At the beginning of May, HTC began shipping the unlocked variant of its latest flagship, the HTC 10, to those who bought the new phone. Soon after that, the phone’s availability opened up at U.S.-based carriers, excluding AT&T, and around that time I asked a pretty straightforward question: Does the HTC 10 need a gimmick?
I asked the question because in today’s busy smartphone market, gimmicks help smartphones stand out. They’ve been around for as long as smartphones could have gimmicks. Sometimes they’re software related, and sometimes you’ll find gimmicks in the hardware that manufacturers release. Whatever it is, you can bet that the company is showing it off as often as they can, and maybe even comparing it to what the competition is offering — or not offering.
The HTC 10, though, is a device that comes to the party with almost no gimmicks. There are some tweaks to the audio of the handset, but the software might not really compare to the gimmick of having two front-facing speakers. There’s no edge display, no 3D Touch, and even the camera has lost the dual-camera setup.
In a land of gimmicks, the HTC 10 forges its own path.
Compare the HTC 10 to, say, LG’s G5, or even the oft-rumored Motorola Moto Z flagships, which are said to include MotoMods — modular pieces that will help owners attach different accessories to their device. In the case of something like the G5 or even the Moto Z, modularity is certainly a gimmick, and not the crucial crux of the handset. Unlike Project Ara, where the modularity of the design is practically the sole purpose of the device’s existence.
I was recently considering picking up a G5 to try as my daily driver, after a couple of my friends bought their own. They’ve been raving about it ever since, and so obviously peer pressure set in and I started looking into it. Of course, that modular design was something I had to consider, because that’s what LG wants to sell me. They want me to buy their “Friends” modular accessories and jump all in with the design and idea behind it.
Except, as I considered picking up the G5, I realized that I’m not ever going to do that. My fears of losing all the necessary pieces to my modular phone are centered around something like Project Ara, but again that’s because the individual pieces are so essential to the overall design.
The G5, on the other hand, is still a great flagship phone — with or without the Friends.
Which then got me thinking: If I’m not going to use the LG G5 in the way that the Life’s Good crew envisions I would, or should, is it a phone that’s really for me? If I’m not going to take advantage of all that is has to offer, am I somehow missing out?
Personally, I don’t think it matters. Ultimately I’ve probably never used every single feature that a phone has offered, both when it comes to hardware and software, but I’m still curious what you might think. Specifically, do you typically use all, or even a majority, of the features a phone has to offer? Did you buy the Galaxy S7 edge and never use the software features baked in to take advantage of the display’s design? Let me know what you think.