TOPICS IN THIS SMARTPHONE BUYING GUIDE

Phone Buying Guide

WHAT IS A SMARTPHONE?

A smartphone is a technological device that lets you make telephone calls, but also adds in-features that in the past, you would have found only on a personal digital assistant or a computer – such as the ability to send and receive e-mails, and edit Office documents. It is a device with an advanced mobile operating system that merges both the features of a personal computer operating system with other features useful for mobile or handheld use into one device. A smartphone has a more powerful CPU, more storage space, more RAM, greater connectivity options and larger screen than a regular cell phone. Also, smartphones are equipped with innovative sensors like accelerometers or even gyrscopes. Accelerometers are responsible for displaying screens in portrait and landscape mode, while gyrscopes make it possible for games to support motion-based navigation. Smartphones combine the features of a mobile phone, such as the abilities to place and receive calls, send and receive text messages with features of a personal digital assistant such as GPS navigation, video camera, video games, event calendar, internet access, and more.

FEATURES OF A SMARTPHONE

Operating Systems

An Operating system (OS) is a software that runs our desktop computers and laptops and manages their resources and memory when they are being used for multitasking. All smartphones come with an operating system. Because smartphone operating systems are so integrated with the look, feel and function of a mobile phone, many people base their choice of device around which operating system it uses. When purchasing a smartphone, you should endeavor to check out which operating system the phone you fancy has, and this operating system type can be found in the handset’s specifications information. Most smartphone operating systems are open source software, which means there are no restrictions on what you can download on it, or who can develop its software. It also means that a large community of companies and developers maintain it and contribute toward developing newer versions of it.

Android:

Android is an open source operating system developed by Google, primarily designed for touchscreen devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is the most common type of OS that powers most smartphones. The Android OS powers all Android devices. It is like an underlying software that instructs your device on what to do. Any app installed into an Android smartphone is an app written and designed specifically for the Android OS. Apps installed on an Android device are downloaded using the Google play store which is the primary application store installed on Android devices that comply with Google’s compatibility requirements and license the Google Mobile Services software. The Google play store allows users to browse, download and update applications published by Google and third-party developers. Mobile device manufacturers also control which version of the Android operating system powers their device. Also, some Android devices have big screens and fast processors while other Android smartphones have tiny displays, slow CPUs and few extra internal features. The Android OS has several versions such as: Android 1.5 Cupcake, Android 1.6 Donut, Android 2.1 Éclair, Android 2.3 Froyo, Android 2.3/2.3.7 Gingerbread, Android 3.0/3.2.6 Honeycomb, Android 4.0/4.0.4 Ice Cream Sandwich, Android 4.1/4.3.1 Jelly Bean, Android 4.4/ KitKat, Android 5.5/5.1 Lollipop, Android 6.0/6.1 Marshmallow and Android 7.0/7.1 Marshmallow, being the most recent version. So, when purchasing an Android OS smartphone, it is advisable to consider what version of the Android OS that you want.

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Apple iOS

Apple iOS is a multi-touch, multi-tasking operating system that runs the Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iPod. This is the second most popular mobile operating system globally after Android. iOS utilizes a multi-touch interface where simple gestures are used to operate the device, like swiping your finger across the screen to move to the next page or pinching your fingers to zoom out. Apple iOS has the ability to multitask. The multitasking allows processes such as allowing the music run in the background. It also provides fast app switching by keeping portions of the app in memory even when they aren’t in the foreground. iOS offers various accessibility features to help users with vision and hearing disabilities. A major feature, “VoiceOver”, provides a voice reading information on the screen, including contextual buttons, icons, links and other user interface elements, and allows the user to navigate the operating system through gestures. Furthermore, the iOS comes with a personal assistant and navigator called Siri which does a variety of different tasks, such as call or text someone, open an app, search the web, look up information, find out locations and more. Just like Android’s app store, Apple iOS also has an app store where you can download thousands of applications available on the App store directly to any device running iOS, be it an iPhone or and iPad.

