Oct 19, 2011

Choosing an Android phone that suits your needs

The truth is, there is no "best android phone". I have encountered a vast range of android phones, and I couldn't say that "wow this is the BEST phone ever".
It's the OS optimization that makes a difference. For ex. I played with a samsung Galaxy S, and my mini pro was faster in the menu, much smoother. But when it came to gaming, the 2x faster CPU and amount of RAM crushed my mini :)

There are a few basic things to look up before you buy a phone.

Before choosing the phone you want to buy, you should make a list (in your head) of what will you be using it for. For ex. I own a Sony Ericsson X10 mini pro. It's small, and it has a good camera and a qwerty keyboard.
I use it for music and a lot of messaging, so it is perfect for me. Small and powerful.
If you will be using it for phonecalls only, than you shouldn't invest in camera or looks, but look for the phone with the biggest battery capacity. But who will buy an android phone and use it ONLY to call people?

The most important is the operating system, aka. the Android version.

Android 1.6 was terrible (IMO) and it is outdated. So look for a phone that has at least Android 2.1.
Every version has something new to it. For ex android 2.2 is the minimum that supports APP2SD (an application that lets you move games and apps from the phone memory to the SD card). In 2.1 I have to manage with 200MB of storage, with no ability to move the installed apps to my SD card. So if I can't install a lot of apps. Ofcourse there are workarounds, but that involves rooting your android phone (will explain what rooting is later).
So the higher the android OS on it (higher android version) the better. Every new OS version improves phone performance, RAM usage, battery drain, and so on.
The apps that you can install on your phone are also limited to android version. For ex there are a lot of apps that can be installed only on 2.2 and newer android versions (because 2.2 enables a lot of new functions that 2.1 lacked).
So try to look for a device that has 2.3 running on it.

Faster CPU is not equal with better performance. So do not invest in a powerful dual core CPU, because current Android versions don't use the 2 cores properly. This will hopefully be fixed in Android 4 aka. Ice Cream Sandwich (every android version is named after something sweet :) ).
But there is always good news, if you really want to be the boss, and want a super fast dual core phone, buy it. It will come with android 2.3.4 but you will have the chance to upgrade it to Android 4.0 soon. And the good news is that: even if your phone will not get Android 4 from the developer, you can install it later from your own PC (these are called vanilla ROMs, and are modded by fans, and not developers).
1GHz CPU is enough for games and even HD movie playback.

RAM capacity: Look for a phone with a good amount of RAM. Almost all the new phones come with 512MB, and that should do it. Android works differently than other operating systems. It keeps the running apps in the RAM, and even some of the closed ones (for quick access). More RAM = smoother phone.

Camera performance: higher megapixels DOES NOT mean a better picture! It only means a bigger picture. Nothing more to say here. And all the newer Android phones have OK camera with 720p video recording.
Go for a phone with 5MP+ camera and Auto Focus. (that way you will be able to tell who is who on a picture)

Design: well I have nothing to add here, because everyone has different tastes.
I really like the design of the Sony Ericsson ARC.

The UI is pretty much the same in every Android phone, and you can customize it to fit your needs. Don't like the stock menu and launcher? Download an app and you can set whatever icons and menu you want. That's what I like about Android, you can customize it to the max.

Well that's all that is important about chosing an android phone, because the rest (bluetooth, accessories, connectivity, etc.) is almost the same in every phone, every phone has microSD slot, standard microUSB charger, Bluetooth, and even WiFi (I didn't mention wifi, but I strongly recommend to buy a phone that has it). Also this "help" was written in a short time, and at midnight, so it may be flawed, but I will keep posting Android help, and I promise it will be much more organized :)


Michael Westside said...

The only thing this post did was making me hungry for an ice cream sandwich

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