What to Look For in a Smartphone

Guest Author January 21, 2014 0
What to Look For in a Smartphone

Ready to buy a smartphone, but overwhelmed by the sheer number of options available these days? It helps to be able to narrow down your choices before you actually go into any shop, but there is some research you won’t be able to do online.

Here are a few key features you’ll want to use as guidelines to streamline your search.

Operating System/Platform

Although this could help take care of several other choices for you, deciding on the right operating system can be one of the most difficult decisions to make.

There are four main platforms available right now – Apple iOS, Google’s Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. Blackberry and iOS are exclusive to their parent companies. They run on Blackberries and iPhones, period. Android is much more flexible in this manner, and Windows Phone is being introduced on a number of third party phones.

Additional platforms such as Firefox, Sailfish, Tizen and Ubuntu are also on the rise. Apps are also becoming more cross-platform friendly, with BB10 running Android apps, for example.

Knowing which OS is best for you will take some research, both online, and hands-on. Much of how much you enjoy your smartphone is based on your appreciation of the interface. If you don’t like how you interact with the phone, you won’t like the phone, regardless of its performance.

The way to figure this out is read reviews, and go and try out different phones. Figure out which features are important to you and test them out on different models of phones running different platforms to find which you like best.

This may take a little time, and some things you’ll only get a grip on with practice. But, you may be stuck with this phone for a few years, so it’s worth a little research.

Display

The nice thing about having a smartphone is that it is like carrying a little computer around in your pocket. It’s great because you can access the internet, take photos, view videos and more. However, if you don’t have a decent display on which to view them, you’re not getting the most out of these features.

On the other hand, if watching videos and playing games aren’t  priorities, or if you prefer not to have a bulky phone because of an oversized screen, you may choose something smaller and less expensive.

Camera

One of the most frequently used features on any smartphone is the camera. It is very handy, and the quality of many smartphone cameras is reaching that of some point and shoot brands. You may first want to determine if that is important to you, because you could again save money on a phone if taking pictures isn’t important to you, or if you prefer to stick to your camera.

However if you choose a smartphone for its camera, this is another good area to research online and in-store. Search out reviews of the cameras online that you believe function well when you test them yourself. Many reviewers will include sample photos and video outside of the phone so you can make fair comparisons. Remember that many phones can shoot great photos but shoddy video. Make sure to test and/or both.

Storage / Processing Power / RAM

Again, there is a wide range of possibilities out there, and it all depends on how you want to use your phone. Is it nice to have big numbers on all of the above? Sure. But is it needed? No.

If you plan on keeping several tabs open online, or running complex 3D games, high storage and processing comes in handy. A lot of storage is handy for multiple apps, music, etc. as well.

But if you don’t plan on getting that in depth, all those bells and whistles probably aren’t needed.

Carrier Availability

This should actually be among your primary concerns. Regardless of the type of phone you would like to have, if there is not a good mobile carrier to provide service for that phone in the areas you most frequent, it won’t be much of a smartphone.

Image courtesy of Intel Free Press on Flickr.

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