Smartphone Buying Guide


1. What is a Smartphone

When buying a new smartphone, there are a few things to consider.  Each have advantages and disadvantages with different prices, shapes, memory sizes and Operating Systems (OS). It is always good to understand what you need in a phone before making an informed decision.
Below are the a few things to look at when on the market for a new smartphone.
  • What size best suits you?
  • Is it for personal or professional use?
  • What apps will you most likely use?
  • Do you like taking lots of photos and videos?
  • Do you like to play lots of games?
  • Is social media something you spend a lot of time on?
 

2. Types of Smartphone (OS)

There are many types of phones on the market, the three most common are the ones below. So please take a good look at each one to get a better understanding of what will suit your requirements best.


a) iOS Phones

iOS Phones (or iPhones) are one of the slimmest phones on the market, easy to handle and fit in your pocket. With millions of apps, games, movies, music, audio books, TV shows all accessible form the iTunes and App Store, the range of options are almost endless to the iPhone user. The user experience is very good as the phones interface is friendly, easy to use and navigate. Apple iPhones are typically or at least considered the easiest and most user friendly phones on the market. However, given this they don’t allow many of the customisations and tinkering that other operating systems do. So if you are after a reliable, easy to use phone and don’t want to tinker or customise, the Apple iPhones are a great choice.
 

b) Android Phones

Android phones use an operating system developed by Google, allowing third-party applications to be developed which gives a wide variety of apps to choose from in Google Play and many other app stores. Android phones are not made by one company as the iPhone so there is a variety of company’s making phones for to choose from which is very nice. The customisation of Android phones and applications is something to look at in more detail as the possibilities are endless. So if you like to customise your phone and prefer to do a little bit of tinkering these are a great option for you.
 

c) Windows Phones

Developed by Microsoft, Windows Phones are extremely user friendly as the navigation and overall experience is clean and simple. The compatibility with windows computers is once again excellent as the apps on the Windows Phone are the same ones used on Windows 10 computers. The cross compatibility allows you to use software like Microsoft Office with Word, Excel and PowerPoint very easily. With the Windows Phone App, you are able to sync with both Windows and Mac/Apple computers allowing for more flexibility. The main disadvantage with Windows phones is that they are not as dominant in the market as the Apple’s or Androids, therefore there are less apps to choose from.
 
 

3. Features

Some of the things to consider when looking for a smartphone.
 

a) Display

Touchscreen displays come in many different configurations, IPS LCD, Retina and AMOLED. The difference between displays varies in clarity in sunlight, image sharpness and power consumption. All do the same job with pros and cons with all. Also when looking at screen size consider what size of phone you like. In recent years’ larger screen sizes have been more dominant however many people complain that they are too big and cannot easily control the phone with one hand, which can be frustrating. Also keep in mind resolution, the higher the resolution the high the pixel count and quality of the screen, if you often watch movies or play high end games on your phone you will want a higher resolution screen.
 

b) Camera

Most smartphones have at least one camera on the back but many also have an additional one on the face to allow for selfies. The quality of the images varies with different brands creating different lenses to deliver the best image quality possible. Image size measured in megapixels’ ranges between 2 and 22 megapixels. The higher the megapixel count typically the better quality the image. Also keep in mind things like low light levels and quick autofocus, many new phones are doing a great job at this and can make a significant difference when out and about taking images.
 

c) Memory

Memory in many phones will be split into different levels, built in memory goes as follows, 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB. The jumps in memory double the previous sizes and as such allow for more music, photos, videos and apps to be installed. Some smartphones allow for expandable memory; this means that you are able to add additional memory on top of what was originally there with a memory card. See the below for a reference of what some of the typical memory sizes can hold:
 
16GB
These products are great for lightweight phone users. If you don’t want to use your phone to hold most of your files these phones are great for you. Please note most phones come with less usable memory then stated. This memory is used to run the phones required programs.  But as an exercise assume; 4MB for a photo, 5MB for a song and 4GB for a movie, 16GB of memory (your phone will have less) can hold; 1000 photos, 800 songs and 2 movies. 
 
32GB
These products are great for medium phone users. If you want to use your phone often for holding files and simple games these phones are great for you. Please note most phones come with less usable memory then stated. This memory is used to run the phones required programs.  But as an exercise assume; 4MB for a photo, 5MB for a song and 4GB for a movie, 32GB of memory (your phone will have less) can hold; 2000 photos, 1600 songs and 4 movies. 
 
64GB
These products are great for heavy phone users. If you want to use your phone all the time for holding files and larger games these phones are great for you. Please note most phones come with less usable memory then stated. This memory is used to run the phones required programs.  But as an exercise assume; 4MB for a photo, 5MB for a song and 4GB for a movie, 64GB of memory (your phone will have less) can hold; 4000 photos, 3200 songs and 8 movies. 
 
128GB
These products are great for super heavy phone users. If you want to use your phone all the time for holding thousands of files and extremely advanced games these phones are great for you. Please note most phones come with less usable memory then stated. This memory is used to run the phones required programs.  But as an exercise assume; 4MB for a photo, 5MB for a song and 4GB for a movie, 128GB of memory (your phone will have less) can hold; 8000 photos, 6400 songs and 16 movies.