The smartphone market is a busy one, with so many different handsets to choose from that picking one can be pretty tough. From the low-end, mid-range, and the high-end, there's something for everyone, with price tags to match in each category. And while some companies do use price as a means to stand out from the crowd, it's usually some kind of feature in a phone, or part of a phone, that is meant to help it gain some attention.
On the price side of things, we've seen more than a few companies rise to the top of the news cycle for bringing mid-range and even high-end handsets to the fore without gouging potential customers' wallets. OnePlus is one such company. Even if the company's latest flagship has a higher cost than its previous flagships, it's still cheaper than devices from the major competitors out there, without slacking on too many specs or features.
On the side of the features, this is the default. For companies like Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, and others, their specifications are all pretty similar. You'll see a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor in this year's high-end devices, for instance. Convincing less-discerning customers, the ones who don't care about the nitty gritty details, comes down to a simple feature that can be shown off pretty quickly.
For Samsung, while its latest flagship is a powerhouse with plenty to like, both in hardware specs and features, the primary selling point is its big, beautiful display. The Galaxy S8 reduced the bezels around its display, and as a result it certainly stands out.
LG, of course, can say the same thing for its G6, but in a slightly different way so the two devices don't look alike.
We're going to see reduced bezels on phones moving forward, but there are still some companies that are relying on other features to help their device stand out, even as they don't minimize the bezels on its smartphone. HTC, for instance, with its U11 smartphone didn't go out of its way to shrink the bezels and offer a big screen in a smaller frame. The U11 looks like a "traditional" smartphone, but it does have one unique aspect to it: You can squeeze the sides.
We've already talked about Edge Sense and how it's a pretty interesting idea, and now that the phone is out in the real world, with owners taking advantage of the feature or ignoring it, HTC recently released a video showcasing what's next for the feature. It shows how owners can squeeze the sides of the phone to zoom in, and out, of pictures, or how you can squeeze in on Google Maps to get more information about an area. You can stop an alarm, pause a YouTube video, and more.
Some of the new features for Edge Sense that the video shows off are pretty static, like zooming in on a picture. The narration says someone might want to "zoom in on something in particular," and then shows a hand squeeze the phone to zoom in. While there is only one use case to go off here, after squeezing the phone it just zooms straight in. So if you wanted to see something up in the corner of the picture, it looks like you'd still have to use your fingers to center in on what you want to see.
However, zooming in Google Maps by squeezing the side of the phone could be pretty helpful in some instances, and turning off an alarm just by squeezing the phone might help reduce the rage of needing to wake up early in the morning, while not having to worry about hitting the onscreen button in a waking haze.
Edge Sense, in my opinion, is still pretty cool. Yes, it's gimmicky, but I don't see that as a negative. It's an interesting and unique way to interact with a smartphone, and while it may not always be the right option, some folks might find it very helpful more often than not.
Which is where you come in, HTC U11 owners. I want to know if you've been happy with Edge Sense since you've picked up your new flagship smartphone. Is it a feature you use a lot, once in awhile, or never at all? Did you opt to buy the U11 because of Edge Sense, and if so, has it lived up to your expectations? Let me know!