How to find the BEST Smartphone
(For an average user)
In a market as highly saturated as the smartphone market, it can be very difficult to find options that sit right in the range of affordability and semi-affordability, WHILST ALSO being a product that can last you a while, be reliable, be easy to use, and be configured to suit your preferences.
However, there are a few things to consider when looking for THE perfect phone, such as storage, RAM, processor, cameras, software, accessories, and compatibility with other devices. To have a better understanding of what YOU need to look for in your future device, or for someone who isn’t in the know, check out what’s listed below:
RAM and storage:
For both iPhones 4-6 GB and Android phones 6-8 GB, having 128-256 GB of storage would be ideal. However, choosing a 256 GB option would be a wiser investment and “future proof” (more relevant and useful for longer) only if you have the spare cash.
For iPhones, as long as it has a processor no older than 2 years (in this case, the A15, featured in all iPhone 13 and standard iPhone 14 models), you’re basically all set with more than enough performance for almost any task.
But when it comes to Android phones, it’s best to look for the latest models with the latest processors. For mid-rangers ($250–$500), look for flagships ($600+) no older than a year old, as there will be some compromises regarding battery health and software support (scroll down to see more).
For iPhones 13 and up, you’ll get some of the best cameras for the price (for videos and photos for the standard iPhones and so much more in the pro models).
For Androids, it’s best to stick to a few brands that excel in this area, such as OPPO (Reno and Find series), VIVO (V & X series), Samsung (A and S series), and any of Google’s latest phones (Google Pixel).
For iPhones, they are sure to have software support and security updates for at least 5 years (longer than the average time most people will use their current phones before purchasing a replacement).
For the Android phones listed previously, they will guarantee you 3–4 years of software support (5 years for newly released Pixels, 4 years for the higher-tiered A series and all of the S series, and 3 years for the V, X, Reno, and Find series). The relationship between A and S is that the former is more budget-friendly, whilst the latter leans into flagship territory. Same concept for other brands.
Just note that the later you purchase a new phone after the latest Android or iOS update (around September), the less software support you get since the advertised number of updates is only applicable for brand-new phones released soon after the latest update.
And lastly, both iPhones and the listed Androids have reliable, well-rounded software and user interfaces.
Accessories and Device compatibility:
iPhones have plenty of accessory options, with the best options including “Incipio” and “Spigen” for phone cases, Dbrand for skins with unique case designs, and official Apple products (AirPods and Apple Watch). When it comes to device compatibility, it mostly boils down to the iPhone syncing and working seamlessly with other Apple devices (Macs, iPads, Apple TV, Air tags, Beats earphones, etc.) and approved 3rd-party accessories such as Dbrand’s phone skins.
Once again, the same list of Androids has the best in this regard too, with Spigen for cases, Dbrand for skins, and official 1st-party products (AirPods, Apple Watch competitors for all of them, and in-box accessories like phone cases for OPPO and VIVO phones) doing the job most effectively for add-ons.
WHAT TO BUY?
iPhone 14 (Standard)
It’s easy. If you’re interested in getting an iPhone, anywhere between the iPhone 13 models and above is recommended (the iPhone 14 might be very similar but has an SOS to satellite feature subscription, car crash auto-call, and slightly better cameras). If you’re set on getting between the regular iPhone 13 and 14 models and can wait for over a week, then wait for the new iPhone 15 to come out to save $100.
For Android lovers, my suggestion would be to choose between the following:
Reno 9 Pro (left) Reno 10 Pro (right)
OPPO: Reno 9 Pro, Reno 10, & 10 Pro (more expensive, with more camera features and a faster chipset/processor as we move along). All feature Android 13, with updates leading to Android 16 (2+ years from now).
V27 (left) X90s (right)
VIVO: The upper mid-range V27 or V27 Pro (the difference between them is the 1st has a great processor while the 2nd is overkill) & X90 series (X90 or 90S, as they are similar; they have great cameras, high build quality, and fast chipsets). All feature Android 13, with updates leading to Android 16 (2+ years from now).
A34 (left) A54(center) S23(right)
Samsung: A34 & A54 are both great options (higher number = slightly better looks, slightly better cameras, and processor). Getting a discounted S23, S23+, or even last year’s S22 phone would be even better in terms of hardware and more comfortable to hold. Expect 2+ years of updates for the S22s and 3+ years for this year’s A series and S23 lineup.
7a (left), 7Pro (right)
Google: Between the budget-friendly Pixel 7a, the lower-tier flagship Pixel 7, and the upcoming Pixel 8 line, all have exceptional cameras, software, and updates. The differences lie in materials, from plastic (Pixel 7a) to aluminium and glass (7 & 7 Pro), size as you go from the easily holdable 7a to the standard 7 or 7 Pro (consider it if it’s discounted), and additional camera features (with 7 Pro having a physical zoom lens).
Final verdict: Choose based on availability in stores, try them out, and see which one you like the most. It mainly boils down to personal preference at this stage. And if you already know which brand you want to buy from, then further narrow your options by exclusively testing those phones, and matching the price with your budget at your local tech shop.
Abdurrahman Syed Ifteqar Ali