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Microsoft Windows

Microsoft windows is an operating system developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft. Microsoft windows has registered trademarks each of which denotes a family of Windows operating system that target a specific sector of the computing industry such as Windows NT, Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows Phone, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 9x and Windows Embedded. The Windows smartphone is recognizable from its tile-based interface – dubbed Metro – which features removable and interchangeable squares sections on the home screen, each with its own purpose and function. Windows smartphones come with a mobile-optimized version of the Internet Explorer for accessing the web, and Exchange, which supports secure corporate e-mail accounts with push support.

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Camera

Camera feature is an essential characteristic of any smartphone, especially considering most people use their phones as their primary shooters. Modern smartphones have high resolution sensors (12 megapixels or more) to produce sharp cropped or enlarged prints. They also have optical image stabilizers to help minimize blurriness from a shaky hand. The images and videos the best smartphone cameras take are relatively large, up to 5 megabytes per still image and several hundred megabytes per minute for videos. Smartphones such as the Galaxy S7 edge Galaxy S8 and S8+, LG G6, iPhone 7 plus and Google Pixel are strong picks for smartphone users who want fantastic high-dynamic range pictures, optical zoom and landscape pictures. Before purchasing a smartphone you fancy, look online at the reviews of the camera. Also, watch sample videos online concerning the phone and view sample photos taken with the phone’s camera.

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Connectivity

With a smartphone, you can be connected through the use of the Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or Mobile Broadbands (2G, 3G, 4G or LTE). Bluetooth is one of the oldest methods of connecting or transferring data from one device to another. Whenever your smartphone mobile data is on, it is likely to display a letter or mini phrase next to your signal strength to let you know the quality of the network you’re connected to. This will either be a 2G (EDGE), 3G (HSPA) or 4G (LTE). The 4G is the fastest and best mobile broadband followed by the 3G and then the 2G. 2G networks are designed primarily for voice messages and text messages. Although they are capable of transferring data, they can be very slow. 3G networks are designed to handle data transfer. 4G networks are the networks are the newest and fastest mobile networks, and to be able to use this network you need to get a device which supports a 4G network.

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Battery

What is a smartphone without a good battery life? Many factors including the screen size, processor and operating system determines how long a smartphone lasts on a charge. A good smartphone is considered to have a good battery life if it lasts longer than 9 hours of straight LTE surfing. Smartphones could have removable or non-removable batteries so it is important to take this to note. Also, you should take into consideration the battery’s mAh (Milliamp Hours). mAh is the total amount of energy a battery can store at one time; It is commonly used to describe the energy charge that a battery will hold and how long a device will run before the battery needs recharging. Battery mAh differs from one smartphone to another. Some smartphones have a battery mAh of about 2,400, others 3, 500, some others 4,200mAh and so on.

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Storage

When purchasing a new smartphone, the amount of internal storage is one of the key factors that influences the decision to buy a smartphone over another. When considering the memory specifications of any smartphone, it is paramount to understand the difference between internal and external or expandable memory. Internal memory is the manufacturer-installed storage space, usually 16, 32 or 6 GB, where the operating system, pre-installed apps and other system software is installed. The internal storage cannot be expanded by the user, and if there is no expansion slot on the phone, you have no choice but to make do with the limited internal storage. The expandable memory is a removable MicroSD card or similar. Some smartphones come with the expandable card already inserted. Not all smartphones give the user the ability to add more storage by using a SD card, so it is important you check out the storage capability of the smartphone before buying it. Furthermore, most high-end smartphones are sold with a free cloud storage account which could be 10,20 or even 50GB.

