Since this time last year, I've been through quite a few phones. I have what I guess what you could call cell phone ADD and can't seem to remain content with the same couple of devices for more than a couple months. So I switch it up as often as I can. In doing so, I discover new things – little and big – that I love and hate about devices. For instance, the ThunderBolt made me realize just how great having a kickstand can be, but it also reminded me how much I despise chunky phones and terrible battery life.
A thought that is constantly rolling around in my head (you might be able to tell by these three preceding articles) is what the perfect smartphone for me is – one that has all of the awesome things that I love and gets rid of all the muck. I've come up with some pretty interesting concepts, like a Nokia N9 running webOS, or a stretch BlackBerry 9900 running a custom build of Android (MIUI) themed to look like webOS.
It has been several months since I've dabbled on the idea, and to be honest, a lot of my preferences have changed or … matured, rather. Without further ado, this is my perfect smartphone:
Both internal components and external design in smartphones has come a long way since last year. The average size of smartphones is nearing 4.7-inches, passing what many of us once thought was the sweet spot (4-inches). I once thought any phone much bigger than that would be a joke, unusable and just plain silly. Then I bought a Galaxy Note and there was no turning back. To date, my favorite size smartphone is, without question, the Note, which I never imagined possible. I also recently purchased a Lumia 900. While I feel it's a tad small for my liking, the build quality and materials are second to none.
If I were to have my choice, the perfect phone for me would have the same build quality and materials as the Lumia 900 – a unibody polycarbonate frame – but the size and display of the Galaxy Note. The only thing I would change about the Galaxy Note's display is the sub-pixel layout, from Pentile Matrix to the standard RBG layout (from HD Super AMOLED to HD Super AMOLED Plus). But even that is negligible at WXGA resolution.
As for the other specs, I would need either a dual-core Snapdragon S4 chip or the four-plus-one Tegra 3. I'm not terribly picky when it comes to processors, so long as the phone can operate smoothly, without a hitch. I would need at least 64GB of built-in storage with an external microSD card slot. Also, 1GB RAM should do the trick. And battery? Let's steal the battery from the DROID RAZR MAXX. A 3,300mAh cell should be able to power this Frankenphone for at least a full day.
When it comes to cameras, well, that's tricky. There are a lot of great cameras out there. Both the Lumia 900 and Galaxy Note have some awesome image sensors around back. But I would still prefer the shooter from the iPhone 4S. Using them all side by side, the iPhone still manages to capture the sharper image, though the colors seem a tad faded. I would also add Smart Flash from HTC's new ImageSense technology.
When it comes to hardware, one of the biggest topics that goes overlooked is button, port and speaker placement. I really like the port and speaker layout on the Lumia 900. But the buttons are all jumbled on one edge of the device. The perfect button layout is found on the Galaxy Nexus, with the volume rocker directly across from the power button, which falls perfectly beneath either my thumb or index finger (depending on which hand I'm holding it with). And, of course, the device would need a dedicated camera shutter button and a kickstand.
Throw in Samsung's S Pen and this may be the best thing I've ever imagined.
I'm not generally too hard to please when it comes to software. But I have explained several times before that I am heavily invested in Google's apps and services. I use Gmail for both work and personal email, I use Google Voice for handling voice mail and I rely on Google Talk to stay in touch with my friends and coworkers. While all of these services are available on other platforms, they're not quite as integrated or as polished as they are on Android. (After all, Google wouldn't want to give the competition a better product, right?)
The software I want on the phone is purely stock Android 4.0, just like I had on the international Galaxy Nexus. It was clean, smooth and looked fantastic. That said, the camera software was only decent. I wouldn't mind having the added benefits of HTC's ImageSense: simultaneous video and still image capture, burst mode, etc.
Also, if an S Pen is to be included, there would certainly need to be accommodating software. The Premium Suite from the Galaxy Note's Ice Cream Sandwich update would be a nice added touch, so long as it doesn't bring any TouchWiz elements along for the ride.
Carrier and connectivity
When it comes to carriers, it's down to two choices: Verizon or AT&T. Sprint, however, would be a close third. All I'm looking for is LTE connectivity. Verizon and AT&T already have it and have already dedicated a lot of time and resources to build out their networks. They're far from perfect – Verizon has had multiple, several-hour outages since launching their LTE network, for instance – and LTE isn't exactly battery-friendly. But the blazing fast speeds make it worthwhile.
Sprint is worth mentioning, though, solely because they will be the only nationwide carrier to offer truly unlimited LTE. There's no telling how long that offer will actually last, but I would get it while it's hot if Sprint's LTE is strong in your area once the network launches.
Now it's your turn, readers. My perfect phone probably doesn't appeal to many of you. I know a lot of you scoff at the thought of a 5-inch phone. And you may not like my choice in software, carrier or other components.
So here's your chance … again. Tell me what the perfect phone for you would be. Is it a 5.3-inch Lumia look-alike running stock Ice Cream Sandwich? Or is it something totally different? Set your imagination free and tell me what your perfect smartphone is in the comments section below!
Image via The Verge