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How to Select your Smartphone

Smartphones are daily parts of our lives, it seems that without it, you’re disconnected to your family, fiance, and friends. A day without Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube streaming would be boring on the day you’re stuck on traffic or solo in an apartment. Sophisticated smartphones are getting common and some of their prices are getting inexpensive. Seeing an ad or a blog, you could be tempted into buying one but did you know that not all smartphones are made equal? Yes, and that fact can make you confused about buying the best value for your money. But with this guide, you can get the best phone without breaking your bank nor being a cheapskate.

Don’t just base on price

Basing your buying decision solely on price is a sure way to disappointment once you realise that your expected specs and quality didn’t satisfy your expectations. Not all brands and smartphones are created equal.

Base your choices on your needs

If you are a gamer, you can opt for smartphones with higher specs such as processor speed, number of RAMs and cores. If you seldom use the device for gaming or only use it for browsing the internet and watching videos, a basic phone with lower specs is fine.

Understand and compare the specs

Understanding each smartphone’s specs can help you decide better if you come across smartphone’s with almost the same specs.


  • Battery capacity

Smartphones of the past tend to use low capacity batteries such as 9000 mAh (milliamperes) due to less sophistication but today’s advancement in applications and features lead to more power consumption. Good battery life will let you watch videos, browse the internet and play games without intermittent charging or plugging your phone after 3 to 5 hours.

Moreover, some factors that affect battery life such as:

How a smartphone battery lasts depends on your usage habits and battery capacity. Here’s a table for battery capacities.

  • Battery replacement

Unlike the past decade when most smartphones donned replaceable batteries, the closing years of the 2010s featured smartphones that are increasingly using non-replaceable batteries. Although, you can still find smartphones with replaceable batteries. So, you may say goodbye to buying class A replacement lithium-ions after using your android phone for 5 years. Why are smartphones heading to such a trend? Here are the reasons:

  • Make smartphones slimmer

  • Make it water-proof

  • Make more room for other parts and designs

  • Planned obsolescence (maybe)

On the other hand, you may not want phones with non-removable batteries, some smartphones use removable batteries.

  • Moto E5 Play

  • Nokia 2.2

  • Moto G5

  • LG V20

  • Samsung Galaxy J7

  • Samsung Galaxy S5

  • Nokia 1

  • Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro (to be rolled out first in Europe)

  • Camera

Smartphones have already rivalled or surpassed digital cameras as they use front and rear cameras with 8 and 13 megapixels capable of catching sharp photos. Some even feature 2 to 4 cameras each that differ in focal lengths. Why is this so? Well, a dedicated focal lens which is an extra camera is better than a digital zoom that blurs images. The following are types of smartphone cameras:

  • Depth lens – Used for blurring the background and focusing on the foreground

  • Monochrome lens – Used for dramatic photos

  • Telephoto lens – Used to capture faraway objects

  • Wide-angle lens – Used for panoramic shots such as landscape and nature.

  • Physical connectivity

Connectivity refers to the physical and non-physical means of exchanging data. So, that will be the USB connector. The MicroUSB refers to the mini version of a universal serial bus that connects digital cameras, smartphones, MP3 players and printers. Since the early smartphones of the 1990s, the USB connector has been evolving. Here’s a simple evolution of USB connectors.

Type C is still the USB 3.1 but the difference is that it uses a reversible downstream end ( a connector fitted onto devices and also called A connector). This new USB uses the same rectangular slot that connects into the computer – also called the upstream end. Many smartphones still use micro-USB but new phones are increasingly using Type C. So, what does a type C USB can bring? Here are the benefits:

  • Pluggable in any orientation.

  • Transfers more power of 5 A and 100 W which means faster charging.

  • Transfers data of up to 100 Gigabytes

  • Processor Core number

The processor serves as the brain or Central Processing Unit of your smartphone. It processes every action you tap on your smartphone’s screen whether you open the power button, takes a photo, use a GPS map, read a text through a browser, or call your friend. Now, processors make up several cores that handle each task. With more cores, the CPU can distribute tasks to other cores. Smartphones of 2020 use Quad (4), Hexa (6) and Octa (8) cores such as the Nokia 3.2 (Quad-Core) and Motorola (Octacore).

