This is a comprehensive smartphone buying guide.
Whether you’re buying your first smartphone or you’re upgrading your long overdue old phone, this guide is for you.
Unless you’re a tech enthusiast or early adopter, we don’t recommend you to buy new smartphones as soon as they come out. Of course, you can still buy the product and return it if you don’t like it. However, it’s better to wait a few weeks before making any buying decision.
Few tech enthusiasts do some research before upgrading to a new phone, while most people buy a new phone out of impulse. It might be because of the hype around the product or they’re just die-hard fans of a particular brand.
Whatever category you fall into, this smartphone buying guide will help you get the phone that best suits your needs.
Smartphone Buying Guide
The market is oversaturated, and more new phone companies are emerging than ever. We got hundreds of different smartphones, it can be very difficult to know which smartphone is best for you. Unless if you’re loyal to a particular brand, no matter what they put out there you’ll end up buying it.
Smartphone makers are like carmakers, they release a new model every year. Sometimes two or more models come out in a single year. They’re doing business, they need to put out new models to maximize their profits. Thus, they need to innovate and put new technology out on a regular basis. If they don’t, they will eventually be out of business.
Cellphone manufacturers that don’t innovate, will slowly disappear. Just take a look at Blackberry. So don’t fall into that trap to upgrade your phone every year, unless if you really have to, and of course if money is not an issue for you.
The operating system is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new smartphone. There are basically two major mobile operating systems iOS and Android since Microsoft has stopped supporting Windows phones. So, if you still own one, you should consider switching to another OS platform because you won’t get any updates in the future.
If you like customization, open-source operating systems, Android is your best option. However, if you’re into a good ecosystem, homogeneity, stability, and timeliest software updates, Apple got you covered. Don’t get me wrong, Android and iOS are both solid operating systems, but there are some aspects that one handles better than the other. It’s just a matter of preference.
Phone companies like Apple, whenever it announces a new OS, it also gives a list of compatible devices that can run it. The newer is your device, the better will be the performance. I wouldn’t suggest you update your device to the latest OS version if your device is more than three years old.
The bottom line is, if you go for Android, there is something for everyone. You’ll get more hardware choices and obviously a better price. On the other hand, if you’re into iOS you’ll only have one option, iPhone. If you’re thinking about switching OS you should be considering this. If you bought apps, music, films, and TV shows, these cannot be accessed if you move to a different OS. So you’ll have to buy them again.
For Android, it’s not easy to speak about software updates since there are lots of different Android phones. You may have the latest flagship of an Android phone and surprisingly it doesn’t have the latest Android version. This is a real problem for Android users. You can take a look at the Android version market share and the iOS version market share to help you decide which one will work for you.
Is your phone still in good shape? How is the battery holding up? Is your phone running slow? Does it still respond to your needs? If you have a positive answer to any of these questions, there’s no urgent need to upgrade to a new phone right away. As long as your phone isn’t running slow, you shouldn’t feel any pressure to buy a new one. Forget about the hype and marketing, they just want your business.
However, you need to keep in mind, your phone performance will degrade over time. At some point, you will eventually consider upgrading to a new one. Make sure your phone has enough space to hold your data, so your phone can run smoothly. It’s highly recommended to have enough free space on your phone just for performance purposes.
Processor and RAM are basically what make your phone perform well. If you’re a light user who doesn’t use your phone that much, you don’t have to worry about the specs when buying a new smartphone. However, if you’re a heavy user who watches videos, plays games, uses multiple apps simultaneously, RAM and processor should be under your radar.
No matter what kind of user you are, we don’t recommend you to buy a phone with a RAM of less than 2 GB. There are tons of cheap good smartphones with crazy specs out there.
We can’t deny putting great technology in our phones makes our daily lives easier. For the past couple of years, phone manufacturers have been pushing boundaries by implementing great technologies in their phones. Nowadays smartphones come with tons of features that some probably are not aware of and may not use at all. But does everybody needs those features?
If you’re someone who needs a phone just to communicate, posts pictures on social networks, and browses the web, you don’t need a high-end flagship smartphone with insane specs. But, if you’re someone who’s into technology you’ll definitely need the latest technology.
Here are other things to consider about smartphone features. Some of these features are purely marketing strategies to boost sales revenues. A clear example is the HTC partnership with Beats to include Beats Audio in its smartphones. This was more about marketing than to genuinely improve the phone functionality. Two years later, things didn’t go as expected and they ended the partnership.
And also be aware of features that only work if the other person has the same phone. It doesn’t really help out to have a phone with features that are limited to specific devices.
Last but not least. This is a big one, probably the most crucial factor to consider when buying a new smartphone. It’s no surprise smartphones have become way too expensive. If you own one you know that, but some are more expensive than others.
For instance, the iPhone X will set you back for $999.99 for the basic model. If you want more storage you’ll have to spend even more money yet. The Galaxy Note 8, the LG V30, the Pixel XL 2 also fall into this price range.
Sometimes it’s worth not buying a new phone when it first comes out, especially for Android phones. Their prices tend to drop sharply as other phones are being released. For example, in just two months the Essential Phone was $200 cheaper than its original price. For iPhones, Apple always reduces previous model prices by $100 when they introduce new iPhones.
Most people in the U.S. buy their phones through a wireless carrier on a monthly plan, which can be convenient for those who cannot pay the full price upfront. But there’s a catch, you’ll end up paying more for the phone. You’ll save more if you can afford to buy the phone outright, and sell it through Gazelle once you upgrade to a new phone. You can put that money together to buy a new one.
Battery life is one of the most important features to consider when buying a new smartphone. For some people, a long-life battery tops their list of smartphone needs. A flagship smartphone with poor battery life is less convenient because you’ll have to constantly charge it, which is annoying.
The battery usage is relative. It depends on how often you use your smartphone. If you’re a light user a handset with 3,000 mAh should do the job. But, if you’re a heavy user, you should keep your eyes on smartphones with a least 3,500 mAh battery.
Although there are many other things to consider when buying a new smartphone such as camera, storage, display, your decision should solely be based on what you care most about.
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