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Interested in a top smartphone? First decision is choice of operating systems. Should you buy an iOS (Apple) phone or an Android (non-Apple) smartphone?
The advantages of iOS is integration with other Apple products such as iPads and MacBooks. For example, your AppleID allows you to iMessage or FaceTime from other Apple products seamlessly. Apple’s ecosystem is a closed one and makes this possible. Security is generally better in an enclosed ecosystem.
The advantage of Android is it is more customizable than iOS since it is not operating in an enclosed ecosystem. Tools are available to modify phone controls, for example. Android supports a wider array of phones while iOS are limited only Apple models. Android phones are generally less expensive than Apples.
Android is a Google operating system, so it runs Google native applications, i.e., gmail, Google maps, Chrome, etc. With Android phones, because it is not an enclosed ecosystem, manufacturers can layer on their own software to phones.
This may be good or bad, depending on what it does. For example, if the incremental software provides a proprietary feature, it can be a positive user experience. However, if it slows down your phone or overrides your phone from other applications, it could be frustrating.
It cannot be said that one operating system is necessarily better than the other.
Make and Model
Next, determine the make and model you want.
Some people are early adopters and are willing to pay top dollars and sleep on the sidewalk to get first dips on the latest products. No judgment here if you are an early adopter. You are the risk-takers for consumers.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, late adopters will be skeptical of anything new and prefer to save money and spend on only what is essential. Nothing wrong with not wanting to deal with over-technology.
There are happy mediums in between the two extremes. Usually, there is a great, reliable phone from a slightly older generation with all the features you want or need at a great price, new. Better than buying a used car that is only a couple of years old, if you use that analogy, because we are talking about a new phone, not a refurbished one.
When considering the make and model, ask yourself, is it really worth the price? Is having the latest camera going to make that big of a difference in the quality of your photos? Is having 13 hours of battery life going to matter versus 12 hours?
How can you predict how fast a battery degrades and loses its ability to fully hold its charge? That is not dependent upon the battery itself. It also depends on how the phone will be used. It depends on whether your method of charging has protection against power surges. Would you have protection against power surges if you charge primarily in your car? It could depend on if you accidentally left your phone lying in the hot sun, degrading the battery with excess heat. Bottom line is there are so many unpredictable factors that can affect how a 12 hour battery life will end up versus a 13 hour battery life. You may end up finding it didn’t matter anyway.
The size of the phone is also a consideration. Do you really want to lug around something that resembles a mini-iPad? Will that fit into your back or side pocket? You are more likely to drop a larger device when using one hand. On the flip side, not being able to read a tiny screen is also an annoyance.
Storage space is also important depending on planned usage.
Make reasonable decisions based on your needs and the value you are paying for.
Choice of carrier will also affect your decision. Some carriers subsidize phones, so your choice is limited to their offerings. The trade-off is a lower price. Others allow unlocked phones where you can buy or bring in your own phone to use on their networks. A sim chip change is all you really need to connect to their network.
However, be sure to check the carrier’s website to see if the make and model of your phone is compatible with their network. Some older phones may be obsolete.
Unlocked smartphones will cost more than locked phones. Do not let the cost of the phone sway your decision. The quality of the carrier’s network is important.
You would be surprised that some of the non-major carriers have really good quality networks, some even better than the major carriers.
They may also offer a less expensive plan which will offset the price of an unlocked phone. Always consider your total cost.
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