What to consider when buying a smartphone

Buying a Smartphone – Complete Guide

The Beginner's Guide To Buying a Smartphone

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaIf you’re thinking of getting a new smartphone, then this guide is for you.

Due to the many different options available on the market, choosing the right smartphone can be intimidating.

There’s no need to worry though. We have compiled a list of the most important factors that you need to consider when shopping for a smartphone.

This guide will help you avoid missing out on features and simplify the whole phone buying process.

Below are the most important factors to take into account when choosing your next smartphone.

Buying a Smartphone: 6 Factors to Consider

1. Phone storage

things to consider when buying a smartphone in Kenya

When it comes to storage in smartphones, the more the space the better for the user. The three main storage spaces to consider are the RAM (Random Access Memory), internal storage and expandable storage.

The RAM is used to launch applications and carry out multitasking. The more RAM on a phone, the better the phone’s performance, multitasking capabilities and user experience.

The internal storage in smartphones is used to store the operating system, pre-installed apps and other system files. The space that remains is used to store the phone user’s files.

Expandable memory refers to external storage space provided by memory cards and cloud storage. The main drawback with cloud storage is the fact that it requires an internet connection to backup and access files.

Most android phones come with memory card slots that enable quick and easy storage expansion. On the other hand, IPhones lack memory card slots and depend on cloud storage for memory expansion.

For the best user experience, we recommend picking a smartphone with RAM of at least 3gb and internal storage of at least 64gb. These values provide a good benchmark to start with.

2. Processor Power

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaA processor is the brain that controls all the features of a smartphone. There are several companies that manufacture smartphone processors, the two main ones being Qualcomm and MediaTek. Companies such as Apple and Huawei also manufacture custom processors which are used in their own smartphones.

Qualcomm processors are usually found in higher priced smartphones such as Samsung and LG phones. MediaTek processors are mostly used by budget oriented companies such as OPPO, Techno, Xiaomi and Infinix.

Qualcomm processors are classified into Snapdragon 200, 400, 600, 700 and 800 series, with processing power increasing in the same order. This means a phone with a Snapdragon 730 processor is much faster and has better performance than a phone with Snapdragon 625.

MediaTek’s approach for identifying their processors is different. Their entry and mid-level variants are generally coined with ‘MT67’, followed by a two digit number. The higher the number the better the processor is in its given series.

Moving up the ladder, MediaTek’s premium mid-range offerings are called Helio P, while their high-end ones go by Helio X. There are different variants in each of these segments. The one with the largest model number is the most powerful.

Smartphone manufacturers can sometimes use older processors in their smartphones in order to keep the selling price low. We recommend picking a smartphone with the latest processor in order to get the best possible performance.

3. Screen Specs

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaThe important screen specs to consider in smartphones are screen size, screen resolution and screen type.

Smartphone screen sizes are measured diagonally from one opposite corner point to another in inches. The larger the phone screen the larger the phone. Keep this in mind especially if you’re looking for a compact or small phone.

Screen resolution refers to the number of distinct pixels in each dimension that can be displayed. It’s usually quoted as width × height, with the units in pixels.

Common smartphone screen resolutions are 1280 x 720 (720p), 1920 x 1080 (1080p) and 2560 x 1440 (2K). The higher the screen resolution, the clearer the displayed images.

When it comes to screen type, the main ones used in smartphones are LCD (Liquid Crystal Display), IPS-LCD (In-Plane Switching Liquid Crystal Display), OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) and AMOLED (Active-Matrix Organic Light-Emitting Diode).

LCD displays can be very visible in direct sunlight. IPS-LCDs provide a superior viewing angle and better color reproduction than non IPS-LCDs. OLED & AMOLED displays offer the best contrast ratio and are highly visible in low light conditions.

The screen size is largely determined by personal preference. For screen resolution, we recommend at least 720p and higher. In terms of screen type, IPS-LCDs and AMOLED displays normally offer the best performance.

4. Camera Specs

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaMost people rely on smartphone cameras for everyday photos and videos. It’s therefore worth investing in a phone with a high quality camera.

Smartphone cameras come with many features which can easily become confusing. The main specs we recommend considering the most when selecting a smartphone camera are autofocus, aperture, megapixels, HDR and video recording capabilities.

Autofocus allows the smartphone camera to focus correctly on subjects when taking photos in order to prevent blurry images.

The aperture controls how much light the camera lens lets in. It’s measured in f-stops. The smaller the f-stop number, the more the light let in to the camera sensor. For example, an aperture of f/1.4 lets in more light than an aperture of f/8.

Megapixels refer to the resolution of images taken by a smartphone. Higher megapixel values translate to images with more details.

The HDR (High Dynamic Range) feature is used to increase the ratio of light to dark in a photograph. This is accomplished by the smartphone camera taking three photos at different exposures and automatically combining them to come up with a single HDR image.

For video recording in smartphone cameras, the two most important features to consider is the video resolution and frame rate.

Video resolution refers to the number of pixels that a camera can display in each dimension. Some examples are 2160p (4K), 1080p (Full HD) and 720p (HD).

Frame rate refers to the number of frames or images taken in one second by a camera. It’s measured as frames per second (fps) with higher fps values giving more natural video playback.

If photography and video recording are important to you, we recommend picking a smartphone with a multiple camera setup. These smartphones tend to have most of the features mentioned above.

5. Battery Life

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaThe battery life of a phone is largely determined by the size of the battery. This size is measured in milliampere-hour (mAh). Theoretically, using higher mAh batteries in a phone while maintaining constant electrical consumption will give you longer operating times.

In plain English, the higher the mAh value of a smartphone battery, the longer the phone’s battery life.

We recommend going for smartphones with a battery size of at least 3000mAh and some form of quick charging technology that enables fast battery charging.

6. Extra Features

things to consider when buying a smartphone in KenyaSome phones come with extra features that enhance the user experience way further than normal phones.

Some of these features are; water and splash resistance, wireless charging, stereo speakers, corning gorilla glass protection, high screen refresh rate, Dual LED flash  and notchless displays.


Now that you know what to consider when choosing a smartphone, head over to our best phones under 40k article here and put this theory into practice.


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