Hallelujah: Five features and upgrades introduced in 2015, which were long overdue


Has 2015 been an exciting year for smartphone fans or what? Sure, in terms of hardware, things are a bit stale – phones keep getting more and more cores and are pushing the boundaries of amount of RAM that can be stuffed under their tiny hoods, but overall performance has not seen an incredible jump. However, so far, it has been a year, which brought about some much-needed touch-ups, upgrades, rehashes, new features, et cetera. Some of those have been so long overdue that we couldn't help but go “Finally!”.

What were those things? Well, here are the five most prominent (4 past and one upcoming, to be exact). Let us know – was there a new phone, feature, upgrade, or accessory introduced in 2015, which you've been waiting to see so long that you popped a champagne when it was?

iPhone 6s cameras get resolution upgrades; 2 GB of RAM


The iPhone finally makes a jump from the 8 MP main camera and moves on to 12 MP. Well, color us amazed and bring on the fireworks! Wait, the selfie cam also got bumped up from 1.2 MP to the much more relevant 5 MP resolution? Bring out the cake, make sure it's covered in pink (rose gold) glaze, too! In all honesty, the iPhone 6's and 6 Plus' cameras delivered great images, despite the smaller resolution, but a lack in detail was starting to show, especially when compared to the excellent cameras of competitors like the LG G4 or Samsung Galaxy S6, so some extra pixels in the iSight camera's sensor were getting overdue!

But wait, that's not all! The iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have another notable, long awaited upgrade – they finally have 2 GB of RAM. Ever since the release of the iPhone 5, back in 2012, Apple's flagship smartphones have been bearing just 1 GB of memory under the hood. The trend began to crack up last year, when the iPad Air 2 was the first iOS device to have 2 GB of RAM and, this year, the iPhones and iPad mini 4 get it, too!


Samsung design language and TouchWiz


2015 has certainly been the year of premium design, metal-and-glass being the most prominently used material combo. Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 edge were among the first to come through the door bearing their new clothes this year, and what an entry it was! Samsung realized that consumer complaints over plastic construction of flagships were not to be taken lightly, and the company finally committed to designing a truly premium device – actually, two of them (back then, the Note5 and Galaxy S6 edge+ were still 6 months into the future). So, sure, the phones looked beautiful, but we are pretty sure that they were not only praised for their looks, but also for being Samsung flagships that are not made of plastic or discarded band-aid materials.

Oh, but there was more! A lighter TouchWiz? Now that was a promise we found hard to believe! When we got our grubby mitts on one of the new phones, however, we were surprised to find that there was truth to what Sammy said – TouchWiz, the interface that had become the synonym for “bloat” in the past years, was so skinny, it was hard to recognize at times. Way to go, Samsung!


Xperia matte glass back and fingerprint sensor


So, metal-and-glass has been pretty famous as of late – so famous, in fact, that we are getting a bit tired of handling phones that can randomly slip off of any surface at any random moment. In comes Sony, who has been making metal-and-glass sandwiches for the past couple of years, to introduce a crafty alternative. The Xperia Z5 comes with what Sony calls a “frosted glass” back. Basically, that's a matte-covered glass panel, which feels as cool as before, but is much less slippery. Sure, it's still a bit unstable, but much less so and we expect the Xperia Z5 to go on its own surfing quests across our desks much less than its predecessors.


The Apple Pencil as a competitor for the S Pen


Samsung's Galaxy Note line kickstarted the whole “bigger screens!” movement and it has long stopped being the only occupant of Phablet Land. However, the line brought about a feature, which is still unique to it – and is shared with the Note tablets, of course – the S Pen. Not just any ol' stylus, the S Pen has a lot of features, an insane amount of pressure levels included, which are achieved via the Wacom digitizer in the Note device in question and the Sammy software running in sync with it.

It has befuddled us so far why nobody ever tried to take on Samsung's S Pen. Well, now someone has – Apple with its Pencil. Granted, the fruity stylus is currently only supported by the super-sized iPad Pro, but it's a worthy competitor none the less. We would absolutely not be surprised if the iPhone 7 Plus happens to support it, too, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.


Nexus 5 (2015)?


Considering that the LG-made Nexus 5, introduced in 2013, was pretty-well accepted, we are a bit confused with what direction Google was looking to take with the Nexus 6. So, to recap – the Nexus 5 was affordable, powerful, compact (awesome screen-to-body ratio on top of a 5” display), and ran super-snappy, as the phone ran vanilla Android. In 2014, Google decided to introduce a 6” phablet, which is pretty niche by itself, with a humongous body around it, which made the handset much less desirable. Additionally, the handset was priced as a full-blown flagship, so no more “affordable Nexus” devices. Needless to say, fans have been longing for the return of the Nexus 5 since and it seems they just might get it.

