So, I want a new smart phone – Daniel Thomi

Ever since the entry of smartphones into the market, a great chunk of our lives are transacted on them. These pocket-sized windows-to-the-world have attracted lots of our time and for good reasons. Starting from the basic functionality of a phone, which is calling, then adding to it texting, charting, browsing, entertainment(gaming, watching movies, playing music), and now to even more serious functions such as planning our day’s schedule’s, and even managing our finances(I am one marginalized culprits who uses my gadget for this). So much time is spend on our phones that if we were to leave home without them, or lose them in any way, we quickly find a way of getting them back of immediately replacing them. We feel naked without them and we constantly and out of reflex run our hand through our pockets/handbags even though we had earlier confirmed we don’t have them.

Now in a case where we need to buy a new phone as a replacement or even an upgrade, does it matter the device we get? I know the higher the price the better the device is deemed to be, and most of the time it is the case. But assuming money is not a factor, what else do look at? Most of you will quickly answer ‘the phone features/specifications’ to which I will pose a rejoinder question, do you really know what they means? If you the answer please raise your hand (for the techies I know you know so put your hands down). So that it’s clear what I mean by specifications, let me post a recent phone with its specifications:

Key Features
• Display Size: 5.8″
• OS: Android OS, v7.0
• Memory: 64GB ROM, 4GB RAM
• SIM: Single SIM
• Camera: ( Primary) :12 MP, 8MP front
• Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3000 mAh
Now with most phones being manufactured in China (yes even your pretty expensive iPhone is China made), phones within the same price range generally have the same phone hardware specifications. This is to say that it will take more than just the phone specifications to determine what new gadget you will want to pocket. Being the good guy I am, I will now school you on how to make your pick (for the techies keep hooked because I know you will learn something too).

The buttons you push
You know how there are 5 stages of grieving…well you tend to go through the same when you get detached from your phone on a permanent basis. What you need to look for in the next gadget is something that does not drastically depart from what you had. You need to consider the placement of your buttons, both the physical and the soft. Without you knowing it, you have become accustomed to adjusting the volume with the buttons placed on a certain side. You have also initiatively gotten used to the lock button being placed in a certain location, as well as you back button, the menu key and the home button. Acquiring a device with a different layout will mean you retrain your brain and fingers.

The size
Like a shoe, one size does not fit all. We have been told the bigger the better; the bigger the screens, the better it is and the better experience. But that’s not always the case. While guys with large palms may comfortably operate any phone size with one hand, and even be more comfortable with large screen gadgets, each individual should find their fit. If you are deficient of big palms, the screen size will definitely matter to you. You need to reach out to the farthest corner of your screen while holding your phone with one hand without the help of the other. See how well you drag down the status bar of your eye candy, operate everything there with that very hand. I know this is a eureka moment for those of you who have been having difficulty operating gadgets beyond your palm-allowance. So, before trading up your current phone for one with a larger screen estate, the one-hand operations should form part of your litmus tests.

The gadget connection

These days, everything is connecting with everything. In a few years we will have what we call the IoT (Internet of Things) or even IoE (Internet of Everything). Soon your phone will be able to talk to that street light and get such information as the temperature or just how much traffic has passed by. But before we get there, most OEM (Original Equipment manufacturers) tend to ensure that they put in a patented technology that only works with their other gadgets. This to say if your phone is the same make as your TV, radio, home theater, or computer, chances are these gadgets will be so in-sync and seamless and they will deliver you ecstasy. Try change any of the gadgets and for a different make and the hiccups start. If you had unintentionally bought different appliances from the same OEM and you enjoyed the magic of them working together, you might want to replace your phone with the same or better model from the same OEM.

The chain of distribution

I know you are wondering if I will tell you to trace your gadget from the OEM or ask you to be their distributor, but before you wonder any more, I will ask you a question or two; how easy is it to get a replacement part for your phone? How quickly can you get a guy who can replace say replace your screen or your broken charge port? If you don’t have a quick answer to this, then you seriously need think of who is the manufacture of your next phone. As part of my list of things I check before I buy a phone, I have to make sure its products, accessories, and repair places are readily available. If I have to order a replacement part from overseas, then I don’t think that phone is my match. This matters to me and so should it to you, otherwise you will end up with a brand new block; a dead phone that you just bought a few months ago simply because you can’t get a spare. I would also advice you against buying gadgets from new OEM entrants to the market simply because their spares are not readily available.

The App Store
One of the fun things we do on our phones is gaming. There are also some applications that have proven very functional to our daily lives. A factor that should influence the choice of your next phone is the available of your favorite applications. Let me share a secret with you on how developers of applications target their market; the popularity of the platforms that the apps ride on and their likely return on investment. In the market as it is, Google play store has the highest number of mobile apps available for use on the Android platform. Apple store comes second and third placed is Windows store. You increase your chances of getting access to the most innovative and competitive applications if you buy a gadget that runs on the Android and iOS platforms in that order. You might struggle to find your favorite game on other platforms.

Ease of share
Now before I go, I will share this one more tip (feel free to consider it your bonus); the ease of share of applications, music, documents, videos. The sharing I am taking about here is not the online sharing over the Internet. The sharing you need to consider is how easy you can blue-tooth a song, video, or and image to your friend. Some phone platforms, I will not say iOS, are very restrictive in sharing of media files. You might not be able to enjoy sharing with your friends as you would want to.

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