There is no best smartphone ever but the one that best meets our needs. Here are the factors to consider before buying. The smartphone market is full of proposals, so many that it can easily confuse those who are about to buy one. The differences between one model and another are not always obvious, and the choice becomes more complicated. Many factors to consider: some depend on personal needs, while others make an objective difference.
For example, between an LCD and an AMOLED display, the first visual quality will always come out. Before continuing, we immediately affirm that there is no absolute best smartphone, but there is the most suitable model for each of us. So here are our seven tips for choosing the smartphone that best meets our tastes and needs.
- Define your budget first
- Choose a screen with a higher resolution and refresh rate (dimensions are subjective)
- Go for smartphones with higher RAM and storage
- Choose the operating system closest to your other devices and check the manufacturer’s update policy
- Don’t be fooled by the number of cameras. Look instead at the type of integrated sensors
- Evaluate the possible autonomy based on the battery capacity and technical characteristics
- Find out about the degree of resistance of the smartphone
Let’s go into every single tip now.
Price And Budget
The first step is to define the budget, the figure beyond which you really cannot go. There are proposals for all budgets: from less than 100 euros to over 1,000 euros. Once you have defined your budget, you can analyze the market proposals and search for the smartphone with the best quality/price ratio. You can use all the tools available on our price comparator.
You can search by price. You can look at the price trend of the smartphone you like most to understand if it is the right time to buy it, you can look at the offers of the day and the flyers of the most crucial consumer electronics chains as well as the Coupon section to take advantage of further discounts.
The screen is one of the essential elements in the purchase phase. The elements to consider here are size, type, resolution, and refresh rate. The first element is subjective. Current smartphones have taken on immense dimensions, with screens reaching 6.9 inches: some more compact models ( iPhone 13 Mini and ZenFone 8 are proof), but few. The advice is to choose a model of at least 6 inches, to have a comfortable view considering the average time spent on a smartphone. The displays can be of the LCD type (now remained on the medium-low range of the market) and OLED / AMOLED type.
The quality of the seconds is better because they ensure a stronger contrast and deeper blacks. However, there are some excellent LCD panels. The difference is the resolution: the higher it is, the sharper the images. They range from the HD + resolution of the cheaper models to the 4K screen of the Xperia 1, but the premium products offer a QHD + solution. Between an HD + display and a Full-HD + display, there is no doubt: it will be the latter to provide a better experience. Then there is the refresh rate that we have explained in our article. It is expressed in Hertz (60 Hz, 90 Hz, 120 Hz, 144 Hz).
The higher it is, the more smoothly the images scroll across the screen. It could make a difference if you play video games a lot or watch a lot of movies on your smartphone. The last aspect to consider is the presence of DRM Widevine L1. This technology allows you to watch content on major streaming platforms like Netflix and Prime Video in high resolution. In its absence or the presence of a lower level (Widevine L3, for example), the contents will be played in SD (lower image quality).
Processor And Memories
The processor – also referred to as a chipset or SoC – is responsible for operating the smartphone. The heartbeats to make it work in conjunction with the software. Not only. It can improve other factors such as image processing in photos or battery life. It is, therefore, necessary to know which processor is integrated to understand – at least on paper – what kind of performance that smartphone will offer. Processors can be Snapdragon (most Android smartphones), MediaTek (part of Android smartphones), Exynos (Samsung smartphones), and Bionic (exclusive to iPhones).
Smartphones come to the market in different configurations. We have RAM and internal memory. The more there is, the better. RAM is what determines the ability to handle multiple applications at the same time and can affect the speed of execution. There are still low-cost smartphones with 2 GB of RAM, while today they also touch 16 GB with premium models, such as the new Galaxy S22 Ultra. The advice is to prefer versions with at least 4 GB.
Still, if you have to use the smartphone in a professional environment and open many apps simultaneously, we advise you to choose a higher quantity. Instead, internal memory is the space where we can store data, photos, applications, documents, and everything we have on the phone. With today’s smartphone use, even 64 GB of storage may be insufficient in some cases. Versions with at least 128GB of storage are a fair compromise. And if they have expandable memory, so much the better.
The smartphone landscape is experiencing a duopoly: Android and iOS. Here the choice is simple. Get an iPhone if you’ve built an ecosystem of Apple devices around you. Otherwise, consider buying an Android smartphone. Apple has undoubtedly created a perfect integration with all its devices, but it is a little more closed towards the devices of other manufacturers. The updated policy is another point not to be overlooked, especially if you intend to keep the same smartphone for several years.
Apple has been updating its iPhones for many years, and the release happens very quickly. For Android smartphones, the situation is different. Each manufacturer adopts a separate policy, and the release times are not dictated by Google but by individual brands, which first customize Android with their interfaces (think of Xiaomi’s MIUI). Receiving timely updates over time ensures greater security to the smartphone, as any errors and vulnerabilities are corrected and longer duration.
Let’s immediately dispel a myth: more cameras don’t mean better quality. The difference is made by the type of sensor chosen, the software, and the GPU (graphics processing unit of the processor) that processes the images. And here, too, personal needs come into play. If you love to take lots of pictures in any condition and any place, it would be better to buy a smartphone that offers a lot of versatility.
A device with the primary sensor, macro, telephoto, and wide-angle is undoubtedly more fun than one with only one camera. The most expensive smartphones ensure the best performance because they integrate particular sensors and offer specific functions. Think of the Cinema mode of the latest iPhones, which allows you to dynamically change the focus based on what happens on the scene.
The battery capacity of smartphones is expressed in mAh (milliampere-hour). The bigger it is, the longer it will last. Other factors also come into play: a low-resolution display is less energy-intensive than a 2K AMOLED display, processor optimization may require more or less power, prolonged use of the camera consumes a lot of battery, etc. Generally, for primary use, all smartphones can ensure the autonomy of at least one day.
Some devices manage to offer long life, like some Motorola smartphones, while others are more expensive. However, if you have to use your smartphone intensively during your days, we recommend choosing a product with a larger battery. The reviews that tell how smartphones behave in the field could also help you. Also, make sure it has an excellent charging speed (expressed in watts). The faster it is, the shorter it takes to recharge your smartphone.
Many smartphones (especially the more expensive ones) have a certification that indicates the degree of resistance to scratches, dust, and water. It’s called IP certification. If you work in environments with a lot of dust or in contact with water, the advice is to focus on a smartphone with IP68 certification. However, if you work in hostile environments, you may want to consider rugged smartphones. Some smartphones have a glass body, others in polycarbonate.
The second is more resistant than the first. Screens also have a protective layer. You may have read ” protected by Gorilla Glass. ” This statement indicates how strong the glass used to protect the screen is. Gorilla Glass Victus and Gorilla Glass 6 are more potent than Gorilla Glass 3. Other factors can be considered: Dual-SIM support, Bluetooth version, wireless charging, NFC, stereo or mono speakers, design (even the eye wants its part), etc. They change according to individual needs.
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