Smartphones have come a long way in the fifteen years since Justine Ezarik, better known as iJustine, went viral for sharing her physical 300-page iPhone bill from AT&T.
Not only has iJustine had a front seat to the evolution and expansion of the smartphone market, she’s brought her now-7 million subscribers on YouTube along the ride. And while the channel’s content spans cooking gadgets, cars, gaming, lightsaber training and, quite recently, pet tech, smartphone unboxings and first impressions remain what many enjoy to see from the bubbly creator.
At the time of this writing, iJustine’s iPhone 13 series unboxing has 1.7 million views. She also unboxed the original iPhone in 2018 (4.6 million views,) and even did an iPhone 11 vs. iPhone 1 photo comparison a year later (3.1 million views.) And despite the ‘i’ in her alias, iJustine also regularly shows off Samsung, OnePlus and Google flagships.
While iJustine was in New York City to promote a partnership with Tecno Mobile on the launch of the new Camon 19 series, we chatted about her experience with smartphones, as well what her own smartphone use looks like. Spoiler: She’s as obsessed with TikTok as all of us. And, if there’s one thing she hopes to see a phone do one day, it’s take flight from her palm.
The following interview has been edited slightly for clarity and length.
Justine, I have to ask, are you ready to talk about smartphones?
I mean of course, that’s literally all I talk about anyways, so we might as well just continue the conversation.
I figured, I figured. What you would say has been the most exciting smartphone innovation of, let’s say, the last two-to-three years?
I would say the increase of night photography, because trying to take photos, even in just low-light situations, was always such a struggle. And now, with a lot of these phones integrating in incredible night photography, and even like video, is so exciting.
And how about even the budget phones that can do excellent night photography?
Yeah, which is amazing to see those features kind of trickle down into things that everyone can afford. Because I feel like as we see technology get better, the prices of these things decrease, so that it’s more accessible.
With that, how important would you say the camera quality of a smartphone really is?
I think it depends what you’re doing with it, and even if someone says, I’m just going to be using my phone to text, or make calls, then there’s a really good chance that you’re probably taking photos as well. Whether it’s with your kids, your family, your vacations, and just being able to have a device with you that can take incredible photos and videos — I think it’s really important.
What is the number one culprit of screen time on your phone? What are you using your phone for most?
So I looked this up, because I thought it was going to be TikTok, but it was actually just the Messages app. And then TikTok. Because I’m probably sending TikToks to all of my friends through Messages, so.
I really admire how you’ve kind of transitioned your content, that you’re not just putting your YouTube content on TikTok, you’re actually making dedicated TikTok content.
It’s interesting, because even if we’re out filming a video for YouTube, we will just stop, take a second and flip the camera vertical. Even if it’s a big camera, and make content for [TikTok.] But it’s been so fun that now you can basically just film that type of stuff with your phone, and get the same result. So it’s really cool to see that transition.
So I think we know one of the answers to my next question, but if you were only able to use three third-party apps for the rest of this year, 2022, what would they be and is one of them TikTok?
100%. I was going to say TikTok, TikTok and TikTok, but I would say TikTok, Twitter and Instagram.
My last question for you is, more than anything, what do you want to see on a future smartphone that doesn’t exist yet? A feature that’s maybe not out there?
You know, I love the way that a lot of phones are becoming cameras. So just seeing the increase of camera lenses, being able to get more depth of field, that kind of thing. And even though we’re on our way to that, I just love seeing that year-by-year everything gets better. Also, I would like to see my phone take off from my hand, and take a selfie.
So, a levitating smartphone?
Yeah, almost like a drone!
When you consider modern devices like the DJI Mini 3 Pro or Snap Pixy, flying smartphones don’t seem so far off. I mean, I know I’d like to record TikToks without lugging around a tripod.
For now, check out our guide to the best phones. And if you're interested in the rumored handsets coming later this year, we have everything there is to know about the iPhone 14, Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 and Google Pixel 7 so far.