You’ve just got that dough dangling in your pocket and you are thinking of buying a new smartphone? Well, we know what the feelings are especially if you have never use a smartphone and your friends have. The heat, the butterfly swaying blindly across the bubbles that makes your heart beat, the aggressiveness.
Don’t worry, the feelings are normal, and none can claim they haven’t felt such when buying their dream items. But you must take it slowly or else you might end up buying something that doesn’t worth it at all.
Of course we are here to guide you all the way. All you need to do is just to keep reading. In this article, you’ll learn what you need to first consider before buying a new smartphone. The features you need to target and look into and the necessary functionality that will help in improving your daily life.
Don’t forget, a smartphone is like an artificial humanoid that have its own heart, brain and muscles. Unlike anything organic, these are all fixed and doesn’t act or goes beyond what are programmed into them. You end up buying a bad one, then you will have to stick with it maybe for the rest of your life. But we won’t let that happen. We have created a perfect guide to make sure you don’t end up buying a bad one.
Now, to the main task. Here are five must features you need to consider before buying a new smartphone.
1. Screen Size and Display
Screen is the first and foremost thing that leads the way. It is the first thing you see and the first thing you touch when you pick up your smartphone everyday.
When choosing a smartphone, the first thing you should look at are the screen and display properties. Screen and display are two different components, packed into one body. In a simpler form, the screen is an external part of a display. Screen is what you look into to see a display.
What matters when it comes to screen is the size. Most people have their own preferred choice, ranging from 5-inch to 6.7-inch (which is the maximum when it comes to smartphone these days), anything above this falls into the phablet territory. Screen can be the exact size of a display or larger than a display, but a display is never larger than its screen.
Almost all smartphones are touch-sensitive (touchscreen), meaning, you can operate it by just tapping the screen. But you need to know that there is a feature called “Multi-touch” in a touchscreen phone. This determines the number of fingers you can use to operate the phone at a time (simultaneously). If a smartphone have a 2-point multi-touch touchscreen, then that means you can operate the phone simultaneously with two fingers at the maximum.
A smartphone can supports up to 10-point multi-touch, but this is determined by the type of smartphone you chose. One of the benefit of buying a smartphone that offers the highest multi-touch is that you can easily operate apps that support advance gesture. Also, it will be beneficial when using certain apps such as Perfect Piano.
There are benefits in choosing a phone with a small screen size or a large screen size as well as disadvantages when buying a new smartphone.
- The entire body structure is compact due to a small screen diagonal
- It reduces weight of the device
- It makes holding easier
- it can fit into a tiny space
- It can be easily noticed when missing
- The display is more larger, which means clearer pictures and details
- Good for multitasking
- Great for multimedia enjoyment
We consider 5.5-inch to be perfect, anything between 5-inch and 6.4-inch is considered good. But it all boils down to what you aimed to use the phone for. If it is just to make calls, send text messages and chat on Whatsapp, the screen estate does not matter, but if you aim to use it for multimedia consumption or for gaming, the larger the better.
i.) Screen Resolution
In a simple term, the resolution of a screen is the amount of pixel a display contains. IIt ranges between 320px to 1440px in most smartphones and there is a huge difference between each pixel number. Do have it at the back of your mind that a display has no honor when it loses its resolution. It is like a twin side of it that should never be neglected if you really want a good smartphone. We don’t know how much you pack in that big pocket of yours, but hey! you’ll need to spend if you are determined to possess the best.
The resolution of the screen mostly determines the clarity and the vividness of a display. It is like thousands fracture of pictures fitted together to make a one big picture. The higher the resolution the better the clarity of each tiny dot of pixel that combines. The most popular these days are HD/HD+ (720p), FHD/FHD+ (1080p) and QHD/QHD+ (1440p). QHD best them all.
