The perfect phone: 13 features I've dreamed of

After years of covering and reviewing some of the best — and worst — smartphones, I have an idea of what I want in my dream smartphone.

Topic: Mobility
1 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Operating System

Android and iOS are really the only mobile operating systems that matter in today's market. Each one has its fair share of pros and cons.

My dream phone would be a mixture of the two operating systems. For starters, I would want the security and privacy aspect of iOS blended together with the flexibility of Android.

In other words, I want to be able to pick my default email app, arrange app icons wherever I want, better notification management, along with the peace of mind in knowing that my phone will receive timely updates.

2 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


Naturally, whatever that hybrid operating system looks like it has to have iMessage. There's no room for negotiating here; the entire iMessage experience, from apps to Apple Pay needs to be on my dream phone.


3 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Curves in the right places

For the past few years, Samsung's curved screen on the Galaxy line of smartphones have been my favorite. Not because the curved vertical edges offer some sort of utility via edge notifications or lighting, but because the curved edges fit comfortably in my hand.


4 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


From brightness and saturation to clarity and color quality, my favorite smartphone displays for daily use are on Samsung's phones. I realize the iPhone X's display has won all sorts of awards for its quality, but to my eyes, the Galaxy displays are at the top.

Ideally, the display would measure 6-inches, splitting the difference of the Galaxy S9 or iPhone X and the Galaxy S9 Plus.

Pictured here is the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. Be sure to check out our review.


5 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Two tone look

The backside of the Google Pixel 2 XL is one of my favorite looks on a smartphone in the past year. There's something appealing about majority of the back covered in metal, with a small section at the top of the phone covered in glass.

Now, I realize the metal backing is an issue for wireless charging, so I'm willing to give in a bit and settle for some sort of two tone glass back similar to the Pixel 2 XL if I have to.


6 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


The Huawei Mate 10 Pro has a 4,000 milliamp-hour battery in a device that's only 7.9mm thick. In comparison, the iPhone X's battery is 2,716 milliamp-hours and nearly the same thickness, at 7.7mm. Granted, the Mate 10 Pro is taller and wider than the iPhone X, giving it more room for a larger battery, but I'm OK with that.

The Mate 10 Pro's battery was awarded a perfect 10 out of 10 by CNET, and that's good enough for me.


7 of 13 mophie
8 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


I've struggled with which camera system I would want in my dream device. The truth is, the vast majority of flagship smartphones have reliable, high-quality cameras.

At the end of the day, I think I would go with the iPhone X and its camera system (with one minor tweak discussed on the next slide). I've found the iPhone X's camera consistent and reliable.

I honestly could do without any sort of Portrait Mode feature on any phone, it's just not something I use a lot. And truth be told, I've yet to use one portrait mode feature on any phone that is consistent. There's always some sort of caveat or concession required in order to capture what I want.


9 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Zoom out

LG's smartphones adopted a second rear-facing camera in 2016 with the release of G5. But instead of using the second lens to zoom in on a subject, LG used the added camera to zoom out on a framed photo. By zooming out, you can fit more into photos taken in a cramped space, or give a wider look of your overall view.

Since then, I've longed for a similar capability on every smartphone I use. LG has kept the feature alive yet again with this year's LG G7 ThinQ.


10 of 13 OnePlus

The Notch is A-OK

After using the iPhone X and LG G7 ThinQ for some time now, I've decided I'm perfectly fine with notches. The benefit of a expanding the overall size of the display while simultaneously shrinking the phone's footprint is worth giving up a section of the screen at the top.

Now, I do think the notch on the iPhone X is a bit aggressive in size, while the notch on the Essential Phone is just, well, odd looking. The OnePlus 6's notch seems to be a solid compromise of space and functionality.


Monoprice USB-C cables
11 of 13 Jason Cipriani/ZDNet


If I get to pick what kind of connector my dream phone has, I'm going with USB-C simply because it's starting to gain traction everywhere.

Instead of having to have yet another cable just to charge or sync a phone (looking at you, Apple), a USB-C cable can connect to a long list of my devices.


12 of 13 OnePlus

Alert Slider

Apple's iPhone has a mute switch that either lets the phone ring and make noise for alerts, or silences everything. The switch is a good start, but my dream phone would have an alert slider similar to what OnePlus phones have.

The slider has three options: loud, vibrate, and silent. The slider is a convenient feature to control how loud (or quiet) your phone is without having to tap around through software.


13 of 13 Samsung

Mobile Payments

NFC isn't common enough to leave my wallet behind and use my phone to pay for groceries, gas, and everything in between. Samsung Pay gets close, however, thanks to its MST (Magnetic Secure Transmission) technology that tricks most card readers into thinking you've swiped a debit or credit card and securely transmits payment information.

Samsung Pay, or some form of the added payment method needs to become commonplace.


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