The Smartphone slash Portable PC era has dawned upon us. There is no denying it. Technology has advanced so much that an average 1st time buyer may be bedazzled by the sheer amount of options he has to face and choose from. Not to mention the over load of the Technical jargon and mumbo jumbo they have to cope with when taking advice from their peer for their purchases.
But it’s not all bad news. Having more choice means being able to pick and choose from a lot of desirable options which were once only locked to a specific manufacturer. This also leads to increased competition among companies leading to innovations, better designs, mobility and higher end technology on the cheap. Once, the MP3 playback capability was a premium feature on only highest end phones. Now almost EVERY cell phone on the market available has full featured audio and video capabilities. Where once we used to go WOW over the 16 million color capable screen on the old trusty Nokia 6300, now we have 1280x720p HD screens up on the horizon. Bluetooth, GPS, Wifi etc are the norms.
So what to look for in a smart phone when making a purchase? Do you go all out and buy the greatest mobile which money can buy? Or you slim down for features which may matter in short term only but serve your purpose? Or would it be wise to buy something with a combination of some basic features and a couple of new ones so that you stay on edge with technology while keeping your budget on the lighter side?
Worry not, we are here to help. Keeping it simple in terms of what an average users needs to keep in his mind while making a purchase, we focus on the key aspects of any phone.
That’s one of the most overlooked but most important physical attribute of any cell phone. Everyone has a different perspective on what an ideal phone size and build should be. To me, it may be around an iPhone size, to one of my friends, it’s usually as small as it can get because he needs to carry 2 phones at a time? Some may prefer giant slate like phones with huge screens to watch videos. Others may differ in plastic body or metal finish. Jeans wearers will have more trouble with large phones, while those with large hands may have difficulty in holding the phone properly. The best way is to 1st look for a friend with the cell phone you are eyeing and try it out for a bit. Put it in your pockets and walk around, hold it in both landscape and portrait mode and try typing on it. An uncomfortable sized phone will be the most frustrating thing you might have to deal with.
It’s an age old debate between the business users and the youngsters which keypad is the best option. Most enthusiasts will always opt for a hardware keypad with physical buttons on the phone, while others will argue about the smooth and strain free experience of typing on a touch screen. While the hardware keypads used to have an edge on this one, and in some scenarios still do, the touch screen has evolved a lot; it’s almost indistinguishable from its plastic buttoned brethren. Touch screens have grown and now most phones have a variety of international keyboard layouts so they work everywhere. They are customizable to suit your typing preference, and have some nifty tricks like Swype. It’s always better to try out a touch screen before getting it to get used to it. It may take some time getting used to, but it’s worth the effort.
Any compromise on screen size and quality is a deal breaker. While it may seem a good idea to get a huge screen phone, it will be very cumbersome to carry it in long term in your pocket. Too small and you won’t be able to read text properly on it. What good is a brand new 8 MP camera on your phone if all the colors are washed out or dull on screen? As most phones are touch screen these days, it would also create a problem for those with big or small finger tips to properly type on the on-screen virtual keypads if the phone is not in their comfort range. It’s highly debatable what screen size is ideal as everyone has his/her own preference. Look for screens in different phones and compare a same picture or wallpaper on all of them. Try out different pictures and videos on all your choices before buying to help establish a preferred color detail and screen quality. It’s usually not a good idea to compromise at all on screen quality.
This is a tough one. The once simple calling and Sms devices have grown into mini computers and there are a lot of operating systems out there which will confuse the hell out of any new buyer. For simplicity sake, major systems in market are Symbian by Nokia, Windows Phone by Microsoft, Android by Google, and iOS from Apple. Nokia has been shelling out Symbian OS on its phones from a long time and almost everyone has had their share of experience of it. Simple yet effective for most users’ needs. Windows phone had a slump a few years back, but now they are in the game once again with their new Windows 7 phone OS which is more user friendly than ever before. People used to of working on their PC will be right at home with this. iOS is specific to iPhone which revolutionized the whole industry once with very friendly, although limited at that time, user experience. It has matured to the recent iOS 5 which is “almost there” near perfection. Its apps library is the largest in the world so there is little you can’t do on it. Google has been rapidly gaining market in past couple of years with its Android based OS and now has a lead in market share in most segments. It is vast, very advanced, highly customizable, efficient, has tremendous software library and its recently announced version “Ice cream Sandwich” is a great leap forward. It’s a bit technical to begin with, but stick to it and you will definitely like it.
Most of us have experienced this. A phone died in the middle of an important call. You are on a long bus ride, your cell battery dies and you have no source of music. Or it dies in the middle of writing an important email. That is exactly why you should always check the battery life and its specs before buying. A battery life is quoted by manufacturer in talk time and stand by time, but these are usually not reliable. Usually the battery capacity is quoted in mAh (milli ampere hour). Generally speaking, the higher the capacity, the greater the battery life. Phones with larger screens and people who use Wifi a lot drain out battery in less than a day, thus requiring recharge every night. Battery life is one unanimous area where the biggest is better, so you don’t have to carry a charger with you everywhere.