The Nokia Lumia, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5. Image courtesy of www.indiatvnews.com

The Nokia Lumia, Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5. Image courtesy of www.indiatvnews.com

I bought my first mobile phone in 1999. I’ve owned several phones, most of them Nokia. My first one was a Nokia 3210, sold it to a friend and then bought a Nokia 6210i. The 6210i got nicked after a few years and then I purchased a Nokia 7110 which was nicked again. I bought another Nokia 7110 because I found the large memory and screen was very useful in texting and calls. After having my fill with the 7110, the rugged Nokia 6250 was released. I liked the rugged look of the phone, its bulk, the rubber bumpers on both ends, and its water, shock and dust resistant features. It was also the most expensive mobile phone that I can afford at that time. When the manufacturer  say’s its water resistant, it doesn’t mean that you can take your phone in the pool for 30 minutes. My 6250 conked out after that stupid episode. After that I vowed not to buy expensive mobile phones again. After that I purchased a Nokia 6310i in 2004 and used it until 2008. I gave this phone to my mother since she only needs to have a mobile for text and calls. In 2008, Smartphones started getting more popular. Iphones and Blackberries were the rage then, but since I couldn’t afford to buy those high end Smartphones, I opted for a QWERTY Samsung Chat 322 with 8GB of extended memory. It contained apps for social media, but the phone was not Wifi capable. You had to use your data plan to get access. I thought this was the next best thing for me since the qwerty keyboard provided an easy way to text in full sentences and not those annoying text speak. A touch pad for good control of the menus, large memory and dual SIM capability. My sister bought a new Blackberry that time and I borrowed her spare Blackberry. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of owning a smart phone. I was trying to convince my sister to sell her spare Blackberry to me because I can do almost everything in this nifty device although the screen was too small for me. Good thing that PC maker Lenovo released their own line of touch screen smart phones and I decided to get the dual core Lenovo P770, Android Jelly Bean with 4gb of built in memory, 4.5” inch touch screen and up to 32GB extended memory capability. And one good thing about this unit is its battery life. As compared to other present day Smartphones, the battery life of this phone can outlast other high end Smartphones. This Smartphone uses 3,500 mAh lithium polymer battery that can give you 29hours of continuous

Smartphone operating systems. iOS 6, Android Jellybean and Windows 8. Image courtesy of www.techulator.com

Smartphone operating systems. iOS 6, Android Jellybean and Windows 8. Image courtesy of www.techulator.com

talk time and can last 3 days in standby mode. I’m very happy with this smart phone because I can do work, play and entertain myself with just one device. Now, if you’re thinking of buying your first smart phone, there are several things that you need to consider to get the best deal and right phone that will fit your needs.

Choosing The Right Smartphone

Although I have a preferred brand of Smartphone, I borrowed my sister’s iPhone 5, My brother’s Samsung galaxy S4 and  my niece’s Nokia Lumia. I swapped my phone for a week for their phone to test it and to be more objective about what to look for in a smart phone. Honestly, it can be a bit confusing in choosing the right smart phone. Apple and other Android-based Smartphone makers have released many high end units and budget units, making it more difficult for some buyers. Let’s try to dissect and discuss what to look for.

  1. Choosing your preferred mobile operating system. There are three mobile operating systems that are in use today – Android, iOS and Windows Mobile respectively. Google’s Android platform is the most popular among the three. As compared to iOS and Windows, Android phones offer wider choices of hardware option for many manufacturers in many sizes. The OS is also an open platform, thus many Smartphone manufacturers can customise and innovate atop Android making it not boring. It offers flexibility, ease of use and user friendly. iOS gives a cleaner look and improved multitasking. Updates can be confusing, but remains the most intuitive OS. Apps  and games are plenty just like in Google Play. ITunes radio is a plus for me. Because of the Nokia Lumia, more people became aware of this OS. The live tiles are very amusing and dynamic. It’s easy to resize and arranged for your custom screen look. It has Outlook and Office integration, which can be very handy for presentations and reports.
  2. Battery life comparison graph. Image courtesy of www.anandtech.com

