In the fourth article in a series about the search for a smartphone, we finally get a look at phones. After examining different operating systems, I selected Android, so the phones listed here are all Android based. For a look at the first three articles, click the links below.
Purchasing an Android Phone
I recommend reading reviews. To me, much of the technical jargon initially seemed like gobbledygook, but, eventually the important features began to stand out. And don’t discount negative reviews. What people don’t like can be just as helpful as what they do. A browser’s find feature (see the article Ctrl+F to Search) can be an invaluable tool for scanning reviews. For example, if you’re interested in a phone with a good camera, search for the word camera.
Prices vary widely, depending on where the purchase is made, and whether a plan–often a factor in the price of the phone itself–is included in the purchase. So, the phones below are judged strictly by feedback from users and professionals. Once this list was compiled, I compared prices and features. For my final choice, features won out, as the phone I chose was somewhat more expensive–at the time it was purchased–than others on the list.
All phones listed here offer at least some 4G capability (see the article Cell Phone Generations for information on 2, 3, and 4G technology). Unfortunately, while there is a specific definition assigned to 4G (data exchange at 100 megabits per second), carriers apparently aren’t compelled to meet that standard in order to make the claim.
Among other features to consider are; Processor, Camera, Battery Life, and Screen Type.
Due to a constantly shifting technological landscape, articles written for WorldStart are often outdated shortly after their publication. However, this has never been as glaringly apparent as it is with this article. iPhone users wait months for the new model to arrive, but Android owners only need to wait until tomorrow. The phone I finally purchased was the Galaxy Nexus; the first phone to come equipped with the Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system. It was–for about 5 minutes–the darling of the smartphone world. For me, this choice was due in part to the OS and the large screen but, also to it’s native ability to take screenshots (critical to WorldStart articles), and to the removable battery. One of the disadvantages of the highly sophisticated large-screen phones is power consumption so; a replaceable battery can be nearly indispensable.
The Android phones below represent a range of carriers, manufacturers, and styles. All have been consistently well-received. A link to the device site is embedded in the name above each image. Somewhere on that page, look for a link to documentation, specs, or a manual. There, you can view the user’s guide for each, which should contain all the pertinent information about the device.
For those who were able to wade through this entire series, thank you. I hope it was as informative for you to read as it was for me to write.