Deciding on a smartphone model is not an easy task, but we have compiled a detailed guide on how to choose the right and inexpensive phone. You can get new or even used phones but it is important to consider the things below. Whether you are planning to buy new or Google pixel 2 xl used, keep the following things in mind:
With operating systems, everything is simple and complex at the same time. The simplicity is that there are only two of them are iOS and Android. The difficulty is that iOS is always quite expensive, and Android is available in a number of brands: Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Sony, and other Android smartphone manufacturers see this system in their own way. The functionality is identical, but the “wrapper” can be very different.
- Matrix: If you see the abbreviation TN, then you do not need such a smartphone. The colors will be terrible, the brightness will be low, and the viewing angles will be very narrow. You need to choose smartphones with OLED (Samsung has AMOLED) and IPS with different variations. What are their pros and cons?
- Screen resolution affects the level of detail and clarity of the picture. Therefore, I strongly do not recommend looking at a resolution less than Full HD (1920 × 1080 pixels). For large diagonals from 6.2 inches and above, you can focus on 2.5K (2560 × 1440 pixels). It is important to understand that the higher the screen resolution, the more energy it will consume. Thoughtlessly chasing fashionable 4K (4096 × 3072) or something close, most likely, is not necessary at all. You will lose a lot in autonomy, pay a lot, and the visual difference with the same 2.5K will be small.
- DPI density is a combination of screen size and resolution. If the budget allows, then it is better to aim for values from 300 to 400 PPI. The smaller, the better you can see the pixelation, but at values above 400 you will simply pay for large numbers: the eye will not notice the differences.
Communication and wireless modules
- SIM card. If you use more than one SIM card, then buy a smartphone with support for two cards. Their format is not important – you can always ask in the operator’s cabin to replace the micro-SIM with a more modern nano-SIM standard – this is a matter of 5 minutes. But remember that the use of two SIM-cards in a smartphone significantly increases energy consumption.
- Wi-Fi version. The absolute minimum for 2022 is 802.11ac with support for two bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz. Suitable for budget devices, but if you are looking for an expensive flagship for two or three years, then look for a model with support for 802.11ax – this is the same Wi-Fi 6 that everyone is talking about now.
- The Bluetooth version is important if you actively use wireless headphones and speakers: choose a version of at least 5.0, and preferably 5.1 or 5.2. The last two standards have gone far ahead in terms of energy savings and signal stability. And BT 4.1 and 4.2, which can still be found in smartphones, are obsolete versions of 2014 and 2016.
Random access memory (RAM): the more it is, the better – a large amount of RAM allows the gadget to cope with a large number of simultaneous calculations. If you have ever opened 20-30 tabs in the browser of a budget smartphone, then you understand what we are talking about: switching between them becomes unbearable. The optimal amount of RAM is 4–6 GB, 8 is also good, above 10 GB is already marketing and excesses.
It seems that the quality of a smartphone camera depends on the megapixels and the number of lenses, but this is not the case. The photo module is one of the most expensive parts of the gadget, and the reality is that if you need really good pictures and videos. Really cool cameras are the privilege of flagships.
When choosing a budget smartphone, you need to understand that if there are a lot of cameras, then all additional ones will be about equally bad. Some macro module with a ridiculous resolution of 2 megapixels will give a beautiful paragraph on the gadget’s promo site, but in reality you will get low-quality pictures that literally fall apart into pixels. So in the low or middle price segment it is better to focus on models with one or two, but more or less decent cameras.