The current tech market is witnessing the biggest surge in smartphones. There are a lot of options out there, but it is important to know how to distinguish between what’s superficial and durable. Top smartphone brands like Apple and Google are the foremost contenders in the run for developing the best smartphones and are releasing new feature phones almost every few months. Everyone seems to need a new smartphone every 3-4 years on an average, so it is only reasonable to compare and choose a smartphone that is right for you.
Below is a detailed mobile phone buying guide that will help you understand how to choose a mobile phone. It covers everything you need to know before assessing what you want to buy, including internal factors like the Operating System (OS), performance and battery, and external factors like display, screen size and camera. Moreover, following this smartphone buying guide will help you gain a better insight into what fits your budget and needs.
Picking an Operating system
Before deciding which smartphone suits you best, you need to pick an OS of your choice. Currently, the only two established and trustworthy operating systems are iOS and Android. Android smartphones are dominant in the market since the latest Android phones always offer a spectrum of choices. This includes a flexible design, display, specifications and price. It even has many customizable options and has Google services inbuilt in the phone. However, its flaw lies in the fact that when it comes to software updates, they take longer to arrive and mostly depend upon the manufacturer. The only exception to this is the line of Google Pixel phones – the pixel 2 and pixel 2XL. This problem is not experienced in iOS operated smartphones which offer early access to updates and have better privacy and security systems in place.
Both these systems are convenient to use and it is fairly easy to even switch from using one to another, keeping in mind how comfortable you are with switching systems. However, this depends upon whether you are already an iOS or Android user. Smartphone buyers tend to forget that they are used to a particular OS like in the case of Android, which has predominantly Google apps installed such as Google Docs, Gmail and Google Maps. iPhone users, on the other hand, are used to the early access of iPhone updates and apps, more accessories and the seamless use of the phone with other Apple devices. Reading a list of at least top 10 smartphones will help you evaluate which OS is suitable for you.
The power of up to date Performance
Understanding the performance of a smartphone is the second key factor in choosing the best smartphone. When we talk about performance, we are actually talking about the power of the processor, RAM, and internal storage. The newer the processor, the faster and efficient it is. When it comes to iOS, Apple’s A11 bionic processor is unbeatable. And when it comes to Android, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 is the best processor for mobile that you can have. This may seem a bit unnecessary but when it comes down to it, a processor directly affects a smartphone’s multitasking ability, gameplay, and clock speed.
When it comes to RAM, a minimum of 4GB RAM is essential for Android smartphones to work efficiently. Anything lower than that is not worth spending on. The concept of minimum RAM does not concern iOS phones so much since they work on a completely different memory management system. Grasp a better understanding of RAM functions by reading on smartphones with best performing RAMS in 2019.
The third factor to consider is the internal storage capacity of the smartphone. Without a second thought, internal storage of 32 GB should be the minimum amount of storage capacity your smartphone has. 64GB is more recommendable and depending on your further storage needs, you can expand your memory through a micro SD slot. This concept of Micro SD card concerns only Android smartphones, as iOS phones require you to pick your internal storage capacity once and for all.
Battery life, privacy and network
When it comes to batteries, removable batteries are a myth. So you need to pick a phone with a strong mAH capacity, resolution and software. Technically, a smartphone that has a battery capacity of minimum 3000 mAh and lasts up to 9-10 hours with continuous 4G/LTE streaming is considered to have a strong battery life. Fast charging is a necessary specification for the best feature phones. So, when it comes to Android phones, Google Pixel 2, for instance, is one of the fastest charging phones. Needless to say, iOS smartphones have fast charging too, but users need to purchase the charger separately. However, a lot of the new phones have wireless charging, which is a relief. Check out a reliable compilation of best battery life smartphones.
When it comes to privacy and security, iOS phones are upfront in the competition. Since iOS devices receive timely security updates, they have a stronger level of privacy. Comparably, Android phones have a shelf life for OS updates, usually lasting for an average of 2 years, thus, they offer a lower level of security and guarantee. iOS smartphones also have a high-end facial recognition feature along with a fingerprint sensor for maximum protection. Face ID is gaining momentum in certain Android phones too, including Samsung Galaxy 8 and Note 8. Almost all phones have the basic fingerprint sensor, but it is important for the user to be comfortable with the placement of the sensor – i.e. front or back.
Another essential factor that you must check is if the smartphone you want has a good network connection. How do we know if our smartphones will support service providers like Airtel, Vodafone or Jio, among others? Apart from a dual sim smartphone, you need to see if it supports a basic LTE/ 4G feature phone network. Smartphones that support 2G and 3G network are almost outdated. Nowadays, 5G networks have entered the domain and are spreading amongst users like wildfire. So, it is important to check if your smartphone can adapt to the necessary network coverage and function on reasonably priced data plans.
