CHARLOTTE, NC – In today’s competitive market, it can be difficult to decide which smartphone is right for you. 4G, dual-core, Android, iPhone… the decisions are almost limitless. Unfortunately, every consumer has individual needs and a new smartphone is a very personal buying decision. However, it is possible to objectively compare various devices in the hopes that it will help consumers narrow down their choices.
The first deciding factor should be the phone carrier. If you are on a particular carrier, you should probably stay there, unless you are particularly unhappy with the carrier itself, rather than the phone you are using. These days, only highly detailed technical differences separate the capabilities of most phones on the four major carriers. Unless there is a device you just have to have on another network, stay put.
4G versus 3G is becoming a larger debate. Though 4G is the way of the future and is highly recommended, most 3G phones will easily hold up over the next two years, so it shouldn’t be a deciding factor unless you know you *need* a faster network due to your data response demands. Most people don’t actually need 4G speeds.
Multi-core CPU’s are on the rise. A good single-core will out run a dual-core in many real world examples since most apps are not optimized for dual-core use. However, app development and phone OS updates can happen at a very high rate. Single core phones will likely become obsolete in the next year or two, so this is a fairly strong deciding factor for most consumers.
Memory has long been known as a bottleneck in the home PC and your phone is no different. Simply put, more is better. There are different kinds and speeds of memory, but more is better. Most high-end phones will be released with DDR2 or even DDR3 memory, so don’t worry about the kind, just the quantity. Set 1Gb as the gold standard, though it may be hard to find for now.
Operating systems make a huge difference and are the number one deciding factor after carrier choice for most consumers. Android, Blackberry, iOS, WebOS, WP7 – the list goes on. Currently, Android is the best-selling, while iOS is usually the best reviewed. Blackberry, though improving as an OS, is on a sales decline. WebOS and WP7 are more niche and usually appeal to consumers looking for a very particular experience, usually based on brand loyalty.
So, assuming you’ve already decided on your carrier and your OS, what’s the ideal phone specification? Here’s the dream, as it currently stands:
- CPU: 1Ghz or faster, two or more cores
- Memory: 1Gb DDR2 (1.5Gb for three cores)
- Screen: 4” minimum (look for Gorilla Glass)
- Resolution: 540 x 960
- Output: 1080p HDMI, all/full screen to output, DLNA
- Camera: 8 megapixel back (3D optional), 1.3 megapixel front
- Accessories: full function dock, Bluetooth 3.0, full sensor pack
- 3G/4G: LTE 4G
- Wireless: Wireless-N (should include at least G, also)
- Lensless 3D display: completely optional over the next two years (lensless means no glasses and no lenticular screening)
Once you’ve found the perfect smartphone for you, with all the bells and whistles, you should seriously consider a back-up phone. An inexpensive, used flip-phone from eBay will serve you well. Most carriers allow fast switching between phones on the same number, so you can easily use your back-up phone if/when your fancy smartphone bites the electronic dust. If there’s one thing an old flip-phone can do better than any smartphone today, it’s make an actual phone call.
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