    Battery life comparison graph. Image courtesy of www.anandtech.com

    Battery Life. Even if you have the most expensive or cheapest Smartphone, it will be no use if your phone’s battery suck. For me, this is the most important spec that you need to look for in buying a Smartphone. The operating system and different mobile applications take up juice thus power is important. Most Smartphones today will only last less than 24 hours, including talk time (iPhone and Samsung). We hope that in the future, all Smartphones will be like Nokia phones that can last weeks before another recharge.

  3. Size. A decade ago, having the smallest mobile phone is the in thing, now big screens phones or phablets are growing on shoppers. Although it looks awkward when using it for phone calls, but for any other applications, a big screen is wonderful. If you’re more into mobile gaming, movies and other applications then a big screen may suit you. If you want your phone to be very handy, then stick to compact screens. One drawback of having a big screen phone is that you cannot operate them with just one hand, they tend to be heavier and will eat up more juice from your battery.
  4. Processor. Most smart phones today runs on dual core and quad core processors. High end Android  and Windows phones use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800. This processor offers fast multitasking and good graphics. IPhone uses its own A7 chip on the iPhone 5s and offer 54-bit power. CPU power and its processing  power will again depend on your needs or how many demands the Smartphone has. Some applications running in the background can take processing power and in some cases can make the Smartphone slow.
  5. Memory. RAM and ROMb are both essential in information storage. ROM store the most essential information and is faster than RAM. It is smaller if it is not included in an internal storage. Ram can store more information, and can store more data on applications and programs that they are currently running on. RAM is measured in GB or gigabytes for more storage and the bigger the size the better. The OS is stored in the ROM and other sections may allow some applications to be installed.
  6. External and internal storage. For iPhone users, you don’t need to have an external storage since iPhones
    A micro SD card inserted on a Windows 7 smartphone. Image courtesy of blog.wirelessground.com

    A micro SD card inserted on a Windows 7 smartphone. Image courtesy of blog.wirelessground.com

    come with internal storage with the lowest being 16GB. For Android and Windows mobile users will have external storage capabilities. Except for iPhones, most Smartphones have a certain amount of internal storage while making a slot for micro-SD for additional storage. Most Android and Windows phone can support 8GB up 32GB of external storage of high speed class 10 micro-SD cards. This is very economical as compared to changing in a phone with an internal storage to a unit with 32GB. Again, storage will depend on how will you use the phone. If you don’t need many different apps and just use space for music, movies and some important documents, then an SD card will suffice. It will also be a cheaper option than buying an iPhone with a bigger internal storage. You can also choose to store some of your apps to the phone’s internal or external storage.

  7. Select the best carrier that you can afford and best for your needs. Telstra, Optus, Vodafone and Dodo are some of Australia’s biggest mobile carriers. Choosing a carrier will come down to a few factors that will include plan pricing, coverage and data speeds. Some states in Australia will have poor mobile coverage and some may have the best reception.  You also have to take note that not all phones will run on every network. Mobile carriers can use several different frequencies for connecting wireless devices and most Smartphones are specially designed to connect to specific networks. The frequencies used in Australia includes:
    1. 2G or GSM. This is the standard on most mobile and Smartphones. Newer phones can support quad band GSM
    2. 3G. Usually specified as UMTS/HSDPA or WCDMA
    3. 4G or LTE (long term evolution)

These are the factors that helped decide when purchasing my Smartphone. This can also help you in finding your preferred Smartphone. Happy hunting.

About Author

Jon specialises in research and content creation for content marketing campaigns. He’s worked on campaigns for some of Australia's largest brands including across Technology, Cloud Computing, Renewable energy and Corporate event management. He’s an avid scooterist and musician.