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From in-display fingerprint sensors to triple-camera setups, here are the most innovative features on smartphones in 2018

The notch is so 2017, bro.

  • Published: June 26, 2018 9:28 AM IST
Vivo X21 (16)

Every year, smartphones follow their own set of trends. And while the trends a few years ago five years ago may seem a bit ‘basic’ today, they certainly were iconic for their time. Using a touch-screen smartphone with your fingers is completely normal today, but back in 2007 when the original Apple iPhone showed the concept working without the use of stylus, it was revolutionary.

So for that reason, we’ve decided to list the big trends of 2018 in smartphones. Maybe they’ll become standard-issue in a few years, but right now in 2018, these are a taste of the future. Here are the most innovative trends in smartphones today.

WATCH: Oppo Find X First Look

120Hz refresh rate on smartphones

Most smartphones today have refresh rates of 60Hz, or effectively 60 frames displayed on the screen in a second. And most people will find that sufficient. Your eyes won’t find anything wrong with that refresh rate. But gaming is all about split-second decisions, and that requires your hardware to be running at peak performance. Gaming smartphones this year, including the Razer Phone, could sport this enhanced refresh rate. Even the recently launched Asus ROG Phone sports a 90Hz refresh rate, indicating that gaming smartphones this year will capitalize on this trend.

Pop-up and sliding camera modules

Seen this year on the Vivo NEX and Oppo Find X, this odd innovation fixes a unique situation that was popularized by Apple last year – the notch. The front camera of a smartphone needs to be at the top of the smartphones, and Xiaomi’s approach of putting it at the bottom (as seen on the Mi MIX series) has drawn criticism. In order to keep it at the top without occupying space, Vivo and Oppo have a unique solution.

The camera pops-up out of the top of the two smartphones, letting the screen stretch till the top of the front without the notch. This allows for a truly edge-to-edge smartphone screen, without having to put the front camera in an odd place. While Vivo just has the front camera pop-up when needed, Oppo has even the rear-camera setup on the motorized module, meaning a chunk of the phone will mechanically slide out every time you want to take a picture. It might seem a bit awkward, but for now it’s the only way to get a truly edge-to-edge screen on a smartphone.

Dual-aperture camera

It isn’t a common feature, with dual-aperture cameras only seen on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+ for now. However, it’s an incredibly useful and technologically advanced feature, and we’re surprised more smartphone makers haven’t jumped onto the trend yet. It’s part of the reason why the flagship Samsung smartphones have what is arguably the best camera on a smartphone today.

Varying between f/1.5 and f/2.4, the camera can use either the wider or narrower aperture depending on lighting conditions. In low-light conditions, the wider aperture helps the phone take better pictures, while well-lit conditions utilize the narrower aperture for better detail and colors. It’s a simple trick, and one that can help smartphones take better pictures.

Triple-camera setup

Dual-camera setups gained popularity back in 2016 and 2017, and 2018 is the year of the three-camera system. First showcased by Huawei on the Rs 64,999 P20 Pro, smartphones are now featuring more cameras to offer more photography features to users.

The triple-camera setup on the Huawei P20 Pro offers various benefits, including depth-effect photography, true monochrome shooting for better low-light pictures, a massive 40-megapixel primary sensor, up to 3X lossless zoom and 5X hybrid zoom and artificial intelligence-based implementations for better pictures. It’s the most advanced camera setup on any smartphone today.

In-display fingerprint sensor

Fingerprint sensors on smartphones have been the norm for some time now, and even affordable devices have been able to bring in the feature. However, the fingerprint sensor itself doesn’t seem to have changed at all over the years, apart from perhaps getting a bit more accurate and faster over time. Physically, it’s pretty much the same as it’s always been. Vivo changed that this year with the X21, the first smartphone with an in-display fingerprint sensor.

The use of an in-display fingerprint scanner means that the phone doesn’t need a physical scanner. This allows for an edge-to-edge screen at the front, and a cleaner back as well. The scanner is under the phone’s screen, and can read the user’s fingerprint through the screen. When the screen is running, that scanner is conveniently hidden away below it. While in-display fingerprint scanning is still not a perfect product, it’s a sign of things to come as the technology gets further polished.

Do you have any other technologies in mind that you think are revolutionary in 2018? Let us know via the comments.

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  • Published Date: June 26, 2018 9:28 AM IST