The Perfect Guide to Buying the right Smartphone

A smartphone is a very important device for day to day activities. it is important for communication via mobile network, email, social media and so on. It is also used for organising the daily activities and get the best out of most situations. A very challenging issue to individuals is choosing the right smartphone to buy. You want a smartphone that has all the functionality you use on a daily basis plus user-friendly operation so that you can take full advantage of your device’s features without frustration.

But with hundreds of smartphone options available, the choice can be overwhelming to say the least. We’ve put together this comprehensive smartphone buying guide to help you navigate the options, identify the operating system and device that best meets your needs, and choose a smartphone with the features and functionality you’re looking for.

buying the right smartphone

1. The Operating System

Currently, Google Android and Apple iOS are the top smartphone platforms. You’ll find plenty of convincing arguments on both sides regarding which smartphone platform is better. There’s a widespread belief, for instance, that the iOS platform is less susceptible to viruses and malware compared to Android devices, although reports from the past year or so indicate that the Apple smartphones are probably not much safer than their Android counterparts. Opt for an iPhone if you want a phone that’s easy to use and gets both the hottest apps first and the timeliest software updates. Android is better if you want more hardware choice and more control over the user experience. The BlackBerry and Windows mobile operating systems are also available.

2. Text Input

It is still possible to find a smartphone with a physical keyboard, but you might also be impressed by today’s touchscreen keyboards. For that reason, it’s important to take a test drive of your preferred devices to get a feel for your keyboard preferences.

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3. Camera Quality

We have now arrived at a point in smartphone evolution where the camera matters more than the processor, especially since most people use their phones as their primary shooters. More and more smartphones boast cameras with at least 12 megapixels, but don’t go by numbers alone. Instead, pay attention to image quality, aperture, pixel size, speed and features.

4. Processor

A good processor inside a phone should translate to faster operation for apps, smoother gameplay and quicker photo editing, but you don’t have to pay attention to only clock speed. It is a good idea to look at the performance results in our reviews, such as Geekbench, which measures overall performance. Among Qualcomm CPUs, the Snapdragon 820 processor is the class-leading chip, offering twice the overall performance and efficiency of the Snapdragon 810. This results in more speed but also longer battery life. You’ll also get 40 percent faster graphics and speedier camera performance, along with better upload and download speeds over LTE.

Mediatek processors are lower cost solutions. They are generally less powerful than processors by Qualcomm. But they do deliver great value for money if the most expensive smartphones are beyond your reach.

5. Screen Size

The overall trend is towards larger smartphone screens but some smartphone users may find smaller screens more functional for everyday use as they are easier to tuck into a pocket when you’re on the go. If you tend to use your smartphone for a variety of computing tasks, however, such as browsing the web or communicating via email, you might find a larger screen more suitable to your needs. According to PhoneArena.com, the most popular smartphone screen size is 4.7 inches. choose a smartphone sized appropriately for your needs that will fit into your lifestyle.

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6. RAM

Here’s an easy way to look at smartphones’ RAM, which is critical for multitasking. Try to avoid handsets with just 1 GB of system memory, if you can. On mid-tier devices, 2 GB is good and standard. But you’ll find 4 GB on the latest flagships, including the Galaxy S7 and the HTC 10. The exception is Apple, which uses 2 GB of RAM in the iPhone 6s and the iPhone 6s Plus, though the lesser amount doesn’t seem to impact performance.

7. Internal Storage

Some games can easily take up more than 1 GB of storage space. High resolution photos and videos captured on smartphones also take up lots of space. Go for as much internal storage as your budget can get you. The most basic smartphones offer 4 GB and 8 GB. Many mid-tier handsets have 16 GB space. More expensive phones are coming standard with 32 GB storage and above. We recommend 32 GB or more, if you can afford it. A microSD card can help expand your storage if you cannot. Do make sure that the phone you are eyeing has a microSD card slot.

8: Battery Life

Many factors — including the screen size, processor and operating system — determine how long a smartphone lasts on a charge. However, shoppers looking for the longest endurance possible should check out our list of battery life champs. We consider any phone that lasts longer than 8 hours of straight 4G LTE surfing to be acceptable, but greater than 9 hours is better.

