- Arjun Singh
In 2014, there is no such thing as a bad smartphone, every smartphone does more than a computer 20 years ago. Now the question is, whats the best one you can get. Here is a list of the ones you should consider, and very sincerely, as of the time of writing, none else [unless you can get your hands on a Xiaomi Mi3 (discontinued) or Mi4 (yet to release in India), or a Oneplus One(releasing soon exclusively on Amazon)]:
But, the trends of tech are as fickle as the people buying them, so this list will probably hold true for maybe 4-6 months, so it is important to know what to base a buying choice on. (iPhones should be held to a different standard for the simple reason that Apple controls every step of the making of an iPhone, from software to hardware and hence can make everything run in harmony better.
- Battery: It has to be seen in relation to the specs of a phone, but for current devices, a good rule of thumb is, if the processor is dual core, 1600+ Mah and for quad and octa core devices, 2300+ Mah respectively should be enough to get an average Joe (or Jane) through the day. This is a rule of thumb best used for android and windows phones, as with all these other criteria.
- Screen: The resolution does not matter, the PPI (Pixels Per Inch) does. Check the PPI for your candidate phones online, anything above ~300 PPI is more than enough and anything above 400 PPI tends to be overkill for all practical purposes. Also, the type of screen matters, LCD3 or any 2013 or 2014 phone with AMOLED or OLED are great and tend to be very legible under direct sunlight, a deal-breaker if you can’t see it only.
- Camera: I have taken it upon myself to kill the megapixel myth and hence I shall continue my crusade here, MP’s do not matter (but MLA’s do *laughter*), they are the resolution of the photo and don’t determine the quality of the photo, for all that the other aspects of the sensor matters. Camera’s must be evaluated, case to case and not judged on MP’ (Note: if the sensor is sony made, exmor, it’s probably very good.)
- Build quality: The online tech site, The Verge had stated, “A 4-inch iPhone still dominates the consumer landscape, HTC is still designing beautiful but flawed masterpieces, and Samsung is still the world’s foremost purveyor of cheap plastic.” I don’t think the market has ever been better encapsulated, but as with everything, the market has changed and high end Samsungs are shifting to metal builds as well. In short, plastic is rigid and durable but feels cheap, metal is fragile, to the extent that it can easily be dented, but is cool and feels exotic.
- OS: This can’t be defined, personal choice is king here, iOS is restricted but easy and “it just works”, android is the swiss knife to iOS’s proprietary wrench and the customisations possible are endless and Windows phones are for getting stuff done faster and spending less time on the phone, it’s all focused around productivity.
(To anyone with a windows phone, I’m extremely sorry in advance, though you will find a lot of apps over here on your platform, all of them will not be available. Quite sincerely, the only major casualty of the mobile OS wars has been the consumer with some apps being restricted to some OS’s, Sorry.)
Whatsapp/Viber/BBM/Telegram: These apps are listed in the order of their user base and really, that is all that matters in messaging apps, since there is no point having a perfect app with no one to chat with. I’m sure all of you already have Whatsapp, if not, go get it, if for no other reason then for the fact that it has just been declared that WhatsApp is free for all Indian users. a secondary chat app is a good idea for all these three apps have their own niche ability.
- Viber does internet calling very-very well though the chat mechanics are clunky.
- BBM is secure because of its servers and ok-ish with online voice, but (personal opinion) it is really ugly.
- Telegram is a great mix of it all, with end-to-end encryption, no usage fee to start and a rather gorgeous interface (no voice-calling though).
Bookmyshow: A rather fully featured application, with reviews, synopsis, ratings and in-app bookings for a lot (though not all) cinemas. A definite con is the rather generous piece of the pie they cut themselves while booking tickets in-app as “convenience charge” but the app is still a worthy movie-time-location finder and you can always go a bit early and book the tickets to circumvent the not so convenient convenience charge.
