Choos­ing a... Smart­phone

Computer Shopper - - REVIEWS -


A smart­phone’s op­er­at­ing sys­tem (OS) dic­tates its ba­sic fea­tures and which third-party soft­ware you can in­stall. There are three main con­tenders: Ap­ple’s iOS, which is found on the iPhone, Google’s An­droid, which is used by var­i­ous hand­set man­u­fac­tur­ers, and Win­dows Phone, which has few op­tions. Ap­ple iOS and Google An­droid have the most apps avail­able but Win­dows Phone is slowly catch­ing up.


All smart­phones have colour screens, but their res­o­lu­tions vary. Ba­sic mod­els have 800x480 pix­els, but text can be in­dis­tinct. Look for a dis­play that has at least 1,280x720 pix­els so it’s easy to browse web pages. Don’t worry too much about built-in me­dia play­ers or Of­fice doc­u­ment ed­i­tors; you can al­ways in­stall apps to re­place these with better ver­sions later.

The im­age qual­ity of smart­phone cam­eras has im­proved tremen­dously in re­cent years, and res­o­lu­tions have in­creased to as high as 20 megapix­els.


Very few modern smart­phones have a phys­i­cal key­board for en­ter­ing text; they al­most ex­clu­sively use touch­screens now. Phys­i­cal key­boards can aid heavy email­ing, but to­day’s touch­screen key­boards work just as well.

An­droid smart­phones and iPhones run­ning iOS 9 or 10 al­low you to in­stall a va­ri­ety of cus­tom on­screen key­boards so you can find one that suits you.


Be care­ful when choos­ing a con­tract. Look for one that includes a large data al­lowance if you want to use the in­ter­net reg­u­larly or you’ve set your phone to syn­chro­nise your con­tacts, cal­en­dar and email through online ser­vices.

Built-in Wi-Fi can help you avoid high data charges by con­nect­ing to the in­ter­net through wire­less hotspots when you’re out, or your router when you’re at home. An­droid and iPhone hand­sets can op­er­ate as wire­less hotspots, let­ting you con­nect your lap­top to the web over your mo­bile data con­nec­tion. There may be an ex­tra charge for this.

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