- How to choose a smartphone: what to look for
- The main criteria for choosing smartphones
- How to choose a smartphone on “Android”?
- How to choose a powerful smartphone
- With which processor to choose a smartphone
- How to choose a smartphone for 2 SIM cards
- Choosing a smartphone for the Internet
- How to choose a smartphone with a good camera
- What size smartphone to choose
- How to choose a smartphone with a good battery
- How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10,000 rubles)
- The best smartphone manufacturers
- Video on choosing a smartphone
How to choose a smartphone: what to look for
The main criteria for choosing smartphones are:
- Operating system;
- Processor and RAM;
- Permanent memory;
- Number of SIM-cards, their mode of operation and supported Internet standards;
- Battery capacity.
- The manufacturer of the device is also important.
The main criteria for choosing smartphones
Smartphones are multifunctional devices. Therefore, their technical characteristics rather indirectly determine a specific specification. So, a smartphone with a good camera is suitable not only for mobile shooting, but also for everything else.
The main operating systems used in smartphones are Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. The rest of the firmware like Sailfish, Tizen, Ubuntu, Plasma occupy too little market share, are intended for enthusiasts and therefore are hardly worthy of consideration.
Android is the most popular mobile operating system. Almost 70% of the smartphones on the market are equipped with it. However, it is worth considering that it exists not only in its pure form, but also in numerous variations like MIUI (in Xiaomi devices), EMUI (Huawei) or Flume (Meizu). In addition, the vast majority of manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) make their own changes to Android, changing it beyond recognition in some cases.
However, both modifications, and third-party interfaces, and pure Android offer approximately the same features and a similar user experience.
Despite the shortcomings, with careful use, the Android operating system shows sufficient functionality and practicality.
As part of the Google infrastructure, it offers access to many Google services for free (including cloud storage for user settings, contacts, photos, etc.);
A huge number of applications in a special Google Play store, the vast majority of which are completely free;
- Possibility of deep customization and settings of work, interface, etc. (however, some independent modifications will require special knowledge);
- A similar user experience that simplifies the process of switching from one smartphone to another, even if they are released by completely different manufacturers;
- Fragmentation (at the same time there are dozens of versions and generations of the OS), limited support from the manufacturer (some smartphones never receive updates);
- The appearance of a huge amount of software “garbage” during operation. Therefore, after some time of use, the smartphone starts to slow down, it runs out of internal memory, etc. “Treated” by flashing;
- A huge amount of Bloatware out of the box (pre-installed programs from Google and the manufacturer, which in some cases duplicate each other, which is especially sinful for Samsung smartphones – sometimes three programs with the same functions are installed on them);
- Vulnerability to viruses and malware (some applications can steal user data, including SMS from banks, applications with administrator rights get full control over the device);
iOS is the second most popular mobile operating system. It is proprietary and therefore only available on Apple smartphones. The absence of fragmentation makes it quite optimized on any mobile devices from this manufacturer, so it works smoothly on both old and new iPhones.
Optimization, a good level of security and ease of use make iOS suitable for most users – especially those who do not like to experiment with the interface and other components of the OS.
- The highest level of security, expressed in the absence of loopholes for malware;
- Virtually no bloatware;
- Ready to work “out of the box” – to use most of the functions of the smartphone, you do not need to install third-party software;
- Deep optimization for hardware, thanks to which the operating system runs smoothly even with 1.5-2 GB of RAM;
- A wide range of third-party software in the Apple AppStore;
- The impossibility of customizing and setting up the interface “for yourself”;
- Newer versions of iOS don’t work well on older iPhones, but updates to them happen in a “virtually forced” manner;
- Lack of access to internal memory for storing files without special synchronization software (iTunes);
- The presence of regional restrictions that cannot be bypassed;
- The impossibility of removing pre-installed software even with Jailbreak (one of the ways to hack iOS);
- iOS 11 has another drawback. Due to the fact that many pre-installed applications are optimized for use with the iPhone X, on other smartphones they have a completely unusable interface with a window title that takes up to a quarter of the screen in some cases.
