How to choose an Android smartphone

There’s nothing easier than choosing a smartphone these days. Yes, we have a lot of choice, but manufacturers already tell us and show us what to buy. Nevertheless, we are often asked what to buy so we don’t get disappointed. Often such questions come from those who have only used iPhones but decided to try an Android phone. When choosing, there are a few points to pay attention to, so you don’t aimlessly spend money. If you have something to add to this article, you can do so in the comments. Let’s try to make the world easier and help those who want to start using an Android phone or just want to buy their first smartphone.

When choosing an Android smartphone, you need to know what to look for.
When choosing an Android smartphone, you need to know what to look for.


What to pay attention to when choosing a smartphone

I remember buying my first Android smartphone and choosing for a long time. I’d look at pictures, compare the specs and think about what to choose. Now you have to start by thinking about the price. At one price, the quality will be about the same, but some phones will ultimately be superior to others.


Smartphone appearance

Smartphone appearance is more important than it looks. For example, a light body will be much less sturdy in your hands. The days when everything that wasn’t black was “for girls” are over and people are buying the smartphone color they just like. The bonus of a light or bright smartphone is how easy it will be to find in the dark, especially in a bag.

All the more reason to keep it in a bag anyway. Don’t worry if a bright smartphone will be harder to sell, in lesser markets, smartphone color doesn’t matter.

Also pay attention to plastic frames as these may scratch. Usually, if they are gray, paint can come off a budget device. In black, scratches are usually invisible.

Even on expensive devices, scratches appear, and on budget and even more so
Even on expensive devices, scratches appear, and on budget and even more so

Everything else in appearance is a matter of taste. It’s really worth paying attention to the above points. Other than that, just choose a design you like.


Smartphone case materials

Don’t believe it when they tell you a plastic case is stronger. It will only be stronger if you drop it, because it’s more flexible than glass, so it’s less likely to break.

The plastic is not resistant to scratches. The slightest contact with keys or coins in your pocket will leave a trace, not to mention abrasions from daily use.

A glass cases in your hands is also more pleasant. It’s true that in the cold glass cases can be more slippery than plastic ones but you can feel the metal frame more pleasantly in your hands. As a rule, however, glass cases are only found in flagship phones. Exceptions are rare.


Smartphone performance

It makes no sense to pay much attention to the processor. If you’re on a budget then the difference is usually very small. Processor features can be determined by the results of performance tests and each model can be easily found on the Internet by simply searching for “performance test (smartphone name)”.

In any smartphone except the cheapest, there’s more than enough performance for daily use. Better processors are used for high-performance games and demanding applications. If you’re not using these kinds of apps then don’t worry too much about the processor. Although, it should be noted it is better to buy a smartphone that uses Snapdragon. Other types of processors are inferior.

If you want to play, you need a powerful smartphone
If you want to play, you need a powerful smartphone

The amount of RAM is more important. Android features mean rarely will you use a lot of RAM, still, it’s better to focus on models that have at least 6 GB. The minimum is 4 GB. You will definitely feel the difference between 4 and 6 GB of RAM. On the other hand, choosing a model with 12 GB doesn’t make much sense either, especially if you’re going to pay a lot extra for it.

Everybody is swayed by built-in memory, but remember that the higher the resolution of the camera, the more space photos will take up and the system itself takes at least 10 GB. That means you only have a third of your 32 GB left. I think 64 GB of internal memory is sufficient.


Smartphone screen

The main screen types in modern smartphones are only two – IPS and OLED, also known as AMOLED and similar. The main difference is IPS uses external backlighting, while OLED consists of millions of small “flashlights” that shine in your face.

The result is OLED has a very deep black color because pixels don’t work physically. The downside is these screens can sometimes burn out. If you use it, for example, as a navigator, an imprint of symbols will burn on the screen and stay like that for a long time. This is often the case with smartphones bought from display as the screen will have been on for months on end.

The image on the IPS screen looks less contrasting but softer. This type of screen is safer for the eyes, according to many experts.

