How to Choose a Smartphone

When you are shopping around for a new smartphone, first choose which operating system do you like and then prioritize your feature and price considerations to find the right smartphone model. Learn how to make an acquainted choice when buying a new smartphone or tablet and be sure to take into consideration the other software you’re currently using!

Pick operating system

Learn some basic differences between operating systems

  • iPhone (iOS) is known for its ease of use, security, and clean combination with other Apple products ( iMacs, Apple watches, Apple tv, etc).
  • Android is connected with its alliance of Google services, its capability to be customized, and typically a lower price.
  • If you can, try demoing a device at a store. That will give you a great understanding of the interface and feel of each operating system

Decide your price range

iPhones (iOS) are typically extra pricey than their Android counterparts. Among phone companies, Apple and Samsung are typically among the most expensive (with models ranging from $400-$700 retail), while LG, HTC, and Motorola favor producing lower-cost choices (some low-end smartphones can be obtained for under $100).

  • Phones are subsidized when purchased along with a phone carrier contract or sometimes even “free” upon signing. This normally commits you to a 2-year billing plan for the carrier and adds penalties for early removal.
  • Some carriers also charge a monthly ‘device fee’ to make up for little or no upfront cost on your smartphone.

Consider the devices and software you already have

If you already have a tablet or computer, you will feel the best level of union with its services and software by getting a smartphone with matching developer support (for example, Apple iPads and computers are often cross-compatible with iPhone apps). Although, notice that any smartphone can connect to, and function with, almost any computer operating system.

  • If you are a big Google user or MS Office, you will have the greatest combination and support using an Android smartphone (although note that both Google and Microsoft produce their most popular applications for the competing operating system as well).

Decide which features suit your needs

 Each operating system has some exclusive features, while common features like web browsing, email and maps will be available on all operating systems.

  • iPhone (iOS) has particular features like Siri, iMessage, FaceTime chat, and iCloud support.
  • Android has Google Now, allows any third-party app installation (meaning you can download programs from the internet and install them outside of the Play Store ecosystem) and home screen widgets. Most Android phones today also have fingerprint sensors, cloud storage for protecting medial and support the use of Google Drive for storage your any type of media formats ( photo, video, pdf, mp3, etc).

Consider which apps you want to use

Many popular applications (for example, MS Office, Google Maps, and Apple Music) are allowed across all operating systems, however, there are some apps (for example, Facetime, iMessage, and Google Now) that are particular to their separate platform. Check the app store associated with each choice to make sure the applications you want are accessible (Apple, Google Play).

In general, if a popular app is not offered on a competitor’s operating system, there is a strong chance that an alternate app exists which is functionally quite similar.

Your app purchases are linked with your store account. You will be able to shift your purchases to any future smartphones as long as they use the same operating system.

Choose an operating system

For most people, the deciding factor will be personal preference. Those looking for a security system and a simple interface will favour liking iOS-backed iPhones, while those looking for more custom options and lower cost, in general, will likely prefer Android phones.

Choosing a Smartphone Model

Pick a carrier

Most carriers will allow a range of smartphone choices across operating systems (no OS is particular to a carrier). Major carriers usually support phones or give different payment plans and contract combinations to reduce the up-front cost of the device.

  • Some carriers, like T-Mobile, allow you to forego a contract while paying off the phone as part of your monthly costs. Cancelling your service early will force you to pay the remainder of the phone’s costs at once.
  • Unlocked smartphones are bought outside of a carrier and thus not linked with a phone service agreement. They are more pricey but let you more flexibility if you ever need to change phone carriers.
  • If buying an unlocked phone, make sure to doublecheck that the model is compatible with your specific carrier’s network. Most carriers have a website where you can check adaptability with your smartphone model’s ID information, (for instance AT&T, or Verizon).

Select a phone data plan and service that works for you

Phone service carriers will normally give an ample range of prepaid monthly plan choices for phone texts, minutes, and data over the cellular network.

You may be able to neglect monthly costs by not buying a data plan at all, but this means you won’t be able to enter the internet from your phone if not on wifi capability.

Pick a screen size

Screen size is measured corner to corner diagonally. Ultimately, screen size is a matter of preference. Smaller display phones more helpful in your pocket and are often cheaper. The larger screen phones may be more useful if you plan to watch a lot of videos.

iPhone (iOS) allows the “SE” series for small phones and the “Plus” series for an extra-large screen.

Android smartphones appear in a wide range of sizes: there are smaller budget models such as Moto G or Nokia 1, higher-end models like the Huawei Mate or the HTC One series, and oversized display models like Galaxy Note or Nexus 6P.

Choose how new you want your smartphone model to be

More latest phones are typically faster and more powerful than their respective earlier versions but will come at a higher price. In particular, earlier model smartphones will have a more hard time to run new applications.

For the budget-conscious, a great compromise is to wait for a new model of your wanted smartphone to become available and then take advantage of a drop in the price of the other models. When a modern smartphone model premieres interest in older models will quickly go down and the cost will usually change to reflect that.

Regardless of your choice, understand that technology moves very fast and that newer smartphones will continue to appear. Eventually, every smartphone will seem old or old-fashioned.

Check the storage

A phone’s storage (usually listed in gigabytes or GB) is a measure of how much data (photos, videos, apps, etc) it can save at one time. Storage strongly influences the cost of the device so think how much you’re likely to need before settling on a device model.

  • For example, storage capacity is the only difference between a 16GB iPhone 6 and 32GB iPhone 6,
  • 16GB is expected to save about 10,000 pictures or 4000 songs — but keep in mind that your smartphone storage must also provide all your downloaded apps.
  • Some Android smartphones help storage increase with the buying of a microSD card. iPhones do not support storage expansion after buying (no memory chip slot).

Consider camera quality

Although phones for taking high-quality pictures in general, the actual photo quality will vary quite a bit between models and brands. The most reliable way to measure camera quality in a smartphone is to search for sample photos online capture with that smartphone model or to demo the camera yourself.

  • While companies usually reveal a camera’s megapixel amount, features like low-light performance, ISO, brightness, and noise reduction are equally if not extra important to consider.
  • The latest devices become equipped with rear-facing and front cameras and flashlight and will support third-party add-ons (such as lens attachments).
  • iPhones are popular for their high-quality camera hardware and software.

Consider phone battery life

Battery technology is growing regularly so more modern phones tend to have longer battery life, however, your usage routine is what dictates how long the battery lasts. Talking on the phone, chatting, gaming, and using phones outside of wifi range will all drain a battery more quickly.

Normal smartphone battery life can range anywhere from 6 to 14 hours.

Most flagship Android smartphone models will not support replaceable batteries. iPhones do not support replaceable batteries on any model.

Some newer Android smartphones and tablets use a fast charge technology to help recharge their big batteries faster ( For example, Samsung Galaxy S series or Motorola Droid Turbo series). Manufacturers claim smartphones with fast charge can reach 50% charge within 30 minutes.

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