The number of cores might mean faster CPU processing but this is not always the case. The overall performance boils down to the delicate balance among the operating system, clock speed and battery. So, even if your device has octa-core but it only uses 2 GB RAM and low clock speed, then it won’t fare better than its rival with quad-core but with higher clock speed processor and RAM.

  • Processor Core Speed (Clock Speed)

Measured at Gigahertz, today’s smartphones have clock speeds – 1.8 GHz – 2.2 GHz. In layman’s terms, clock speed refers to how fast the processor’s oscillator generates its pulses per second. Gigahertz means billions of pulses every second. The processor speed determines how fast or smooth your smartphone runs. A 2.2 GHz is more powerful than 1.8 GHz. For seamless multi-tasking, you should get a minimum of 1.8 GHz and above. You can check the clock speed in the device’s manual or smartphone blogs.

  • Processor GPU

The Graphics Processing Unit is a processor that displays your device’s images and videos. Without GPUS, high-end images and games are impossible. Due to limited space, it’s often integrated into the main CPU. You can find the spec name, brand  and detailed smartphone reviews on blogs and websites or imprinted in the processor cover. If you’re into high-end video graphics gaming, opt for high-range GPUs but if you’re into browsing and research mid-range GPUs are fine.

  • Display type

Older smartphones use old TFT displays and then its makers switched to IPS (in-plane switching) which is a new type of TFT. Other phones use AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Emitting Diode), an OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode).

  • Operating system

An operating system is a program that runs your smartphone. This is similar to the windows 10 in desktop and laptop computers. Most smartphones run android OS, followed by iOS, Windows 10, blackberry and Linux. Take note that the windows phone os is now already discontinued owing to the stiff competition from the more popular Android.


The version of a smartphone’s OS can affect the price and its app operation. If you’re planning to buy a new smartphone, look for the latest operating system or 1 step back older OS but can be upgraded to the latest OS. At the time of this writing (June 2020), the latest OS is Android 10.

  • RAM

Random-access memory refers to the special memory that lets you switch between apps without restarting. For instance, if you open a VLC player app and then somebody calls you, you can easily go back to an app. Or when you played a clash of clans game and immediately answered a Gmail or Yandex mail. Even if you’re answering a call or using another app, other apps such as mails, games and messenger/texting apps are still running in the background. Essentially, RAM lets you multitask.

So, does a higher RAM mean a faster phone? Well, to some extent, but it’s not always the case. An iPhone XS which has 4GB of RAM may seem inferior to other phones with 5 or 6 GB of RAM but its Operating System and GPU is optimized.

The number of RAMs you’ll need depends on your usage. If you’re a heavy gamer, you should go for smartphones with 4GB minimum and 6GB of RAM. Take note that in this graph 1 GB is equivalent to 1000 Megabytes (MB). So an 8000 MB is 8 Gigabytes.

  • Security devices

Smartphones are small computers that may contain your sensitive and confidential info such as social security number, bank account number or even passwords. Your Facebook, Twitter, Vkontakte and other social media accounts are vulnerable to thieves if at the time it was stolen. These security devices could make it harder or nearly impossible for thieves to get into your smartphone. Currently, available security devices for smartphones include Facial recognition, fingerprint scanner, iris scanner, and password.

  • Storage capacity

Storage capacity refers to the internal and external memory. The internal memory is non-removable memory chips that vary in memory sizes such as 8 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB. Higher-end smartphones may have capacities larger than 100 GB.  Your choice should depend on your usages such as gaming, photography, videography, research and music. If you’re using the phone for videography, then a higher memory capacity phone should be your option. Browsing and research will need a minimal amount of internal and external memory. When you use an SD card, always go for high-quality ones.

  • Software updates

Depending on the company brand or second party manufacturer, your smartphone will receive the operating system and security updates. Other brands don’t offer updates after-sales. For instance, the Nokia 3.2 provides updates from its current Android Pie to the latest Android 10 (at the time of this writing). The phone will get software updates for 2 years and security updates for 3 years. The security updates (patches) are also important as to avoid bugs that can compromise security.

  • Cellular network

Cellular network refers to the technology used in data speed transfer. 5G is already available but not widespread as most cellular network providers or telcos and smartphones still use 4G. There are already 5G-capable smartphones but they are limited and expensive. Below are the 5G smartphones.

  • Nokia 8.3

  • Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

  • OnePlus 7 Pro 5G

  • Alcatel 7

  • Realme V5

  • Nokia 8.3

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