Features are fine, but battery life is best say 89% of Brits

A new survey has revealed what Brits think are the most important smartphone features. Battery life matters most, but what do people think about brand names, screens, cameras and 4G? Read on to find out…

The latest smartphones are packed so full of features, they're practically bursting out of the casing. Snazzy cameras, super-sharp screens, fingerprint scanners, heart rate monitors, maps, apps… you name it, there's probably a handset that's doing it.

But which feature is the most important of all?

A new survey of 1,000 Brits by research company GMI found that the single most important feature that people care about is battery life. The vast majority (89%) said they thought battery life was "important", meaning only 11% defined it as "neutral" or "not important".

Despite concerns over battery life, 60% said they never ran out of power. Mind you, among the younger age group - 18-24 year olds - 29% admitted they ran out of power at least once a day when trying to do something, and had to recharge.

To get around the dreaded battery drain, people try out a number of tips and tricks. Half turn off Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS when they're not using them. Turning down the brightness of the screen is also common, with 40% preserving life this way.

Moving on, GMI found another important smartphone attribute among Brits was brand. More than two thirds of people (68%) said that it was vital to have a handset from a well-known or trusted company. Understandable - better to stick to what you know for peace of mind about the reliability, but we'd wager quite a few people choose a well-known brand for the cool-factor too.

Not far behind brand, processor speed was deemed the third most important smartphone feature, with 67% stating that having a bit of grunt under the hood mattered to them. That was followed by high quality cameras (65% said this was important) and a large screen (60%).

Bottom of the list was contactless payments. The technology, which is regularly touted as the next big thing, doesn't appear to have connected with the majority of users yet - only 20% of people said it was important to them.

More interestingly, 4G was also found to be somewhat unimportant to the masses. Only 36% said that faster mobile internet was important. That may be partly due to 4G's relative infancy in the UK - interest is growing, as evidenced by EE now selling more 4G phone plans than regular 3G ones, but we'd expect that number to go up over the next few years as coverage improves and prices come down a little.

Interesting stuff, and it jibes with another report from earlier this month, which found that poor battery life was the biggest source of stress among Brits. It just goes to show that despite all the flashy features shouted about by today's uber-phones, it's important to check the basics are right when you're shopping for your next handset.

What's the most important smartphone feature to you? Is it better to be practical or fashionable? Let us know in the comments.

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