When you wake up in the morning chances are the first thing you will look for is your smartphone. Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives, so much so that whenever you leave your home, they are right there in your pocket with your keys and wallet. They help you stay updated, take and share pictures and videos, play music, movies and games and a whole lot more. Smartphones have become so versatile that making calls is slowly becoming a secondary thing.
Since smartphones have become a personal companion to us we take a lot of care while buying them. But what should we really look for while buying a smartphone? With so many options out there it is really hard to make a choice. If you are going through the same dilemma or you just want a new smartphone read our guide before you make a purchase.
The first thing you have to decide while buying a smartphone is your budget. Once you have decided that, just follow our guide to get the best smartphone in your range. There are basically five things you should keep in your mind while deciding on a smartphone: Operating System, camera, battery life, display, and processor.
The three main Operating system which you should consider are Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s windows.
Android has the lion’s share in the smartphone market and for a good reason. You have way many hardware options on android than on iOS or windows. Being an open OS, it is highly customizable with widgets, themes, keyboards and more. Taking advantage of the open nature of android OS, smartphone makers like Samsung, Lg, and HTCetc tweak the software to provide us with some cool extra features like multi-tasking, split screen view etc. Also, if you happen not to like them you can always use a custom launcher to best suite your needs. With the latest version Android 6.0 marshmallow just around the corner, it will give you a better control at app permissions, extended battery life, better RAM management and many more tweaks to make the android experience even better. A big plus to android goes for its huge app selection in its Play store. You can find an app for almost all you need here.
The only major problem with android is that receiving the OS update depends upon your smartphone manufacturer. This means you all will not receive the update at the same time and this becomes a deal breaker for some people.
Apple’s iOS is a bit conservative in its nature. It does not provide the type of control over the OS that android does. You use what you get. But that necessarily is not a bad thing. Since Apple has control over both the software and the hardware, it provides a more seamless experience. The newest generation iPhones ( 6s and 6s plus) come with a new technology called 3D-touch which adds a whole new dimension to how we interact with our smartphone.
Possibly the biggest reason for choosing an iOS device is its app selection. Sure android also has a huge app selection in its Play store, but Apple’s app store still tends to get the hottest new apps and games way before android does. It is easier for developers to make apps for an ecosystem which has smaller variation in specs in devices. For the same reason, you can always find more a lot more good quality accessories for iPhones.
Windows phone have never been as popular as android or iOS. Hopefully, the launch of windows 10 and two new hot Lumia wiz. The Lumia 950 and 950 XL might just change that. Especially the windows continuum feature which will allow you to use your phone to have a full-blown PC experience might be the turning point for windows.
One thing that hold windows down is the unavailability of apps.There are not many second party developers making apps for windows. Windows 10 should make it easier for developers to port their apps from android or iOS. But right now its app store is still in the development phase.
Your smartphone also acts as your primary camera. The camera has become so important in smartphones these days that they are the first thing you think of when you buy a smartphone. More and more smartphones are being launched with good quality cameras.
When you are deciding on the camera of a smartphone, don’t be fooled by the megapixel count. Instead, pay attention to the aperture size, shutter speed, image quality, and features. Always look at some sample pictures before buying one. Also, give preference to the low light performance of the camera, this is where the true performance of cameras can be measured. Some of the best camera phones you can choose today are Galaxy s6, iPhone 6s and 6s plus and Lg G4.
What good is a smartphone when it keeps dying on you the moment you are away from a charging point. Always look for a good battery back up in the smartphones. Although battery life also depends upon the screen resolution and size, software optimization, and many other factors but generally the bigger the battery the better is the chance it will last you a whole day. If you are a power user look for a smartphone with interchangeable battery. This way you can always carry a spare battery. .
The first thing you should keep in your mind is the display quality and screen size. The size of the screen will depend upon your usage pattern. If you use your smartphone more as a device for media consumption go with a larger screen preferably over 5 inches. If you want a smartphone which you can use with one hand go for a smaller screen. For regular users, we think that any smartphone with a screen size between 4.7 to 5.1 inches is a good bet. It is small enough that you can use it with one hand and large enough that you will not have to squint your eyes every time you try to read a web page.
Apart from the size you should also play close attention to the screen resolution, brightness, colour temperature and viewing angles. Some of the sharpest displays in the market today has a Quad-HD resolution or 2560*1440 pixels. However, an HD display, 1920*1080 pixels is good enough and you will not notice any difference most of the time. One more key factor is the sunlight visibility. The smartphone should be easily readable while you are outside under heavy sunlight.
Are you a heavy gamer or you just use your phone for social media and calls? Do you switch between apps frequently? Answering these type of questions will give you a fair idea about the amount of processing power you need. A good processor makes it easier to open apps, reduces loading time makes your experience smoother. There are extremely capable processors out there which can handle anything you throw at them. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon series, Apple’s A9 chip and Samsung’s Exynos 7420 are among the best.
When deciding on a processor don’t just randomly believe the clock speed use benchmark performance reviews such as Geekbench, Antutu etc. Also, if the smartphone you are interested in has been in the market for a while, read users real life performance reviews. Pay extra attention to the heating problems. When a processor is prone to heating it throttles a lot and gives you a below par experience.
RAM is the part of the memory which helps you to multitask. It keeps the apps open in the background so it does not reload every time you switch between apps. There is a simple rule while deciding on the RAM. Avoid smartphones with 1 GB of RAM. 1 GB is just not enough. Surely, Apple’s iPhone 6 had only 1GB of RAM and it gave a flawless performance. But it had a lot of software optimization which other phones doesn’t have. In the newest generation of iPhones, even apple has switched to 2 GB of RAM. The bottom line is you should always get a smartphone with at least 2GB of RAM.
Other Key Features:
Keeping the bigger size of the new apps especially games in mind, you should always choose a smartphone with at least 32 GB of internal storage if it is non-expandable. The Operating System alone eats away 3-4 GB of memory and you are left with around 10 GB of memory. If you happen to have a lot of media on your phone or you take a lot of pictures you will certainly run out of space in a 16 GB model.
If your work demands that you have to stay outdoors, you should go for a phone which is water and dust resistant. There are some premium (Sony Xperia Z5, Samsung Galaxy S6 active) as well as budget (Moto G 3rd Gen) options out there.
Fingerprint security was popularized by Apple’s touch ID and was later adopted by Samsung Galaxy S series, Google’s nexus 6P, OnePlus 2 and many more. It adds an extra layer of security to your device and also helps in easing the process of unlocking your phone. One of the major use of Fingerprint Security to act as an authentication tool for their payment services.
Right now wireless charging is more of a nice-to-have feature than a need. It is the future, though. No more dangling cables. Just place your phone on the top of a charger and it will charge automatically. Samsung even provides fast wireless charging in its latest iteration of Note series. This is not a deal breaker, though.
To summarize whatever smartphone you buy, you can not go really wrong. They all do the basics right. But what if you want the best smartphone. This guide will help you decide which feature is more important to you and you can buy the best smartphone for your needs.
Do let us know in the comment sections, which feature is an essential one for you and which you can skimp on.