So you have finally decided to buy an Android phone. First of all, congrats. Not only is it an amazing operating system, but you will have literally hundreds of phones from different manufacturers to choose from. But with so many choices, which is the best phone to fit your needs? What do you need to look for and think about for when purchasing an Android device, and how do you know which one will work best for what you need it for? There are SO many factors to consider, and to help out with your decision, I have put together 5 important things you should think about (that will hopefully make it a bit easier) when picking out your first (or your next) Android phone.
1. What do you want to use your phone for the most?
This is something that many people don’t consider before buying, and it’s actually one of the first things you should think about. Will you be using your phone mostly for calling and checking emails, or will you also be using it for playing games, watching films, or reading books? Do you want to possibly root your phone and tinker with it later (as you might have heard that you can do that with Android phones), or is taking photos with your phone camera a priority? Are you looking for something high end, or is a low budget phone enough for you? Does the size of the phone matter to you? What about web browsing?
All of these things are important to consider when buying a phone. If you like watching movies and web surfing on the go, a phone with a bigger screen like the Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy S3, or HTC One X (or the Galaxy Note) would make sense. The big screen would also be useful for reading books. If you are looking for a phone to root, hack, and mod, then Nexus phones will be your best bet, as they are generally easier to root and mod (most Samsung devices are in general very easy to root). You can find out more about rooting here.
If taking photos is your thing, the HTC One S has an insanely good camera for the price (Sony phones are also known for having great cameras). If playing games is your thing, get a phone with beefy specs like the HTC One X, Samsung Galaxy S3, or LG Optimus 4X HD. If you want a phone with a pull out keyboard, Motorola is probably your best shot. If you need crazy data speeds and 4G capability, you’ll need to purchase a device that’s LTE capable.
Keep these things in mind before making your purchase, as they can greatly impact how much you will like your device in the long term.
2. Battery life
If you’re looking for a phone that gets insanely good battery life, keep in mind a few things first: In many cases (not all) the bigger and badder the screen is, the more your battery is going to suffer. It’s not just about how big and badass the screen is though, as what TYPE of screen the phone has can make a huge difference (more on the different types of screens here). If you like having a phone with beefy specs, you can also expect those 4 processors in high end phones to suck your battery life away pretty quick when having your gaming sessions. Have a look at the "size" of the battery too, as not all phones ship with the same size battery. The bigger the "mah" value, the bigger your battery is.
If you’re an extreme mountain biker or a really out-doorsy type of person, then you need a phone that’s rugged and can take a fall. You should consider a phone with a gorilla glass display (the salesman at your shop should be able to tell you which phones have this display. If he can’t, get your phone somewhere else). Samsung phones tend to have more of a plastic feel to them, and aren’t the toughest phones in the world in terms of casing and material. HTC phones have a more sturdy and premium feel in the hands, and I can tell you that my old HTC Sensation survived more than a few very hard drops.
Get a few different phones in your hands to see how they feel before buying them, as there really are big differences in how each Android manufacturer designs their phones.
If you want to purchase a phone that will get the newest and best Android updates quickly, then the obvious choice is a Nexus phone. Regardless of the manufacturer, the Nexus device always gets updates directly from Google first. Nexus devices don’t include any custom apps/skins from manufacturers, and offer a pure Google experience. Because of this, they can receive updates months before other phones do. There is generally one new Nexus device released per year (this year might be different), so keep your eye out for these if updates (and rooting/hacking) are important to you.
Remember that the older the phone is, the less likely it is to receive updates. Also remember that some OEMs are better/more reliable at providing updates than others. Most Android phones still ship with Android Gingerbread, although both Android Ice Cream Sandwich and Android Jelly Bean are out. Ideally, if updates are important for you, don't buy a phone with an older version than Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (Jelly Bean 4.1 is the newest version in case any first timers are wondering).
5. Popularity & Cost
(Yeah I know..that amounts to 6 things, not 5 :-D) Some people (lots of iPhone users) simply want to have the coolest, most popular phone out there. If they see lots of other people with it, nothing else matters (silly, but some consumers are really like that). If popularity is your thing, then you’ll want to have a look at the Samsung Galaxy S3, Galaxy S2, HTC One S, HTC One X, HTC Sensation, HTC Rezound, HTC MyTouch 4G, and Motorola Droid Razr Maxx.
If you’re looking for a phone on a budget, check out the HTC Desire C, Sony Xperia Sola, HTC Cha Cha, or Samsung Galaxy Mini 2 (just a few suggestions. There are MANY others).
The suggestions I wrote here are just a few to consider from many, so be sure to find the phone that YOU like the most. I didn’t go into more details on “which phone is best for what” as there are simply too many choices. If you’re looking for a high end device, remember that you will end up spending a lot of money on this phone. So choose wisely, do some research, and spend some time with a few different phones before buying. If you’re looking for a phone for reading or taking pictures, try out the camera and reading documents on it before buying it. If you want to go with a cheaper phone, be sure that you get the most out of your money by trying out the phone for a few minutes to see how well it performs before buying.
And ask lots of questions to the salesman before buying. If he can’t answer them, go to another store and find someone competent!
Picture credits: www.androidpress.com