If you are not a tech junkie, it may be quite difficult to decide which smartphone suits you the best. The industry is highly competitive and new brands and devices emerge by the day. With this quick guide, you don’t have to spend hours browsing the internet or bother your tech-savvy friend.
It is never easy to decide on your own, but nobody knows the best for yourself than you do. We have come up with five factors (yes, just five) that can help you to arrive at a final decision.
Disclaimer: This article will be not be discussing about high-end devices, but functional smartphones that are suitable for an average user. The average user and functional smartphones benchmarks are drawn upon the need to communicate (calls and messaging), surf the web and decent photography. If you don’t want to (or can’t) buy iPhone’s latest models or a Google Pixel, this article shall help you in finding an alternative phone that caters to your needs.
The very first factor to consider is how much you can spend on your new smartphone. Without determining your budget, you cannot, rather should not move forward to make a decision. Having a set budget helps, so that you do not get fancied by impressive features and buy a mobile phone that you likely cannot afford. When finalising your budget, make sure to set the limit to a couple of hundred dollars below your actual limit. In that way, you will be safe even if your desired final choice is a tad more expensive than expected. Most importantly, just as you set a budget, try to stick to it as well.
The market consists of different price ranges, starting from very little to ridiculously expensive smartphones. When an iPhone 7 costs around $800 (approx. AED 3000), you may be able to fulfil similar needs (maybe not to the same extent and quality) with a lesser expensive phone. The best price range for an average-functional phone is $350 to $500. You can save a lot of money if you are not adamant about paying a higher price for the brand name.
Quick answer: $350 to $500 (approx. AED 1,300 - AED 1,800)
Nowadays, mobile phones are released with numerous specifications to mark their place in the industry, yet as an average user, you do not have to worry about all of that. Basing your purchase decision on the battery life, RAM and Storage shall be sufficient.
- Battery: Choose a phone with a battery life that supports your level of usage. Even with constant calls, messaging, internet surfing and listening to music, the phone should ideally function at least eight to 10 hours after a single charge. It may sound unrealistic for a smartphone of the price range mentioned above, but keep reading to find a list of mobile phones that fulfil the other four factors while having a long battery life.
Quick answer: 8 - 10 hours
Read our take on the Top 10 Mobile Phones with the Best Battery Life.
- RAM (Random Access Memory): Look for a good RAM. To put it simply, the larger the RAM capacity is, the faster your smartphone shall be. With a larger RAM, you can easily run more apps simultaneously and switch between open apps more swiftly with less reloading time.
A 4GB RAM would be more than enough to run a large number of heavy and demanding apps and games on your phone while many browser tabs are opened. It is ideal for high multitasking needs. Even though mobile phones such as OnePlus 3 have introduced 6GB RAM, it is not worth paying more for a smartphone solely because of a larger RAM as 4GB is fairly sufficient for an average user.
Quick answer: 4 GB
- Memory: Pick a phone that would support your storage needs.
For the price range we are focusing on, an internal memory of 32GB would be sufficient in an Android smartphone. You may even come across mobile phones with 64GB internal memory for this price range, and if you find one, mark it as a win. Even if you don’t, 32GB will be ample to store around 8000 photos, 6400 songs and PDF files.
iPhone’s fifth generation phones also feature an internal memory of at least 32GB, so if you’re looking for an affordable iPhone with that capacity, the iPhone 5 may fit the budget specified above. As with Android, iOS also has higher internal memory options such as 64GB and 128GB introduced with iPhones after the fifth generation.
It is unnecessary to pay more money for a larger internal memory because there are alternative solutions, such as a microSD card. Unfortunately, as iPhones do not accommodate this alternative, read our guide on easy ways to free up space on your mobile devices.
Quick answer: Minimum 32GB
The camera is one of the most important features of a mobile phone that a lot of manufacturing resources are spent on. It is also one of the main factors you should consider before reaching a final decision, specially if you’re going to be taking lots of photos. As for many other features, what to look for in the camera will depend on your needs. It may surprise you how many different types of needs a mobile phone camera can cater to: professional mobile photography, demanding selfie-culture and even cinematography.
One way to judge camera quality is by the number of megapixels. Mobile phone cameras capture images as pixels. One million pixels is known as a megapixel. As digital images are created by thousands of these small picture elements, a higher number of pixels indicates a higher image resolution.
In this age of bright and clear photographs of even day-to-day activities, around 12 megapixels shall be sufficient. If you do find a smartphone within this price range with a higher resolution for front and rear cameras, it is your lucky day!
Quick answer: Minimum 12 MP
As much as we would love our phones to be compact and easy to handle, many smartphone manufacturers do not produce phones that are smaller than 5 inches.
After much consideration, the recommended body size of the mobile phone can be stated as 5-5.5 inches. Yet again, this depends on your requirements and preferences. One may find bigger text on a larger display more useful while another may prefer mobility during public transportation. To be honest, a 5.5-inches screen is quite big, so weigh pros and cons before you decide on the size of your new mobile phone.
Quick answer: 5 - 5.5 inches
A mobile phone brand carries the recognition of the product quality and service. It is one of the reasons why many people buy smartphones that they likely cannot afford. The reliability of after-sales service, warranty certification, guarantee period and availability of service providers influence this brand mentality. What the majority of buyers do not understand is that a lot of the time, they can obtain the same quality and service from not-so-fancy brands as well. So while you should consider the brand name, don’t base your purchase decision solely on it.
OnePlus, Samsung, HTC and LG are some of the popular brands that you should browse for your perfect pick. Here is a list of some mobile phones from those brands that may appeal to you, and also qualify for the top 5 factors:
HTC 10 evo (bolt)
Huawei Mate 8
Huawei Honor 6x (GR5 2017)
Samsung Galaxy C9 Pro
Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017)
Samsung S6 edge
Samsung Galaxy A8
Samsung Galaxy C7
Samsung Galaxy A9 pro (2016)
Look out for the LG G6, which is rumoured to hit the market soon. As it is speculated to be a slightly enhanced version of the LG G5, it can be considered to be one of the contenders for the list above.
What do you think about our top 5 factors? Are you ready to choose your new phone? Let us know in the comment section below.
Good luck and happy hunting!