Shopping Guide: How To Choose The Right Smartphone

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smartphone
smartphone

The smartphone is one of the most versatile high-tech devices on the market. The criteria to consider purchasing this device at the time are numerous. We provide you with all the keys to make the right choice.

In a few short years, the smartphone has established itself as an essential technological product. The smartphone is becoming the most addicted, and natural complement to their hands. A design object, almost as powerful as a computer for the best, ultra-versatile – it can be used for telephoning, surfing, playing or taking pictures – the smartphone is not a device that you buy lightly. At the time of choice, it is often even the most difficult.

For which brand to choose? What are the points to look for in order not to be disappointed without spending too much? Here are our tips for getting the right choice.

The System: Ios Or Android

Forget Windows Phone and Blackberry OS – unless you plan to buy your smartphone at the second-hand market. In 2019, only two operating systems remain iOS, present on all iPhone and Android for the rest of the world. In the first case, you will be guaranteed to have an up-to-date operating system, capable of making the most of your favorite applications and offering you the latest software innovations in popularity. In return, you will have to accept to prepare yourself with a fairly recent smartphone (like the iPhone 7) and therefore relatively expensive. However, it should be noted that Apple’s OS is not what is called an “open system”. It is impossible to extend iPhone memory or even add files to their internal storage space. On the other hand, the simplicity and efficiency of this OS convinced a very large audience. Apple’s system is also much more respectful of the privacy of its users than Android, and more secure.

If it has long suffered from “fragmentation” with more or less up-to-date versions that coexist, Android, Google’s mobile OS, has been able to improve and therefore impose itself over time. Admittedly, many manufacturers continue to implement their own overlay, which, while providing users with a certain functional richness, sometimes deprives them of the latest innovations from Google. Nevertheless, the Android smartphone comes with essential applications – from Gmail to Map – and now has an application store (the Play store) that has nothing to be ashamed of in front of Apple’s (the App Store). In recent months, low-cost devices have even had the luxury of carrying an almost up-to-date version of Android.

Android is more open than iOS, which has its advantages and disadvantages. You will be able to install the applications you want, access your files more easily, etc… On the other hand, Google’s OS is less secure: mistrust, especially with the applications you download.

Choosing between iOS or Android is also a matter of personal opinion. However, with regard to the latter, care must be taken to avoid overlaying – EMUI at Huawei, One UI at Samsung – which could have a more or less significant impact on the ergonomics of the system. Android offers a wider range of prices anyway. Enough to meet all budget expectations.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

iPhone 7: still a sale on the awning of the store, it remains a reliable value. It is available from 530 euros at Apple. 

Apple iPhone 7
Apple iPhone 7

Galaxy S10e: a great choice for anyone who wants to buy a high-end smartphone that goes to the essentials and stays within a “reasonable” budget.

Samsung Galaxy S10e

Pixel 3: With this smartphone, the user benefits from a perfectly updated Android OS, optimized by Google.

Google Pixel 3
Google Pixel 3
The Screen

When the first Galaxy Note appeared in 2011, who would have thought that large screens would become the standard? Today, smartphones offer on average 6-inch displays, much more than the Note. Fortunately, the devices have become thinner and more compact thanks to some welcome “tricks” from manufacturers, such as onboard displays. Whether you choose a front camera placed in a pop-up window, a notch or a punch – a question of taste or budget – there is every chance that the screen of your new mobile will occupy more than 75% (more than 85% for high-end models) of the front. It’s beautiful, it’s immersive and above all, good news, many low-cost models are entitled to it!

But which display technology to choose? With its deep blacks (we speak of absolute contrast) and its bright colors, which are not always faithful, OLED wins all the votes. Even Apple has started to do it. Its advantage is that it is less energy consuming than competing technology, the LCD, but it is also more expensive. Fortunately, there are excellent LCD screens that offer the advantage of providing high brightness (ideal for viewing the screen in direct sunlight) while offering a high contrast ratio. On entry-level models, which are systematically offered in LCD, make sure that the screen is IPS, for comfortable viewing angles.

Finally, if you prefer large screens over 6.4 inches, opt for Full HD definition to ensure the most accurate display possible. This is called high resolution. At around 300 points per inch, the quality of the screen should not disappoint you. Below that, you may receive “points”. Beyond that, it’s almost geek greed.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

iPhone XR: the most affordable of the high-end iPhones is distinguished by its bright LCD display.

