Things to Consider When Buying a New Smartphone : Processor is Not Everything

There's been a lot of buzz lately about some new smartphones that have flagship-level internal hardware all while having a very budget-friendly midrange price tag.

One doesn't need to explain in great detail the magnetic appeal of these devices. After all, high-end innards - especially powerful processor and large amount of RAM - are definitely an amazing treat on a handset that doesn't cost an arm and leg, especially for budget-conscious power users and heavy mobile gamers.

Buying Smartphone Guide

However, one should be reminded that beastly internal hardware are not everything that you should consider when purchasing a smartphone these days.

I made this blog post with the goal of guiding handset buyers towards what I believe is a good path in choosing a daily driver that meets their needs.

Without further ado, here are the questions that I think you should ask yourself when you're finally ready to invest on a new smartphone.

1. How much is my budget?

If it's PHP 2,000 to PHP 10,000, then you are in the entry-level category. If it's PHP 15,000 to PHP 25,000, you're in the midrange bracket. And if it's PHP 35,000 to PHP 70,000, then you're already in the high-end to ultra-flagship level.

Based on how much you are willing spend, create a master list of all smartphones with suggested retail prices falling within your budget then start limiting your options.

2. Which smartphone platform is more appealing to me?

Currently, there are two dominant smartphone platforms or operating systems in the market, iOS by Apple or Android by Google.

If you've owned different kinds of smartphones in the past, then you should already know which platform you're more comfortable using. But if it's your first time to get a smartphone and you're coming from a basic feature phone, I would suggest borrowing a fairly updated Android smartphone model from friend as well as an iPhone and play with the devices for a bit to know which OS you prefer.

3. Which smartphone features are important to me and my lifestyle?

Here are some popular user requirements as well as the corresponding ideal smartphone features or specifications that match each of them:

Beautiful Exterior:
Design
Build Quality
Materials Used

Note: Some of the most premium smartphones these days feature a shell made entirely of real metal or a back plate crafted from glass.

Great Viewing Experience:
Display Size and Resolution
Screen Type
Bezel Size

Note: IPS and AMOLED displays with FullHD to 4K resolution deliver top-notch visual experience. AMOLED, in particular, is known for brilliance and energy-efficiency.

Good Imaging Performance in Various Lighting Conditions:
Rear Camera Resolution
Wideness of Aperture
AI Imaging Features
Sensor Size
Pixel Size
AutoFocus Speed
Shutter Speed
Optical Image Stabilization OIS
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS or Gyro-EIS)
Multiple Camera Set-up Features

Note: Large sensor, wide aperture, imaging algorithms usually combine to give a cameraphone stellar low light imaging capabilities.

Good Selfie Imaging Performance:
Front Camera Resolution
Wideness of Aperture
Sensor Size
Pixel Size
AI Beautification Software
AR Effects

Note: For me, a good AI Beauty software is one that evens out your skin tone and enhances your good facial features without making you look like an entirely different person.

Good Video Recording Capabilities:
Video Recording Resolution
Sensor Size
AutoFocus Speed
Wideness of Aperture
Software Enhancements
Optical Image Stabilization OIS
Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS or Gyro-EIS)

Note: Clarity of details, vibrancy of hues, and good image stabilization even in low light situations are usually the key characteristics of a reliable cameraphone for video recording.

Great Mobile Gaming Experience:
Screen Type, Size, and Resolution
Display Refresh Rate
Loudness of Speaker
HiFi Audio
Multi-Core Processor Speed and Power
Amount of RAM
Amount of Storage
GPU Speed and Acceleration
Benchmark Scores

Note: There are certain smartphone models these days that let you boost the speed of the GPU when playing graphics intensive games.

Long Uptime:
Battery Capacity
Battery Type
Screen Type, Size, and Resolution
Energy-Efficiency of Processor
Power-Saving Feature of OS and UI

Note: There are smartphones with large battery packs that don't quite deliver an extended uptime. Hence, as I've noted in the list, you should also consider the energy efficiency of the software as well as the internal hardware.

Ease of Use:
Neatness of User Interface
Processor Speed
Amount of RAM

Note: EMUI, ColorOS, and Funtouch OS are some of the cleanest or most organized UIs for the Android operating system.

Durability and Longevity of Use:
Materials Used
Build Quality
Reliability of After-Sales Support
Reliability of Software Updates or Firmware Upgrades
User Community on Social Media

Note: Almost all major smartphone makers have dedicated laboratories or facilities for testing the toughness or durability of their products. You can watch videos of these labs in action via Youtube.

Needless to say at this point, processor power is not everything. There are actually so many other features and specifications that you should take a look at, depending on your needs as a consumers.

4. What do experts and other consumers say about the smartphone I am attracted to?

After you've limited your options to two or three handset models, go ahead and read reviews by tech bloggers on these products, watch videos on Youtube, consult friends who own the said devices, and visit forums to be familiar with the strengths, limitations, and even potential issues of of the products.

5. In case I run into problems with the handset, how easy will be for me to get it fixed by an official service center?

It's not enough that you have a smartphone that meets all of your requirements as a mobile user. You also have to make sure that in case your device runs into some issues, there's an establishment that you can go to to have fixed. Make sure your smartphone comes with full service and parts warranty.

And finally, let me talk about some intangibles that you might also want to consider. Ask yourself these questions before paying for your new unit: What does this smartphone say about me as a consumer? How does this brand reflect my personal values as a person? Will I be proud to be associated with this device?

So there you have it! These are the things that one should take note of when purchasing a new handset. Did I miss anything? Let me know your thoughts about this topic through the comments section below or feel free to message me on social media. Share your wisdom with all of us. Cheers!

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