The colors on the OLED screen will be more saturated and vivid. Sometimes even too much
The colors on the OLED screen will be more saturated and vivid. Sometimes even too much


The protective glass is responsible for the safety of the screen itself, where the most durable is Gorilla Glass 6. It can only be scratched with fine sand or special tools.

There are also two other things to consider when choosing a screen. First, the resolution. If you see “HD” or “HD+”, it means there will be 720 pixels on the narrow side of the screen. At “FHD”, “FHD+”, “FullHD”, “Full HD+” the value will be 1,080 pixels. Pixels on the wide side can be calculated from the aspect ratio. At 16:9 ratio it will be 1,920 and at 18:9 it will be 2,160 and so on.

FHD resolution will be sufficient for a smartphone screen up to 5.5 inches. You’ll hardly see the difference between FHD and 4K, but in a simple HD you’d be able to see larger pixels. Simply put, the bigger the screen the more resolution you need.

The refresh rate, which started to rise at the end of last year, is a more important indicator. The bigger the refresh rate the clearer the picture will be when you change the image. 90Hz is good but 120Hz is better. Only expensive smartphones can offer this, though, and don’t confuse screen speed (the number of frames per second) with sensor speed (the number of touch readings per second).


Smartphone camera

Perhaps the camera is the most important thing users pay attention to before buying a smartphone. Manufacturers understand this and place great emphasis on camera quality and the number of features.

It may seem that the higher the resolution of the camera, the better images it takes, but this is not always the case. All the more reason for some manufacturers to be sly in how they create their cameras. They cite great importance but state the resolution of the final picture, not the resolution of the sensor, will be taken after piecing together several images.

First of all, you should pay attention not to the resolution, but to sensor size, as the physical size of each pixel will be larger. This will have a positive effect on image quality. A resolution of 12 megapixels is good enough for a decent picture, especially if the sensor is at least 1/3 inch. Flagships usually have 1/1.7 inches. The only thing you can’t change is the protruding camera.

The camera in the smartphone is very important
The camera in the smartphone is very important

Optional features allow you to shoot with zoom in or out and creating a blurred background when shooting in portrait mode. In either case, you should search the Internet for sample photos before buying, as different models may produce different photos with the same sensor. This is because the sensors are made by several companies and sold to all manufacturers, where each manufacturer “writes” the processing tools themselves, so the quality can vary greatly between smartphones.


Operating system

There’s not much to say about operating systems. All there really is to know is that the newer the smartphone, the more likely it is to have the latest version of Android. So if you buy an Android 10 smartphone when Android 11 comes out at the end of the year, you’re phone will probably update automatically to this version. These are new features and capabilities.


Smartphone battery

There’s not much to say about battery, either. Battery capacity is measured in mAh. The higher the value, the longer it will last but there are a lot of variables such as whether you’re playing games or doing nothing at all with your smartphone. There are many options, but the more options the better. Usually, battery capacity increases with the size of the smartphone – a big case usually has a big battery. There are almost no removable batteries now, but we don’t need them.

Removable batteries are now found only in the most inexpensive smartphones.
Removable batteries are now found only in the most inexpensive smartphones.

There is also the technology of fast charging, which will charge your smartphone in minutes, but all manufacturers have their own rates of charge and you will need to see charging speed of each phone. Battery charging speed is often in the model description on the official manufacturer website.

There is also wireless charging. This is only found in smartphones with glass or metal cases and allows you to charge your smartphone wirelessly, though not as quickly as a cable. Wireless charging stations are usually purchased separately for about $13-$20 depending on the make of your phone.


Why is it so difficult to choose a smartphone?

Actually, it’s easier than it looks. Like I said above, the important thing is to decide how much you’re willing to spend. Generally, the more money you spend the better the phone, but at one price the difference is insignificant. This is usually because of competition between manufacturers.

If you’re worried your smartphone is made in China, forget it – all smartphones are made in China, even the most expensive ones. Many top manufacturers are from this country. If you’re clear on what you want, buy your smartphone and enjoy it!

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