How to Buy a Smartphone -Part II [2016 edition]

shopping_guide

 

In the previous post which you can find here we understood the basics of a smartphone , the components its build up off , the processors in a smartphone chip and an overview of functions of them. We had glazed through the features to look for when buying a smartphone.Today we will go further in-depth to understanding whats important to us.I will also give newer features which are coming about in the market and my personal experience with various brands in the market.I have highlighted the key features out of the ones I listed in my post to help you in a situation of compromise.

Before you buy a 4G Enabled smartphone, you should check what band it supports to know if it will work in your area.Some popular phones which support 4G LTE in India today (must support 2300 MHz TD LTE band) include LG G2, Samsung Galaxy Alpha, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, LG F70.Refer a list of LTE phone here.

Some phones aren’t optimised for battery current limiting and under voltage shutdown.You might have heard news of phones exploding, well its the battery that explodes.Some smartphone manufacturers remove the protective coating around the battery to reduce weight of the phone but that is extremely dangerous.Never keep your phone near a fire source , don’t ever try to short the terminals of a battery-trust me it will explode.Be careful with this component inside your phone.

Terms like HD,4K recording Camera mentioned in features-these are terms used to describe the resolution.HD= high definition, which is 1,920 pixels x 1,080 lines, and 4K or UltraHD is double that: 3,840 x 2,160 lines.4K obviously takes more space but enables you to zoom in dramatically high.

**The Budget**

This is crucial in deciding the kind of phone you will have and the features you’re willing to compromise on.Your budget can fall in any of the below ranges

  • Upto 10k
  • 10k-15k
  • 15k-25k
  • 25k-40k
  • 40k and above

Recommendation

If you are the clumsy kinds who are bound to drop or lose their phones I would recommend picking from the 1st two price ranges that is up to 15k.

The Screen Size for comfort

These days the smartphones have gotten so huge you have screen sizes all the way from 4” to 6”.Choose one that fits perfectly in your hand.Not something that is overly huge or really small.Also understand that screen size provided in inches is  measured diagonally.Also opt for a unbreakable screen guard in glass even if your phone is made of gorilla glass because screens tend to break real fast

Recommendation

For me a screen size of 4.3-4.5” is ideal , obviously this choice will vary based on the size of your hand and comfort level in carrying phones.For me I will be having a bag, a phone,keys and sometimes a go to glass also in my hand so I avoid large screens.

**The Camera**

The selfie fever is on and we all want to click awesome images and share them on social media.Invest in a good camera but no need to go overboard.MP(mega pixel which is the number of pixels an image is made off), lens and sensor quality, aperture size all of them together make a good camera.More on this in my newsletter.

Some More Juice: A good camera has 6 essential features-MP(Megapixel , number of pixels an image is made of),Lens, Sensor,Aperture,Shutter Speed and ISO.Higher MP imply a high-resolution image.Lens Quality takes precedence over MP when it comes to picture quality.Sensor is the one which senses the light the more light the better hence the bigger , the better.Typically sensors are sized at about 1/3 of an inch to an inch.Aperture controls the amount of light entering the camera, more light implies better photos also the number listed for aperture size is inverse of the actual aperture size.Typically displayed as f/1.8,f/2.4.Shutter speed is how long the camera keeps the lens open to take a picture, and ISO is how sensitive your camera is to the available light.This can most times be controlled in camera settings.

Recommendation

Invest in a good camera, you will love it.Make sure you opt for both front and back camera.

The Battery

Well when it comes to battery nothing will ever be enough considering the eve expanding list of features smartphones provide.Also a bigger battery means a heavier battery.instead invest in a power bank to carry with yourself.

SOME MORE JUICE:Its important to understand the capacity of lithium ion battery your phone uses.Even more the kind of fuel gauge or battery monitoring system present in the power management chip inside your phone.The way a gauge works is simple, it measure the voltage across the battery terminals, current (voltage drop across the sense resistor) and computes the available capacity.Each battery has a characteristic open circuit voltage vs state of charge(battery %) curve that depends on temperature.Some gauges only measure voltage and estimate the current, they tend to have higher error in reporting the correct battery percentage.If interested do check which kinds your phone has.

Recommendation

ForI never personally worry too much about a battery, anything close to 2000mAh or more is fine, I dont buy phones just because they have a 5000mAh battery and feel like a brick.

The Processor Speed

Ahh ignore ! I am not into video games,if you are then invest in one with higher clocking speed(typically shown in Ghz) higher speed means faster computing.

Recommendation

For video gamers, opt for a higher speed, higher speed means faster computing and better performance

**The SAR Rating**

Stands for specific absorption rate, any number higher than 1.6 should be avoided. Higher absorption of radiation is proven to cause headaches,insomnia,infertility in humans.

SOME MORE JUICE:Radio frequency (RF) exposure from a mobile phone is typically localised depending on where the phone is placed. Exposure guidelines for mobile phones specify the maximum level of RF energy that can be absorbed by the head or body with a large safety margin.

TIP:Try to avoid keeping cell in pocket or close to body when not used for long time.When signal reception is low , try not to call or continue speaking for long time.When signal is low, the phone increases transmission power which can be harmful. Keep calls short or use headsets for long calls.Better use texting over calls.When u call/dial..till you hear ring don’t put phone near ear.When connecting to the tower ,the power is high.In andoid there is a setting to vibrate when call connects/lifted.

Recommendation

Opt for a phone with a car rating significantly lower than 1.6.

The Wireless Connectivity-3G/4G LTE,WiFi

As simple as it is go for the best connectivity there is, invest in phones with a connectivity chip as always.The whole reason for carrying a phone is to stay connected.Make sure your phone has the connectivity bands that are provided in your regions.

SOME MORE JUICE: First lets understand cellular networks.Network is an entity used for communication,2G vs 3G vs 4G. Any type of cellular network or wireless communication uses a natural resource called spectrum. The quantity and type of spectrum plays a major role in determining network quality. To simplify ,a spectrum is basically a collection of frequencies.Like most countries, spectrum in India is a Government property.Lower band spectrum between 700-900 MHz provide the best range and penetration, while higher band spectrum between 2100-2600 MHz are great for capacity. The quantum (amount) of spectrum held also effects coverage and capacity.More the spectrum, the merrier.

Recommendation

For Fablets- smartphone+tablets opt for one which is WiFi+Cellular, trust me you will save yourself a lot of frustration when you fall short of battery life, hotspots and poor WiFi networks especially during travel.Make sure you buy the smartphone which supports the band that works in your geography.

The Operating System

iOS VS Android VS Windows

Its an endless debate, and I wouldn’t like to get into it,frankly I can do an entire blog post on this feature.Whether you chose a simple and well optimised iOS or a multitude of features containing Android ,or windows the choice is yours.

Recommendation

Pick anything you like, I couldn’t care less.

I can go on and on about Smartphones because this used to be my primary job and bread earner. I will go on and on in the upcoming newsletter , so subscribe for one to know more.

Hope you enjoyed reading, I always love to hear from you so feel free to share your thoughts in comments below or write to me at theclosetweekly@gmail.com.

Much Love

Akansha

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