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Is battery life the most important smartphone feature?

I have long gotten used to the idea that the battery life of a smartphone will never match that of an old phone, so it is not high on my priorities list when I decide which smartphone I should buy next. Considering the advantages, this trade-off is something I can live with. Granted, our preferences may differ, but other traits like design, responsiveness, or camera are of a greater importance to me, and other people I know as well.

So I find it strange when an IDC survey, namely ConsumerScape 360, finds that battery life is the main reason why people buy a certain Android, iOS or Windows Phone smartphone, more so than operating system, screen size, brand or camera resolution. To quote my colleague Wayne Williams, "That seems very unlikely. No one shops for a phone because of battery life. No one".

Looking at the results of the survey, battery life tops the smartphone purchase drivers list by a significant margin, between 10 and 23 percentage points depending on the platform, over the factor in second place, which is ease of use.

Camera resolution comes in ninth (out of ten), brand comes in seventh, screen size comes in fifth and operating system comes in third place. Design and performance do not even make it into top ten, which, again, seems strange considering weight/size and web browsing speed do. Even "touch screen", which is a feature virtually every smartphone nowadays offers and is, therefore, a given, made the list.

I suspect the consumers who IDC surveyed are predominantly first-time smartphone buyers, who are likely to find long battery life and having a touchscreen as important features around the time of the transition. Other features, that I have mentioned earlier, are likely to become priorities as consumers upgrade.

For more, check the news that Motorola has launched its Moto E smartphone boasting an all day battery and some other impressive specs for just £89.

Photo: xavier gallego morell/Shutterstock