What you should consider before deciding to purchase a phone for yourself. These 10 points are a must watch while looking to buy a smartphone.

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What should I look for in a phone, when purchasing one? This question has been asked by many people all over the globe countless times. Nearly every person wanting to buy a new phone is in a state of confusion as to which phone would be the best suited for their needs, wants and expectations. Of course, we all want to make the most out of our phones, so doing a lot of research and homework is a great thing to do. Here are the top 10 aspects that every customer must consider whenever looking to buy a new phone.

Build Quality

The build quality of a phone primarily depends upon the materials used in making the phone. Cheaper phones tend to use lower grade materials for construction; Expensive ones tend to run towards giving the device looks. While cost cutting in a budget phone renders the phone prone to breakages, ornamental materials in premium phones such as ceramic and glass coating tend to make the device fragile and may break at the slightest jerk, as was found in the case of Samsung Galaxy S8.

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The Asus Zenfone 3 has a glass body, offering a good build quality and scratch resistance.

It is usually the best course of action to go for a metal or brushed metal body, as metals are quite a strong material to be used in the making and protect the internal hardware of the device as well. However, metals pose another drawback – heating. Metals are good conductors of heat and get heated up pretty fast.

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OnePlus 5 has a ceramic body, offering a good build quality.

Ceramic may be fragile but protects from heating issues. E.g. Xiaomi Mi Mix. At the same time, the glass may not dissipate heat as efficiently as others, but fares well for good looks and protects the device from scratches (which is a day to day challenge).

It is highly suggested that a thorough decision on what type build do you want the device of your choice to have.

Size & Weight

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Mediacom Phonepad R450 is a heavy phone designed for rugged use.

Until the last decade, phones used to be very small and lightweight. With the advent of High Definition and Full HD display panels, the screens have suddenly become much larger than what they used to be. Today, just the battery of the phone tends to be larger than the entire phones of the past. The weight of the devices has doubled up too; from 70-80 grams to 150-180 grams.

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Samsung Galaxy S8 Active is a heavy phone too.

Remember, having a large screen is desirable and at the same time increases the weight of the phone. No one wants to carry a cumbersome brick (that can make calls and play songs) with them in the name of a smartphone. It is highly advised looking into the weight of the phone.

Also, the size of the screen plays an important role. The size of the screen may be 5.5-inches, but the bezels make the phone 6-inches across. What’s the point of even carrying a phone that large if it can’t be kept in your pocket fitly? Choose a smaller phone if you have to, it doesn’t affect the experience.

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Weighing 174 grams, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is a very heavy phone to hold.

In case you’re an avid lover of large screens, buy a tablet instead. Not to demean the 5.5-inch screens – go for it only if you’re comfortable with large screens. Don’t get mesmerised by the large screen bait. All screen sizes work fine. Choose according to your needs and not by the peer pressure.

Processors

The heart of the smartphone. Today’s smartphones are not just smartphones. They’re basically full fledged computers in a smaller package, capable of doing every task a PC is capable of doing. In fact, smartphones today are much more capable than the computer that took us to the moon.

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In such a case, the processors of the device automatically become extremely important. There are different processors that are capable of doing different tasks to a different extent. SnapDragon is a famous microprocessor manufacturer, that designs some high quality chipsets and processors for smartphones. E.g. the SnapDragon 400 series is a relatively ‘smaller’ series of processors; the SnapDragon 600 series is capable of stronger processing than the 400 series. At the same time, the SnapDragon 800 series consists of the best possible processors across the globe. MediaTek processors are good for light to medium level processing by today’s standards.

Samsung Note 8 May Feature Snapdragon 836

Another aspect to be considered is the number of cores. While it is true that octa-core processors are faster at processing than a quad-core or a dual-core processor of the same capacity,  it is not the default parameter for judging the performance of the phone. Let’s take another example, the SnapDragon 430 is an octa-core chipset, and the SnapDragon 821 is a quad-core chipset. However, the Zenfone AR is capable of much more than the Redmi 4.

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Similar arguments would go for the graphics processor. However, the GPU doesn’t hold as much importance as the main processor. If you happen to be a gamer though, this would matter a lot. Adreno GPUs, in general fare better than Mali GPUs, however, that’s not the benchmark statement. Their working depends a lot on the main processor as well.

Deca Core Processors - All you need to know

Memory

No computer can run without some place to store data, temporarily as well as permanently. This is where the RAM and the storage come into the picture. As a general rule of thumb, more RAM tends to allow the device to process more data simultaneously. As a result, the device can perform more tasks simultaneously. More RAM is always desirable. There are exceptions to this rule too, such as the iPhone 7 with 2GB of RAM performs better multitasking than the Oppo F3 with 4GB RAM. In case of Android phones, however, the more the RAM, the merrier.

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Deciding how much RAM you need is crucial.

Another form of memory is the storage memory. In any phone, the more the storage, the better. Today’s standards revolve around 32GB internal storage. The best is 64GB though. This much memory is enough to store movies, songs, applications and all sorts of documents possible without feeling the need of external memory cards. Of course, having a slot for expanding storage is a perk, never miss that out.

Camera

The camera today is the most attractive feature of any phone. Almost every other manufacturer tries to install the best possible cameras in their devices so that they attract the attention of customers. Oppo and Vivo market their phones based on the cameras they install on their devices. Oppo F3 Plus, Vivo V5 etc. are just a few examples. But not just these companies, all companies want the best cameras in their devices. Apple surprised last year with the iPhone 7 Plus, by bringing dual-cameras in their devices. This has sent a chain reaction, and every other phone maker now wants to put up dual cameras on their phones.

