How To Choose The Right Smartphone: 7 Useful Tips

Reached the end of your mobile contract? Ready to upgrade? You’ve got more choice than ever when it comes to picking a new smartphone. But that also means sifting through the specs, makes, and models can be overwhelming. We’re here to simplify it for you.

To make this advice as universal as possible, we’ve stopped short of recommending particular phones, but you should be able to use the guidelines below to make an informed choice about whatever handsets are currently on the market.

1. iOS vs. Android

Apple’s iOS is more polished but more restrictive than Android. Apple
Apple’s iOS is more polished but more restrictive than Android. Apple

For some, the software platform their new phone runs on is the be-all and end-all of their phone choice. For others, it barely matters. There may have been significant differences years ago, but today, iOS and Android are more similar than ever. After all, they’ve been borrowing features from each other for years.

Most of your favorite apps, from Facebook to Spotify, will run just fine on both. And they each offer the same fundamental features that let you do everything you would want on a modern-day smartphone.

That said, Android remains the more customizable mobile operating system. If you want to, you can change small things like the default texting app or browser, or go all-out by revamping every icon and widget to create a truly personalized interface. Apps can also hook into deeper parts of the phone and take more control over it.

One example of this is screen recorder apps, of which there are several for Android. Apart from Apple’s own built-in tool, you won’t find any such apps on iOS—they just don’t have the necessary access to capture what’s on screen. Every app is built on a series of permissions—to see your location, to use your phone’s microphone, and so on—and being able to record what’s on screen while other apps are running is something Apple doesn’t allow iOS apps to request.

For better or worse, Apple’s iOS is more limiting in what it lets apps and users do on iPhones. Its fans would say that makes for a smoother experience, while its detractors would say it’s too restrictive. For instance, you can install Outlook and Gmail on an iPhone, but when you tap on a contact to send an email, the app that actually opens will always be Apple Mail.

iPhones are also designed to work primarily with other Apple gear, such as MacBooks and the Apple Watch. But, you can still easily sync your phone with iTunes on Windows or use it without a computer at all. To choose between Android and iPhone, you must also think about the other apps and platforms you use.

Despite some of the debates you might read online, Android and iOS are pretty much neck-and-neck in terms of performance and features. Each has its own feel and way of working, though. So if you’re already on one platform or the other, try grabbing a friend’s phone for 10 minutes to see what the other side looks like.

2.Smartphone performance: Processor and Ram

Photo: Google
Photo: Google

Your smartphone processor, also known as the chipset or the SoC, is the component that is responsible for just about everything functioning on your smartphone. It is essentially the brain of the system, and most of these processors also come equipped with AI capabilities that essentially make your smartphone as ‘smart’ it is today.

A capable processor not only allows your device to function seamlessly but is also capable of enhancing other factors. One example is image processing. Samsung phones, as an example, comes in two variants - one hosting the Snapdragon chipset (the latest one being Snapdragon 865+). In contrast, the other one employs Samsung’s in house Exynos processor (the latest being Exynos 990). Some reviewers have explicitly stated that there is a tangible difference in not just the processing power of the two variants, the Snapdragon being much snappier, but also the image-processing abilities.

Coming to RAM, this refers to system memory that smartphones use to hold data that active applications are using. A portion of your smart- phone’s RAM is always used up by the operating system, to keep it run- ning. We’re not going to get into the nitty-gritty of RAM usage in a phone since it involves explaining terms such as kernel-space which will end up taking a lot of room in this article. Having sufficient RAM can allow you to have a larger number of apps running in the background, which significantly affects your multitasking experience. However, some smartphones are breaking all barriers and installing a whopping 12-16 GB of RAM in their smartphones.

That’s definitely overkill for smartphones, especially if you don’t plan on switching between 10-20 apps at the same time. If you’re a light smartphone user, someone who only uses their phone for calls, texts, What- sApp and light browsing, you can easily get away with 3-4 GB RAM. For power users, something around the ballpark of 6-8 GB is perfectly fine.

3. Choose the right size

Photo: Tomsguide
Photo: Tomsguide

Smartphones are getting bigger and bigger every year when it comes to the size of a smartphone. However, bigger isn’t always better. Big smartphones can get quite uncomfortable and annoying to handle. One-handed operation is literally impossible with devices bigger than 6 inches. In my opinion, the ideal size of a smartphone should be around 5.4 inches.

4. The right amount of storage

The current standard is 64GB on lower-end models and 128GB to 512GB on flagships. With swift sharing apps and technologies, almost all of us import every single GB of data from our previous phones to the new ones. So, adequate storage is essential. We recommend that you do not go under 128GB since it will give you enough breathing room to keep your data as well as download apps to your heart’s content. Also, keep an eye out for phones with expandable memory storage.

5. Battery life that fits your daily requirements

Photo: Digit
Photo: Digit

The golden standard of battery life in flagship smartphones is 6+ hours of screen on time. Anything with higher capacities can mostly allow even heavy-users to power through. Flagship phones, as well as some mid-range phones, can also reach 8-10 hours of screen on time, which is brilliant. The goal is to get a phone that can at least pull through one whole day of intensive usage. So, ensure to check battery tests online before purchasing a device. Also, try and research if the phone you’re planning on buying has a decent power-saving mode.

6. Camera quality that justices the price

In 2020, multi-cameras are the norm and phones with just one rear camera are extremely rare now. You usually get a primary lens which sports the highest MP count, a portrait lens, and a wide-angle shooter. And then, you also have a few extras that some manufacturers add such as the ToF (Time of Flight) sensor, macro lens, and colour filter lens. We, at the Digit Labs, are fans of the wide-angle lens because of the magnitude of images you can now take on phones. Capturing sprawling scenes is not a problem anymore! The portrait lens, when done well, can produce spectacular bokeh shots too.

However, if this trend just isn’t for you and the growing camera bumps enrage you, it would be best to buy older phones with one primary lens or newer ones such as the iPhone SE 2020. Also, don’t go MP hunting, higher megapixel-count doesn’t always mean better images since the sensor size is much more integral to producing good photos.

Smartphones have also been employing pixel-binning, which essentially turns four or more pixel into one big pixel, that adds clarity and detail to the image. Also, for now, try to stray away from the 108MP sensors since they’re pretty rough around the edges at the moment plagued with image fringing and autofocus issues.

READ MORE: How To Keep Your Smartphone From Damage: 9 Simple Ways

7. A good display

Smartphone display sizes seem to be ever-increasing and are continually pushing the boundary of what we’d expect a smartphone display size to be. They’ve reached the ‘phablet’ realm with displays even reaching up to 6.9-inches! However, in the age where content is being consumed increasingly on our pocket devices (hard to call them that now), this may not be a bad thing. We suggest anything above 5.7 inches so you can really immerse yourself into games and media. As far as display types go, you have LCD and AMOLED displays. AMOLED displays have variants such as OLED or Super AMOLED (in the case of Sam- sung) and have better contrast and darker blacks.

They also assist in saving battery since they turn off all the black pixels on the phone to display ‘true black’. Next, you also have various resolutions such as Full HD, Full HD+ Quad HD. While QHD does provide crisper images, the difference between FHD and QHD is not too jarring, especially to the untrained eye. You should also check the screen protection on your device. Gorilla 5 and 6 are usually used in current-generation smartphones, and they provide reasonable protection for your glass sandwiches. However, we still recommend a case strongly.

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