Smartphone Buying Guide

In recent years, buying a mobile phone has become a titanic task. This always required more thinking and questioning such as “Android or iPhone, input range or flagship, mobile or compact tablet …

If you’re buying a new smartphone, you’ll have a choice of hundreds of models on Android. In addition to the price and possibilities, the choice of format, expansion options and support for 3G / 4G and Wi-Fi also plays. Smartphones are often pricey devices, so making the right choice is important. You do not want to spend thousands of naira or dollar and then find out that the device you purchased does not meet your wishes. In this purchasing guide, we provide tips and advice to help you make the right choice.

The first decision, the choice between one operating system and another, will completely change your purchase options. Since Windows Phone has to be discarded as an alternative to buying, the only two options you have when looking for a mobile are: Android, Google’s operating system, and iOS is the operating system you will only find on Apple iPhone. Which one should you choose?

But that will not be the only decision you have to make. If you had already decided the operating system, the next thing you will have to do is choose between a high end and a relatively affordable price terminal. But what features should you check thoroughly before buying the mobile? How do you know if the processor or the camera fit what you’re looking for?

And if you decide on Android, which version should you check? Kit Kat, Lollipop, Marshmallow, Nougat or Oreo? All these questions, and many others, you can solve them by reading this guide.

1.Which One Should I buy – Android or iPhone?

The first decision completely modifies the catalogue of alternatives that you will have before you buy a mobile. You have to choose between Android and iOS, and we are going to help you in it.

First, stick with the idea that right now there are only two operating system alternatives on new phones. iOS and Android occupy almost 100% of the market share, and right now neither Windows for mobile nor the BlackBerry operating system have any presence on the shelves of stores.

Smartphones Mobile Screen type
Android Version
iPhone 4 mobile phone
iOS version of Phone

But within this dual operating system alternative – Android versus iOS – there are also important differences. Of all the mobiles that are sold every quarter in Nigeria, Android represents about 90% of sales. Apple’s mobile operating system, meanwhile, usually occupy about 10% of sales.

These figures, in short, come to indicate that the iPhone is aimed at a very specific audience. If you come from an iPhone 5S, an iPhone 6 or an iPhone 6S, you’ll be interested in making the leap to the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus; if for some reason you are not convinced Apple’s new iPhone, it’s a good time to give an opportunity to Android.

But high up there: buying an Android phone is far from a simple decision. If it seems to you, let’s start by making clear the version of Android you have to look for if you are going to buy a mobile – and whatever it will cost.

What version of Android should I buy?

Just like your next cell phone will cost 100 or 600 dollars. If you’re buying an Android phone, the least you have to demand right now is to bring the Android 6.0 version of Marshmallow. And if it is superior, that’s better.

The reason is very simple: if you buy a phone with Android 5.0 Lollipop right now (not to mention Android 4.4 KitKat; which is more than discarded), you can simply forget to receive one day update the Android 7.0 Nougat let alone Android 8.0 Oreo. And that means that you will miss all the news – and not few – that this operating system is receiving in recent months.

There are enough alternatives in the market to start discarding mobiles that do not bring – at least – the Marshmallow version. The perfect purchase would be to buy a terminal that would bring the Nougat version from the factory, but it is understandable that not everyone is interested in terminals such as the Huawei Mate 9.

The mobiles that bring the version of Marshmallow also have interesting functions, and in addition, at least have a minimum possibility to finish updating to the version of Nougat. There are cases of LG G5, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge or HTC 10. In other words, it is a version that you can buy with ease.

With this recommendation in mind, let’s get right into the most delicate part of the purchase: choose a phone by its technical specifications.

2.What Features and Specifications do I set?

The list of characteristics of any mobile is infinite. What of pixel density? What if speed? What if autofocus … calm down, because buying a mobile phone by its technical specifications can be very simple if you follow certain guidelines.

In this case, the details of your budget or your preferences are the same. Whatever mobile you are going to buy, there are five features that can guarantee you a good purchase. These are the screen, the processor, the RAM, the camera and the battery.

What (Screen Size) do you have to fix on the screen?

Smartphones have grown sharply in recent years. A few years ago, when it was 4 inches the norm, we do not look so strange as LG and Samsung make devices with screens that pass the 5 inches. Phones like the LG G4, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and the Sony Xperia Z3 are pretty good, but thanks to their format, they offer many benefits for those who like to watch photos and videos on their phone.

The larger the screen, the higher the resolution must be to avoid seeing individual pixels. If you go for a device with a 4-inch screen, then a 720p resolution usually suffices. 5 inch or larger Smartphones are the finest in use with a 1080p resolution. There are already QHD display Smartphones on the market, but in our view, that resolution offers too few benefits. In fact, with screens smaller than 6 inches, we prefer 1080p.

