How to Choose an Android Smartphone: Top 6 Criteria in 2022
Choosing a smartphone is hard, as there are too many offers on the market. So to avoid troubles and select the best device, pay attention to these criteria.
The display must be high-quality. After all, we look at it for several hours a day. When choosing a smartphone, you need to pay attention to the type of matrix, resolution, brightness level, frequency and diagonal.
Most modern gadgets use two types of displays – IPS and OLED. To put it simply, the main difference between them is the way they glow. OLED panels consist of microscopic LEDs, each of which emits light independently. Such displays do not need additional illumination, because each point on the screen is a tiny “flashlight”, changing brightness and hue. When black is displayed, the LEDs simply turn off, so the screen looks more contrasty and saves battery power.
IPS matrices use an external backlight, which greatly simplifies the production of such screens. The final picture has a natural color rendering, but the contrast and black depth are much inferior to OLED.
The OLED matrix picture looks richer and more saturated than the IPS – due to increased brightness and contrast. Modern games, films and even photos look impressive on such screens. OLED technology also attracts with almost 100% viewing angles and no problems with backlight uniformity.
You cannot select a type of matrix in a particular smartphone yourself, as the display depends on the model. The vast majority of budget models get IPS matrices, and smartphones of the middle and high price segment are equipped with OLED screens.
Despite its technological superiority over IPS, OLED panels have a number of disadvantages. For example, OLED instantly goes blind in the sun. Under direct sunlight, it’s difficult to make out anything on the screen. Besides, OLED matrixes can burn out with time, but with modern models, it happens rarely.
Moreover, people with sensitive eyesight may encounter unpleasant feelings: an OLED screen begins to flicker at low brightness. This happens because of the pulse width modulation, which regulates the brightness of the LEDs.
The display refresh rate indicates how smooth the picture can be. It is measured in Hertz – the higher the value, the more often the screen is refreshed.
The standard indicator, which has long been used in smartphones, is 60 Hz. Now there are two more types on the market: 90 Hz and 120 Hz.
A higher frequency increases the smoothness of the interface – small jerks and slowness disappear. However, there is a downside: high frequency drains the battery faster.
To save battery, many developers put adaptive mode: the screen adjusts to the type of displayed content and changes the sweep in the range from 10 to 120 Hz.
Resolution indicates the number of pixels across the width and height of the matrix. The higher the screen resolution, the higher the quality of the content the phone can play.
The most popular choices are HD+ (1600 × 720) and Full HD+ (2400 × 1080). In the top models, the resolution can be even higher: for example, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with a WQHD+ (3,200 × 1,440) display.
Smartphones with HD screens are usually inexpensive and suitable for those who do not need to play videos in the highest resolution. So the best option now is Full HD+.
The processor is the brain of the device, and its quality determines not only performance, but also many other functions, from signal reception quality to GPS performance.
There are many chip manufacturers: Qualcomm, MediaTek, Unisoc, and gadget manufacturers themselves, such as Samsung, Huawei, and even Google make their own processors.
In stores, often they write about the number of cores and the frequency. Both of these characteristics can say almost nothing about the speed of the device: the rule “The more cores, the better” practically doesn’t work here.
Two different smartphones can have seemingly similar eight-core processors with comparable frequencies. At the same time, one gadget can have eight weak cores, and the other can have four powerful and four weak cores. The performance will vary greatly, not in favor of the first model.
Understanding the technical nuances of the processors is difficult: you need to know the peculiarities of the process flow, the video gas pedal and so on. But the performance of the smartphone depends not only on the processor, but also on other parameters – the characteristics of memory and system optimization.
So, to make it easier to assess the speed of the gadget, use special benchmarks. They evaluate the device’s hardware and give the result in points.
If you want to know the performance of a smartphone, it is enough to open any review on the Internet, scroll to the section about performance and see the results of the tests. The most popular option, used by most tech reviewers and geeks, is AnTuTu Benchmark.
On its own, the result of the test provides little information. But if you compare several models, you will be able to understand which gadget is faster.
A high-quality mobile camera is not only hundreds of megapixels, but also the smart software that processes the pictures. Two devices with the same set of lenses can produce different results.
Most modern devices have multiple cameras at once:
- Wide-angle – the standard all-purpose sensor you need for everyday shooting.
- Ultra-wide-angle – takes photos with a viewing angle of about 120 degrees. It is convenient for taking pictures of large objects that do not fit into the normal lens.
- Depth of field module is for taking portrait pictures.
- Macro module – for taking pictures of small objects close up.
In smartphones, there are also telephoto lenses for taking pictures of distant objects – with 2, 3 and 5-fold zoom. Modules with an optical zoom used to be popular, but now they are displaced by cheaper variants with hybrid sensors. Instead of the “real” zoom, the camera takes a big picture at 64 or 108 megapixels and crops it, creating a zoom with an insignificant drop in quality.
Built-in memory is storage for games, photos, software, and everything else. According to my observations, the lack of built-in memory is among the top reasons to switch smartphones. Apps are constantly growing in size. Messengers, social networks, even a real money online casino Canada, and other software save temporary files – the cache. Not to mention photos, videos, music and heavy games.
If possible, it’s best to opt for models with more roomy storage – to spare. Even if you think you have enough memory now, in a few years it will seem that there is not enough.
The optimal size is 64GB or 128GB. 64 GB is better to consider if the memory can be expanded with a microSD card, but not all modern models have a slot for it.
RAM is where all the temporary data used by the operating system is stored. The more RAM there is, the more programs can run without interfering with each other.
In Android, a huge number of processes are hidden from the user’s eyes: the system synchronizes data in the background, checks the weather, monitors notifications, and so on.
If your smartphone has 2-3 gigabytes of RAM, you will not be able to use it comfortably: you should try to play music and, for example, put an application on update from Google Play simultaneously – and the device will start to slow down.
For a modern smartphone, the minimum comfortable amount of RAM is 4 GB. Choose devices with 6 or more gigabytes of RAM. The more the better.
Battery capacity is measured in milliampere hours – mAh. The higher the value, the longer the smartphone can last, all other things being equal. But the longevity of the phone’s battery depends not only on the battery capacity. The energy efficiency of the processor, the type of screen, the quality of the system, and much more also play a role.
Quick Charge support can be a nice bonus. This means that the smartphone supports charging with increased power. It’s measured in watts – the higher the indicator, the faster the device battery charges.