Apple iPhone XR
Apple iPhone XR

Galaxy S10+: One of the most powerful smartphones of the moment features the ultimate OLED display.

Samsung Galaxy S10+
Samsung Galaxy S10+

Sony Xperia X10: Sony is launching the first 21:9 screen on the market with this model to enjoy movies in Cinemascope format.

Sony Xperia X10
Sony Xperia X10

iPhone XS Max: the largest iPhone has a huge 6.5-inch Super Retina OLED display.

iPhone XS Max
iPhone XS Max

Huawei P30 Pro: With its large curved OLED display, this smartphone has little to envy from its main competitor Samsung.

Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro
The Processor

Engraved in 7 nm, the latest mobile processors give smartphones firepower that has little to envy from computers. We are talking here about Apple’s A12 Bionic, Huawei’s Kirin 980, Samsung’s Exynos 9820 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, which alone equip the most high-end smartphones, offering them a good deal of AI (artificial intelligence) in the process. These processors are equipped with secondary neural chips, the NPUs (Neuronal Processing Units), which are particularly useful for improving photos, thanks to advanced image analysis.

While there are devices specifically dedicated to gaming with exclusive features (144 Hz refresh screen, cooling circuit, force feedback, etc.). The top-of-the-range models are all extremely versatile and capable of deliveringthe flawless user experience. However, it is still necessary to have a substantial budget.

Be aware that mid-range terminals, equipped with slightly less powerful chips (Snapdragon 660, Kirin 710…), will meet most of your gaming requirements. Finally, entry-level smartphones – even with a low-powered processor (such as the Snapdragon 450), provided they have a system well optimized by the manufacturer – will allow you to communicate, surf, photograph and even sometimes play resource-efficient titles in a fairly comfortable way.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

Xiaomi Mi 9: This device was the most powerful Qualcomm’s brand-new Snapdragon 855 processor.

Xiaomi Mi 9
Xiaomi Mi 9

iPhone XS: Apple’s latest addition is the Bionic A12 chip, which is as good as the processors on Android smartphones.

iPhone XS
iPhone XS

Galaxy S10: Samsung’s flagship is equipped with its latest homemade chip, the Exynos 9820, which provides exemplary navigation fluency.

Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung Galaxy S10

Huawei Mate 20 Pro: It is the first smartphone in Huawei to integrate its Kirin 980 home chip, sufficient for all uses and energy efficient.

Huawei Mate 20 Pro
Huawei Mate 20 Pro
RAM And Storage

The versatility is not just about the processor. The latter is accompanied by more or less RAM, which makes the mobile phone more comfortable, especially when it is subjected to many energy-intensive tasks. There goes the time when your smartphone only had 256 or 512 MB of RAM. Today, some models include up to 10 or even 12 GB of RAM (OnePlus 6T McLaren, Galaxy S10 Performance…). This is enough to drive up the price of the mobile phone without really demonstrating the usefulness of such a large amount of memory. Moreover, Apple does not offer more than 4 GB of RAM on its best equipped iPhone, proof that a good optimization of the software is essential. On Android, 6 to 8 GB will be more than enough for the most resource-intensive tasks. On an entry-level Android smartphone, it is better to choose 2 or even 3 GB of RAM.

As mobile OSs become more and more sophisticated, they inevitably encroach on the storage space of our smartphones. It is better to plan broadly. Avoid internal memories below 32 GB, which in the end only offer about 20 GB that can really be used by the consumer. Even if you save photos, videos, and music in the Cloud, this space will quickly become full if you install many applications, including games (some titles require 1 to 2 GB of space). Some smartphones (excluding iPhone) offer readers that can accommodate MicroSD cards of 256 GB or more. This is a real advantage, especially if you take a lot of pictures and videos.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

OnePlus 6T: In its most high-end version, the OnePlus smartphone with 8GB of RAM offers 256GB of storage (not expandable). Count 50 euros more than the 128GB version.

OnePlus 6T
OnePlus 6T

Honor View 20: equipped in its basic version with 6/128 GB, this smartphone comes with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, which can also be extended by NM card.