Windows 10 Mobile
Windows 10 Mobile is the third most popular mobile operating system. Despite the fact that Microsoft stopped supporting it in September 2017, smartphones with it can still be found on sale – from HTC, Nokia, HP and some other manufacturers.
The Windows 10 Mobile operating system is quite convenient to use and therefore well suited for budget (up to 10 thousand rubles) smartphones.
- Excellent level of optimization (works well even on weak processors and devices with less than 1 GB of RAM);
- Part of the Windows ecosystem, thanks to which data is synchronized between a smartphone or computer;
- High level of security (viruses for this operating system no longer exist);
- A very small number of applications in the branded Windows Store;
- Impossibility of customization;
- Lack of developer support;
- During operation, various problems periodically appear (for example, with synchronization);
- Non-standard user experience;
How to choose an Android smartphone?
The Android operating system is getting better with each new version. It has useful functions, increases autonomy, improves work with a large number of simultaneously running applications.
Therefore, when choosing a smartphone, you should give preference to devices with the latest version of Android. It:
- Android 6.0 Marshmallow;
- Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat;
- Android 8.0/8.1 Oreo.
- Smartphones running Android 5.0/5.1 Lollipop and “ancient” are not recommended for purchase.
In addition, it is desirable that the operating system be “clean”, without installed software from the manufacturer or deep modifications. Unfortunately, only smartphones from Nokia, Google and a number of Chinese manufacturers are equipped with such an OS. Samsung and LG are making fairly deep changes to the interface, and Sony is not very (but tangible).
Of third-party firmware based on Android, only EMUI (Huawei smartphones) and Flume OS (Meizu smartphones) can boast a good level of optimization. MIUI, the most famous “mod” of “Android”, is not very optimized and therefore can slow down and lag on budget smartphones.
Processor and RAM
The processor and RAM are the “brains” of the device. It is on them that its speed depends in a variety of cases. So, a powerful processor allows you to run resource-intensive applications like 3D or even AR games, and a large amount of RAM allows you to work with a large number of programs at the same time.
In 2017, the optimal value for the processor configuration is 4 cores and about 2.0 GHz clock speed, and RAM – from 2 GB.
How to choose a powerful smartphone
The most productive line of processors is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series. And the most powerful at the moment (November 2017) is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. An alternative to it is the MediaTek Helio X35 (or P35, they are about the same). Therefore, if maximum performance is required from a smartphone, it is worth choosing models equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, MediaTek Helio X and MediaTek Helio P series processors.
The amount of RAM is at least 2 GB. Better, of course, more. The standard in flagships for 2017 is 4 GB, which is exactly the amount of RAM installed in the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 and LG G6. In some smartphones – Samsung Galaxy 8+, OnePlus 5 – even more RAM can be installed: 6 or 8 GB.
However, the Android operating system kernel cannot adequately utilize more than 4 GB of RAM, even though the transition to 64-bit architecture since Android 7.0 Nougat. Therefore, when buying a smartphone with 8 GB of RAM, you will need to reflash the kernel to a custom one, which included support for such an amount of “RAM”.
With which processor to choose a smartphone
If maximum power from a smartphone is not required, you can pay attention to other, less productive – and at the same time less expensive processors. These are, for example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series and the MediaTek MTK67XX line.
Thus, the method for choosing a processor for a smartphone is as follows:
- If you need the highest performance, then: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 830, 825, MediaTek Helio X35, X30, X35, P35;
- If high performance is required: Qualcomm Snapdragon 825, 820, MediaTek Helio from X15 and from P15;
- If sufficient performance is required: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 810, 815, MediaTek Helio any, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series any, MediaTek MTK6700 series any.
Smartphones on other processors of these lines are not recommended for purchase, as well as on Intel Atom.
