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Directive has been serving the Oneonta area since 1993, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

How Do I Choose the Right Smartphone?

How Do I Choose the Right Smartphone?

Recently, we discussed a wide range of smartphone options, ranging from budget-friendly to the sharpest of cutting-edge devices. One question we’ve gotten is, “How do I choose the best smartphone for me?”

Read on to learn how.

How to Figure Out Which Smartphone is for You

We recently provided some advice about your smartphone options, including budget-friendly, cutting edge devices and the best smartphones of 2020. While many of you appreciate the information, the number of options is still overwhelming, causing our readers to ask, “which smartphone is right for me?”

It is understandable that due to the many options available at various price points, many of you don’t know which smartphone to pick. It is no surprise many of you are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of choice of brands and models. Even if you choose a brand, you may find that there may be many options to choose from within that single brand. 

Our goal with this blog is to give you enough information to narrow your choices by going beyond specs and instead dive into the user experience. The reality is, most end-users don’t care about processor speed or screen refresh rate; you want to have the right device for you. When you’re done reading this blog, you will be armed with the information you need to pick the best smartphone for your needs confidently.

Decide on the Features you Need

While it’s tempting to go all out on your want list, you should at least spend some time at first deciding on what you need your smartphone to do. Take a moment to consider the essential features you need your smartphone to have. To make your search easier, visit technology websites, which let you compare phones to each other. Fortunately, this is an option that most carriers provide on their site. Some features to consider are:

  • Screen and overall phone size
  • Do you want to use it one-handed?
  • How fragile is the device? Flagships are usually covered in glass while mid-to-low range devices have durable plastic.
  • Battery life or perhaps a removable battery (getting harder to find these days)
  • Camera quality
  • How about a headphone jack?
  • Which carrier offers better coverage?

By deciding which ‘must-have’ features you need beforehand, you can focus on the few models that will fit your preferences, saving you time trying to sort through countless vendors and options.

*TIP: In our blog about the best 2020 smartphones, we listed several flagship phones, and while they offer a premium experience, they also come at a premium price point, averaging around $1,000. If you can’t push your budget, but want the experience of using a flagship device, consider purchasing last year's model. For example, last year’s Samsung’s flagship, the S10, can now be had for about half the price of this year’s S20, which places S10 at around the same price point you would pay for this year’s mid-range device, the A51.

Android vs. iOS

For all intents and purposes, there are only two operating systems for smartphones: iOS and Android. At first blush, it seems just a matter of flipping a coin and choosing between Android or iOS. However, if you look a little deeper, you will understand which operating system you choose can profoundly affect your user experience. For example, Android is open-source, and there are dozens of vendors producing a variety of phones with a wide range of features and price points. Due to this wide range of devices, chances are you will find a device to fit your needs at a price you can afford.

Conversely, with iOS, you only receive the options that Apple offers, limiting some people. The benefit that iOS—and Apple in general—offer is a consistent user experience, as Apple makes both the hardware and software, they are perfectly optimized for each other. For a long time, Apple’s iPhone was the more popular choice, but several years ago Android’s market share pulled way ahead. This means, generally, apps and overall functionality between the two platforms are similar. There are some apps that might only work on iPhone, and some that only work on Android, but that line is getting much thinner as time goes on.

It really comes down to the ecosystem you want. If you tend to use Apple products, the iPhone is probably going to be a slightly better fit for you. If you use Gmail and Google Docs or Chromebooks, Android will likely be your best fit. Honestly though, many people who use Apple products have Android phones, and vice versa. There are no rules or huge drawbacks for either platform—it’s mostly about preference.

Finally, the choice between Android and iOS may come down to your budget. This year Apple released five new iPhones running iOS, their exclusive brand, meaning they control the cost, not the marketplace. This year there are at least 1,000 Android-driven smartphones from a variety of vendors. The benefit of having a lot of choices is that competition drives down costs. The cheapest (newer) iPhone, the SE, is $399 retail, while the moto e⁶ and Galaxy A01 can be had for $99.99. Android-driven phones inhabit every price point, and the result is you can find the best device to fit your budget, features, and needs. 

Choosing a Wireless Carrier

Choosing the right carrier is a critical step to having an enjoyable user experience. Long gone are the days of phone monopolies, now you have a variety of choices. There are the more familiar providers, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, but there are other carriers, too, such as Metro, Boost, Cricket, Consumer Cellular, Mint mobile, and Tracfone. Even Google has its own cellular service, called Google Fi.

Google Fi, Metro, Boost, Cricket, Virgin, Consumer Cellular, etc. are known as MVNOs or mobile virtual network operators. Unlike AT&T or Verizon, MVNOs don’t own their networks but instead ‘rent’ bandwidth from them. As they don’t have to invest in infrastructure, MVNOs can offer cell service at a lower price-point than the larger carriers. Additional features MVNOs offer are no contacts, no credit checks, pay-as-you-go, and various plans.

One thing to note—as major cities across the country are starting to see 5G networks, you might want to decide if your next phone will support 5G. It’s pretty unlikely that our area in upstate NY will see a broad rollout any time soon, and when we do, it probably won’t be as impressive as it is in some of the early adopting cities. That doesn’t mean your phone won’t work when you travel... you’ll just be using the standard, slower connection that we’ve all been using for the last few years. If you plan on doing a lot of traveling, it might be worth spending the extra money to get a 5G option. 

Choosing a Smartphone and Carrier Today

When choosing a smartphone and plan, are you considering the way things are or how they were? If you’re working remotely at home, do you still need unlimited data? If you’re home instead of on the road, do you still need a smartphone with a large display? Would you be better served by a mid- or even lower-range smartphone and a tablet, which would supply the mobile communication you desire, and the ability to view content and offer more bang for the buck?

As you can see, deciding on which smartphone is right for you is subject to a range of influences. Concerns about budget, features, durability and now whether or not you’re going to continue to work remotely are factors you should consider when purchasing a smartphone. Armed with this information, you will be able to confidently choose the right smartphone for you.

Is Your Business Adapting to the New Normal?

The reality is remote work will stick around, and your business needs to realize the way they operated pre-coronavirus may no longer be possible from now on, if ever. Quite frankly, if this crisis can influence which smartphone you choose, it can and certainly will affect your business. If you’re still waiting for a return to normal, you may find your business being left behind.

Directive is here to help your business adapt to the new normal and give it the support and tools it needs to continue to succeed, even during these challenging times. To learn how, reach out to us at 607.433.2200.

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