As per a large number of leaks and rumors, we' suppose it's a pretty sure shot to say that a Nexus 5 (2015) is coming (currently known as Nexus 5X), and it's going to be made by LG again! Fans of the phablet-class Nexus needn't worry, as Google seems to have one of these on the way as well – a Hiawei-made Nexus 6, which will have a display diagonal somewhere between 5.5” and 6”. As per the latest reports, pre-orders for the new devices may open on October the 13th!





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19 Comments

1. chetangrandhe

Posts: 13; Member since: Sep 05, 2015

apple pencil vs spen?? seriously?? i like competition between ambasaddor and ferrari...hahahaha

5. h4ck3d

Posts: 20; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

a multi-use device, ultra portable, without need of battery vs a.... expensive electronic pencil?

6. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

lol xactly

7. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

I'm more confused the Apple Pencil is considered a "long overdue upgrade." Really? Who is the tech crowd has been clamoring for an iPad stylus?

10. paul.k

Posts: 289; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

More like the S Pen needs a competitor - any kind of competitor.

11. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

It's hard to call it a competitor given that it doesn't even compete on price. And part of the appeal of the S Pen is that it lives inside the Note. You can choose to ignore it if you don't need it.

14. Crispin_Gatieza

Posts: 3098; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

Wacom needs a competitor, not the S Pen. Guess what? N-Trig ain't it either.

12. AZNHA unregistered

the pencil was huge thou

2. sergiobr

Posts: 718; Member since: Feb 25, 2013

RAW support ! That's a big thing (at least for those who like better photos)

15. combatmedic870

Posts: 983; Member since: Sep 02, 2015

You sir are completely absolutely correct. This is a huge thing for me as well. Just Enough for me to dump my iPhone 6 for a note 5 and note the iPhone 6s. Many tipping points though.

3. theguy2345

Posts: 1216; Member since: Jun 24, 2014

Very disappointing year for smartphones. The only thing that truly wowed me was Sony's UHD display. HTC had basically the same phone, Samsung finally caught up in the premium build department, LG just upgraded their phone a bit. Nothing that really was exciting. At least in my opinion. The year still isn't over yet, so I would like to see what else is in store.

4. jellmoo

Posts: 2533; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Yeah, 2015 has been an abysmal year for smartphones. I can't think of a single device that wasn't a disappointment in one regard or another. I'm really hoping that something sparks before the end of the year so that there's at least *something* of real note.

8. yoosufmuneer

Posts: 1518; Member since: Feb 14, 2015

HTC One series from the best of least year as the worst of this year.

9. roldefol

Posts: 4744; Member since: Jan 28, 2011

The most exciting thing in smartphones this year is the unlocked, all-carriers-compatible Moto X Pure. Which isn't saying much, because the hardware isn't anything new. But the affordable unlocked flagship is. Here's hoping the Nexus line follows suit.

13. AZNHA unregistered

waiting for the One A9 .. can it amaze PA

16. Kary1

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 26, 2015

From article: "Samsung realized that consumer complaints over plastic construction of flagships were not to be taken lightly, and the company finally committed to designing a truly premium device . . .." More accurately, Samsung listened to ignorant members of the tech press complain about plastic, and totally ignored their consumer base, producing a POS design that many of them wouldn't buy unless forced at gunpoint. Just a part of the disappointment that has been 2015 for smartphones.

17. dmakun

Posts: 382; Member since: Jun 06, 2011

@Kary1, I absolutely agree with this ^ A friend I introduced to samsung devices recently bought the note 5 and I asked if he knew it doesn't have a micro SD slot and he was bummed that he only got the 32gb version. I encouraged him not to take it back though since he doesn't really 'use' his Samsung as much as I do and I'm still very happy with the note 4. I'll keep my money and phone in my pocket for another year. I may be interested in a 64gb nexus just for the assured update alone

18. dlsnhuff

Posts: 111; Member since: Aug 20, 2014

Hoahhmm ...

19. Odeira

Posts: 300; Member since: Jun 29, 2012

ALL tier one Samsungs from 2015 were a DOWNGRADE from their 2014 compatriots. If mainly because they were as sealed up, fragile, disposable, and LITERALLY 1:1 iPhone clones.

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