Please note that the amount of screen resolution does not affect the screen size and the display. A 3.5-inch display can have a QHD resolution and a 5-inch display can have an HD resolution. That is why larger is not always better, and smaller can best the largest if it has a good resolution. Mind the pixel resolution first before choosing a perfect display.
ii.) Display Type
In basic form, display type is the technology used in producing the backlight and colors generated in the display. There are two different types that are currently topping the line, IPS (In-Plain Switching), which is a relative of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), and AMOLED. In real life use, both produce sharp colors and have long life span, but, IPS is known for its unbias projected life colors while AMOLED has faint hue that most considered unnatural.
You may find AMOLED interesting because of its total perfection when it comes to reflecting black color (which most of the time looks grey-ish on IPS display) and its infinite contrast. AMOLED also consumes lesser power compared to LCD. In this respect, you will need to chose the one you fall in love with.
2. Processor and RAM
The next thing you would want to consider after patronizing the about-to-be-yours smartphone is how powerful it is. The word powerful here means, how well can it perform when running a task. This is also crucial, and you must take note of every single datails of what governs the hardware of the smartphone you want to buy. Although it may be hard to verify this when shopping, you can do a quick research online if you have a spare internet-enabled phone by searching the product model name online.
The processor can be regarded as the heart, RAM the brain, and GPU the muscles.
What mostly determines the overall goodness of a smartphone in the hardware sector is the processor. Most time, the type of processor equipped in a phone determines the type of GPU installed. For instance, Qualcomm top of the line is Snapdragon 855, which is accompanied by an Adreno 640 GPU. Meaning, if you are buying a smartphone with a Snapdragon 855 processor then it will definitely comes with an Adreno 640 GPU. Unlike laptops and desktop PCs, today’s mobile phones have not evolve yet in utilizing switchable graphics solution.
We have old generation processors and new generation processors, these can simply be classified as 32-bit and 64-bit. The processor we mentioned above is a new generation processor and is based on a 64-bit architecture. New is always better than old, look carefully before buying one. Below are highlights of Qualcomm processors mostly used in today’s phone in order of their potential.
- Snapdragon 210 -> Adreno 304 GPU -> 32-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 212 -> Adreno 304 GPU -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 215 -> Adreno 308 GPU -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 400 -> Adreno 306 GPU -> 32-bit – maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 410 -> Adreno 306 GPU -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 425 -> Adreno 308 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 427 -> Adreno 308 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 430 -> Adreno 505 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 435 -> Adreno 505 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 615 -> Adreno 405 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 625 -> Adreno 506 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 626 -> Adreno 506 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 652 -> Adreno 510 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 653 -> Adreno 510 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 670 -> Adreno 615 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 675 -> Adreno 612 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 801 -> Adreno 330 GPU -> 32-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 805 – Adreno 420 GPU -> 32-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 808 -> Adreno 418 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 6-core
- Snapdragon 810 -> Adreno 420 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 820 -> Adreno 530 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 821 -> Adreno 530 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 4-core
- Snapdragon 835 -> Adreno 540 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 845 -> Adreno 630 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 850 -> Adreno 630 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
- Snapdragon 855 -> Adreno 640 -> 64-bit -> maximum of 8-core
Care needs to be taken when choosing one as it directly affect the type of GPU your smartphone will be equipped with, and also the architecture.
The RAM as previously said, can be regarded as the brain of a smartphone. The level of its capacity does not depend on the processor as the GPU does, and that is a good thing. But sometimes, the type of processor determines the maximum capacity of RAM a phone can have. For instance, let’s say a phone with a Snapdragon 210 processor, it will be fruitless to equip it with a 4GB of RAM.
The processor falls among the lowest, can attain a maximum speed of 1.1GHz, and is not even a 64-bit. 4GB RAM on this processor will be like having too much knowledge about something that does not exist. So, chose wisely. The higher the type of processor the better. We chose 4GB of RAM as the “average” recommended size when buying a new smartphone.
This is the fun part. Taking picture and selfie of yourself is what you will probably want to do after buying a new phone. Two things are worth taking a look at, the megapixel and the sensor. It is impossible to know the clarity of a smartphone camera from the outside by just glaring at the lens and most stores wouldn’t let you turn on the phone before buying (even if the package is not sealed). So, to be on the safe side, you need to search the internet once more and look for the camera specs of the smartphone you want to buy or check the package description.
