The iPhone SE is really just an updated version of the iPhone 5 with superior hardware and added features… and there’s nothing wrong with that! The truth is, the iPhone 5 was a fantastic design for a four-inch smartphone that didn’t really need any drastic fixing. This post over at Droid Life got me thinking about what other older phones out there deserve to have their own iPhone SE-style remakes in which their external designs would remain completely the same but their internal hardware would get a big boost. Below are my top four picks.
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HTC One M7
HTC has fallen on hard times but three years ago it released what was the single best piece of Android hardware for its time. It was stylish, it was durable and it had the best speaker system on any smartphone ever. Yes, its camera was pretty bad and it was a little bit on the heavy side compared to the average iPhone, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing — in fact, I liked the extra weight because I didn’t feel the need to use a case on it.
An upgraded HTC One M7 would obviously prioritize fixing its camera first and would hopefully drop the BlinkFeed overlay that I never bothered to use. However, if HTC released an upgraded version of this device with a better camera and Android N installed, it would be a steal at $400.
I consider this the Goldilocks standard of Android phones: It was an amazingly well-balanced device that did everything just right. It didn’t have the best hardware specs for its time but it didn’t need them since it ran on stock Android and didn’t have to handle all the bloat of your typical Samsung device. It also fit very comfortably in your hand and was very light to boot.
Like the HTC One M7, the device had a middling camera and that is obviously something that would need to improve in any direct remake. Other than that, however, this was a phone that did pretty much everything right and would require minimal changes other than basic upgrades to the processor, battery and other key specs.
Moto X (2013)
Like the iPhone 5s that came out the same year, the original Moto X was a device that was notably smaller than subsequent devices its manufacturer would release. Even though the original Moto X was larger than the iPhone 5s with a 4.7-inch display, it was noticeably smaller than the 2014 version of the Moto X that had a 5.2-inch display.
The problem with the 2013 Moto X at the time was it would take another year for Motorola to really step up its software game with the 2014 Moto X. A device that had all those software improvements while maintaining the original Moto X’s compact size would be very welcome, however.
Nokia Lumia 1020
Wait… a Windows Phone? Yes, a Windows Phone! Don’t get me wrong, any new version of this device would have to come with Android installed since Windows Phone is basically toast as a relevant mobile platform. But the Lumia 1020 was a terrific piece of hardware highlighted by a 41-megapixel camera that still held up as one of the best smartphone cameras in the world more than a year after its release. Other than the camera, the phone was very solidly built and a reminder of just how good Nokia used to be at its craft.
A remake of this phone would likely need to cut down on the unsightly bump on the back that was necessary for the camera and it would also have to feature upgraded camera software to put it on par with the cameras now offered by Apple and Samsung. But it was definitely the best Windows Phone ever made and it’d be cool to see something like it released again.