The best gimmick? The ones that work

Evan Selleck
Contributing Editor from  Arizona
| Published: June 24, 2014

I'm always going to remember Samsung's Galaxy S 4 launch fondly. Not so much because of the device itself, but because of the conversations it created. The Galaxy S 4 was the epitome of everything people had been talking about for years when it came to Samsung's aim to include the kitchen sink with their devices. The Galaxy S 4 was full of features that a lot of people claimed they'd never use. So instead of features they were labeled as gimmicks, and for a long time that's the only thing people talked about.

The gimmicks.

The truth is, all manufacturers offer a gimmick in one way or another. It isn't just Samsung that's raking in all the gimmicky features. LG, Motorola, HTC, and others have all created a device or two in the past that have had their fair share. But that's not instantly a bad thing. These companies are creating devices that are meant to be sold to the public, so having a feature, or a set of features, that can be talked about to drum up interest are a good thing. Anything that gets a person closer to buying that new device is a good thing.

This is not inherently a bad thing. And that's kind of my entire point here with this article. We've set ourselves up to position a gimmick as a bad thing, but I'm not sure why that is. Even if we just focus on the Galaxy S 4, while those features may not have been for everyone, I'm sure plenty of people out there used them and were happy enough.

However, the Galaxy S 4 is also a great indicator of what can separate a great gimmick from one that's not worth any attention at all. If the gimmick actually works. And when it came to the Galaxy S 4 and some of its software-based features, especially a lot of the eye-tracking elements, sometimes they just didn't work. And when they did, it still wasn't that great of an experience.

This is where the line has to be drawn for these things. It's great that Samsung has some features they can toss around on a spec sheet that other companies don't have, and others can call a gimmick, but they have to work. Not some of the time, but all of the time. Otherwise, that negative connotation for a gimmick might be perfectly suited.

Now that LG's revealed that the G3 will begin its global rollout on June 27, I couldn't help but start to think that everyone's going to get a chance to see LG's gimmick firsthand soon. That gimmick is obviously the QHD display, which simply doesn't have a point yet. LG, like Samsung, wanted to win a particular spec race and the G3 is that horse. It doesn't even matter that finding content to actually make use of that ridiculously gorgeous is few and far between these days, or that a 1080p HD display just makes more sense right now. The G3 is ahead of its time. Great! The display is the G3's gimmick, and I honestly think that LG would have been just as well off with the G2's successor if they had launched it with a 1080p HD display. The G3 is an amazing device, in its build quality and internal specifications.

HTC's gimmick is their 4 UltraPixel camera, which they gave a slight boost thanks to the secondary camera system on the back of One M8.

Gimmicks are not inherently bad, but they should serve a purpose, and not simply be a bullet point on a spec list. Of course, it will come down to the individual person, as the experience can vary wildly from person to person. What do you think is the best gimmick of 2014 so far?