You can take Kirin or Exynos – they provide sufficient performance at the level of current or previous flagships.
The amount of permanent memory determines the amount of user data that can fit in a smartphone. In addition, the internal storage hosts the Android operating system and installed applications.
- As a result, the higher the amount of permanent memory, the better. In 2017, its minimum adequate volume is 16 GB. All user applications will fit into such an internal drive, and there will also be room for a couple of music albums in Loseless quality or even a movie.
- The optimal amount of permanent memory is 32 GB. In addition to user applications, such a drive can accommodate a whole season of 13 episodes of a TV series in HD quality.
- 64 GB or more will be required only for those users who are used to carrying an entire music library, video library, etc. with them.
With a small amount of built-in memory (32 GB or less), you can use a flash card to store user data. If you plan to carry movies and other “weighty” content with you, it is recommended to take a smartphone with a microSD slot.
The number of SIM-cards, their modes of operation, supported mobile Internet standards
Native (built-in, without “crutches” from third-party developers) support for 2 SIM-cards appeared only in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Of course, smartphones with several GSM modules were produced before, but the quality of their networks left much to be desired. So, for example, mobile Internet was available only on one SIM card, and the second was used exclusively for calls and SMS.
Therefore, if you plan to buy a smartphone with two SIM cards, you should make sure that it runs on Android 6.0 or later.
SIM cards in smartphones can work in one of three modes:
- Simultaneous. If a call is made on one SIM card, it can also be accepted on the second one;
- Expectations. If a call is made on one SIM card, the person calling to the second will hear something like “This subscriber is talking on the second line”;
- Alternating. If a call is made on one SIM card, the person calling to the second will hear “Subscriber out of network coverage.”
At the same time, the simultaneous operation of two SIM cards leads to an intensive battery discharge, waiting – to a smaller one, and alternating – to a minimum.
Supported mobile Internet standards are also as follows:
- 2G is the slowest, up to 128 kbps. Suitable for communication in some instant messengers;
- 3G is the best. Suitable for web surfing, social networking, listening to music and watching movies online;
- 4G is the fastest. Suitable for watching movies online in high quality, video calls, downloading files;
- LTE-A is an extended version of 4G that supports more streams to save speed when the channel is actively used.
Each subsequent standard includes support for all previous ones – that is, smartphones with a 4G module can work in 3G and 2G networks.
How to choose a smartphone for 2 SIM cards
When choosing a smartphone for 2 SIM-cards, you should pay attention to the following parameters:
- Version of the Android operating system – the fresher the better;
- Operating mode of SIM-cards (simultaneous, standby or alternate);
Slots for SIM-cards. Most modern smartphones use a combo slot that can accept either 2 SIM cards or 1 SIM card and a memory card. If you want to use 2 SIM-cards and a memory card at the same time, you should pay attention to models with “spaced” connectors.
Choosing a smartphone for the Internet
When choosing a smartphone for the Internet, you should pay attention to the supported mobile communication standard. The amount of RAM is also important (the higher it is, the lower the risk of unloading a web page or any application).
The photographic ability of a smartphone is affected by the camera resolution, sensor model, processor model, camera optics, and other characteristics.
Camera resolution is the actual number of pixels on the sensor. Most smartphones use modules designed for 5, 8, 13 or 20 MP. For mobile shooting, 13 or 20 megapixels is enough.
The sensor model largely determines the quality of focus, color and saturation of the picture. The more “fresh” it is, the better. The most commonly used sensors are from Sony, called IMX. After this letter code comes a digital set. The higher this three-digit number, the “fresher” the sensor.
Camera optics determine the saturation and lightness (exposure) of an image. For most users, stock Sony optics are enough, but if necessary, you can pay attention to models with lenses from Leica – for example, Huawei Mate 9 or 10.