Megapixel determines the quantity, the amount of resolution a camera can take, and the video resolution when recording, but it does not determines the picture and video quality and clarity. We don’t want to go deep in this aspect because a phone camera cannot be judged from the outside, and it is impossible to know what is inside because you have not even buy the phone. Just know that the higher the megapixel the better (most time but not always). And do make sure that at least Auto Focus and Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) are written among the camera description.
4. Operating System
When buying a new smartphone, the operating system it runs is also part of what you should consider. As of now, we have five different mobile operating systems for smartphone—Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Windows and Ubuntu. There are advantages and disadvantage when it comes to each of them (something we don’t want to talk about because if we do you might end up scrolling down for two more hours). Some operating system (BlackBerry and iOS for instance) are close source, meaning, you do not have a full access in modifying certain areas of the OS except the area that the manufacturers allowed.
The truth is, what I like you may not like. But to be honest, if you want something secure, then you’ll need to chose something different from Android. Security is not guaranteed on Android OS, if you treasure your privacy above “all else” then don’t go for it. But if you are the type that care less about security, privacy, and has less coins to spend, then Android is your best shot. You are the rich type, go for iOS because it is perfect. You want something average (security + app + price), go for Windows. You want security and every other things average, go for BlackBerry. You want to be unique, go for Ubuntu.
We have been talking about the display, processor, camera, but all of these also relied on one thing to function and that is the battery. It is what powers the entire system, both the hardware and the software. Without a good battery backup, well, the entire system is doom. So, how do you know the battery your dream smartphone possess is on the good side or the bad side? First, let’s start from the rated capacity. The higher the capacity the better.
We have two types of battery commonly used nowadays, Lithium Ion and Lithium Polymer. The first is very popular and almost 85% of smartphones released these days posses it. Unlike Lithium Ion, Lithium Polymer is rarely used, why? Because it is costlier to manufacture. Manufacturers are mostly not willing to use it except the device is somehow exclusive.
Smartphone market is already spoilt and no one wants to make a huge sacrifice that will leave their pocket empty. Li-ion is good, but Li-Po is better, it last longer and has a good life span. Most Apple products are powered by Li-Polymer batteries. If your dream smartphone has Li-Po, then that is a sign of a good battery. If it has Li-ion, don’t worry, it doesn’t matter much.
Capacity, which can be describe as the rate of flow, is an efficiency of a battery. In mobile phone battery, it is measure in milliampere per hour (mAh). As we already said, the higher it is the better. Let’s take this as an example, you see a smartphone that have the following configurations:
Screen size: 5.0-inch
Resolution: full-HD (1920 x 1080 pixels)
Processor: 1.4GHz octa-core
Rear camera: 8-megapixel
Front camera: 5-megapixel
A 2000mAh battery is unlikely to be sufficient for this set up, it’ll be better if it is 2500mAh considering the phone make use of a Full-HD display panel. The processor speed is average and can maintain the battery, but it is unlikely that the battery will last long on Full HD display, especially if the display uses an LCD panel. If it is HD, 2000mAh will be okay.
Two things are to be considered when choosing a battery for a smartphone, the phone display properties and the processor. These two things draw power at the highest scale.
Other factors you might want to look into when buying a smartphone are the built-in storage capacity and the connectivity. Average phone released these days comes equipped with a 16GB of inbuilt storage with an external storage support of atleast 32GB. If you are lucky yours may be 128GB or even 512GB. You have 4G VoLTE and USB Type-C top the line in connectivity, it is a sign of a good purchase.
That is all. You are now fully equipped and ready to burst into that store. You have the right as a customer to demand every single details about what you are about to purchase, it is your right, don’t let it elude you. You are the shy type? Gosh! then you’ll be unlucky.
Hope we’ve helped. That’s the least we can do, we can’t follow you into that store you know. Go and grab it.