This is a common discussion in software development when a Spanish translation effort is underway, which is why I will provide my two cents in English, despite the original poster's native language.
Is it a bad translation to consider a product feature a "característica de producto"?
Before beginning to address the use of "característica" as "feature", please notice that proper Spanish would be:
- Característica del producto (feature of the product - A specific product previously referred)
- Característica de un producto (feature of a product - A general product)
- Característica de X (feature of product X - A named product or brand)
So, if you just used "producto" as a placeholder for a product name, then it is a proper translation; however, if that was not the case, "de" should be replaced for "del" or "de un", depending if you are referring to a particular product or a product in general.
After that has been cleared up, let's answer the question:
No, it is not a bad translation.
As a matter of fact, take a look at the following article of Microsoft related to the features of a SharePoint publishing site in English and then its translation in Spanish. You will notice Microsoft translates "features" as "características".
Initially, I considered the translation to be odd and had the same misgivings your co-workers brought up. It also just didn't feel right. This made me think of alternatives to describe the functionality which was provided by a "feature".
Here is a list of possible alternatives that I came up with:
- Rasgos (Features)
- Utilidades (Benefits)
- Atributos (Attributes)
- Aptitudes (Features, Aptitudes)
- Atribuciones (Attributions)
- Disposiciones (Features, Aptitudes, Dispositions)
- Capacidades (Capabilities)
- Comportamientos (Behaviors)
- Aspectos (Aspects)
- Propiedades (Properties)
- Funcionalidades (Sets of Functionality)
These options can also be paired with "funcional" (functional) to make them more specific for software products:
- Rasgos funcionales
- Utilidades funcionales
- Atributos funcionales
- Aptitudes funcionales
- Atribuciones funcionales
- Disposiciones funcionales
- Capacidades funcionales
- Comportamientos funcionales
- Aspectos funcionales
- Propiedades funcionales
Regarding more tangible products: In the past, boxes would include a label that would list features of products as "con" which means "with" and "incluye", which means "includes".
Here are options included in the past to label a list of features in a product's box:
- Cualidades (Qualities, as mentioned by Rodrigo)
- Bondades (Positive aspects, advantages)
- Ventajas (Advantages)
- Beneficios (Benefits)