Good Camera for the win
Everyone wants a good smartphone camera and why not? The best mobile camera is not the one with bigger pixel counts but the one that balances high-quality image resolution, the length of the aperture and quick shutter speed. Pay attention to whether you would like a dual camera, or the newly introduced triple camera mobiles – a feature seen in the latest good camera phones. The iPhone is best known for its flawless smartphone camera features including 12 MP triple cam, true depth cam, and 2x optical zoom. It also has smartphone features like auto portrait selfie mode, editing live photos and HDR balanced lighting. Android smartphones like Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL are not far behind, with similarly equipped rear and front cameras, f/1.8 wide aperture and HDR technology. The camera automatically adjusts the surrounding background light and enhances the quality of the image captured.
When it comes to video playback, you need to factor in both, the resolution and the frame rate. A standard resolution of 4K at 60 frames per second is considered as an integral part of a top camera phone. Make sure that you test the phone before you buy a smartphone and see if it can capture pictures smoothly and in a lag-free manner. You should check reviews from reliable websites for best smartphone camera phones as they are usually honest and useful.
Design and Display
Your smartphone’s design/display is one of the most important external features to consider since you are going to spend a lot of time holding and gazing at it. If you prefer to operate your smartphone with one hand, then look for one with smaller screen size and comfortable aspect ratio. Small screen smartphones are usually around 5 inches long and are compact and powerful. The iPhone 8 and Google Pixel 2 are examples of such top smartphones. Medium-sized smartphones are for those users who want the comfort of design yet want an immersive experience. They usually measure up to 5.5 inches and provide a good balance to users. The LG X Power and the Samsung Galaxy S7 are few such phones which give you the luxury of both. Large-sized smartphones are usually like tablets and are great for streaming clear videos, reading e-books and multitasking. They measure somewhere between 5.5 inches to 6.2 inches. These phones usually have large bezels and can be a little difficult to accommodate.
Coming back to the smartphone’s design – choose one that is well built yet aesthetically pleasing. For instance, a glass bodied design is better looking than metal but can be fragile at certain moments. At the very least, pick a smartphone that can accommodate a gorilla glass display. Such a display is scratch resistant and shatterproof. Also, if you are concerned about factors like a waterproof design, then make sure you pick one that has proved to be so in the past.
The most important factor is the quality of the display, an indicator of how to select a smartphone with the best features. What you must look for is a smartphone’s brightness and colour quality. Smartphones having an AMOLED display offer richer hues and wider viewing angles than those with LCD screens. Currently, HDR displays are right now the best display phones in trend, and enable you to watch a movie or series with a superior contrast spectrum, thus improving the immersive nature of videos. Reviews, testimonials, and comparisons will help you figure out a list of phones with cutting edge display technologies.
Understanding the price and the reasonable resale value
While price can be a crucial factor in deciding which smartphone to buy, it should not be the only factor. As stated above, a lot of internal factors should be considered before buying a smartphone. This is because, from a distance, a low-budget phone will seem to have standard and fairly long-lasting features, but in the long run, its maintenance or monthly value will end up costing you more than the smartphone’s value itself. The first step in detecting if your smartphone is value for money is assessing three key aspects – the OS, processor and security. Once these three are in place, the rest is something you can adjust accordingly.
These factors are important because along with price there is something known as the Reasonable resale value of a smartphone. Now, the reasonable resale value is the price of the smartphone after it is sold a few years post its ownership. Resale buyers will not pay much heed to the design, display or the camera quality, as much as they will pay attention to the 3 key factors mentioned above. It makes sense because a smartphone which has regular software updates and a strong security system in place will have a longer lifespan. Now, for most Android smartphones this is not the general case, and they have a shelf life of 2 years in place. Additionally, the frequency of updates is unpredictable and intermittent, so chances are that your Android smartphone will be outdated after 3 years. There are a few exceptions to this though, like the Google Pixel smartphones, One plus 6T or the Motorola one, among a few others. Naturally, this is not the case for iOS phones as they have an inbuilt OS system that supports early access to updates. However, iOS phones have their set of drawbacks too and can be a mighty strain on the wallet. Pitting one smartphone against another won’t help. It is you who needs to remember to look above the surface and get an in-depth analysis of a smartphone before buying it. Seems like there are a lot of factors to consider before choosing the right smartphone, right? In fact, even with all these essential factors, you must take into consideration certain additional factors as well, but then again, that depends on your needs and budget. Also, comparing top brands is a good way to figure out how to select a smartphone and the best budget phone. Consider looking at the current top phones of 2019 with best features to get a head start.