If you’re buying a smartphone you’re probably making a choice that you will live with for at least the next two years. So it is important to make an informed decision, taking into consideration your needs and desires as well as the basic characteristics that differentiate between a good smartphone and a bad one at a given price range.
You can use this as a checklist that helps you consider everything that can significantly affect your experience so you don’t end up with a phone you can’t wait to get rid of.
1. Screen size and resolution
Most top of the line smartphones have relatively large screens with amazing resolutions, but if you’re in the market for a somewhat cheaper option this is an important thing to consider.
Sometimes the pictures lie and make it seem as if the phone’s display is crisper and higher resolution than it actually is. If you don’t actually check the resolution and pixel density, or take a look at it first hand, you might end up disappointed when you first turn it on.
If at all possible given your budget you should look for a Full HD resolution or better, which is 1920×1080. AMOLED and IPS displays are also the best display types. If it is LCD (on really cheap phones) it will probably look washed out and have relatively bad viewing angles, looking significantly darker or brighter depending on the angle.
Actual screen size is important for not just how much stuff you can see at once, but also how easy it is to reach the entirety of the screen with only one hand. Both smaller and bigger sizes have their advantages so your preference will depend on what’s more important to you. If you’re not sure your best bet will be a balance between screen real estate and ease of single-handed operation. In other words go for the biggest screen size you can afford while still allowing you to reach the top of the screen without straining.
Photo by Vernon Chan.