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The Galaxy S8 has a 12MP PDAF camera with 4-axis OIS and an f/1.7 lens.

One thing to note while judging the camera is that while the megapixels do make a difference, they don’t make all the difference. There are other factors, such as the sensor,  lens aperture (the smaller the denominator, the better). Take a look at camera samples online posted by people before deciding which camera is the best.

Security Features

Image appears to be brokenAs people are getting more and more smartphone literate, they have begun storing more and more sensitive data on their phones. This has inclined the companies to put better security features on their phones. After pattern lock, fingerprint scanner latest entry is the iris scanner. Samsung implemented it last year in the Galaxy Note 7. Though the phone did not run, Galaxy S8 has the technology. As more and more bio-metric sensors are being implemented, phones are getting more and more secure.

Image appears to be brokenAlways look for the best security parameters in the phone. Keep it in your mind that a bio-metric sensor is not the ultimate security for your phone. There are other ways to steal your data too. Ask for the online security certificates and digital signatures as well. They form a part of device’s security that’s usually not even considered. In Android devices, your phone’s certificates can be found in Settings>>About Device.

Multimedia Compatibility

Image appears to be brokenHaving a secure phone is a good thing, but what good is it if it can’t play movies and songs properly? Here comes another aspect that you should look for in your phone – multimedia compatibility. This is important not only from the entertainment perspective but also from work perspective. A phone that doesn’t support a particular format of video might ruin that presentation you prepared with so much hard work.

Always look for audio and video support for all popular formats such as AVI, WMV, MP4, FLV, MOV, SWF etc. for video and MP3, AAC, MIDI, WAV, WMA, AIFF etc. If your phone supports all these formats, the device passes this test.

Battery & Charging

The battery of a phone is the powerhouse of the device. The more the capacity, the better it is. However, batteries have a notoriety for being heavy. Especially the Li-ion and Li-Po types. These batteries add up a lot of weight to the device. If you have a phone with removable battery, you can try this out. Just remove the battery and notice the difference; your phone would feel much lighter without the battery.

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iPhone comes with a lighting charger

Given today’s standards, a phone with 3000mAh battery should be enough to last through the day. But if you travel frequently, then you should probably consider looking through the list of phones with 4000mAh batteries.

Also Read: OnePlus 3T Dash Charging vs Other Phones

Another aspect is the charging of the phone. Many latest processors support a technology called the quick charge technology. Many companies like OnePlus, Qualcomm, MediaTek etc. are trying to implement this in their phones by putting in the fast charging technology to charge the phones pretty quickly so that the user doesn’t have to sit beside the wall for long. With quick charging possible, you can get the entire day’s charge in a matter of minutes.

Additional Miscellaneous Features

This part is by far the place where every company tries to outsmart the competition. For example, Samsung J3 Pro comes with an S-bike mode – this has been designed for the users who ride a two-wheeler frequently and is similar to the driving mode. Similarly, The Nokia 8 has the ‘OZO’ audio recording technology and can use front and rear cameras simultaneously.

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Nokia ‘OZO’ wishes to revolutionize the audio recording experience.

Look for other such features that are present in the device you’ve laid your eyes on. Don’t fall prey to senseless marketing though. Many features are present in every phone, so it may or may not be a unique thing. Also, take a look at the utility factor. Most of it is added by sensors that are installed on the phone. Apart from the fingerprint sensor, there are many other sensors such as proximity sensor, hall sensor, ambient light sensor, tachometer, a digital compass, gyroscope, etc. The more sensors your phone has, the better it is for the phone to produce accurate results. E.g. a tachometer and a compass are essential for the phone’s GPS to precisely measure your location. Even though the GPS can still track you without them, but the accuracy produced will be lower.

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Wondered why the phone’s screen automatically turns off when you take it close to your ears during calls?

Look for what’s unique about the phone and decide whether or not it will be useful for you. Running behind a phone full of fancy features that would never be used may not be the wisest choice.

Price

The price is the last and the most important thing about purchases. It is not an underrated aspect, neither should it be. We are all concerned about the money that we’ll be needing to churn out of our pockets.

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To come to the point, the top most phones in the market with the best features and specifications are found sitting the range of 3000 AED. This includes the iPhone 7 Plus, Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel, etc. Though they boast of the best features in the world, including great battery, processor, camera etc. their prices are equally great. If budget is not an issue for you, consider buying one of these phones. However, to get most of the work done in your day to day life, flagships are not necessary. Phones costing as low as 1500 AED are good too. Though they don’t have the best processors, and greatest of the cameras, they are still very good and totally worth the money. In case you choose to be thrifty and don’t wish to spend too much, you can still find a decent phone within 1000 AED. These phones are not the best in class and are best for the people who just want a smartphone to stay connected to the world and not for playing games, watching movies, take super cool photos etc.

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The iPhone is one of the most expensive phones in UAE.

Basically, there’s a phone for every budget. As you increase your budget, your features and phone’s performance keeps getting better.

Summary

To summarise, the best of the phones have the best of the features, the best quality on both physical and hardware level. At the same time, what’s the best of the phones may not necessarily be the best for you. Consider it analogous to Bugatti Veyron and Toyota Corolla. The Bugatti may be the world’s fastest car and may be powered by the best engine in the world, yet the Toyota sells far better than Bugatti. Reason? Durability, affordability, mileage, cost etc.

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It is always highly recommended that you record all these ten features, and make a list of what you’d be willing to settle down for. Once you’ve decided that, you can narrow down your search. If you get confused, our comparison page will help you compare phones side by side right away.