If there’s one thing that is spreading faster than a wildfire (not HTC Wildfire!), it’s a Smart Phone. People who do not have one, are planning to get one and those who already have a smart phone, are considering an upgrade. However before you open your wallet to get your dream phone, you should ensure that the phone you are going to buy is the one you truly need.
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Actual need for a Smart Phone:
Not all smart phones are same. Different phones serve different purpose like:
- Business and communication
You need to be very sure about the most critical function that your phone will serve. Let’s say that you want a phone which will help you do lots of messaging on the go and keep you up to date with your emails and tweets, then you need a phone with a full Qwerty keypad or a Blackberry. On the other hand if you need a phone for gaming or watching movies, a phone with large display is a must. If you are configuration nut or a geek, then perhaps Android is a better choice than an iPhone. If you need a phone with great camera and video recording then something like Nokia N8 will be better than the others.
Bottom line: Just don’t buy a phone because your friend has it or it looks good. Buy a phone which suits you and will fit your need the best.
Screen Size, Resolution and Type:
If you are going for a smart phone with large display and touch screen you should know about screen sizes, resolutions and display types. Screen sizes for touch screen phones start from 2.8 inches and go all the way up 5 inches. While a larger display is always considered better, you should also make sure that the phone fits well in your hand and pocket. There is no point in having a phone which is uncomfortable in use. You should also check out the resolution of the display. Two phones can have the same screen size but different resolution. Always go for a phone with higher resolution.
Apart from this other display properties that you should be aware of, are:
- AMOLED display: Much better than the LCD displays. They are brighter, render sharper images and also are thinner and lighter. They are the future of displays.
- Gorilla Glass Display: Gorilla Glass displays are tougher than normal displays. They are scratch resistant and less prone to breakage.
- Capacitive vs. Resistive Touch: Capacitive touch screens are much better than resistive ones. They are more responsive, accurate and easy to use. If your phone only has a touch screen input, always go for capacitive touch screen phones.
Physical QWERTY vs. On Screen Keyboard:
If you message a lot, a lack of physical QWERTY keypad can be a real pain. While it may look fashionable to have phones with large display and touch screen with no physical keyboard, they are of little use when you need a phone on the go for messaging and emailing.
Processor Speed and RAM:
Higher the processor speed, better the phone is a common misconception. While a faster process is better at crunching programs faster, it is also a battery hog. Generally phones, with fast processors, drain phone battery faster. So go for a faster processor only if you really need one. If you are using phone for normal programs, apps and communication a decent processor speed is good enough. But gaming and multimedia crunching requires faster processors. When it comes to RAM, more is always better. More RAM means a faster and more responsive device.
OS (Buy the one you need):
Following are the major Smartphone OS available, each one with its own set of pros and cons.
|Pros: Most refined, polished and advanced of them all. Tons of high quality apps.Cons: Limited customization options. No physical qwerty. Not targeted for business/secure communication. Really expensive.
|Pros: Fastest growing Smartphone OS. Wide range of mobiles across all price ranges and form factors. Customizable. Tons of apps. As of writing this article, there are more than 40 Android phones available in India.Cons: Frequent releases and upgrades. UI still needs some polish when compared to Apple iOS. Battery life can be an issue with some Android devices.
|Pros: Best for Business and official communication. Most stable and secure platform. Rock solid and reliable devices with best qwerty keyboards and battery life. Best in class messaging and email.Cons: UI far behind iOS. Limited Apps. Limited customization. Limited number of mobiles and form factors.
|Windows Phone 7 OS
|Pros: Great user experience. Xbox Integration. Initial reviews are very positive.Cons: Relatively new OS. Only few high-end devices available in the market. Expensive devices. Limited Apps.
|Pros: Stable and tested OS. Good Nokia mobiles available across all price ranges.Cons: Out-dated OS. Will be phased out in coming months as new Nokia mobiles will come with Windows Phone 7 OS. Not many good apps available.
|Pros: Good multimedia and gaming capabilities. Capable smart phone features at affordable price.Cons: Samsung’s proprietary OS and available on select few Samsung phones. Limited apps.
Reception / Signal and Battery Life:
These are important factors that you should consider while buying any phone. Quality of reception, signal strength and battery life can vary a lot from model to model. However good a phone may be, it becomes a big pain if it has a poor battery life or if it cannot catch weak signal. Before you zero in on any particular model, check out these parameters from your friends who may have used this device or from the online reviews.
Availability of Apps / App Store:
Apps make a smart phone smarter. There are tons of apps and games available at each of the OS app stores. If you are of the type who loves to try out various apps and games you should stick to Apple or Android only. While the quality of Apps for Apple iOS is definitely much better than all other OS, most of the high quality apps there are paid apps. On the other hand, Android app store has many apps that are. Apart from Apple and Android all other OS have only limited apps. If you just need good basic apps (example: Twitter, Skype, Facebook etc) then they are available for all OS.
Where to buy it from:
Once you have decided what phone to buy, next question is, from where? Always check out for prices from multiple places or stores before buying. From our experience we can say that prices can vary from few hundreds to couple of thousands from store to store. Buying a mobile online is also a good option as you can get a good deal or discount (via coupons) from the online stores. Here’s a guide to check cheapest price of any mobile.
Warranty / Terms and Conditions:
Always check out with the seller/store about the warranty. There are few stores which sell these mobiles considerably cheaper but with seller’s warranty (and not manufacturer’s warranty). Always buy a phone with manufacturer’s warranty. Also check out if the service center for your phone is available in your city. Generally popular brands like Nokia and Samsung have service centers even in smaller towns, while service centers for companies like HTC, Motorola and BlackBerry etc are only limited to top cities.