If you’ve been thinking of buying a new smartphone, you’ll obviously want to get the best one possible for your money. We’ve rounded up the six features that we think make the biggest impact on your smartphone user experience so you can decide what to spend on and where to save your money. Armed with this list of features, you’ll be able to cut through the cell phone jargon to find a phone that feels fast, responsive, and fun to use — and most importantly, will be the right phone for you.
1. Satisfying screen quality
No matter which smartphone you buy, the quality of your phone’s screen is probably going to be what makes its first impression. There are two important factors to look for when it comes to screens. First, check the pixel density, which is how many dots per square inch of screen real estate. The higher the number of pixels, the clearer the images and the better the screen. Apple’s Retina display technology gives the iPhone 4 and 4S one of the highest pixel densities available of any smartphone on the market.
Second, assess the screen for brightness and saturation. Phones can have a lot of pixels but still not be very bright or have terrible viewing angles (where unless you’re looking at your phone straight on, colors can appear washed out and text is hard to read). Samsung’s Super Amoled technology (also available in a number of phones not manufactured by Samsung) produces some of the brightest phone screens around, with rich colors, dark blacks, and excellent viewing angles.
Whether you favor Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Symbian, or Windows Phone 7 operating systems, we here at Tecca think that finding a system that fits your specific needs is one of the most important parts of choosing a smartphone. When weighing phone choices, it’s worth reading operating system reviews to see which offers the apps and features that you’ll most frequently use and will integrate into your life and work with the least fuss.
It’s also important to make sure that your OS won’t get left behind. Find out if the particular smartphone you’re interested in ships with the latest OS or is likely to get an upgrade soon; if it’s not, then it might be worth saving up a bit more to get the most up-to-date user experience possible.
Along with excellent screen quality, battery life is another core priority when you’re shopping for a new smartphone. All of the new and exciting features available on smartphones are great, but they can chew through battery life faster than you might like. A smartphone’s battery life is usually listed in the product specification information on the carriers’ website. User reviews can also let you know if you’re about to buy a phone that will send three tweets and be exhausted by lunchtime.
On the plus side, battery life is being improved all of the time. For example, Motorola just reissued its refreshed Droid Razr phone as the Droid Razr Maxx, with a new battery designed to last even longer.
4. RAM that’s up to the task
RAM is essentially how much “thinking space” your smartphone has; if your smartphone has lots of RAM, then it will be able to run better games and more complicated apps, and it will be able to multitask more efficiently without any lag or force closes. Not having enough RAM is one of the main reasons why smartphones can feel slow and sluggish and provide a frustrating user experience. We’d recommend looking for at least 512MB of RAM, and 1GB is fast becoming the norm for newer phones.