Among other characteristics, one can single out the aperture (aperture) of the sensor (the lower it is, the better), the number of sensors (in smartphones of the middle and flagship classes, two camera modules shoot better than one) and the presence of additional functions (HDR + support, quality enhancement software technologies, dual color flash).
How to choose a smartphone with a good camera
Pay attention to the following options:
- Sensor model (it is desirable that it be the IMX300 series. For example, IMX333 is installed in OnePlus 3T);
- Actual resolution (13-20 megapixels is enough);
- Optics (preference should be given to Leica optics);
- Processor (the more powerful it is, the faster the pictures will be taken and the more beautiful they will be);
- Focus type (laser is better for macro and portrait shooting, contrast is better for landscape and city shooting).
When choosing a screen, it is worth considering three characteristics – diagonal, resolution and manufacturing technology.
- Diagonal is the actual size of the screen. Measured from corner to corner (for example, bottom left to top right). Determines the convenience of using a smartphone.
- Screen resolution is the actual number of pixels on the display matrix. Determines the “smoothness” of the picture. On the other hand, the higher it is, the more energy the screen consumes.
Manufacturing technology is a design solution by which a smartphone screen is made. There are the following technologies:
- TN. It has low contrast, low saturation, small viewing angles. It is found only in the cheapest smartphones;
- IPS. It has good color reproduction, wide viewing angles. Power consumption directly depends on the brightness of the backlight. Display false black. They are found in almost all smartphones of the middle and some devices of the top price range;
- AMOLED. It has excellent color reproduction, good viewing angles, excellent contrast. Power consumption depends on the saturation of the picture. The disadvantage is that it fades over time. Found only in flagship smartphones;
- IGZO. It has maximum resolution, optimal power consumption, optimal contrast and color reproduction. Found in a very limited number of smartphones.
Smartphones on IPS or AMOLED are recommended for purchase.
What size smartphone to choose
Optimal diagonal values:
- 4 inches – this smartphone will be convenient to use with one hand;
- 5 inches – some people with tiny hands will not be able to use a smartphone with one hand;
- From 6 inches – in any case, you need two hands to use your smartphone.
The best diagonal value is 5 inches (or so).
The optimal resolution is 1280 × 720 pixels for 4 inches, 1920 × 1080 pixels for 5 inches and more.
The battery life largely depends on the capacity of the battery. The optimal value of this parameter is from 2800 mAh. A smartphone equipped with such a battery will “live” for about 8-10 hours of mixed use.
How to choose a smartphone with a good battery
If high autonomy of a smartphone is required, it is worth considering the following criteria:
- Battery capacity. The higher, the better;
- Display type. Preferably AMOLED or IGZO;
- CPU. It is recommended to choose models with the smallest technical process (up to 16-20 nm). You can find out the value of this parameter from the specifications for a specific chip;
- Operating system. The “fresher” the better.
However, it is very difficult to accurately determine battery life, as it is influenced by many factors, from the type of smartphone use to the quality of cellular network coverage.
How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10,000 rubles)
When choosing inexpensive smartphones, you will have to compromise anyway. But the optimal values of the parameters are as follows:
- Operating system – the “fresh” the better;
- RAM – at least 1.5-2 GB;
- Permanent memory – at least 8 GB, a slot for a memory card is required;
- Camera – from 5 MP;
- Screen – IPS;
- Battery capacity – from 2000 mAh.
Good budget smartphones are: Meizu m5, Huawei Honor 6A, Xiaomi Redmi 4X and some other models.
The best smartphone manufacturers
The best smartphone manufacturers are:
- Apple. Releases a line of iPhones;
- Samsung. They produce devices of all price segments;
- Nokia. Recently returned to the smartphone market with interesting devices;
- LG. Receives constant support from Google;
- Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu are Chinese manufacturers that you can definitely trust.
- Also worth mentioning is OnePlus, which releases flagship smartphones at a relatively low price.
In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose a phone with a good camera and the secrets of choosing a Chinese smartphone.
Video on choosing a smartphone