Battery capacity is a spec that can help determine a phone’s potential staying power. Look for a phone with at least a 3,000 mAh battery if you want the best chance at long battery life.

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9. Wireless Charging

With myriad competing standards and a lack of direction from both smartphone makers and the carriers, wireless charging is more of a nice-to-have feature than a must-have at this stage. The idea is to place your device, such as the Galaxy S7, on a compatible wireless charging mat. But HTC and LG skipped the feature on their latest flagships, partly because their phones offer quick wired charging. While it may be convenient, wireless charging likely won’t take off until the technology is built into everything from cars to furniture — or if Apple decides to adopt it.

10. Fingerprint/Iris Security

Popularized by the iPhone’s Touch ID sensor, fingerprint security on smartphones makes it easier to unlock your device. You can also use fingerprint scanner to lock apps, take photographs, and on some models buy items in the app Store. It all depends on how much integration the platform allows and the manufacturer implements.

Iris scanner is another kind of security available on certain phones. It is similar to fingerprint scanner with the only difference being that it scans the user’s eyes.

Conclusions

As a rule, do a little research on phone options available within your budget till you find one that gives you the best bang for buck for your needs.

Credit: Image used with permission of SWOT Solutions

9 thoughts on “The Perfect Guide to Buying the right Smartphone

  • January 4, 2017 at 12:10 pm
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    I’m surprised you mentionioned that “blackberry and windows mobile OS are also available.” implying they are valid options in 2017!

  • January 4, 2017 at 7:08 pm
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    Maybe comprehensive but certainly not perfect. Someone already pointed out this by questioning the inclusion of deprecated and discontinued platforms like Windows Mobile and BlackBerry smartphones in the list. That would certainly be misguided in 2017, no doubt about that except you mean the current Windows 10 Mobile and BlackBerry devices running on Android.

  • January 4, 2017 at 9:27 pm
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    I am going to disagree with Fred and Harry. Windows and BlackBerry platforms may be minority platforms in 2017, but that does not mean they are not valid. They are exactly what some people want and still use. Minority doesn’t mean invalid.

    For example, Tizen and Sailfish are other minority platforms that are just as valid no matter how much the rest of us won’t consider them.

  • January 5, 2017 at 4:12 pm
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    Mr. Mo, please be sincere here. Will you recommend a Windows Mobile of the old platform or a non-Android powered BlackBerry device even to someone you consider as your enemy in this 2017, even as a way of getting back to him/her?

    • January 5, 2017 at 7:21 pm
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      Henry,

      There are varieties of needs out there. Someone wants a great camera phone and does not care for social media and all the other apps stuff you guys care for. That guy gets a Lumia recommendation from me. See? He isn’t my enemy. The Lumia just fits his needs perfectly.

    • January 6, 2017 at 6:18 am
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      Henry= Harry👆👆

      ……

  • January 5, 2017 at 11:01 pm
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    Left to me, Camera quality, battery storage and Ram size are three most essential features i check before buying a smartphone. Although i like the android OS, anything that can offer the aforementioned three factors i mentioned is good for the taking.

    Lol. My two cents

  • January 6, 2017 at 6:24 am
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    For me, the platform the. phone runs on is the first consideration. Android, or nothing.

    Second is the screen size. I see less than six inches, and I lose interest… immediately.

    Next would be the battery life… don’t care for camera, and RAM size is generally overrated.

    Last would be the aesthetics… doesn’t hurt for the phone to be svelte or anorexic ….

    • January 6, 2017 at 6:30 am
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      EyeBeeKay,

      Your fascination with big phones is amazing. I know someone who is enduring aches and pains in her palms since she transitioned to a 6-inch smartphone. She’s very comfortable with 5.5 inches though, so she is looking to downgrade soon.

      I’m almost in her segment. I enjoy my 6-inch device, but the size stresses me sometimes.

      The range of human needs and preferences is such an interesting thing to observe. Cheers, buddy.

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