Surprisingly, often we see even extremely affordable phones from less known manufacturers come up with great ideas implemented well in software. After using such phones, you scratch your head wondering why is a particular feature still not available on the two most popular smartphones out there.
Hopefully, one day, we'll see the big players implement these neat additions to their flagships to further improve the user experience. So far, though, these are the few features we came away impressed with on other phones and wish to see on the mainstream flagships - take a look below.
Xiaomi is the rising star of China, a brand that has just disclosed that it has sold a whopping 35 million smartphones in the first half of the year, and it's success is rooted in the MIUI skin, which is particularly rich in option. One such option that we enjoyed having was automatic call recording built right in the system. Yes, there currently are third-party apps on Apple's App Store and Google's Play Store, but they record audio from the microphone and the quality tends to be far below acceptable, especially in noisy environments. Xiaomi's solution records crisp and clear system audio, so that you can listen to past phone calls in case you had to write down a phone number or some other important detail.
A feature standard on multiple phones (and most notably Xiaomi again), protection from accidental pocket dial can save you from quite the embarassment. It was just recently that we tested a phone and accidentally dialled and texted non-sensical content to our Facebook friends because of lack of pocket dial protection on a certain phone, and we just wish that the feature came standard on all devices. After all, it's fairly easy to implement - as long as the ambient light protector detects something in proximity (as when your phone is in your pocket), you cannot unlock the phone.
Many companies do this to allow finer management of the battery longevity of a phone, and while Samsung does have an ultra-power saving mode, we just wished Apple and Samsung had a more granular control that would allow you to choose between a 'performance' and a more balanced, 'battery-optimized' regimen for the CPU and GPU.
When you use a phone for a longer time, you tend to download a ton of apps - so many that it's often hard to find what you're looking for. The option to arrange them all in an alphabetical order would be a neat solution to that problem (and many phone makers do it), but it's not an option that is available on the latest Samsung and Apple flagships.
Double tapping to lock or unlock a phone is particularly useful on larger devices with their lock buttons often too hard to reach, and it could be a true time-saver, but for some unknown reason, the feature is not present on Apple and Samsung devices. Double tapping is a really quick and simple gesture, and implementing it as an alternative way to lock and unlock a device would make a lot of sense, so we wish the two companies gave this a thought.