How To Buy An Android Phone? (Part 2)

10/15/2012 5:42:50 PM

Six things to consider when seeking a new smartphone

1.    Camera/ video

Mobile phone cameras are no longer a joke – the latest handsets come with 8-megapixel sensors, quality optics and in-depth settings to help you take the perfect snaps. The One X’s camera is an 8-megapixel affair, but one of its biggest selling points is its ability to capture action. Continuous shooting snaps a stream of images, so you’ll always find the perfect shot, and you can also record video and take pictures at the same time. Add to this advanced features such as 1080p video recording, stabilization and a dedicated imaging chip, and you’ve got a powerful digital camera attached to your awesome phone.

Description: 1. Camera/ video

2.    Screen

The One X’s resolution of 1,280 x 720 pixels puts it in the same league as last-generation of the size. It’ powered by LCD technology, and it uses an ambient light sensor to automatically dim or brighten the screen depending on conditions, so you’ll have no problems looking at the web in direct sunlight. A Gorilla Glass coating makes it night-on indestructible, with HTC claiming that it’s so tough that you won’t even need a case to protect it from errant keys when it’s in your pocket.

3.    Size

We thing that 4.7-inches is just the right size for a mobile phone screen – big enough to display images, videos and the web in stunning clarity, but small enough to slip into a coat pocket or handbag. The surround takes it up to 13 x 7cm, but it’s still fairly svelte at just 9mm deep. If the size doesn’t appeal, HTC’s One S and One V offer similar features but drop the screen size to 4.3-inches and 3.7-inches respectively. At 130g, the One X is reassuringly solid without threatening to pull you trousers down when placed in your pocket.

4.    NFC

NFC, or near field communication, is cited as the next big thing in smartphone technology, and it’s included in the One X. Put simply, it enables two devices in close proximity to instantly communicate with one another. For example, you’ll be able to place the One X near an NFC-compatible wireless router and it’ll automatically pair with it, or you can hold it near another NFC phone to transfer files. It’s also set to revolutionise retail and public transport transactions, working like a contactless payment credit card in coffee shops or on buses, for instance.

Description: 4. NFC

5.    Ram and storage

The days of expandable storage in smartphones seem to be slowly fading, but the One X’s fixed 32GB of on-board storage is more than enough for all your photos, video, games and music. Our biggest shortcoming with early Android devices was the lack of on-board RAM, which enables you to install applications and store contacts. Fortunately, with a whopping gigabyte of on-board RAM. The One X enables you to install applications to your heart’s content. A big plus is an additional 25GB of Drop box storage, with means you can back up files online and access them from any device with an internet connection.

6.    Music

Dr Dre’s Beats headphones, with their distinctive red cables, have become ubiquitous in recent years among audiophiles who seek high-quality playback of their favorite tracks. HTC has struck a deal with Beats and included bespoke audio-enhancing technology on all of their One handsets. You’ll find a pair of Dr Dre-approved in-ear headphone with some HTC handsets, which deliver deep, clear bass and sharp trebles. The technology doesn’t just apply to music, either – the soundtracks of videos are also greatly enhanced by the technology. It’s like having an expensive HI-FI in your pocket.

Description: 6. Music


The big players compared

The Uk’s oldest mobile network, and still the biggest standalone operator. O2 was the first in the UK to offer the iPhone. It is a bit pricier than other networks for calls, texts and data, but its bolt-ons can reduce your bills if you know you’re going to be using a lot of data or making a lot of calls. Unfortunately, it’s lot down by its 3G coverage which extends to only 80 per cent of the UK.

Joining forces with T-Mobile to form the Everything Everywhere empire has ensured Orange has the best mobile coverage in the UK, although you will find that T-Mobile and Three offer similar levels. It offers great value for texts and data, though, and its Phone Fund means you can put money towards a new phone each time you top up via pay as you go. Orange Wednesdays are essential for cinema buffs, too.

Once synonymous with mobile phones themselves, Vodafone is still a major player in the UK mobile phone market. Handy money-saving options include a Data test Drive, where you can use as much data as you need for three months before deciding on how much you’ll need to spend. Its pay-as-you-go Freebee Rewards scheme also offers rewards each time you top up your mobile phone.

T-Mobile’s pay monthly plans are the most granular we’ve seen, enabling you to choose to spend anything from $11 to $91 a month for data, texts and calls. It’s now part of Everything Everywhere, too, which means customers can piggyback on to Orange’s network when there’s no signal. Boosters are handy add-ons which let you talk and text as much as you like for a little more each month.

It may be the smallest of the major UK mobile networks in terms of users, but Three is not to be overlooked. It’s won YouGov awards for best mobile broadband, and its innovative MiFi device lets Wi-Fi only devices connect to the internet via 3G. it also offers some incredibly cheap deals on new phones and low call rates, and Three phones automatically switch to Orange’s network when the signal drops.

Virgin was the very first “Virtual” mobile phone network back in 1999, and with three million customers, it’s still going strong. It uses Orange’s network for calls and data, so you’ll be getting some of the best coverage in the UK. The prices are reasonable, but if you’re a Virgin Media customer, you can benefit from some fairly substantial discounts on top.

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