With the progression of the smartphone industry, gradually more features are continuously being added/upgraded to do multiple tasks and there is always a question as to which smartphone should one buy and for what price. We present you a comprehensive smartphone buying guide to choose the right smartphone…
Ideal Screen Size
The bigger screen is helpful in all aspects of mobile usage; be it playing games, watching videos, typing messages,
video chats or using social sites. We can broadly categorize the screen size in three formats:
Between 3 to 4.4 inches
• Compact design thus is easy to carry in pocket
• Can be easily used with one hand without stretching your thumb
• Great for checking emails
• Key models: Apple iPhone 5S, Samsung Galaxy Star Pro, BlackBerry Z10 etc.
Between 4.5 to 5.4 Inches
• Can be used for all purposes like watching videos, playing games
• Good battery life
• Fairly comfortable to use with one hand, depending on the button placement.
• Examples: iPhone 6, HTC One M9, Galaxy S6, etc. Budget phones like Lenovo A6000 Plus, Redmi 2, Micromax
Xpress 2 also fall under this category.
Screen Size 5.5 Inches or More
• Great for multimedia consumption
• Great for reading ebooks due to larger
• Requires two hand operation
• Allows to run two apps simultaneously
• Larger battery life
• Examples: iPhone 6 Plus and LG G4, and the 5.7-inch Galaxy Note 4.
The screen of a smartphone is one of the most important aspects to consider because here you’ll directly interact with the phone. The smartphone industry rotates around various names to describe the viewing experience on your smartphone screen viz. IPS, LCD, LED, Retina, AMOLED etc. Also, do check for the protective coating on screens like Gorilla Glass that prevents breaking your smartphone screen from accidental drops or Anti-Scratch Resistant/Fingerprint coating that protects the screen from scratches or fingerprint smudges.
• LCD panels produce a wider color gamut due to blending of primary colors but wider range is not better all the
time as it can produce over-saturated images and images can also look distorted at times.
• LCD screens produce realistic colors but do not offer as wide a contrast ratio as AMOLED screens.
• LCD panels do not produce deep or clear blacks.
• Most common type of display used in budget smartphones and also comes in some good tablets and phones.
• The TFT-LCD display has narrow viewing angles and also if you look at them from the center it can be hard to see
what’s on the display.
• You will also have poor visibility in direct sunlight.
• Color richness is dull.
IPS (In-Plane Switching) Display
• IPS displays wider viewing angles and good color reproduction.
• IPS panel display consistent, more accurate colors from almost all viewing angles.
• IPS displays are costlier than TFT-LCD and are most common in High-end smartphones.
• One of the disadvantages of IPS panels is they consume more power.
• AMOLED displays deliver higher refresh rates and consume less power
• AMOLED screens have brilliant color reproduction, higher brightness levels, and good contrast ratio.
• Moreover, since the light in the display screen comes from individual pixels instead of being produced from a
backlight, thus to create a black color, relevant pixels are dimmed off or turned off giving deep black.
• Color gamut is high, images are much more granular, clear and sharp in Super AMOLED and color richness is higher than LCD panels.
• Easy to view in direct sunlight.
• Super AMOLED screens have battery saving efficiencies.
• Retina display screens are good, sharp, colorful and bright.
• These have wide, sharper viewing angles and colors are much more vivid and vibrant and the Apple’s Retina
display is hard to beat in terms of pixel density and resolution.
The ideal option must depend on what you will use your screen for. If you want to watch movies, play games
be a better choice giving higher contrast ratio, and rich colors. On the other hand, if while web surfing document
viewing is more important to you than LCDs and Retina Displays will be more preferable offering crisper texts and making it easier to read on screen for long periods.
If you’re a photography enthusiast, don’t go blindly for the idea that more megapixels will give you better pictures or
by promotion like best camera phone or best selfie phone. Instead, look for phones that pack good camera optics like
aperture, speed, and other relevant features.
• If you want to capture decent shot indoors without using the flash look for a larger aperture. For instance, the
Galaxy S6 has an f/1.9 aperture and the LG G4 is rated for f/1.8, while the iPhone 6 is f/2.2. A lower number means a
larger aperture, which typically translates to better low-light performance.
• Look for optical image stabilization to reduce blur and improve low-light performance.
