Saturday, 10 August 2013

The problems with buying a new smartphone...

iPhone 5?
HTC One?
Looking for a new smartphone is a tough job. Your mobile is no longer just a way of communication it is also a fashion statement which reflects who you are.

I currently have a HTC Radar running Windows Phone 7.5. I got it last April when Windows Phone 7.5 was the latest mobile OS from Microsoft however only a short 5 months later Windows Phone 8 came out and I immediately wanted it. I knew I wouldn't be able to afford a brand new phone so I trusted Microsoft to bring out an update for Windows Phone 7.5 to make it better, although they did this it was only available for Nokia Lumia phones and it was over 6 months late in the UK! So I'm looking for a new phone which has amazing hardware, a really good camera, a decent operating system with a wide variety of apps and that it is easy to put music on.

Software compatibility is always a big problem because you never know where a company is going to go next with their operating system. If they completely reinvent it and make a load of new features it is highly lightly that the full OS will not be compatible with your phone running the previous version. My example here is iOS 6 which was released last year. It worked great on the iPhone 5 because the hardware was up to the job of processing everything which was going on however it runned painfully slowly on any other iPhone. The full version of iOS 6 wasn't even given to iPhone 4/4S users however it still made their iPhone's run at a snails pace.
This is why you need to get a phone where you like the current operating system and know that the manufacturer will keep making small updates to it to keep your user experience fresh and interesting.

Another key factor you need to consider when purchasing a new phone is the ecosystem. That is apps. A phone might have the most intuitive and clever operating system in the world however without apps it is nothing. Alternatively there are phones running terrible operating systems however people buy them because they have good apps.
For example iOS is winning with the most apps. When a developer has an idea they are most likely to build the app on iOS first, then Android and then Windows Phone and maybe BlackBerry 10 however the operating system iOS 6 is hated by many and iOS 7 isn't looking much better.
Windows Phone is popular amongst teenagers, adults and even business people however it lacks key apps such as Instagram, Vine and YouTube.

I love taking photos and then sharing them on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or even just for personal use on SkyDrive so I always look for a decent camera on a phone with lots of features. The Samsung Galaxy S4's camera is a force not to be reckoned with. It is 13MP and the amount of options, filters and settings available for it are unbelievable. This is expected though as the S4 is Samsung's flagship phone.

Hardware is important to me however it isn't the most important thing. There are only a few smartphones on the market at the moment which have terrible hardware (if it is that bad the manufacturer would have changed it before its release) however I like my phones to be light and feel well built. I'm not bothered about gimmicky colours or a mixture of metals to make it look better because for me, it's what's inside which counts.

Samsung Galaxy S4?
Nokia Lumia 920?
Finally, I need to be able to play music easily. Zune (the music player) on my HTC Radar is terrible. So much so that I needed to buy an iPod Touch so I could listen to music easily. I need my new phone to be able to play tracks on it easily without me needing to try to hard to find the album and the new phone also needs to be easy for me to download new music on it.

Overall, until a phone launches with these features I'll be stuck with my old, outdated HTC Radar.

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