Smartphones have become a huge sensation lately and among these, Android phones have been ruling the market. With new models being launched regularly, and more and more manufacturers involved in designing, customers have a lot to choose from. Without prior knowledge, however, picking the right phone can be a hassle. Available in all price ranges for all kinds of customers, you may have come across a variety of phones priced between Rs 9,000-60,000. It is true that the more you spend the more features and the higher specs you get. However, these do not always result in a better model. So for those planning to get an android phone sooner or later, here are a few things to watch out for:
Mobile phones are practically tiny computers in your palms. With powerful software and high computing abilities, the android phones of today can very nearly outsmart a PC, even though they don’t yield a similar experience. Like the motherboard reveals the actual potential of any PC, it is in the inside of the phone that you must look first. The main components one must understand are the CPU, GPU and the chipset. The ones we usually talk about as a 1 GHz processor or a 600 MHz chip is actually the CPU (Central Processing Unit)—the primary unit in charge of running all applications and services, and it is the most important one too. Ideally, a 1 GHz processor is a must for above average users who seek high-end applications, games and multitasking features. For intermediate use, a 600-800 MHz processor should meet meager music, web and communication necessities. Popular high-end processors available today are quad core, dual cortex and recently an atom processor remodeled for cell phones by Intel. Likewise, with 3D games and High Definition (HD) picture quality, the thought of a GPU can’t escape the mind of buyers. The Graphics Handling Unit supports the CPU in offering higher picture quality and nothing more. The Adreno series is one of the most used processors by manufacturers like Samsung and Sony Ericsson where we recommend a GPU in between Adreno 200-220. As for the chipset, it is simply the motherboard of the mobile where everything is put together. Put simply, a superior chipset can support a greater deal of features.
Memory and Storage
After the microprocessor, the RAM plays a vital role in Android phones. While the CPU processes the information, it is up to the RAM to hold all data while it is being processed. Like computers, the RAM has become highly competitive in today’s Android phones. The ideal size would be 390-520 MB since the internal processes, along with the background services themselves, seem to take up about a couple hundred MBs. In terms of storage, all phones have a fixed internal memory and a limited external memory card slot. Since users tend to install several apps and since apps require a certain portion of internal memory even if it is installed on the memory card, a minimum of 350 MB is a must while an ideal one is one above 600 MB internal storage. As far as micro SD slots are concerned, manufacturers claim to be able to handle up to 64 GB cards but for average phones, a 16 GB card seems very much to be the practical limit as your phone tends to lag with the use of a bigger storage card. However, higher-end designs such as the Galaxy S, Note, HTC Evo and Sony Xperia can opt for cards of 32 GB and over.
As we all know, the Android team is a dedicated group of developers who come up with updates and newer firmware regularly. Within the last couple of years, the company has already released six major OS versions. As far as the software version being a worry for prospective buyers is concerned, software compatibility and higher CPU processing are the answers to why a newer firmware is essential. The Gingerbread v2.3 is the ongoing trend but the tech-savvy might want to watch out for Ice-cream sandwich v 4 of the Android series.
Once you buy a new phone, you’ll have to live with it every day for at least a year. Since you will have to look at your phone on a frequent basis, you’d better make sure you have a user interface that appeals to you. Today, very nearly all mainstream manufacturers use their own custom interfaces among which HTC’s Sense and Samsung’s TouchWiz seem to win more hearts than any. Even for cheaper phones whose UI (user interface) fails to gain acclaim, users can opt for third party launchers like ADW and LauncherPro, which offer attractive widgets and a comprehensive home screen.
Undoubtedly the biggest con of carrying a smartphone is its cheap battery life. Before you buy a phone armed with a 1 GHzQuad core processor, 1 GB of RAM flaunting a 4.8 inch display, prepare yourselves a premature low battery notification even before the end of the day. Of course measures have been taken for improving battery life and providing a considerable backup. Usually battery life doesn’t exceed 7 hours on even the most expensive phones for a 2G network and even less for 3G. Mind it that extra brightness, Wi-Fi adapters and graphics usage all account for low battery cycles.
The camera is a feature that most users highly consider while buying any phone. Although the average picture quality seen in camera lenses today is 3.2 MP or 5.0 MP, manufacturers have also incorporated an 8 MP camera or even 12 in expensive handsets. Another thing worth considering is a secondary camera or front camera. As much as people enjoy Skyping or video chatting through their phones, the absence of the secondary camera in most mid-range handsets is an obstacle. LED flash, even though it does not have the greatest use, is also an additional feature to look out for.
Touch screen phones have been the solution to a dense home screen seen in Android phones these days. Physical keyboards are pretty much out of fashion for Androids. But there are two important factors to consider—the screen type and the screen size. Outgrowing from the shell of LCD, mobile phones now have a different face altogether with HD displays, LED and AMOLED screens flashing displays with exceptional quality. Also, Samsung’s new Gorilla screen has made an impression with its low risk of breakage. Likewise in terms of size it pretty much depends on the user. Considering your palm and pocket and also the required space for a decent display size, a 3.8-4.2 inch diagonal seems to suit best.
In the end, all this in a neatly finished casing is what matters most. After all the outside of the phone matters just as much as the inside. Look for something sleek and appealing. As far as the modeling is related, make sure all buttons and keys are positioned and sized to your convenience.
Source: The Kathmandu Post