So you either have an existing android device or you want to move to android from other mobile platforms such as IOS, windows phone or blackberry, choosing your next phone seems a though choice. I am going to help you with that and present you several factors that should help you out.
- Screen Size.
- Phone sizes: Those come from 3.5 up to 5.0 inches
- Phablets: From 5.3″ to 7″. While a phablet is larger in size than most smartphones, they are smaller in size and thinner than most miniature and full-sized tablets, making them more convenient for users to carry with them.
- Tablets: From 7″ and up
Which screen size you choose depends on your needs. Do you have small hands? Then it is wiser to go for a smaller sized device. Do you want lots of screen estate? Then go for a tablet. And of course you got the phablets which are somewhere between the two.
- Screen Resolution and Density
- LDPI(low) – Screens with a resolution of 426 x 320 and above.
- MDPI(medium) – Screens with a resolution of 470 x 320 and above.
- HDPI(high) – Screens with a resolution of 960 x 720 and above.
- XHDPI(extra high) – Screens with a resolution of 960 x 720 and above.
Each one refers to a ratio between screen resolution and screen size. The bigger the screen and the smaller the resolution the less image detail you will get. Latest Android devices come with 720p, 1080p or above for resolution. This results for very crisp images. Imagine watching a full HD video on your smartphone or your tablet. Google Nexus 10.1 Tablet comes with 2560-by-1600. Unfortunately there is not much support for that resolution yet by the apps on the Play Store.
- Screen Type
- TFT LCD. Lowest quality. Only get if your on budget.
- IPS LCD. Latest generations have great contrast, colors and viewing angles. However displaying blacks still consumes energy compared to OLED screens which don’t
- AMOLED. Slightly better then IPS, being more battery efficient and offering richer colors. Mostly available in Samsung devices made of cheap plastic. Kind of a trade-off I say.
- Plastic. Usually Samsung and LG devices are made of plastic. You should be careful because it has the lowest resistance to shock and it also makes your device look cheap since it’s not a premium material. If it’s hot outside and you hold it in your hands, you will sweat a lot and loose grip.
- Poly-carbonate. Mostly used by HTC. It’s a high quality plastic also used in airplane components. It’s quite thought and gives a rubber like texture, solves the grip issue as well in hot weather.
- Kevlar. This is the stuff used to make bullet proof vest so you bet it’s resistant.
- Metal. Used by some manufactures. Resistant to drops but be careful of scratches. Also tends to block wireless signals. You know the famous death grips don’t you?
- Glass. Used in some phones like Xperia Z. Now it’s made from Gorilla Glass which is supposed to be shock and scratch resistant but I would still be very careful about it. Whatever you do glass is still glass and it’s a very unpredictable material.
- Color: This is entirely up to your tastes.
- Black and Grey. Most devices come in this color.
- White. Offer as an alternative for black. Be mindful of dirt. It is easy to notice any kind of dirt on your white phone. Much like on white clothes.
- Others such as red, green, blue. Those are just if you want to be different. Which a good number of people do.
- Android OS versions(AOSP and OEM).
- Some Chinese manufactures still pack devices with 2.1 -2.3 AOSP(no manufacture skins) versions. I wouldn’t recommend getting those since you will be stuck for life with old android versions.
- OEM Skins. Popular ones are TouchWiz for Samsung, Sense for HTC, Motoblur for Motorola and Timescape for Sony. The more heavy a customization is the more you will have to wait for an OEM update to the latest versions. Also it might never come.
- Developer support. Some manufactures like HTC and Motorola are well known for trying to prevent bootloader full unlock otherwise known as S-OFF. They might offer partial solutions but they don’t deliver the full potential. I won’t go into specifics here but with S-OFF you can flash radios without using ADB, Super CID your device(unlock carrier SIM block – careful now in USA, some people decided that unlocking your devices without carrier approval is illegal and will get you to jail. Now that is bad news.) and some others. But be warned if you’re a beginner you shouldn’t try any of this, you might end with a bricked device if something goes wrong.
- Other features
- Stylus – Useful for taking hand notes or drawing. Samsung phablets are well known to come with one included.
- Headphones. Some manufactures don’t include them anymore so if you really need ones you either have to buy them separately or just get another phone who comes with them out of the box.
- Extra batteries. Only for cheap Chinese phones. I wouldn’t bet on quality on this one.
- Dual SIM. High-end dual SIM phones are a rarity these days. Be warned that they consume more battery as well.
- Charger. Some OEM’s provide 2 separate cables, one for the charger and one for the USB connection. However some like HTC, like to provide just one cable for both and you will have to switch the cable from the charger to the PC if you want to transfer something to the phone or to the PC.
- Soft or Hardware keys( Back, Home, Tasks, Menu, Search). Since Honeycomb(Android 3.0) android comes with software keys that take up screen estate. If you think that you need all available screen estate then I would suggest going for hardware keys.
- Software features. Each manufacture would include it’s own software tweaks to give them an edge from the competition. I won’t deep into this one since there are so many of them but if you really like something in particular you should consider it when you buy.
And of course you have the brand loyalty. If a manufacturer really impressed you and you bought your previous devices from them then you will be very inclined to do so again.
I hope that today’s article will help you in the future when you decide to purchase a new android device. See you next time.