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Processors

A processor is the brain of a smartphone. It executes whatever you want it to do. It is responsible for telling your apps how to function; your GPS how to get you home, and who to call on the telephone. A good processor inside a smartphone should translate to faster open time for apps, games, quicker photo editing and other features. In recent time, they are much more than phones and personal organizers, they are also music and video players; cameras and camcorders; web browsers and more. On a smartphone, there are components such as the central processing unit, memory, graphical chipset, RAM, interface controllers, voltage regulators and more. Since there isn’t much space on the phone to accommodate all of these, all these are incorporated into a single chipset referred to as a System-on-a-Chip (SoC). A key component of the SoC is the CPU. Most companies use a CPU (Central Processing Unit) based design from ARM which handles most things you experience on your smartphone. ARM is a combination of the company itself, a microprocessor architecture and processor core. Another key component of the SoC is the GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) which processes graphical and visual data responsible for things such as rendering web pages and gameplay. The SoC also incorporates a number of other sub-processors such as video encoders and decoders, camera operation, and audio playback. A major element found in the main processor that reads and executes instructions is the core. Cores in recent times have evolved from a single-core processor tom dual-core devices, quad-core processors and even hexa-core and octa-core processors in smartphones. There are also Qualcomm Processors and Snapdragon processors. When shopping for a smartphone, the processor specs are useful to get a sense of what the device is capable of doing. If you are looking for speed, go big with a multi-core processor.

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Accessories

Smartphones have become our most personal computers, and since they are gadgets we carry with us everywhere, accessories to go with it makes it really fun. After purchasing your smartphone, the next thing is to purchase the accessories in order to get the most out of your device. There are several smartphone accessories such as the screen protector designed to protect your device against the rigors of everyday life; phone cases to protect your device from damages resulting from drops and dings; earphones to give you the best sound you can get when listening to music, or making and receiving calls on your smartphone. Other accessories include stylus pens, micro SDs, Bluetooth and wireless speakers, chargers, powerbanks, adapters and more.

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Web Access:

Smartphones are the most popular devices for getting access to the web or internet. Smartphones are now responsible for a third of internet access and are becoming more and more a vital hub of information and communication. When it comes to purchasing phones, majority of people opt for smartphones in order to get a combination of an ordinary mobile phone and the features of a Personal Digital Assistant. Smartphones have even become more useful when paired with a mobile data plan that provides internet access over a cellular carrier’s network. With access to the web on a smartphone, you can browse the internet, watch and download videos online, download apps, get the latest news in the world, and so much more – the list is endless.

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Screen/Display Type

There are different types of screen or display screens found on smartphones. For instance, SAMSUNG is popular for using the HD super AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display screen which it produces itself. The HD Super AMOLED uses the OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) screen technology. Apple uses the Retina display - its proprietary name for its LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screen – which serves up a 1,136ⅹ640-pixel resolution. LCD screens act as valves to allow varying amounts of the backlight through to the viewer while OLED screens uses active matrix organic light-emitting diodes to directly emit light. Other types of screen types include In-Plane Switching (IPS), E-Ink, PureMotion HD+, Twisted Nematic (TN) LCD, ClearBlack and Braille. Braille screens are used by visually impaired people.

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Screen Size

This is one of the main feature of a smartphone. The screen size usually defines the size of a smartphone. There are different sizes of smartphones ranging from 3.5 inches to 5.0 inches to 6.2 inches and above. Buying a smartphone with a small or big screen depends solely on your personal preference. We all have different needs that we look for in a smart phone. If you are a heavy media consumption smartphone user, then you would want opt for a smartphone with a screen size of 4.7 inches and above. Bigger screens are best when you want to watch YouTube or personal videos. They are also good for reading e-books, browsing the web regularly, ideal for the elderly and those with vision problems, and suitable for improved multitasking. Looking for a smartphone with a screen size you can navigate comfortably without straining your eyes or weighing your hands down, your perfect bet would be a 5.0 inches screen. If you want a smartphone small enough to fit into your pocket, then a screen with 3.5 to 4.7 inches is perfect fit. These types of screens are comfortable to hold, easily fits into your pocket and relatively lightweight.

phone Buying Guide
NOW THAT YOU KNOW BETTER!
You can choose better,
from our collection of smartphones