Comscanner: Open the gallery on your phone right now, there is a larger than not chance that you have loads of rough, hastily taken photos of notes. Now, here comes in the app a student shouldn’t live without, Camscanner allows you to take and crop pictures just right, store them in folders and apply filters on then to allow easier comprehension of text. The app also allows you to export batches of photos directly to PDF and store or send through email, Dropbox, Drive etc. It’s just a really convenient and small application that everyone should have.
Drive/Dropbox/Box: I don’t think I can ever emphasise how important it is to have an online storage option and to keep anything and everything that might, in any remote manner, be important, on it. You do not want to pull all nighters for 3 days to finish your jurisprudence project, only to have a rogue virus on a kamikaze mission to convert it all to ashes. Especially if you are using windows, you need online backups. If you are not subscribed, do it now, stop reading this, sign up and shift everything that is important in your life to it…then download the mobile app to have access to these memories (or nightmarish virtual piles of work) on the go. The best one, with a rather plentiful startup (free) space is Google drive, comes with every google account and has lots of work and productivity focused functions, most notable collaborative sharing.
Soundhound: Got a song stuck in your head? A tune that you just need to know…well, then try soundhound, it’s “hum the tune” feature can help you out. Disclamer, this feature is the definition of hit or miss, not very reliable, but good to have nonetheless. Else, there is the standard palette of things it can do, just like Shazam, to identify songs, show some lis to buy or watch the video. The only reason I put this here instead of Shazam is the extra feature it has. But, if that is not of interest to you and you rather have a better looking app, go for shazam, it’s much cleaner and easy on the eyes.
VLC: It’s VLC, need i say more. It’s a necessity on every PC, same for ever device. (Sorry, but this one is restricted to android users only. It used to be on iOS, apple took it off.)
Uber: Uber is a taxi app, but then it is so much more that that. It is the most convenient way to get a taxi and even if you never travel by taxi, you should have it installed, just in case. To register, a credit card is necessary, which may be off-putting, but just run with it, ask your parents or someone else, just register it. Take a hypothetical, you are late after a night out, heavy….guava juice drinking (chill, happens to the best of us.)….maybe you have no money, maybe you lost your card or your wallet. but you still need to get home right? In comes Uber. All you need is your phone, the GPS will track down your location and as soon as you press “request a ride”, your location will be sent to the driver on his iPhone, you centric the car coming till you, turn by turn so you know when it reaches. Here comes the best part, you get in the cab (which is always well maintained and not a rolling advertisement) and the ride starts, the app tracking your location all the way and when you reach, you just get out and leave, no payment, no nothing, just walk off, the payment will be automatically be deducted from your card, so no cash no problem. After your original registration with a credit card, you can use a debit card to add a prepaid balance as well, so no need to explain your guava juice story to whoever might have otherwise gotten a bank deduction message at 2 in the morning. It’s a backup, but a darn efficient backup.
Zomato: Going out or some grub can be a rather tedious task, hunting for a good restaurant can make or break the entire evening and really kill the mood if it’s a date. So whether its a night out on the town or you just don’t like the shizz they are serving at the mess, no better way to find a good place to eat than Zomato, especially with its beautiful design language in the app, you be salivating before you even know where you want to go.
My Boy! : It’s a gameboy emulator, its free, it’s awesome. Most people owe a lot of memories to Nintendo games and this app is a concentrated shot of nostalgia for most and a time machine for those who missed out. But apple hates emulators, so this is android only guys. Get it off the play store and the games from any coolrom (.com) site. (Pokemon, just saying)
Daddy Long Legs: it’s probably the most basic game you will play, you need one hand to play, it will look easy but within seconds you will realise it’s not and you will not stop playing, for a long long time. (Listing it because it’s easier to leave than candy crush, and that stuff is addictive.)
Some other awesome apps:
- Evernote (note collaboration)
- Flipboard (news aggregator)
- Clash of Clans, Super Hexagon, OLO (Games)
- Microsoft Office Apps
- Nike+ Running
- Google Maps
- Feedly (RSS app)
In rounding up, this can only be a peak at what one should do while taking the plunge, but keep the above considerations in mind and all will be fine. Lastly, more cores is not more force and “1 Gig RAM, otherwise scram”. ;)