• If you want to capture long distant objects clearly, look for higher optical zoom.
• For shooting in low light look for dual tone LED flashlight for good low light images, some smartphone have
front LED flashlight.
• The Panorama feature is useful when you are mostly out on vacation and want to capture a wide angle view.
• Good photos are a result of adequate megapixels, good lens, and sensor technology, as well as high-end processor
The most popular OSes are Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS, Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS, and Blackberry OS.
Benefits of Android
• Most popular OS and is available on a wide price range of smartphones.
• It is an open OS, which means it’s easy to customize with widgets, launchers, your choice of keyboard and more.
• Many more choices than iOS or Windows Phone when it comes to design, display size, specs, capabilities, and
Benefits of iOS
• The biggest reason to opt for an iOS device is its selection of apps. Apple’s App Store tends to get the hottest
apps and games before Android, partly because developers have an easier time targeting a smaller set of devices that
have similar specs.
• Family Sharing lets up to six people in your family share iTunes, books and app purchases.
• iPhone users enjoy the broadest array of accessories because there’s less variation in design from one model to
Benefits of Windows Phone
• Offers some compelling features on its own, such as a dynamic Start screen and the Cortana digital assistant,
but they haven’t been enough to sway shoppers.
• Only available on select number of devices, mainly on Lumia phones.
Benefits of BlackBerry OS
• There’s a BlackBerry Hub that aggregates everything from email to social updates in one place.
• It’s also fairly easy to multitask on these phones, and you can get a physical keyboard from the BlackBerry
• The UI is not intuitive, and the app selection is pretty skimpy.
CPU and GPU
Before choosing a smartphone, look for following specs for a hassle free experience
• The CPU speed for most of the phones fall into 1-1.3 GHz and 1.5GHz for high-end smartphones.
• Higher number of cores like Quad Core or Octa core ensures better performance than dual core ones.
• Look for dual core if you want to perform basic functionalities, casual gaming etc.
• If you want to consume more Full HD videos, want rich multitasking then preferred choice should be Quad Core.
• If you want to perform high-end gaming and tasks without the CPU coming to a crawl then go for Octa Core
Processors with Mali or Adreno GPU.
The RAM in a smartphone is closely associated as to how its performance would be. The speed of RAM is measured in terms of MHz generally and they are classified as LP DDR1 < LP DDR2 < LP DDR3, etc. in order of their capabilities. Now a day’s smartphone manufacturers use DDR3 for enhanced performance.
• Having more RAM gives you freedom for switching between apps or frequently used app and more RAM results into better multitasking.
• If you want to play heavy graphics intensive games like Asphalt 8 or Dead Trigger you should choose at least 2
GB of RAM for good performance. Some low budget smartphones with 1 GB RAM are also capable of running these games and some of them have 2 GB RAM but are still not capable of giving lag free operations.
• Smartphones running on Android OS need updates frequently on several apps or the OS. In such devices, even 2GB
RAM is less. Here Apple’s iOS is better because the OS update is not frequent.
Storage (Internal and External)
Go for as much internal storage as possible. If you a gamer then there are games that takes around a 1 GB or more of
space like Asphalt 8 and Dead trigger 2 that requires having minimum 500 MB of space.
A micro-SD card can help expand your storage, but the question is, how much. Usually, phones support 32 GB and then you can choose from 64 to 128 GB of external storage options by choosing an expressive device. Before making a choice keep in mind that micro-SD can often store only a portion of apps. These cards are better for storing media.
LTE stands for Long Term Evolution, which is the “new” generation of faster data connectivity for both GSM and CDMA technologies. Often referred to as 4G or 4G LTE, it’s the speediest data throughput you can get right now. LTE Advanced, a step beyond LTE gives data speeds still another boost, and is rolling out in bits and pieces. Nowadays from most of the phones are 4G ready, and we recommend to choose 4G phones.
While smartphones are growing more advanced and are becoming powerful, with high-definition screens and professional camera technology they’re still limited by power.
• Measured in mAH, go for higher numbers to give you more talk time, and enough juice to run your music
• Some smartphones are also equipped to run on Low Power Mode where battery is about to get fully depleted and can still run for hours which can be useful when you are out traveling and want to get hooked on remaining battery in case of emergency.