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Sunday, 20 April 2014


How To Choose The Right Smartphone Guide 2014

Based On Operating System, Components and Usage

Today buying a smartphone is probably one of the most difficult decisions you have to make as it is the one device you will use daily. This is one decision you will have to live with for one or two years (unless you are a Geek). However choosing the right one is up to you and your preferences, this guide is merely a guideline and the decision is entirely based on you, your needs and your budget. There is no easy way to do this, so I will go through some basic points that will hopefully guide you to the right decision.

1. Operating System

The fundamental element you will be using daily is the ecosystem supporting the device you choose. Therefore as a first step towards your decision is to choose the OS you are most comfortable with. There are 4 main options here, Android, iOS, BB10 and Windows Phone. Each of these has advantages, disadvantages and generally an ecosystem of apps and support.


This Operating System is one of the two most popular today, alongside iOS. The main difference between Android and iOS is that Android is open-source, which means that smartphone manufacturers are free to manipulate it and add their own skins on top of it. On top of that widgets are available for displaying information on the home screen. If you are not a fan of modified Android interfaces there is the option of Google Nexus devices that offer the pure Android experience. In addition to that you have the option to use Google's services, Google Music, Books, Movies and so on.


  • Huge variety of devices running Android
  • Huge variety of device prices
  • Stronger App Store than Windows Phone and BB10


  • Sometimes too much bloat-ware is added
  • Somewhat weaker App Store than iOS


This is the Operating System that comes with an Iphone and cannot be changed or run on other non-Apple devices. The strong point of iOS is the huge variety of apps and games available in the App Store. Choosing an iOS device can get you locked down in Apple's ecosystem, i.e. iTunes and the App Store. By starting to use iTunes and the App Store means investing money in buying apps, games and music. After two years of use, it will be difficult to let all that go and change to an Android or Windows device.


  • Huge collection of Apps and Games in App Store
  • Premium build Quality


  • Expensive Devices
  • Limited to Iphones only
  • No Consumer option to root and Flash Roms 

Windows Phone OS

The third most used OS today would probably be Windows Phone. This is definitely not an option if you are looking for a plethora of apps or games as the App Store here is still far behind. The spotlight of this OS will have to be the live tiles that show all the information you want on your main screen. In my opinion this is more of an aesthetic appearance and not something practical. If you are looking for simplicity you should check out iOS and if you are looking for flexibility Android. The hardware part of this option is mostly limited to Nokia devices, therefore if you are looking for a wider variety check out Android.


  • Great hardware made by Nokia
  • Refreshing, different UI


  • Huge lack of apps
  • Hardware options mostly limited to the Nokia Lumia series


Former Research In Motion, now known as Blackberry, used to be dominating in the business sector with its fast email services and blackberry messenger. Today their OS is the fourth option among smartphone users, although some are huge fans and accept nothing else. BB10 is offered only on Blackberry devices and the OS offers some unusual gestures to navigate around, however you could get used to them if you spend some time with the devices. The lack of an ecosystem may be the biggest setback of this option, as it even lacks apps and games forcing you to run Android apps where possible.


  • Fluid interface
  • Great messaging hub


  • Hard to learn gestures
  • Lack of apps

2. Components

Smartphones are very similar to PCs. They consist of various components that make a PC work as they are practically performing the same operations at a smaller scale. Until Project Ara is fully utilised we are stuck with what we choose as every component is not exchangeable. Once you decide which Operating System you what to use the next step is to find the appropriate device for yourself. To do that I will break down each component of a smartphone and explain which parts you should pay attention to.


The processor or CPU is the main component of the smartphone and it defines the speed of which calculations are made. Depending on clock speeds and the number of cores your device gets faster and more likely to not cause problems in the long term. For example, a single core processor is significantly slower than a quad-core competitor. However things can get tricky in real life scenarios as opposed to written specs, so I would suggest checking out benchmarks including Geekbench and PassMark to check the ranking of your device.

Memory and Storage

Smartphone RAM is not as important as on a PC, at least as far as size is concerned. With that being said, your smartphone will work perfectly well with 1GB of RAM. Keep in mind however that in the long term more RAM is always better. In terms of storage there is no right and wrong decision, just the amount you believe you will use. Keep in mind that buying a smartphone with 8GB of storage may seem as a good idea but in reality you will probably be left with 5GB of usable storage. If there is no other option due to your budget make sure you check if the device has a micro-SD slot for future storage expansion. Personally I would recommend 16 or 32GB of device storage.


The display is probably the thing you will be staring at all day long, so why not make sure it is the right choice? There is a variety of resolutions out there today, the majority of flagships are 1920x1080. In addition to the resolution, pixel density is important as more pixels per inch the sharper the images you see. You can calculate the pixel density here. Keep in mind through that the better the screen, the faster your battery will drain. There is also a variety of display technologies used such as IPS-LCD, OLED and Super LCD. That is personal preference and you should try different displays to find your personal favourite.


Camera technology has come a long way, some smartphones are even capable of shooting in 4K resolution! That is amazing and a premium feature at the same time, a more reasonable 1080p will have to do if you want to save some money. Don't get carried away by the number of Mega Pixels. Sure the more may be better at cropping photos without losing detail but you will end up with larger files in the end. Today 8MP is pretty much a logical and most common amount to have on a smartphone camera.


Last but not least, battery life. This is probably one of the most important aspects of a smartphone that has been neglected. Checking the amount of mAh of a battery is extremely important before you make a purchase as many modern smartphones do not have a removable battery. Although the more mAh the better, that is not always the case. Some smartphones demand less power to function, therefore a smaller battery. Make sure to check the processor and the size and resolution of the screen. Those are the main energy draining components of the device.

The Conclusion

Choosing a smartphone is not easy, it depends on your personal preferences, budget and how you intend to use it. Design and build quality are also important factors, however do not let yourself be distracted by advertisements with various misleading information. Study the smartphone you have in mind and decide if it is worth the investment, after all you will be using it for the next few years. Do you have a process when selecting a new smartphone? Let me know in the comments below! A like and reshare is always appreciated.

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