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COMPLETE SMARTPHONE BUYING GUIDE

Posted by Exhibit on Thu, 05/30/2013 - 18:48
smartphone buying guide

What do you want to note before buying a smartphone?

With a feature set as long as some mythology books, purchasing a smartphone isn’t always as easy as it might appear. Hence, we are here to your rescue! Some specs should always be looked at, but naturally, budget constraints always dictate our final purchase. Thankfully, we have a lot to choose from, in every budget bracket – and there are always some gems that shine brighter than the rest. But if you are the type who wants to make an informed decision before purchasing your next smartphone, rather than relying on your nerdy cousin, this is the perfect guide for you.

Display:

Looking at any smartphone display gives you a clear indication of its sharpness, brightness and viewing angles. Pixel density (or, how many pixels are packed into a square inch of space) might be harder to gauge. Hence, it’s imperative you understand what every type of resolution means and look for the magical ppi (or pixels per inch) number. The higher this number is, the better. A higher end phone should have ppi count of more than 310 and a mid-range phone around 280 and budget smartphones around 250.

For every other feature set, here is a quick do’s and don’ts list -

Avoid any Android mobile with QVGA resolution (240X320) as most apps as well as games no longer support it.

Avoid mobiles with odd resolution like (768X1024 or 600X1024) as it'll lead to same problem as above

Try to go for the mobile with highest PPI (pixel per inch) as lower PPI means blurry images and text.

AMOLED/IPS doesn't mean that display will be better rather AMOLED means better black level whereas IPS means better viewing angle.

Gorilla Glass is prone to scratches so a scratch guard is always recommended.

Processor:

Just like a PC, the processor is the central unit that keeps running all the software inside your smartphone. It is dependent on exactly what purposes you want to use your smartphone for, so if you want to play casual games on it, ensure you have a bigger processor with multiple cores. You might have do a little digging and asking to find out exactly what processor is running on a particular smartphone, but with the below list of do’s and don’ts you will be covered in this department as well -

Avoid any Android mobile with ARM11 processing core as those are no longer supported by majority of the apps or by Google itself.

Clockspeed doesn't matter. You can get 1Ghz processor based Android for just 3k which mayn't even support the basic games.

All Android mobile processor has a GPU integrated into the processor/chipset.

Irrespective of mobile or manufacturer, if chipset is same then GPU will be same as well.

Performance wise Cortex A5 < Scorpion < Cortex A7 < Cortex A9 < Krait < Cortex A15. Performance scales equally with increase in cores.

Memory:

Another parameter which is similar to a PC, you will have to ensure a good amount of memory is present in your smartphone depending on what kind of tasks you want to perform with it. If you tend to be an expert multitasker and love to play games, edit documents and use a whole lot of apps – then you will surely need to keep the below points in mind - 
To run smoothly Android mobile need 512MB or more ram depending on the display resolution and processor. Less ram means slowdown.
You get roughly 50% free ram for use once your mobile boots up as GPU & Android system requires system ram.
Rom memory is not same as internal memory. Rom memory is the total memory whereas the free memory is the internal memory.
Mobiles with more than 5GB storage have multiple partition: apps memory (dedicated to apps) as well as user accessible memory.

Battery:

More multitasking and more multimedia to use and share means that battery life is one of the crucial factors that never gets looked at. Ensure you keep the below points in mind -

Check that the mobile ships with at least 1500mah battery else get ready to charge 2 times per day.

Bigger display will require more battery so if screen size is 4.5"+ check that battery is more than 2000mah.

AMOLED is a real battery saver so expect more battery backup.

Try to avoid mobiles with integrated battery as if there is any kind of problem, turning off mobile can be a bit difficult.

OPERATING SYSTEM:

Unfortunately if you go the Apple route, you only have one choice – the iOS operating system that will be built into your iPhone. But, if you go for Windows 8 or Android 4 (and above) phones – you will find loads of various kinds of phones to choose from. Windows 8 has come up leaps and bounds from its initial 7.0 version, but it’s still not as good as Android. Of course, we have some other players here as well like BB’s rebooted OS 10 and Ubuntu to look forward to, but the major player in the world market right now is – Android. Hence we have made so many references to that OS and it’s also easier to compare Android phones than it is to compare, say, Windows 8 phones.

Spec Summary:

Mobiles

Lowend

Midrange

Highend

Price

Below 15k

Below 25k

Above 25k

Processor

Cortex A5 dualcore/Cortex A9 dualcore

Cortex A9/Scorpion dualcore

Cortex A9 quadcore/Cortex A15/Krait dualcore

RAM

512MB

1GB

1GB+

Display

WVGA/FWVGA resolution, 200+ ppi

qHD/HD resolution, 250+ ppi

HD resolution, 300+ ppi

Internal Memory

1GB+

5GB+

15GB+

Other Features:

Connectivity:
If you want to use your smartphone to keep updating your social networking status’ and checking-in to various hotspots you visit, you might want to ensure that the smartphone has all your connectivity needs in-built – 3G, GPS, Wi-Fi – and also Bluetooth.

Toughness:
With growing competition, usually the only novel way to sell a product normally means introducing a feature that has not been seen in any of the competition. We’ve seen water-resistant, heat-resistant and dust-resistant smartphones for a while – and at CES this year we even saw Sony Xperia coming out with a completely waterproof camera.

Gimmicky Features:
If we thought that dual-sim was just the beginning of some crazy number of slots, we were so wrong. 3D TV’s came in with 3D displays for smartphones and gaming pads and even more crazy stuff! We won’t give a 2nd thought when we such gimmicky features, they really aren’t worth even the paper on which they are mentioned. Strictly – stay away.

BOTTOM LINE:

There is no sure shot, one stop formula to buying that perfect smartphone. You need to weigh in all your requirements, look at the options and then carefully decide what suits your needs the most. Just because your best friend has been raving about his smartphone abc, does not mean it will work just as brilliantly for you. Simply because the smartphone was great for multimedia, but not so good with multitasking with apps – a feature you simply had to have in your smartphone. So, be careful – and stay away from the gimmicks – and keep all the points highlighted in our buying guide in mind. We’re sure you can’t go much wrong with it. 

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