Our advice:

  • Smartphone up to 4 inches: WVGA (800 x 480 px) is sufficient
  • 4 to 5 inch smartphone : choose at least 720p (1280 x 720 px)
  • Smartphone from 5 inches:choose at least 1080p (1920 x 1080 px)
  • Smartphone from 6 inches:choose 2K (2560 x 1440 px)

The type of screen also plays a role: TFT scores the least in terms of brightness and contrast, while the presently present amoled and IPS panels in these areas are significantly better. Amoled deserves our preference, as this type of screen is energy efficient, very bright and contrasting. Many devices from, for example, Samsung are equipped with an amole display, making them perfectly readable.

Finally, note that big Smartphones are often also heavier. In addition, the material used plays a role: a metal or aluminium smartphone feels more robust, but typically weighs considerably more than one that consists mainly of plastic. Plastic Smartphones are also more flexible, so they break less quickly when bouncing on the ground.

If you want to calculate the pixel density of a mobile, you can use this page. So you just have to enter the resolution (in the format of -for example- 1920/1080, with no signs involved) and the size of the screen (in inches, with a point to separate the units).

What you have to look at the processor

There are many processor models, and there is so much difference between them that it is impossible to recommend a single model. Although the data of the processor of a mobile can sound to Chinese, you have to look at a processor model that has little time on the market.

In this way, you will be ensuring that it is a processor that – regardless of the range to which it belongs – offers the best performance available in that particular category. Given that the two processor manufacturers that are present in the 99% of the mobiles of the market are Qualcomm and MediaTek, the task could not be simpler.

You can check the latest models of Qualcomm processor in this link, and those of MediaTek in this other link. And if you have any doubts, you can check the processor model on Google to see what year was presented.

And mindful of RAM -Hardware and expansion capabilities

If you are going to buy a high-end mobile, be sure to bring at least 3 or 4 GB of RAM; if what you are buying is a mid-range Android phone, the 2 or 3 GB of RAM have become this year a simply indispensable requirement. That capability will ensure that the mobile will not suffer from performance issues having multiple applications open in the background.

If you are buying a new Android smartphone, the screen will, of course, be included in your choice, but you should not forget about the internal hardware. Although the “System Requirements” for later Android versions are relatively modest, keep in mind that the processor and work memory must be powerful enough to run the latest games and apps. A smartphone with at least one Dual-core or Quad-core processor is desirable and 1GB of working memory is also required for ease of use. For those who want to run many apps and play games, 2GB is recommended. Also, the choice for storage is important: We recommend at least 8GB of storage and 16GB if you also want to download photos, videos and music. Demanding users can go for 32GB of storage.

Our advice:

  • 4GB – 8GB: Suitable for users who use their Android smartphone light, for example, to make calls, email and Internet.
  • 16GB: If you use your device specifically to call, email, Internet, and use some apps, this is a great choice.
  • 32GB: You have enough storage to download many apps and videos, as well as expand your music and photo library.
  • 64GB: This format is for major consumers. You can take your entire music collection, download videos and great apps and games.

Unlike iPhones, Android phones often have an expansion capability, which means you can enter a micro-SD card to expand storage. This is useful if you do not have more free space, or the ability to delete data. A memory card is also useful for backing up important files.

Furthermore, most Smartphones can override 3G, but they do not all provide 4G support. Take good care of your choice and check if your subscription offers 4G. If you have a 4G subscription and a 3G smartphone, you cannot use the fastest mobile internet.

Our advice:

  • 3G (about 2 – 15 Mbit / s): Suitable for WhatsApp, Internet and Email
  • 4G (about 75 – 150 Mbit / s): Recommended for download and music and video streaming

 What do you have to fix on the camera

Just as a manufacturer says that your camera has 13 or 20 megapixels because that little will help you to know how it works in everyday use. The quality of a camera is not only summarized in the number of megapixels.

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If you are going to buy a mobile phone through your camera, start by investigating the sensor inside it. The two most popular sensor manufacturers are Sony and Samsung, and if you look for the particular model on the network you can check if it is a sensor used in other high-end mobile phones. On this page, you can see current models of Sony IMX sensors, and on this page, you will find the CMOS models currently being distributed by Samsung.

Battery life: Check the Standby Time

As in the section of the camera, do not get carried away by a striking figure in the section of the battery capacity of a mobile data sheet. From theory to practice there may be a world, and the only thing you can do to make sure that the phone has autonomy in conditions is to read before mobile reviews that have tested that particular model.

But more important than the battery capacity is the fast charging technology. It is a technology that today is present in both cheap and expensive phones and allows the battery to charge much faster (even up to 50% in 30 minutes) than with the standard charging standard.

If you are going to buy a new mobile phone, try to acquire one that brings fast charging technology. You will know it by looking at the details of your battery, where it should appear the compatibility with 2A chargers.

