How I decided on which smartphone to buy

Last month I was considering a smartphone replacement.

Before I begin I’d like to say that I’ve own, at various times, the iPhone 3GS, the INQ, the Google Nexus S, the iPhone 4S, and the HTC One X. So l like to think that I’ve experience a wide variety of phones and can speak with some credence.

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Recently my eyes have started to fail me. I can’t refocus as well as I used to, in fact, I have to remove my glasses when viewing something up close. To add insult to injury, I’m actually short-sighted!

It was only a few years ago that I was able to use the 3.5 inch screen of the iPhone with no problems. But after about half a year switching from the 4 inch screen of the Nexus S to the 3.5 inch screen of the 4S I noticed that I would, after using the 4S for 10-20 mins, find it difficult to refocus my vision onto things 3-10 meters away.

For that reason alone I switched back to Android, in this case the One X with its 4.7 screen. I would like something even larger but I find the 4.7 inch screen about the limit of what I comfortably use one-handed.

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My failing eyes means that unless Apple comes up with a decent smartphone with at least a 4.5 inch screen, I can’t consider an iOS device. 😦

Then again, perhaps my failing eyes is God’s way of telling me that I shouldn’t be using my smartphone so much!

So this leaves me with either a Win8 phone or an Android device. Win8 isn’t really a serious contender in my opinion which leaves me with Android.

 

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There is currently a shift from 720 screens to 1080 screens on Android. Having seen the benefits of a high resolution display on my iPad 3, I would rather have a 1080 screen than use a current standard screen which will soon be out-dated. This means that the Nexus 4, despite good hardware and the very real benefits of having a pure Google device is excluded.

The phones I have shortlisted at the moment are:

  • the HTC One (not to be confused with the HTC One X),
  • the Samsung Galaxy S4, and
  • the Sony Xperia Z.

xperia-z-ultra-vs-xperia-z

I did consider briefly even larger phones, the phablets. But when I saw a Huawei Ascend Mate in a store with its gigantic 6.1 inch screen I realised it was too large.

This means that the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is also out with its 1080 resolution 6.4 inch screen.

The three phones on my shortlist fulfil the criteria of haing a large 4.7 to 5 inch with a 1080 resolution. Of the three, the S4 looks attractive given the 5 inch screen in the body of a 4.7 inch screen phone. The Sony was initially a contender for first place, but the quality of the screen has me worried.

However there are rumours that the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is coming out soon (the Note 2 is still 720 so is not a contender). Then there is also the next Nexus from Google.

Given I’m not in a big rush and the possibility of two much nicer phones coming out, I’m going to try to hold off until at least the end of August before carrying out my purchase. At the very least, even if I get one of the three phones that was on my original shortlist, it ought to be slightly cheaper at the end of August.

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Be smart about smartphones

Well today is a Sunday so I thought I’d share with you all something I’m going through instead of expounding spiritual things.

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In my most recent stage in a long-time obsession with smartphones, I have downgraded to a Blackberry.

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Let’s talk about when this obsession started. It all began when I joined the workforce. Initially I had gotten myself a run-of-the-mill phone but then the Motorola StarTac came out. Soon I was caught up in the mobile phone crazy, always desiring the latest and greatest. Perhaps I didn’t always buy it, but I did lust after it.

I remember a phone I had in Japan that had like 3 different backlight colors (this was when having a colored backlight was a modern feature)! My wife’s phone had the ability to use email! It also had WAP which was the equivalent of mobile internet in those days. So amazing!

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Into that arena, you can understand why Blackberry was considered innovative. They had email, and calendering and contacts sync with Outlook!

They didn’t realise that people were becoming addicted to the internet on their desktops and that offering the internet (and later on specialised applications designed for mobile phones and utilising the touch interface) would be an irresistible combination.

Anyway, back to my obsession.

Razr

Even though I had a Blackberry I also bought a Motorola Razr after seeing a colleague use it as a speakerphone during a meeting. I was just blown away by the slimness, as well as the audio and build quality.

white 3gs

I remember how I lusted after the iPhone but waited until my contract was up and signed up for a 3GS.

inq mini

I tried to kick the habit by purchasing a cheap smartphone (an INQ) but it was just too slow and crappy. You get what you pay for I reasoned. I then spent several hundred dollars on a Google Nexus S. That was a great phone.

iphone4s

The romance didn’t last long. The company offered to get me the latest iPhone and I jumped at the opportunity and ditched the Google phone.

HTC One X

Later on, my aging eyes meant that I had to ditch the iPhone and move back to Android for the larger screen (4.7 vs 3.5).

But HTC had implemented an aggressive memory management technique that meant that programs were often killed instead of suspending properly. This was a fatal flaw in the phone for someone who likes to write something, switch apps, and then come back to writing – in the case of the HTC, it loses all your draft work!

I was going upgrade from the HTC to, again, the latest and greatest. “Should I get the Samsung? Or the Sony?”, I wondered to myself “Would the 5 inch screen be too large for me to use the phone one-handed?”.

But somehow God put the idea into my head that I should maybe not get a smartphone. “Ok” I grumbled, “I won’t get a smartphone for now, I’ll wait awhile maybe a month”.

BlackBerry-Bold-9700

So in the meantime I’m back to using a Blackberry. Yeah, it’s not the latest and the greatest and the screen’s a bit puny.

But it does messaging well. It’s not that slow that I want to throw it out the window when I use it.

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And I noticed something scary on the train. Almost every one was hunched over looking that their tablet or smartphone. Consuming and consuming at the fire hydrant of infotainment.

I don’t want to be only a consumer, I want to produce. And I think that using a less capable smartphone is actually helping me to do that, by making it very unpleasant to consume media whilst on the move, giving me time to think, ponder and perhaps blog.