7 smartphone trends that should really stop in 2021

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 back panel

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Government

2020 was in many ways an important year for the smartphone industry. 5G has become available for more than just flagship devices, we’ve got foldable products with improved durability, and mid-range phones have taken a big step in features.

However, it was not all good. For every welcome business move in 2020, there was a trend we would not want to see in 2021. Here is our complete list.

Save 5G at the end of each name

LG V50 5G logo close-up

It is understandable that in the first year or two of 5G’s worldwide availability we would see phones receive a ‘5G’ suffix, but support has become commonplace among flagships today. Hopefully, manufacturers will release this luxury phone naming convention next year. Since it will become less common, does it not make more sense for brands to use the ‘4G’ moniker to designate 4G models instead?

Read more: What to expect from 5G and 5G smartphones in 2020

Another silly trend seen in 2020 is a move by Verizon. It went a step further and slammed ‘UW 5G’ on its phones, indicating ultra-wideband or mmWave 5G coverage. The worst name in this regard is probably the Nokia 8 V 5G UW. How about the Nokia 8.3 Verizon?

Stop using plastic / ‘glass stick’ on $ 1,000 phones

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 review logo

Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Government

We do not have a problem with Samsung’s “glasstic” – the brand adopts plastic that should feel more like glass. Our real problem, however, is that the firm chose to use glasstic on the $ 1,000 Galaxy Note 20.

It’s one thing to feel like a plastic design that looks like plastic on a cheaper phone, but it’s another matter if you spend more than $ 900 on a luxury device. We hope Samsung restricts this material to devices such as the Galaxy A series and Galaxy FE / Lite models. Alternatively we would like to see the firm adapt the glass material to feel more like glass.

Another reason why we addressed glasstic on the Note 20 is because Samsung did not increase the phone’s spec sheet accordingly. I’m sure many consumers will not mind plastic if it means the phone has a high refresh rate and / or more impressive cameras, but it did not get them.

Senseless 2MP cameras

OnePlus Nord four-camera module at the rear

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Government

One of the most annoying camera trends in the last two years has been the use of low quality 2MP sensors. This is a transparent attempt to increase camera numbers. We’ve seen everyone from Xiaomi and Realme to Samsung and Oppo use this strategy, often using two 2MP cameras so they can boast the presentation of four cameras behind.

See also: 2020 mega mega shootout for smartphones – the best camera phones tested

We definitely want to see more brands decide in 2021 on a quality-quantity approach for cameras. In other words, we want brands to improve their main, ultra-wide or even macro cameras instead of just adding more lenses. In the latter case, if brands still insist on offering a macro lens, we will hopefully see higher resolution sensors with autofocus instead of 2MP cameras.

Slow wired loading of backward brands

Google Pixel 5 Back Cover 2

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Government

It’s hard to believe that by 2020 you can buy phones with 65W or even 100W + charging speeds, like the Xiaomi Mi 10 Ultra and OnePlus 8T. What’s even harder to believe is that there are still flagship phones that do not charge fast.

Related: The rise of ultra-fast charging – how 2020 has changed the way we recharge our phones

Devices like the Motorola Edge Plus and Google Pixel 5 find out a disappointing 18W, while the iPhone 12 series and LG V60 are a bit faster at 20W and 25W respectively. Either way, we’d like to see 30W + charging from all major smartphones as a trend in 2021.

Some consumers are concerned that fast charging may degrade the battery over time, but what can prevent brands from charging 80 to 90%? After all, this is what several ultra-fast charging phones are already doing. Oppo also claims that after 800 cycles (ie two years) the Ace 2 battery decreases from 65 W to 90% capacity. Finally, brands can always send a phone with fast charging, but turn it off by default if they really want to.

Poor update commitments

OnePlus Nord N10 front

Credit: Eric Zeman / Android Government

Google is already committed to offering system updates to its Pixel phones for three years. Samsung also joined the club this year by offering a three-year commitment to Android version updates for some devices. It was one of the few highlights in this regard in 2020.

OnePlus only confirmed one update for its Nord N10 and N100 phones during the year, while Motorola thought it could promise one version update for its $ 1,000 Edge Plus phone. Moto eventually changed and switched again after two version updates, but why did we have to go through it in the first place?

Between consumers keeping their phones longer and the economic uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, it only makes sense that more brands remain committed to software updates.

Big price increases for flagships

OnePlus 8T rear hero shot

OnePlus 8T

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Government

Xiaomi, Realme and OnePlus all offered 2020 flagships at a higher price than predecessors. Part of this is apparently due to higher flagship silicone prices this year. Aside from a few welcome surprises, however, it is quite disappointing to see a shortage of affordable flagship phones in 2020.

Read: The best 2019 flagship phones still worth buying in 2020

We also saw that mmWave versions of phones are ~ ~ 100 more expensive than the standard 5G versions. Some examples of this include the Verizon versions of the OnePlus 8 and Pixel 4a 5G. Hopefully in 2021 we will see more expensive priced flagship phones, but do not hold our breath for mmWave phones to fall in price.

Quality over quantity

Poco F2 Pro back 2

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Government

One of the more annoying trends in recent years is that many OEMs offer a ton of phones with only small differences between them. Do we really need to see all the Realme Narzo series phones if the mainline Realme phones offer a similar experience? Do we really need seven or eight Redmi 9 variants when half would do it?

We have already addressed this, but we also want to see brands make the rebranding in 2021 slow down slightly. Of course, there are sometimes good reasons for a new brand, but companies like Xiaomi have definitely gone overboard for its Poco brand. Even OnePlus could not restrain itself with the N100 – essentially a rebad Oppo A53.

Are there any other major smartphone trends you do not want to see in 2021? Let us know in the comments!