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We may not realize it, but we’re entering a new era of smartphone technology and here are the pillars leading the revolution. How many does your smartphone boast?

At this point, we could say that smartphones are digital extensions of ourselves. We use it when we wake up, call it a night and for the million details of the day. They’ve evolved to become and do what a gaming console, computer and assistant could into a perfectly compact pocket-friendly tool. In this strive for smartphone excellence, things have gone extravagant, while others have gone practical. Some for better or worse really. Hence, we must ask ourselves, is our smartphone up to par and ready for 2021? In terms of power, visual glory, ease and camera indulgences, there are alot of factors to consider. We’ve jotted down six key details you need to look for in a smartphone in 2021.

Digital edge: The 6 factors that make a great smartphone in 2021

Snapdragon 888, the industry apex


When we think power for a supercar, we think W16s. When we think power for a smartphone, it’s the Snapdragon 888. As the year has just begun, there are merely a handful of smartphones that come with this power package but were sure that it will soon turn into an industry standard. We’re expecting the OnePlus 9, the next RedMi flagship and more top-shelf devices to boast this. While the 88 remains an apex, we have the 865 and the 865+ which are also cool pieces of hardware but well, “they’re soo 2020” as a millennial would like say it.

Foldable, rollable smartphones and everything in between

The past couple of years in the smartphone-sphere have been a fiesta of foldable smartphones. Recently, we saw LG and TCL come forth with ‘rollable’ smartphone concepts too at CES ’21, which sprung this futuristic web even further. It’s only a matter of time until this turns mainstream. The pursuit of larger screens is causing us to run out of pocket space. The seen solution? Folding or compacting it. This still has to develop mainstream appeal and it’s understandable as to why a user might be reluctant to opt for this design.

No more chargers


A couple of years back, when buying a new phone, we’d get the whole package – the device, earphones, adapter and a charging cable. Unfortunately, those days are now behind us. If you’re thinking of getting yourself a new smartphone, you may not want to get your expectations too high in terms of the additional box items. It seems, ‘as an effort of environmental care and reducing our carbon footprint’, we won’t be getting new earphones or adaptors. So yes, expect more of this in 2021 and in the years to come.

The bar is at three cameras now


This is undoubtedly our favorite topic of discussion when it comes to smartphones. There’s just so much to offer and so many possibilities in this affair. We’ve seen it start with two cameras, then three, then four and even five – Which then seemed to be getting out of hand so they decided to put a cap at three based on mass appeal. The ideal setup for a camera in 2021 is a strong primary camera, a wide angle and an ultra-wide angle camera – the right amount of cameras for a smartphone.

5G is the new normal


We’ve been waiting on this for a very long time. We actually thought it’d arrive sooner with India being such an advanced tele-comm hub but industry titans are already readying their flagships for this. Apple has, Samsung has and many more big chip players. We won’t really be able to judge how big a difference there is between 4G and 5G but we’ve been told that it’s between a Fiat and an AMG. We’d suggest you check whether your smartphone is 5G enabled, if not, upgrade soon. This will be quite a revolution.

How ‘connected’ is your smartphone?


You’ll either love or hate social media for this. We’ve seen the commercial wave take over social media a long time ago but as the years passed, it started getting even more intimate. Right now, even your WhatsApp chats aren’t saved from this, there are business accounts with automated reply systems. Which could be seen as a boon and a curse really. It’s great that things are connected but at the same time, the invasion might be pushing it too far. In 2021, we can expect alot of social media apps to turn into ‘social media market places’ as things are going contactless and cash-free. In this process, it’s important to have a smartphone that’s A – Well looped with e-comm chains and wallet facilities and B – Focuses on more contactless features like the Apple CarKey. This would certainly a key pointer for maybe not now, but in the years to come.

All images: Courtesy brand and Getty Images

Mikhail Gomes
Senior Features Writer
A watch aficionado, Gomes also enjoys learning about fine whiskies, and one day hopes to establish his own menswear label. At Lifestyle Asia India, he writes on watches, menswear, auto and tech.