is it nowadays to just use a standard USB input such as USB C, allow a headphone jack and a slot for an SD card for extended storage.
I would be happy even if most modern smartphone would allow USB C to headphones converter so that you can at least use wired headphones. As much as I do enjoy wireless headphones or earphones I really hate charging things up and keep forgetting to do so thus wired headphones are something I always will keep using.
As for external storage? Seriously why can’t all phones just allow you to pop in an SD card so you can download as much as you want onto it, film as much as you want and so much more? I understand that it is really to do with selling more costly phones (cough Apple) but seriously it isn’t hard to do. While you are at it also allow tossing in another sim card although that is a feature that might come with eSIM which I really hope it does.
The next thing is yet again not creative but rather something that annoys me and that is the lack of docking docks for devices. I understand nowadays laptops do not need a docking station due to having all the I/O built-in or at the very least a USB adapter but I do miss with my old PDAs where they had a charging dock where I could toss it up and let it charge compared to what we have now where you plug a cable in and it just hangs around there. With Qi charging slowly becoming more popular this may be changed but I still do miss it.
The last thing I am going to rant about with modern smartphones as I could go on for quite a while but I really hate how there are rarely any physical buttons on them. The home button tends to be via software button which you don’t know if you are feeling half the time, no back buttons and in some cases no volume buttons.
If there is one thing I do like about the Surface Duo with its two screens is having a “full size” keyboard on one screen while you work on the other. May still not provide any feedback on what you press.
With all that in mind … anyone got any phone recommendations?