Smartphone Buying Guide
you are taking the plunge and buying a smartphone for the first time (if
so, you can learn some of the lingo
here) or looking to upgrade your old smartphone, finding the best
mobile phone for you can feel like a daunting task. That's why we're going to
take you on a guided tour of today's top smartphones, both iPhone and
Android devices, along with the accessories and wireless plan you'll need to
make the most of your new smartphone. And at the end you will be ready to make
a confident decision regarding which one belongs in your pocket.
are dozens of smartphones across a wide variety of price points and all manner
of features thrown at you: like how many megapixels the camera has, screen
size, fingerprint readers, app stores, battery life—and that's just to name a
few.The key to finding the best smartphone is deciding on a price point you are
comfortable with and then deciding which features matter the most for you.
If there is a single device that defines the modern
smartphone, it is the iPhone. With
Apple in complete control of both the hardware and the software, there is a
consistency to the experience with an iPhone that Android simply doesn’t match.
- Camera. Universally recognized as one of the
best and easiest smartphone cameras to use and produce excellent images in
virtually any environment. It can take the place of a standalone point-and-shoot
- Apps. The iOS App Store has over 1.5 million
apps to choose from and gets many of the latest apps and games first.
- Updates. Apple maintains complete control of its
devices, allowing it to update the software on its phone quicker and keep it
updated for considerably longer than the competition.
- Price. While Apple does continue to sell older
iPhones at a discount, newer iPhones are strictly high-end devices and start at
iPhone uses what Apple calls its Lightning connector, as opposed to the more
common microUSB plugs used by most Android smartphones and many accessories.
in to Apple ecosystem. Purchases
in iTunes are largely accessible only from Apple hardware, and apps like
iMessage and Facetime are iOS only or offer reduced functionality when used to
communicate with non-iOS devices.
Who should buy an iPhone?
your entire family or circle of friends are on iPhones it probably makes sense
to join them. Apple's iMessage and Facetime apps are just a couple examples of
apps that work best (or only) between iPhones. People that love trying out the
latest app or game should go with iPhone, as it remains the platform of choice
for many developers. Finally, if you already have other Apple hardware, like a
Macbook Air, iPad or Apple TV, you are simply going to get more out of these
devices when pairing them with an iPhone.
Which iPhone should you buy?
2014, there have been two sizes of new iPhone, a standard 4.7-inch screen model
and the Plus model with a 5.5-inch screen. If you use your smartphone a lot you are probably better off
going with the Plus model, because it offers dramatically more battery life and
the larger screen means it can almost take the place of a small tablet. The trade-off is a larger device that will take
up more space in a purse, may not fit in your pocket and cannot be used one-handed
by those with smaller hands. If you aren't obsessed with the latest tech and
are looking to get a great deal on an iPhone, consider going with one of the
older models; Apple typically keeps them on the market for a few years.
Developed by Google, Android is
the most widely used operating system on the planet and can be found on
devices ranging from $10 all the way up to almost $800. While high-end Android
phones from Samsung or LG have cameras and screens that are as good—or better—than
the iPhone, it is the ability of Android to also deliver an excellent
experience to devices that cost less than $200 that has helped make it a
- Price. Even high-end Android devices are less
expensive than a comparable iPhone, but you can also find excellent Android
devices for less than $200.
- Choice. Whether you value durability, battery
life, camera, screen or security there is an Android device for you, as there
are more Android device manufacturers than you would care to count.
also makes some of the best apps out there, from Google Maps to Gmail, and
while most are also available on iOS, the integration with Android is superior.
Google Now is a perfect example: it uses data from your Google account to tell
you things that might be of interest to you without your even needing to ask,
like when to leave for an appointment based on current traffic conditions,
weather updates or news that is relevant to you.
- Apps. When creating an Android app,
developers need to test so many different devices that it can discourage them
from starting with that OS. That's why many small developers avoid Android and
larger developers typically launch on iOS first and then follow up with an
Android app. So if getting the hottest new app is important to you, Android
might not be the way to go.
- Updates. Updates are another difficulty with
Android, as it is the manufacturers and carriers that put out the updates
rather than having them come directly from one source. This means that updates
can be slow to roll out; and low-end hardware, in particular, is not supported
manufacturers add apps or a "skin" to Android, which is often
referred to as "bloat." They change the appearance and functionality
of Android and, typically, it cannot be removed by the user.
Particularly on high-end hardware it is less of a problem with modern Android
devices, and some, like Samsung, will even let you remove "bloat"
apps now, but it can still be a concern with low-end hardware.
Who should buy an Android phone?
you are looking to get a smartphone on a budget there is no question that
Android is the way to go. For less than $200 there are plenty of excellent options. For heavy users of Google
services, like Gmail, there is no better way to experience it on mobile than
through Android. If openness is important to you, while apps that you buy on
Android are locked to the platform (similar to iOS), Google is much more open
with the rest of the content you buy on Google Play. And even if you switch
away from Android in the future you'll be able to access any books, movies,
music or TV shows that you buy through Google Play.
Which Android phone should you buy?
the high-end, the two main manufacturers are Samsung and LG. Samsung's Galaxy S6 line (S6, edge or edge
Plus) or Note 4 are all amazing
smartphones with cameras and screens that best the iPhone. The LG G4 similarly trumps the
iPhone on camera and screen specs and has a now-rare, removable back that lets
you swap out the battery or just the back itself, to change the look of your
device. Low- to mid-range devices are highly competitive in the Android world
with manufacturers like Huawei, Motorola, BLU, ZTE and Kyocera all
offering compelling options.
After you have selected the perfect smartphone for you, there
are a few smartphone accessories you
might want to look at to both protect your new purchase and get the most out of
- Cases. Unless you opt for a phone that is less than $50, you should
pick up some kind of case to guard it against
that inevitable drop onto the floor or, worse yet, the pavement. You can even
get a customized 3D printed
many of the most popular devices.
- Bluetooth accessories. Music and video are two of the most common
uses for a smartphone, and while the built-in speakers on some of these
smartphones are impressive, with a dedicated Bluetooth speaker you can essentially
create a little home theater wherever you go. For exercise or when you are just
enjoying audio yourself, Bluetooth headphones will keep you
rocking without getting tangled up in wires.
- Battery extenders. If you are a heavy smartphone owner, one of the worst things
you can see is that red battery icon pop up on your screen letting you know
that your mobile companion isn't going to be able to keep the lights on much
longer. This is when you will be thrilled to remember you picked up a battery extender and can just plug into it quickly to
add hours of life back to your smartphone.
The perfect plan for your new smartphone
When you are picking up a new smartphone it's a great time to
consider your wireless plan as well. Take a look at some of our articles on selecting the right
wireless carrier and figuring out whether a contract or no-contract
smartphone plan makes more sense for you. No matter which
device you choose, the wireless plan is where you will actually spend the most money long
term, so you should spend at least as long considering your options here as you
do with the smartphone itself.
a new smartphone is a big decision, but there are so many tremendous options
out there now that if you just follow our guide and keep in mind what is most
important for you there is no doubt that you will find that perfect smartphone.
Used with permission. © 2016 Walmart. All Rights Reserved. See full legal
Important Walmart Disclaimer:
All content provided herein is for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor Walmart.com assumes any responsibility for errors, omissions or contrary interpretation of the subject matter herein. Walmart does not sponsor, recommend or endorse any third party, product, service or information provided on this site.