Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Before You Buy Your Next Phone

By Iroegbu Iroegbu

Buying a new phone can be puzzling for many people. It’s easy to get swayed into making a mistake by public opinion and adverts. “All fingers are not equal”, they say. Those proverbial fingers should be considered before jumping into, on, off, or beside anything, including and especially when picking objects you rely on for most tasks. That said, I’ll attempt to run down with you some things to look out for before making a commitment to a new mobile phone.
Before I proceed, I need to say, be willing to shell out large sums for your new phone. For example, I bought my Lumia 920 three years ago, it still works without a single fault with almost no scratches on the screen. You can’t pay peanuts and expect premium service.

Getting to know yourself and your needs is where the game begins; of course, you want the newest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Pause, is the “fashion statement” you are trying to make worth sacrificing your convenience and productivity? If your answer to that question is yes, read no further, buy any device that looks the flashiest to you, problem solved.

If you have made it this far, you really want to get the right device. So, what do you do on your phone most of the time?

Calls: You need a phone with solid reception and call quality; if you usually make calls using services like Skype and WhatsApp, you’ll want to invest in local Wi-Fi. High volume of calls will put a strain on the battery in your device, so you’ll want to keep an eye on that. Removable cells will definitely help, you can have many batteries and continue swapping them in and out like Rambo. Another option is to go for a feature phone, some of those can see the end of the week before requiring a trip to the wall outlet.

Camera: We have seen some phones with low megapixel count push out better pictures than those with higher number. You will be doing yourself a lot of good by reading reviews and finding the camera that suits you. High-end HTC, Microsoft (previously Nokia) and Samsung phones promise very high image quality, also sporting optical image stabilization (add iPhones to the end of that list).

Size: The size of your paw will be your guide here, you should get a device you can hold. A satchel or neck strap can help if you palm cannot go around your device of choice – I seriously hope you weren’t considering that.

Processor: Gamers be careful here, you don’t want a device that will choke on Asphalt 8. Older processors will drink up the juice in your battery quickly, you need to get a phone sporting very new technologies. Clock speed, measured in gigahertz can help you judge, these days, you also want to consider number of cores.

Software: You don’t want solid hardware with software that doesn’t work. I am partial to Windows, but for the sake of objectivity, we’ll touch the major ones (BB10 users, I’m looking at you).

iOS: If you have a Mac and an iPad already, you don’t need a lot of persuasion to pick an alliance. Very rich in number of third-party applications, a clean user interface, Apple Music, Apple Pay [LOL] and Siri can be attractive. Google and Microsoft services on iOS are of very high quality (sometimes even better than on other platforms). Then there’s the very useful ‘force touch’ feature. On iOS you’ll get updates at the same time and quickly, that’s a plus.

Android: The most flexible of the lot, this flexibility might be its undoing (why is Samsung’s back button on the right side?). To get the best from this OS you need a high-end phone, performance can be an issue on cheaper devices. The app ecosystem is vibrant; if there’s no Android app for it, there’s no mobile app for it.

You need to look at the upgrade path of the device, Google releases new versions every year, not all OEMs pick those up fully (check the Nexus devices).

Windows: This is easiest to pick up and use. Very intuitive interface, live tiles alone can make your life blissful. Cortana is arguably the best digital personal assistant in the market. This is smoothest of all mobile operating systems, performance-wise. You will rarely (if ever) notice any hiccups. Integration with Office, OneDrive, Your Windows computer etc. can be very useful especially as a productivity tool. Major gripe the public has is “there are no apps on it”. My question is “how many apps do you really use?” That said, if you are an “app person”, you want to look elsewhere.

Twitter: @i_iroegbu

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