Norton UK Blog
How to Choose a New Smartphone
Phones. We’re constantly attached to them, often more so than our laptops or work computers.
Researchers at the University of Missouri ran an experiment and found that phone separation actually affects our wellbeing.
In fact, they went so far as to say that phone separation causes “serious physiological and psychological effects” like increased blood pressure, heart rate, and a cold sweat sliding down your back. Grim.
It’s no surprise then that your precious phone taking an unexpected trip to the great ‘phone farm’ in the sky can give you the shivers—especially if you’ve tried bringing it back to life by swaddling it in a rice bag or bringing it to a repairman.
It’s time to buy a new phone, but what do you choose?
Most of us have no idea what processor our phones run (what is a Snapdragon?) and we end up with the same brand we’ve had since we were 12.
Today, we’re going to shed light on how you should approach buying a new phone.
1. Don’t limit yourself to physical shops or the brand you’ve always had
While Samsung and Apple are the go-to, less ‘obvious’ brands like Motorola and the One Plus range offer serious value. The One Plus is a ‘flagship-killer’, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find better specs on a phone of its price.
Another flagship-killer is the Moto G (3rd Gen) which kicks in at around the £200 price tag and has a 13MP camera, a 5.5” display, and a Quad-core processor. Great value!
Whatever specs you’re after, remember to shop around. Use GSMArena to see what specs pretty much any phone has.
2. Consider the OS
Most of us (ourselves included) have a habit of talking about operating systems as if there are only two: Android and iOS, but Blackberry and Windows do still exist, and are a possible option.
But which OS should you choose?
Android: Choose Android for a simple interface, a Play store stocked with apps, and a customisable home-screen.
iOS: The iPhone is renowned for being smart and sleek and is the perfect companion if you own any other Apple devices. Its design is clean and intuitive.
Blackberry: Blackberry trades in old-fashioned slickness and is the businessperson’s phone. It has a small app selection, though it can run Android apps as well as its own store.
Windows Phone: The most unique of the core four operating systems, Windows relies on the Live Tiles that Windows users are familiar with. Half app, half widget, the OS is perfect for tablet aficionados.
3. The big consideration: the spec
For most people, this means: the screen size, the processor, and the camera.
Anything under 4 inches is considered small, while 4 to 4.7 inches is medium and will easily fit in your hand. Anything above 5” is quite large.
Go 5.5” and bigger and you may not be able to properly grip it in one hand; it can be uncomfortable to hold for large chunks of time too. A big phone can also look silly if you’re making a call, though they are far better for gaming or consuming media.
Of course, the bigger you go the harder they are to fit in your pocket, which can be a particular irritant for women as jeans companies continue to make tiny pockets. (What’s that about?)
As with computers, the processor is the brain of your phone. The better your processor, the more able your phone is to cope with multi-tasking and running various apps.
Generally, look out for higher clock speeds (that’s the number beside the GHz) and chips with higher cores as they’ll usually run faster and smoother. Also keep an eye on the amount of RAM, as more RAM is usually always better.
For a somewhat geeky breakdown, CNET take a proper look at the fastest phones available in the UK right now.
To put MP into perspective, most entry-level DSLRs have a megapixel value of somewhere around 16-18MP. Most smartphones now come with a 5-8MP main camera as standard, though that can easily stretch up to 13MP without a huge hike in cost.
Oppo are currently world leaders with a 50MP camera. If you watch America’s Next Top Model, you’ll be familiar with Oppo, though you’ll have to order one online to get your mitts on it in the UK.
But do you really need so many megapixels?
Not unless you’re a professional photographer. For everyone else 8MP is solid, and 13MP is an added bonus. 5MP will get you by if all you’re doing is taking selfies!
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