The smartphone’s batteries usually last a day and a half, leaving a few exceptions. Battery capacity, as with tablets, is indicated by mAh, which does not always mean better. A larger screen with a higher resolution requires more power and therefore a larger battery. To learn more about the battery life of a specific smartphone, you can read the reviews on Dailytechhub or resume the web for a battery test for the device. This way you get an idea of what you can expect from a phone (and after how many days it’s time to recharge it).

Our advice:

  • 1750 mAh: sufficient for budget phones up to 4.5 inches
  • 2500 mAh: Great for midrange devices of 4.5 – 5 inches
  • 3000 mAh +: Recommended for high-end phones of 5 inches or greater

3.Which brand should I go for?

Manufacturers that comply with the features we recommend in this shopping guide are many, but not all of them are recommended. If you are going to buy your mobile over the Internet, be very careful before letting yourself be led by some tempting data in the list of features.

As mentioned, few bad smartphones are made today. The devices, such as Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC, have recently released the latest Android version, great specs and great performance. They are also provided with 24 months of legal warranty. The same goes for smartphones of lesser-known brands such as Alcatel and Acer.

However, in this purchasing guide, we also want to focus on the rise of Chinese brands such as Infinix, Tecno, Huawei, Lenovo and Oppo. These manufacturers have recently made a name for cheap Android smartphones that still provide quite decent performance. They offer a good value for money, have the usual warranty and we will increasingly highlight them in comprehensive reviews.

Chinese Mobile Phone

For starters, ideally, you start your search for a new mobile by looking at brands that are more or less familiar. SamsungHuaweiSonyLG, Infinix, Tecno, Motorola, Lenovo, ZTE … all companies with reputation and catalogue more than enough to find a mobile phone that will last years and years until your next purchase.

You also do not have to discard other lesser known brands, but only as long as the store where you buy the mobile phone offers you one or two years warranty. There are stores that distribute third-party mobile phones under a different brand and do not mean that those phones are less reliable.

And the Chinese makers of Android phones?

But if you are calmly analyzing your purchase, you will have noticed that on one hand and on the other hand you get recommendations from Chinese manufacturers. You will have seen names like Xiaomi, Gionee, Meizu or OnePlus, and we can confirm that, indeed, they are all companies of 100% Asian origin.

Chinese mobile phones are sold here, yes, but in almost all cases the sales are through companies that are engaged in importing mobile phones. That includes Phone House style stores as well as Amazon type distributors such as Jumia, Konga, Slot and Yudala. Gionee as an example is an example of a Chinese company that does not have an official sales service in Nigeria.

In any case, Chinese mobile manufacturers have known for years that their phones are also bought from Europe, and the terminals they distribute are more than ready to operate in any European country. In that sense, you will not encounter any problem.

Regardless of whether you decide on a Chinese mobile or one officially distributed in Europe, the most important question will always be: how much money is advisable to spend on your new mobile?

How much money do I spend on buying my cell phone?

The million dollar question arrives: how much money do you have to spend to buy a new mobile phone? Obviously, there are alternatives for all pockets, and when it comes to renewing our phone we can find mobiles within the range of N10, 000 to N350, 000 or more ($50 and $500).

In any case, there are guidelines that can help you find the phone that best fits your budget. To end this guide, we leave our recommendations based on the budget you are handling.

You can spend between N10, 000 to N40, 000 on the purchase of the mobile if…

  • Looking for a mobile for day to day
  • It does not matter if the camera does not make perfect pictures
  • You’re not too picky about the picture quality on the screen
  • You have no preference for the brand

In this price range, we will provide you with the list of smartphones that fall within this range from reviews.

You can spend between N45,000 to N70,000 in the purchase of the mobile if…

  • You want something very balanced, neither too powerful nor too simple
  • You are looking for a mobile phone for more than just everyday use
  • You expect a minimum of quality in the photographs

In this price range, we will provide you with the list of smartphones that fall within this range from reviews.

You can spend between N75,000 to N95,000 in the purchase of the mobile if …

  • Want to buy a flagship from last year
  • You are interested in a mid-range mobile just released
  • The value for money is fundamental for you
  • You look for the best technical specifications possible without necessarily giving the jump to flagships

In this price range, we will provide you with the list of smartphones that fall within this range from reviews.

You can spend more than N95,000 if …

  • You want to have the latest in the market
  • You are looking for the best possible camera in a mobile
  • You are going to make an intensive multimedia use
  • You want to show a mobile phone that does not go unnoticed

In this price range, we will provide you with the list of smartphones that fall within this range from reviews.

  1. Phantom 8 Analysis: The Tecno Dual Camera Phone with 6GB RAM
  2. Infinix Zero 5: The Most Stylish And Powerful Smartphone in the Market

I hope this guide will greatly assist you in your next purchase of smartphone?

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