Guide to buying an affordable but useful smartphone

smartphonesLet’s be honest, high end smartphones are damn expensive because of some not so useful features (if it is not useful it is useless, right?). Take S4 for example, who needs a smart scroll?  Let’s just say that ‘it is cool  that you can make the phone scroll by moving your head’. Other than that, smart scroll has been described as going back to an innovation that we skipped along the way. To summarize about the downsides of the hyped features, PCWorld gives some five reasons to avoid the Samsung Galaxy S4 as 1. It looks the same as S3, 2. The user interface is…ugly 3. It’s overloaded with useless features (airview for instance) 4. It’s more difficult to use and finally 5. It is not as zippy as it should be. Sorry for S4 fanatics (like me) but I’ve chosen this phone as it is currently the most hyped Samsung phone; and Samsung is the most popular phone maker, today.

We could also discuss about many other unused (means useless) features of the S3, iPhone 5 or any other high end smartphone. Yes, these useless features in the high-end gadgets are what make them 4 times expensive compared to the useful but affordable smartphone that will provide you with close to 100% useful features.

So how should one be able to choose a smartphone that is able to offer all the smartphone goodies without paying 4 times higher for unnecessarily hyped functionalities? Here are four major points that you should consider:

1. Pricing

This is important. Some survey that I have conducted tell me that most smartphones that area able to provide a closer performance compared to the top notch smartphone in the market at any given day is always about 4 times cheaper. That is, as most top notch smartphones launch at a price range of Kshs 65,000 to Kshs 75,000, the affordable smartphones will always be in the range of Kshs. 15,000 to 20,000. Talking about the S4 for example, one could buy, instead, the Samsung Galaxy S Duos that is now going for Kshs. 16,000. If you want to go cheaper but still get the benefits of using a well functioning smartphone, then you may choose to buy the Galaxy Party.

Alternatively you should consider buying smartphones from the “inferior” manufactures like Huawei, Tecno, ZTE and the forgotten names like Alcatel who tend to have very useful phones for Kshs. 10,000 – Kshs. 15,000 cheaper at the same phone hardware specs.

2. Operating System

This one is very important. Most of those cool features hyped in top notch phones are merely functions of the OS. So you could just ask yourself, is this phone able to run the latest OS and will be able to get upgrades up to a number OS versions in the near future? For Samsung Galaxy S2 fits the bill. Currently S2 is about Kshs. 30,000 cheaper compared to Galaxy S4, but well the S2 user will basically be able to do almost every important thing the S4 user will do.

3. Apps

This mainly is a function of the OS version and available memory. Are you able to install some of the most important apps from the apps stores? Well there are a number of apps that will enable you use some cool features that are hyped in top notch phones. For example you could download a number of apps that will give you Siri’s smartness or download Street lense apps to get the feel of using Nokia Lumnia’s city lense.

4. Hardware

Important to the above mentioned software considerations is the the hardware. At any point in time there are minimum hardware specs that will be able to optimally support increased data handling capability of a device (comp or phone). By today’s standards a phone should at least have 500MB RAM, 1Ghz processor, and 3G for data connectivity, and 4GB internal storage. Also go for a phone that you can be able to add external memory. Did you know that the screen of a phone is what makes contributes to close to half its price? Well, for me, as long as the screen is smooth to touch and is of a reasonable size (greater than 3.5 inches), I won’t mind if it costs Kshs. 2,000 and get the phone at Kshs.5,000 instead of paying for Kshs. 50,000 for close to the same general phone functions. Also go for a camera that is not less than 5mp.

When you have these basic features in a phone, you should feel left behind by technology. Be wise and save.


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