How do you choose a good smartphone?

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This is another popular question I get from friends, family and colleagues : “What smartphone is good?

Perhaps some of you reading this also share similar question, so I figured, I should share my tips on selecting a good smartphone.

Bukanlah nak cakap saya terror or what, but maybe what I’m sharing here would guide you, one way or another. Either way, you are free to disagree with me.

THE MOST IMPORTANT THING ABOUT A SMARTPHONE

To me, branding means nothing, and any smartphone which is worth over RM2,000 is overpriced, unless it’s given for free, in which I will say “Lucky You!”.

Well, if you know a bit about tech and smartphones like I do, you’d hardly be coaxed into sales pitches and adverts that say ‘more expensive is better’, ‘this brand is better than that brand’, and ‘smartphones with top specifications are best’, because most of those statements are utterly bull.

THE 3 OVERRATED THINGS 

Often, smartphone users look at camera pixels, the phone processors and the looks of the phone to determine if it’s worth a purchase. I think these three things are overrated and unnecessary to the decision making.

Camera pixels. Hmmph.  Honestly, if you really wanted to take lovely photos, you’d get a DSLR. If you want to share pretty photos online, a mere 8MPx is adequate. Also, many people do not know that bigger pixel means the need for bigger storage space to keep them, escalating the phone price.

If you really want to take good photos, a DSLR would work better. Photo: Pixabay

As for processors, older processors have been tested more, and therefore are more stable to use. This is despite whatever claim that say newer processors perform better.  I’ve had my own experience on this, and I can tell you newer processors aren’t always great.

In fact, you won’t feel the difference in your processor speed, until you play some heavy duty game on your phone, which is unlikely. If your phone is largely for work, any type of processor in the past year or so would be great enough. Maok main game? Buy a PS4.

You bought a beautiful smartphone, but then you cover it with some cheap/expensive case. What’s the point? Photo: Pixabay

Now, the design of the phone. I own a Xiaomi Mi Note, and it’s really pretty on the eye and shinny.  It has this ceramic glass that curves nicely but all these beauty is hidden by a hideous cover I was forced to sue a cover because the smooth ceramic back meant the phone could slide easily, even with the slightest of slope. My phone has a few cracks, and dents on the slide because I tried not using a case for a couple of days! That said, what’s the point of paying so much for looks when all you do is hide it? Tell me….

WHAT REALLY MATTERS

Four things are most important when deciding on a smartphone, which the size of the RAM, the size (and weight) of the phone, and the size of the storage, and most importantly, the battery life – because a smartphone without juice is useless.

The difference in RAM is very noticeable as the bigger the RAM, the faster your phone can process information and multitask. Nowadays, 2GB RAM is standard, but if you could get a smartphone with faster RAM speeds, go for it!

What’s inside the smartphone matters most. Photo: Pixabay

The size and weight of the phone is important because a smartphone is something you’d be holding almost daily, likely with one hand. A smartphone that is too heavy and too big can be uncomfortable to use, and it is also bad for your wrist.

Storage space in a smartphone is never underrated. The bigger the better. Nowadays, 32GB of storage space is considered minimum, so do opt for a bigger sized one. Also, try getting a phone without those nifty micro-SD expandable slots because most of the time, these slots don’t save your data, but rather cause them to crash. I’ve had my share of lost data, and hence why I never go for smartphones with such slots nowadays.

Last but not least, the battery life of the phone, which I can’t help say enough; A smartphone without juice is nothing more than a lovely useless rectangle.

SO THE BEST SMARTPHONE?

I prefer Android smartphones to Apple, and so when I’m typing this, pardon me for recommending only Android based smartphones.

If I had RM2,000 in my pocket for a smartphone, I’d go for these brands :Xiaomi, One Plus, Huawei and likely Vivo. Asus also sneaks in a bit, but their lower end phones are not my taste.

Xiaomi, known as Mi are still my preferred smartphones. Photo: Pixabay

Xiaomi however tops my choice because their Android version, the MIUI, comes natural to their devices, and they aren’t exactly that expensive for starters though their newer smartphones, like the Mi Mix, is ridiculously expensive. Their smartphones are also generous in terms of specifications, notably the RAM and storage.

Other brands like Sony, Samsung, HTC are premium brands that are extremely high in priced, and even their mid-range smartphones are way more expensive in price, compared to the flagship phones sold by the brands I mentioned above as my preference.

WHAT ABOUT iPHONES?

iPhones are generally above RM2,000 in pricing, and their exclusivity makes them less desirable to me.  I used an iPhone before, and disliked how ‘exclusive’ they were when I needed to transfer files or communicate between devices.

An Apple environment consist of a Mac, iPhone and iPad. – Photo: Pixabay

Another thing I disliked was the updates, which could take forever.

But of course, iPhone does have its fans base, and that’s key to why they keep getting buzz and sales.

The only way I’d use an iPhone is if it was offered to me for free, with a contract stating I need to use it, and if I started changing my tech environment to Apple.  This bods well with their need to sell a lifestyle, instead of a device.

SO HOW DO I GET SMARTPHONES CHEAP IN MALAYSIA?

I’d still ask you to stick to a smartphone below RM2,000 to be honest, because whenever I buy something, I’d actually deduct the price by 365, which equals the number of days a year when I use the smartphone.

Usually, on average, a smartphone (or computer) would last for three years before you need to upgrade to a newer one. It is either that, of you’re just itching to upgrade.

That means, you will have some 1,095 days to use the smartphone hence meaning that you will be paying RM1.83 a day for 3 years, if your smartphone cost RM2,000. – That’s the price of one Teh Tarik Peng drink in Kuching.

Teh Tarik Peng cost around RM1.80. Photo: CyrilDason

RM1.83 is still hefty if you ask me, so I’d advice you to look into telco smartphone packages telcos tend to offer as Malaysian telcos will reduce smartphone pricing a lot, provided you sign up with a contract of either 12 or 24 months.

If you choose the right telco based on what I said previously, the period of the contract should be over in no time for you, but if you choose blindly and just focused on the smartphone pricing, be prepared to suffer. =P

Alternatively, you can go to Lazada to check out smartphone prices on offer as prices at the site can sometimes be very competitive, even with courier charges.

Anyway, these are my tips on choosing a good smartphone. If you have something to add or dismiss, by all means, the comment section is yours to use.

Cheers!

p/s: Check out my travel blog, KUCHINGBORNEO bah.. sapport bah..

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