This isn’t a buying guide. Maybe this could pass as an attempt to clarify that ‘Buying Guides’ are not ‘Buying Verdicts’. They are general guidelines that we compile making a few assumption about what most people would want, but no one should inflict his personal preferences upon you. In an ideal world, you should be fully aware of the choices that you make.
However, That’s not how it goes.
Consumers don’t know what they want until they have experienced what they want, and in a dynamic smartphone world, technology changes at a much faster pace than the frequency of consumers updating their handsets. Not everybody is a reviewer who gets to taste all kinds of UIs, nor is everyone actually interested in deeply familiarizing himself/herself with the latest smartphone tech or the latest custom software skin from a particular manufacturer.
Interested or not, everyone does need a smartphone. And most of us are in the dark.
Also Read: 6 Things A Spec Sheet Won’t Tell You
Let’s see how it usually goes:
User: Hello Sir, Please tell me THE BEST smartphone under 10,000 INR.
Tech Guide: umm, best is a subjective term. Even more so in the budget price range. I think I can help you better if you tell me exactly what you are looking for in your next smartphone.
User: Sir, I am looking for a decent phone, “3 – 4 Saal chalna chahiye”
Tech Guide: 2 years is perhaps the maximum life span of most Android phones these days. At best you can stretch it to 3 years if you take good care.
User: Yeah ok, 2 year is fine then. ‘MEE’ phones kaise hote hain?
Tech Guide: ummmmm…. Depends. On a lot of factors actually. Ok, tell me what do you do most on your phone? Gaming? Photography? Reading?
User: Sir, this is my first phone.. but I guess WhatsApp, Candy Crush should work smooth. Oh, and yes, It should have THE BEST Camera. I love selfies. And RAM 3GB toh hona chahiye. Just make sure that there is no lag. Shimmerson mai toh lag aajata hai. Not good sir.
Tech Guide: And display size preference?
User: Sir, ‘normal’ size will do. I think, 5.5-inch is good enough, but that won’t be my primary concern.
Tech Guide: (More confused than ever) The thing is, that no smartphone is perfect. especially the budget ones. You will need to decide between many tradeoffs.
What kind of display would you prefer? You prefer warm color tones or colder color temperatures? How much processing power is apt for you? Will you prioritize multimedia experience and content subscription over processing power? Is fingerprint sensor a priority? You prefer a front facing one or the rear-mounted one?
The better you know what precisely suits your needs, the more likely are you to make the right decision. To help you with this stuff, we have written elaborate guides explaining all of these subjects you can refer to them before you proceed.
User: OMG.. That’s a lot of technical stuff. I don’t have time. Just tell me what is BEST in your opinion. I totally trust your judgment, Sir. Aapko toh pata hi hai. Appka daily ka kaam hai.
Tech Guide [Giving up]: Ok, you can go ahead and buy PE 2?
User: Sir, does it heat? I have heard that it heats a lot.
Tech Guide: umm. Not unless you push it too hard. Like all other phones.
User: Sir, heating is totally undesirable.
Tech Guide: Most phones heat with gaming, in day-to-day usage, it runs fine. So it’s ok. Metal phones do run warm if you use them outdoors in summers.
User: Sir, but PE 2 is not selling in any market. It’s available online only. Please give some offline option, it’s hard to trust online sellers.
Tech Guide: Don’t worry, just buy it from the authorized seller, Lelokart, and you also get 15-day replacement in case you are not satisfied.
User: Ok Sir, but PE 2 ka service kaisa hai? If by any chance my phone gets damaged after 15 days, can I get it repaired?
Tech Guide [exasperated by now]: Yes they have 1000 service centers. Please check the service center nearest to your residence.
User: Please Sir, I live in kamerabad, I will also share Pin code with you. Can you please check for me?
Tech Guide: NO.
User: Ok Sir, thanks for your time. Really appreciate it.
[One month later]
User: Sir, ye toh heat ho raha hai? I shot 15 minutes of 4K video in City Palace on my Jaipur trip and the camera app shut down on its own! HELP! The phone is boiling.
The point being, it’s mandatory that you acquaint yourself with the basic of smartphone technology to know exactly what you want. We are entering a technology driven age and amidst all things smart, our smartphones will increasingly play the role of an interconnecting hub. Putting effort in knowing your phones better will definitely be worth your time in the long run.
To start with, here are a few basic things that you should know before buying a phone:
- What display size you would prefer. Myriad options are available ranging from 5-inch to 6.44-inch. (Choosing The Perfect Display)
- What different displays technologies feel like in practice (You will be interacting with your display every time you use your phone, and it’s absolutely important that it isn’t an eyesore)
- Battery: Is fast charging a priority or not?
- Know about Sensors you absolutely need (like Fingerprint sensor for convenient unlock, magnetometer for better navigation, or Gyroscope for VR support)
- Estimate your performance requirements (RAM and Chips)
- Your specific camera requirements, like a professional-mode perhaps?
- Audio output and speaker placement best suited to your needs.
- The software experience ( Weather you prefer something close to stock which is light and easy to upgrade or you prefer a heavy skin with tons of customization option)
- And read multiple reviews before you make up your mind.