There is no use resisting it, we live in a world where almost all of us are constantly connected to one another through our phones. To even call these modern ‘smart devices’ phones though seems a little disingenuous as whilst we will no doubt be using them to talk to our friends, relatives and co-workers, we’re more likely to use them to surf the web or play a quick game of Candy Crush Saga on the train.
Many of you may baulk at the idea of a world where we’re more likely to be found with our faces buried in our phones that in a good book or engaged in face-to-face conversation but we’ve come too far now and like it or not there is no going back.
Indeed it’s a common sight on public transport, in waiting rooms and train stations and even at dining tables across the country, children and adults alike absorbed by their smart phones, basking in the soft glow of their OLED screens and limitless entertainment options. Simply put resistance is futile, the future is here already and you don’t want to be left behind do you?
If you’re about to take your first tentative steps into the world of smart phones there are a few factors you’re going to want to seriously consider and we’re here to try and make the process as painless and straightforward as possible.
Your phones operating system (OS) refers to the base software that it runs on and there are currently 3 main options when it comes to modern smartphones, each with their own sets of positive and negative qualities.
The granddaddy of them all is of course Apples bespoke iOS operating system that ships as the stock install on all of its proprietary devices including its iPhones. IOS has always been known as the most ‘user friendly’ and ‘intuitive’ smartphone operating system and it’s difficult to argue with that appraisal.
The colourful, ‘app’ based system (made even more colourful with the recent iOS 7 update) is the design that everyone else has been scrambling to replicate with good reason, it simply works. Apple are renowned for creating reliable products and this reliability extends to their software.
–Google’s Android OS
The main competitor for Apple’s crown is Google’s Android OS. It is thought that the majority of smartphone users own Android devices because it is simply the most adaptable software on the market and it keeps getting better.
The main selling point of Android is the potential for customisation. Many phones will have their own ‘skins’ that put a glossy veneer over the stock Android install (we’re currently at version 4.2, known colloquially as ‘Jelly Bean’) but the general software will be largely identical whether you opt for a Sony, HTC or Samsung device.
The latest contender to make its way into the fray is the Windows 8 operating system, an OS that Microsoft is attempting to generalise throughout their entire product range. Whilst there are not quite the variety of apps available on Windows phones as on their competitors, it’s an incredibly stable OS that is obviously the smartest option if you own a Windows 8 PC or tablet.
Towards the end of Summer each year there are always a raft of new smartphones released and gadget hounds the world over will be frothing at the mouth at the almost imperceptible increases in power.
For a first timer though there are a few basic facts that you might want to consider. Most modern phones now will include processors almost as powerful as the ones found in our home computers but if you don’t intend on using your phone for anything too taxing, there’s no reason to opt for a quad-core behemoth such as the recent Sony Xperia Z1 or the latest iPhone.
One of the primary deciding factors that most potential smartphone owners will take into account is the power of the on-board camera. Smartphone cameras are now at a level that is arguably on par with the very best digital cameras with the Nokia Lumia 1020 sporting a frankly ridiculous 41 megapixel camera!
The sheer number of megapixels does not a great phone make though. Indeed, whilst the HTC One only includes a (seemingly) paltry 4 megapixel camera, it exceeds the competition when it comes to shooting in low light conditions.
Whether you opt to purchase your phone on a monthly contract or buy it outright from a company who specialise in phone sales such as liGo, the RRP of most smartphones is very rarely flexible. Which price plan you choose to go for ultimately depends on your financial circumstances and what you intend on using your phone for.
If (for example) you’re of an artistic bent you might want to consider a larger device such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, which has a 6inch display and an included ‘smart’ pen that would be perfect for illustrators or writers.
If you genuinely only intend on using your phone to talk and text though there are plenty of budget phones on the market that will do the trick. Apple themselves have even entered the budget market recently with their iPhone 5 ‘C’ range.
Whichever phone you choose though, rest assured the internet is practically bursting with helpful information so don’t despair if you think you might have made a mistake, chances are you’ve not even scratched the surface of what your device has to offer you.