Age of SuperPhones Part 1: What is a Superphone?
The title of this article is totally made up and has no relation to whatsoever similar or familiar titles of whatsoever franchise, posters, comic books, television shows, magazines, or movies. Any similarities to real life subjects are purely coincidental.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about something that we may be able to get our hands on pretty soon – The new Superphone, Lenovo ZUK Z2 Pro. Before we go any further though do note that this is an opinion piece and may not represent the general consensus, the other editors may not entirely agree with us too.
Going Past The Dawn of Superphones
The Lenovo ZUK Z2 Pro is powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chipset platform based on the Kryo architecture with two cores running at 2.15GHz and the other two running at 1.6GHz. Included in the chipset is the latest Adreno 530 Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) to keep all gaming and graphics heavy tasks in check and running smoothly. The chipset is paired with 6GB of RAM. With that configuration you will get 128GB of internal memory. Camera on this phone can shoot at 13-Megapixel and at f/1.8 with 4K 30fps video. Display is a Full HD 1080p Super AMOLED at 5.2-inch.
That is basically the ZUK Z2 Pro, and yes we are starting with this phone because this device is proof that we are past the dawn of superphone – not Smartphones, Superphones – and are entering the age of Superphones.
So when exactly did we make the transition?
We’re taking the benchmark or dawn of Superphones to be when flagships started going past the dual core 1.6GHz benchmark and including more than 2GB RAM. They also feature some pretty crazy design language and certain sensible fitting new formulation of technology we haven’t yet seen on a phone. For example, video conferencing using phones if you might; was first introduced somewhere in the 1930s and widely used starting from 1990s. That made sense with newer smartphones getting bigger and better displays and with cameras fitted on both sides of the phone.
If you think about it, the past two years of the industry saw plenty of that, even mid-range phones are achieving standards like them these days now. You can almost compare your mobile devices to personal computers, the performance of this little thing in your pocket is borderline a full fledged computer. At a time where we still rely on personal computers to do the big jobs for us, we have a pocket device that could almost match a full-fledged computer at about the same price or cheaper (keep in mind we used “almost”).
What Exactly is a “Superphone”?
In our opinion, A Superphone is something beyond the regular smartphone – something different. A Superphone has to have the real potential to do more than what a smartphone could do, takes us to new heights, makes us do everything a little differently. For one, the phone should have a real chance of taking over the task of most computers in its daily tasks; we are not talking about simply synchronizing calendars or emails, we’re talking about having real productivity through your phone. It should look like we made leaps ahead of time, not incremental changes like getting 2-megapixels more out of a camera. Not that the normal user needs such powers anyway or that it made any sense to do it but it was made simply because it was possible and to push what we think a phone could do. In the ZUK Z2 Pro’s case it can replace high-speed cameras with its 960fps video capturing. We do not need that, but think of what we can do with 960fps. (Actually, what will you do with 960fps video capturing? Tell us in the comments below!)
Very much like a supercar (yes we are using this metaphorical comparison now) needs to be more than just a regular car that would take you from point A to point B. It has to do it with more dramaticism, something you could put on your wall as a poster, a push to what is technically possible at the time with a lot more potential up its sleeves not because we need it but because they can do it. For example the Lamborghini came up with one of the first cars that features the engine sitting right behind the driver’s ears with more power than a regular car, not that the world needed a car like that or anything like that made any sense but it was simply because they can do it. A supercar is what puts the modern car to shame. Same goes to superphones.
Before any of you go on about the “Superphone” term was coined before, a long time ago when the first of the currently beloved line of Nexus devices emerged; we know, but we did not entirely agree to that statement or claim by Google. Apple iPhone guys are also going to say that “yeah we have a Superphone already, the iPhone is a Superphone,” except that it is not (sorry guys, I know it is a good phone; but no). Also the term Superphone has been used again and again by the media to describe new products. We also disagree on many parts that this term was used to describe let’s say the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Why? Because they really are not Superphones. Bare with me as we are going to look a little bit into history.