Honor View 20
Honor View 20

Galaxy Note 9: Samsung’s large-format pen smartphone is available in the 8GB version of RAM and 512 GB of scalable storage space.  It is currently available at a little over 1000 euros instead of 1259 euros.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9
Samsung Galaxy Note 9

Oppo Find X: Oppo’s very high-end smartphone comes with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage space (not expandable).

Oppo Find X
Oppo Find X
Autonomy

There is nothing more frustrating than having a battery failure early in the evening. To avoid this kind of inconvenience, it is better to opt for a smartphone that integrates a high-capacity battery (3000 mAh for entry-level models, from 3500 mAh for high-end models). Other criteria should be monitored. As we know, some processors are more energy efficient than others. Qualcomm’s entry-level chips are often better optimized in this area than Mediatek’s. If autonomy is the lifeblood of war for you, forget the iPhone and its “small” batteries. Nor very high definition displays (Quad HD), which consume a lot of energy.

Quick recharging is also available. Not all smartphones benefit from this feature. Thanks to players like Xiaomi or Motorola, however, it is beginning to be found in the mid-range.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

Mate 20: it is the most durable high-end smartphone (of a major brand) on the market.

Huawei Mate 20
Huawei Mate 20

Moto G7 Power: By equipping its mid-range G7 Power smartphone with a 5000 mAh battery, Motorola is offering it the 2019 endurance record.

Motorola Moto G7 Power
Motorola Moto G7 Power

Huawei P30: Despite a much less impressive battery than that of the P30 Pro, its little brother the P30 is, like him, a champion of autonomy.

Huawei P30
Huawei P30

Xiaomi Mi Max 3: Its giant 6.9-inch format, this device can integrate a 5400 mAh battery and deliver outstanding endurance.

Xiaomi Mi Max 3
Xiaomi Mi Max 3

Zenfone Max Pro M2: this mid-range model from Asus is equipped with a solid 5000 mAh battery that ensures a solid autonomy.

Zenfone Max Pro M2
Zenfone Max Pro M2

Motorola Moto G7 Plus: this Motorola phone is not the most durable, but it pleases by its fast charging function (less than 15 minutes to go from 0 to 50%)

Motorola Moto G7 Plus
Motorola Moto G7 Plus

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7: we appreciate the USB-C connection on this model at a low price. It allows fast charging provided that you buy the right charger.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
The Camera

This is undoubtedly the criterion on which the war is currently raging the most among the major brands. If the quality of the images is for you an essential purchasing criterion, you will have to turn to a high-end smartphone and undoubtedly among the most expensive. In this area, Samsung and Huawei are becoming more dominant. They have long since overtaken Apple, at least in terms of innovation. The battle is fought on the field of low-light photography, ultra-wide angle, bokeh portraits, and even optical zoom.

If your expectations are lower, be aware that most smartphones around 200 euros are good enough for successful daytime shots. For an acceptable result in low lights, you will have to accept a higher bill that can amount to 4 or 500 euros.

Our Selection Of Smartphones:

Huawei P30 Pro: it has everything you need to replace your compact camera, from the 5X optical zoom to the ultra-wide-angle lens. The champion of shooting.

Huawei P30 Pro
Huawei P30 Pro

Galaxy S10: its 3 modules cover most of the photo uses and we still appreciate its ultra-fast AF even in low lights.

Samsung Galaxy S10
Samsung Galaxy S10

Pixel 3 XL: with its unique photo-sensor, this smartphone plays the gifted, thanks to Google’s software know-how.

Google Pixel 3 XL
Google Pixel 3 XL
4G, mobile plan and D.A.S

For those with an extremely limited budget – under 150 or even 100 euros – make sure that the mobile phone is 4G compatible so that you can surf, communicate via social networks and download the most vital applications in complete comfort. Especially since the prices of mobile packages are now very affordable. Count about twenty euros per month for unlimited calls and SMS with a few GB included for mobile data. Some promotions even lower prices to 10 euros per month.

Finally, those who fear the harmful effects of the waves will be able to monitor the smartphone’s D.A.S. (specific absorption rate expressed in kg/W). The closer it is to zero, the less you are exposed to wave radiation when you use your smartphone. In France, the manufacturer must provide you with this information and the D.A.R. (or S.A.R. in English) must be less than 2 kg W/h.

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