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We asked 79 millennials what they look for in a smartphone in 2021

It’s safe to say that a smartphone is simply a digital extension of oneself at this point.

They’re hyper-powerful tech accessories and absolute marvels of microengineering and neo-age communication. More so, each user has their reasons to love them and use them. Which makes us wonder, what do millennials love most about their smartphone? And what do they look for in one today? Is there a key spec on a buyer or user’s wishlist? If yes, what would it be?

While shutterbugs prefer peak camera specs, thumb-drifters would opt for great smartphone graphics and a hardcore processor. But what about digital designers, artists, office professionals, or even casual users? Trying to understand each millennial’s preference would be like jumping down a rabbit hole. So, I guess the best thing to do is to ask the people themselves. And so we ran a poll on our social media asking, and here’s what we found.

Courtesy: Jonas Leupe/Unsplash

11.4% said great battery life is a priority

Here’s the trade-off about smartphone batteries. As powerful as your smartphone device can get, it also needs a battery large enough to support it. More so, allow it to sustain for a decent amount of time without affecting the battery’s health.

We’ve already seen industry titans like Apple and Samsung ensure their offerings promise top-notch battery service. The new iPhone 13’s offer between 90 mins to 150 minutes of additional battery life compared to the last year’s 12s. On the other hand, Samsung’s top-of-the-line S21 Ultra 5G boasts a 5000-mAh battery pack. Having used both smartphones, you don’t need to worry about the battery as you go by your day.

7.6% said affordability is a deal-breaker

Considering smartphones, especially fresh models, come with hefty price tags in India, it’s understandable that affordability can be quite an issue for users. OnePlus brought forth the Nord line to tackle this very issue last year. So did Apple (well, somewhat) with the Mini variants. Sure, there is a compromise in certain areas, but they’re stretching the lower bracket of the prices to ensure excellence can be affordable too.

smartphone photography

13.9% were looking for peak camera capabilities

I actually expected the camera department to own a big piece of this pie chart. I’ve always believed that cameras and performances are two factors that lead the smartphone revolution today. Users today buy smartphones specifically for their cameras since having the best camera in the room comes with a certain unspoken prestige. Smartphone brands recognise this and would understandably want their smartphone camera to be the shiny trophy one’s showing off. To up the ante further, smartphone brands are even teaming up with professional camera companies for their lens. Take OnePlus, which used a Hasselblad lens in their OnePlus 9 camera. Similarly, Huawei teamed up with Leica for the Mate 40 Pro.

16.5% simply wanted performance

Simply put, your RAM and processor are the engines of your smartphones. This is what separates the Fiats from the Ferraris. Usually, gamers look for high-performance processors. If you research well enough, you may even find smartphones with 16-GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 888 chipset. OnePlus and Samsung are leading the game, but Oppo, Huawei, and Realmi are no slouch either.

Courtesy: Maxin Ilyahov/Unsplash

Only 3.8% said they’re looking for OS-exclusive capabilities

This is the first half of the ‘Which is better? iPhone or Android?’ debate. However, with under 5% of people saying it doesn’t matter could only mean one of a few things: Either they’re comfortable with that OS and don’t look to switch, they understand and enjoy their OS-exclusive features, or well, they just don’t care what’s on the other side of the fence; they’re content.

smartphone OS
Courtesy: Roberto Nickson/Unsplash

30.4% said they look for a smooth OS/interface the most

Further to the previous point, Androids and iPhones have absolutely polar OS feels, smoothness, and ease-of-use remain constants, which is why they got 30% of this poll on their side. Each year we see Apple and Android up the ante on digital integration, connectivity, and innovation with their OS. This is software warfare, and they know how it’s half of what runs the smartphone market.

smartphone gaming
Courtesy: Onur Binay/Unsplash

Just 3.8% wanted bigger screens

3.8 %? Hmm. I think this goes to say that brands have finally drawn a strong line between smartphones, notes, and tabs. The best diagonal screen space you’re getting on a smartphone today is 6.7 or 6.8 inches pal. If someone’s looking for wider dimensions, they might as well be redirected to the Note or Tab section.

Note: All figures are approximate

12.7% said, having a vibrant and dynamic graphic performance matters most

Finally, and my personal preference: A good ol’ display. Currently, the market’s still experimenting with AMOLED, OLED, QLED, or wherever that led. But one thing’s for certain, this is a massive selling point. More so, 120-Hz refresh rate is a new industry staple. Beyond gaming and streaming, this is also something that supports the visual vibrance and quality of the image and videos you take on your smartphone.

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All images: Courtesy brands and Unsplash 

Mikhail Gomes
Features Editor, Lifestyle Asia India & Contributor - Augustman
A watch aficionado, Mikhail 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.