Not Too Long Ago… As in Within the Past Decade
The term Superphone was coined by Google in 2010 when they iterated the first of our beloved Nexus devices the Nexus One. That was genesis to the popular Android for the most of the users. It was a glimpse into what a smartphone can do in that time. The HTC manufactured hardware trumps the iPhone at the time in so many ways it may as well be regarded as the iPhone killer, well until the iPhone 4 was launched anyway. That was the device that also made the spec war broke out. Manufacturers tries to fit in as many things as possible to their devices with the fastest and biggest of everything; kind of like a contest of who is holding the biggest sticks.
There was one point also when the Apple iPhone 5 was regarded to be a Superphone. As a smartphone, I think its a great phone with solid build quality, pretty looks, decent performance with a very, very hefty price tag. But that was, well is what the iPhone is; premium smartphone. At that, it is very well done. But not quite Superphone material. It still does all the smartphone stuff; i.e. taking decent quality photos, sends and receives calls and texts, applications beyond measure, light internet browsing, light reading, plenty more. But nothing beyond that and it will never quite replace your macbooks can it?
At the time where the iPhone 3G S was lagging behind in terms of hardware as well the Nexus One was seen as a revolutionary device. The Nexus One was the one device needed to let other manufacturers know that Android devices were in demand, it was possible to compete with Apple. HTC’s step forward with the Android 2.1 Eclair powered Nexus One was a big step in the right direction for Android. Right after that though comes an even better device by Samsung. Its name is known by most even today, as iconic as Apple’s iPhone; Samsung Galaxy S. The SGS as we fondly remember it was prove that Android can be mass marketed. It was also the first ever smartpone to break the GHz processing speed mark. Smartphones has never been the same since.
At this point many would argue that that was the superphone, the ultimate that made smartphones relevant in this day and age. In my humble opinion it is not. In fact I was a proud owner of an SGS myself. Got it the moment it arrives in Malaysia and sold exclusively by telco Maxis. It does not have flash but takes decent pictures with the 5-Megapixel shooter it has out the back, more decent than the 3-Megapixel that the iPhone had at the time. It was powered by the first of the Exynos Hummingbird, it was promised to be so fast, so smooth, and graphics so good your eyes would bleed.
Yes, the AMOLED screen was so bright my eyes hurt when I had to turn the alarm off looking at the phone every morning. Yes, the AMOLED screen was so good that when looking at regular LCDs I thought the colours of the screen was off. Yes, the Gorilla Glass was so scratch repelant that even now I find almost no scratches on the screen of the SGS (well, maybe just one). But to all those who owned an SGS before, lets face it; it lags like hell after a few months of heavy usage, it felt sluggish at a lot of times (blame it on the memory format Samsung decided to use), it was so light that it falls off everytime we lift our hands up (because we could do not even know the phone was there i the first place), because of the weight of the device we thought it was flimsy and fragile, battery life was bordering rubbish, the backplate felt like cheap plastic and would snap when u drop it too many times, speaker was shoddy and produces sound like it came out of a choked mouse; it was not perfect. It looked good though. But it was not everything it was promised it would be, it did not perform like it was advertised to be. All this was supposed to be better than the Nexus One, the “Superphone” at the time; well it was specced better anyway. So was the Nexus One or Galaxy S the superphone? We think not, that was Genesis.
Genesis it was, they gave way to many greats years after that. Remember the Samsung Galaxy S2? That super-thin, super-bright device that was so popular it almost toppled the reign of the iPhone. Remember the HTC Desire line? So close to the Nexus family with so many different screen you can choose which screen size suits you most. Remember the Nexus S? That shared a line with Samsung’s beautiful Galaxy line with its revolutionary concave curved screen and body. Remember the first Samsung Galaxy Note? The phablet, as we called it that had a built in special stylus called the S-Pen and made the stylus cool again. Remember the Motoral Droids? The chunky solid feel of their metal bodies felt so reassuring, with funky designs to challenge the devices and what they were capable of. On top of all of that, remember when Google launched Android, after Android, after Android that made them better and more powerful than ever before until we have the 6.0 Marshmallow now? These were great smartphones, and we gladly agree with that. They were top of the line phones that caught Apple of guard. Suddenly there were more users of Android than there were of iOS. Those were the days. It was not that long ago mind you, this started in 2010.
Source: GSM Arena