What to consider when buying a smartphone

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I won't bore you with any intro.

1. Brand
When I say brand I do not mean manufacturer. There are only four brands worth mentioning in the world of smartphones, namely

  • Android
  • iPhone
  • Blackberry
  • Windows Phone
2. Apps
Apps are really what make a smartphone smart.

3. Internal Memory
Even if the phone supports a 16TB micro SD card, the internal memory still matters a lot.

4. Screen Resolution
You won't want a phone that makes your pictures look it was taken with a pin-hole camera.

5. Support for 3.5G (HSPA) and/or 4G (LTE)
A smartphone with an EDGE internet access limit is like swapping your Windows 7 for Windows '95. A lot of things just won't work.

6. Secondary Camera (front facing camera)
You won't know how useful they can be until you need an urgent passport, or need to make a video call. And you won't know how great a video call is until you've made one.

7. Date of Launch
Avoid buying a smartphone that has been in the market for more than 8 months. With the short software support span that is now the norm, you might end up with a phone that can't use the newest software available for its brand.

You might notice I didn't mention details like camera resolution, RAM, screen size, CPU and micro SD support. Well it is because they are just market buzz words to wow the novice and entice the teenagers. A smartphone that meets the benchmark I put below for those 7 listed considerations will have more than enough of the other stuffs I didn't include.

Now to the real analysis
  • Android phones are the most versatile with near computer-like features, they have powerful apps that the other brands do not have (even a jailbroken iPhone still lags behind). Make sure you do not buy one that was launched last year, as android has the nasty habit of removing software support for old phones faster than other brands. Never buy an android phone with less than 1GB internal memory (regardless of the micro SD support), buy one with 8GB or more internal memory (if you don't want to uninstall an app for another app). Most android phones have a decent (if not awesome) screen resolution and support 3.5G. Make sure it has a secondary camera and was launched not earlier than 2011.
  • iPhones are simply awesome, easy to use, marvelous apps and fashionable. Just make sure it is either an iPhone 4 or iPhone 4S.
  • Blackberry phones can be a pain in the butt if you don't make the right choice, you can buy one launched today that will still have a terrible specs. So make sure the one you buy has more than 1GB internal memory or you will regret it. You might skip the secondary camera requirement to not overshrink your options but make sure it supports HSPA (3.5G) and has a screen resolution of more than 320 by 480pixels.
  • As for Windows Phone, just make sure it is a Mango. It will definitely support 3.5G, sport a more than decent screen resolution and be launched recently. You shouldn't have any problem finding one with 1GB or more internal memory, just look for one with secondary camera.
Now the only exception to this is if all the ones that meet these requirements are above your maximum disposable amount for the phone. And as for which brand to go for? Choose the one that appeals to your social status the most. But if you are a geek, just leave out Blackberry and Windows phone. And if you are a nerd, go for Android.


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