When it comes to our smartphones, the most personal of personal computers, everyone has their favourite feature. And for the enthusiasts among us I suspect that every user also has their own personal line in the sand, that one thing they’ve come to depend on and refuse to do without.
For me it’s NFC.
It might be because I’m still holding on to the foolish notion that Canada will somehow get its mobile payments act together, having seen contactless payments work so seamlessly in Hong Kong and Japan. But even without a working Google Wallet app I still find NFC to be extremely useful. Thanks to Android Beam I can share an app, photo or web page with almost any other Android user just by tapping our phones together. Even in 2015 it still feels like the stuff of science fiction, and its one of those increasingly rare tricks that the iPhone can’t do.
Up until a few weeks ago I was hunkering down for a long wait on a pair of OnePlus 2 invites—until I heard that NFC would not be included. On my OnePlus One I had made do for the better part of a year without wireless charging or an OIS camera. But no NFC? No deal.
Tech blogs—Android Police in particular—haven’t held back in pointing out the OnePlus 2’s other shortcomings, including the hot in-all-the-wrong-ways Snapdragon 810 processor, USB-C connectivity at a slow USB 2.0-spec and, for that matter, the complete absence of any available option for fast charging. Again, every user has different needs; for me, the deal-breaker is NFC.
OnePlus should be commended for showing the world how much the big smartphone OEMs were ripping us off with storage upgrades. Dual SIM support for the OnePlus 2 is a big win, and something you’ll never see on a carrier-branded phone in Canada or the USA. Also, OnePlus accessories are a thing of beauty, from the cases to the cables to even the stupid box that the phone ships in.
And yet here I am, typing this post in the shadow of a gargantuan Nexus 6, still imposing even in recline in a charging cradle on my desk. Turns out that I quite enjoy owning a phone with wireless charging; it’s slow (i.e., not a Samsung) but extremely convenient. Even on sale, this thing easily cost me more than 150% of a OnePlus 2 shipped to Toronto. I guess I just decided not to settle.