Phones are great. We use them for different functions depending on their capabilities and our style. Other than the core functions of making and receiving calls/texts, others use them primarily to play games, or as their default MP3 players whereas there are those who use them primarily for photography or even as screens for video viewing. To deliver these, phones are supposed to meet specific quality characteristics that apparently are wanting in most high end smartphones.
Based on quality characteristics such as durability, hardware specs, optimized OS and Apps, user friendliness, and pricing, this is the list of phones I cannot buy:
Never ever find me lusting after an iPhone like most people do. Two words to describe those phones – shortchanging customers. Let me not go into the details of how iPhone 4 and beyond have been largely behind competition in terms of hardware real estate or how expensive for nothing the phones have been, but it will suffice to mention that there is no way iPhones could be way cheaper to make compared to other smartphones in the market yet deliver the highest possible hardware quality iPhone fans like pointing out (minus bendgate of course).
Let me assume, for the sake of argument, that Apple will upgrade the hardware specs of its next flagship to be at par with the rest of the 2015 flagships which will feature QHD screens, 3GB+ RAM, close to 3.0 GHz processing power, at least 16 MP back camera and 3 MP+ front facing camera, long life battery, expandable memory etc etc, the cash Apple will want me to cough for such a device is simply outrageous, thanks to the existence of a huge crowd generally referred to as iSheep.
Time reports that Apple set a 69% profit margin for the iPhone 6 and 71% profit margin for the iPhone 6 plus – this it does in an industry where setting a profit margin close to 40% is almost next to impossible. The standard profit margin acceptable as ethical for hardware is always 30%. That means that if Apple was to sell the iPhone 6 at a fair price, the unlocked version of the 16 GB version ought to go for $260, not the current $649. In Kenya therefore we would have expected to pay only Shs 36,000 for iPhone 6 yet the phone is likely to retail at Shs 90,000.
The extortion by Apple means I will never ever buy an iPhone; after all, there is nothing prestigious about it in terms of hardware real estate.
2. Samsung Galaxy S5 and below
If you mention Samsung Galaxy S5 today it sounds like a phone that was released early last year yet it is the flagship device for 2014 by Samsung. This is the phone that should be competing with iPhone 6, Nokia Lumia 930, HTC One m(8) both Sony Xperia Z2 and Z3, LG G3 and the others yet this flagship by Samsung doesn’t sound current, at least to me. I don’t know whether it is because Samsung has released several other cool gadgets after the S5 (something I think they should stop doing) or it’s because since August all the attention was turned to the two iPhones.
The market reception of Samsung Galaxy S5 also says a lot about the device. A report released in July by Counterpoint has it that by May this year iPhone 5s, a 2013 flagship by Apple, was still outperforming Samsung Galaxy S5 in sales despite the S5 having hit the market a month earlier – and as expected, the newer the device, the hotter the sales should be.
Those are stories, the reason I cannot buy Samsung Galaxy S5 is because I own Samsung Galaxy S3 and after using the S3 for two years, I want to run as far away as possible from a phone that has the material build of the S3. If you take a look at my phone today you would think I bought this phone 15 years ago. It is old, very old.
The low quality cheap plastic casing is extremely bad. It withers away like a piece of cake literally. I actually no longer use the back cover it came with and since the third party flip covers are useless, I am forced to be replacing the cover once every three months, a very expensive endeavor.
The inside plastic body is not any better. In this post about Nokia Lumia 630, I talked of the excellent interior build and design Microsoft had put into the Nokia device and how durable and desirable the build makes the Lumia 630 be. The polycarbonate back cover on Nokia Lumia 930 is also of great quality and until Samsung makes phones with at least the build quality of Nokia, I will stay away from those devices.
3. High end Nokia Lumia Phones
For a second, given the foregoing paragraph, one would have thought I am pro Nokia. Not even close. I have used Nokia Lumia 630, Nokia Lumia 930 and Nokia Lumia 530 (comprehensive reviews for 930 and 530 are coming up shortly) and believe you me the phones are great.
Good build quality. Excellent choice of material. Appealing price points (except for 630 that should be a little lower than shs. 15K) but with one major disadvantage, Windows. Windows is a cool OS. No glitches no bloatware and great security features, but it is not yet there.
After using Android for so long there are intuitive deliverables you expect from a smartphone, and since Windows is still playing catch up, you really won’t claim to own a high end smartphone if it is running on Windows. As I have a comprehensive review of 930 coming up, let me not talk too much about the Windows short comings in this post, but in summary, I will not buy any Windows smartphone until Windows can holistically deliver what is expected of a smartphone. I would advice designers for Windows mobile to consistently use Android for at least six months before introducing the next version of Windows phone.
By the way, I won’t mind going for the low end Lumia phones as they won’t be my primary phone. The beauty of low end Lumia phones is that they give you almost exactly what the high end phones will give but at 18% of the high end cost. That is, for shs 11K on Nokia Lumia 530, you get to experience almost the same thing you would get from Nokia Lumia 930 that requires you to part with shs 60K.
4. Tecno Phones
I have been a pro Tecno phones, especially given the fact that Tecno tries to give you almost the same experience you would get from a high end phone by Samsung or HTC but at Shs 20K to 40K cheaper. My routing for Tecno handsets made my wife buy a Tecno Mini Tab; and she dropped it, it broke to pieces – okay to two pieces – actually one piece was a very small one.
As much as my Samsung Galaxy S3 is made of cheap plastic, the phone has dropped down a million and one times but it hasn’t broken and the screen hasn’t cracked – it looks old but it is still intact.
There are cheap phones that won’t break so I am saying no to Tecno.
5. LG, HTC and all other cheap plastic based Phones
The experience with Samsung Galaxy S3 as taught me how useless cheap plastic phones can be. I have said a lot about this already and if you can, just avoid the cheap plastic phones already.
You might be wondering what phone is left out there that one can buy. Alright, the HTC One (m8), Nokia Lumia 930 (if you don’t mind the low class Windows) Sony Xperia Z2 and Z3 and possibly LG G3 are great options.
For low budget smartphones, go for a Nokia.
Personally I can’t wait to lay my hands on the Samsung Galaxy Note Edge; see Samsung Galaxy Note Edge is set to bring back class and status. No, it’s not made of cheap plastic.