The Android phones or tablet price is so variable today. You can buy unlocked Android phones from less than 200 USD to more than 500 USD. It’s not just the price that varies, but also the brand and the model. Now you can find Android phones or tablet that made by not-so-well-known brand.
This condition is actually quite beneficial for people who want to buy Android, because with so many companies offering their Android product, the competition will arise and usually the price becomes lower and lower. However, on the other hand, with so many choices to choose, it can also make people confuse which one is the best. If you right now want to buy Android phone or tablet, you don’t have to worry, because we will teach you how to choose the best android phone or tablet for you.
Buy Android Tips #1: Choose the Brand
When choosing the brand, you should consider several factors, such as:
- How often the manufacture release software updates for their Android phone. HTC, Motorola and Samsung have a good track record if we talk about the software upgrade.
- Service center location: it’s better if you buy Android phone that had the service center around your location. So, if something bad happens, you don’t have to drive miles away to go to the service center.
- Resale value: there are some people that sell their phone when they get bored. If you are this kind of people, it’s better if you buy best seller Android phone or at least many people using it. It is easier to sell best seller phone, because the demand is high.
- Accessories’ availability: you can be easy find accessories (silicone, screen guard, battery, etc.) for some type of Android phone, and for some other’s type you will face a hard time just to get the accessories, and sometimes it doesn’t exist. Usually, there are many accessories available for best seller or popular Android phone or tablet. So, if you want to buy not so popular Android phone type or brand, you already know that the risk is it not easy to get accessories for your phone or tablet.
Buy an Android Phone or Tablet tips #2: The operating system
There are several Android operating systems (OS) available on the market today. Here are the names and the version of Android OS from the oldest to the newest: The first Android phone is 1.5 versions called Cupcake, after that there is the version 1.6 Donut, version 2.1 Eclair, version 2.2 Froyo (Frozen Yogurt) and then version 2.3 Gingerbread. There also Android OS that optimized to be use on Tablet device, the OS name is Android 3.0 Honeycomb. The upcoming Android OS is version 2.4, and it will be called Ice Cream Sandwich. It is said that Android OS 2.4 will be optimized to use for phone and also for tablet.
We suggest you to buy Android tablet or phone that used Android OS 2.3 Gingerbread or at least use Android 2.2 Froyo. Android Froyo proved to be reliable for use and have many advantages over previous versions such as the ability to move installed applications to the SD card and also can perform Wi-Fi tether or make your Android phone as personal wifi hotspot.
Tips to buy android phone or Tablet #3: Community Support
Try to find on the internet are there any community or forum for the Android phone that you want to buy. For example, if you want to buy Samsung Galaxy S II, it’s better if you find Samsung Galaxy S II user community or forum. If you can find the forum, then if there any problems with your phone or you just simply don’t know how to use the phone, you can ask to the other user in the forum. You also will get useful tips and tricks and if the community is big, usually you can find tutorial how to modify your phone software, such as upgrade your operating system, installing a custom operating system, tweak your phone performance, etc.
Note: for popular products (such as Samsung Galaxy S II), most of the times you will easily find the community forum.
Android Buying Tips #4: Understand the hardware specification
We will give some explanation about Android phone specification. We don’t give the explanation for all features that written on phone specs or brochure, but we will explain the specification that matter.
A. The specifications that will determine the phone performance.
A.1. Phone Network
4G Android phone is getting common these days. If you afford to buy it, then it’s better if you buy an Android phone or tablet that able to work on 4G networks. However, if you cannot afford it, 3G Android phone or tablet is enough for today needs.
Processor is the brain of the phone. Fast processor means the phone will be more responsive, work faster and can handle the more complex task. Processor that used on low end or entry level Android phone is usually 600 MHz processor. Mid end Android phone use 800 MHz or more and high end phone uses 1GHz processor or dual core processor that is getting common these days.
A 600 MHz processor is actually sufficient enough to run all the functions and features that available on Android Operating System. So, if you don’t want to spend your money too much, but you’re curious with Android OS, you can buy low end phones so you can get familiar with this OS. Don’t worry about the 600 MHz processor, the difference between phone that use a high speed processor with low speed processor is only when you run “heavy” application, such as high-definition games, but for everyday or normal use, it won’t be much different.
A.3. GPU (Graphic Processing Unit)
GPU is a component to “process” graphic. It’s almost like processor, but it is specific for graphics data. Android phone or tablet that uses GPU will run applications, which use a lot of graphics or 3D image such as 3D games much better than the one that doesn’t using it. Even, most of the phones or tablet that doesn’t use GPU won’t be able to run 3D games, or the games will be running very slow and full of lag.
The GPU type that widely used on low-end or mid-en Android phone is Adreno 200 or PowerVR SGX 530. For high end mobile phone or tablet, usually use GPU Adreno 205, PowerVR SGV 540 or NVIDIA GeForce (NVIDIA Tegra). We recommend you to find Android phone or tablet that already used minimum Adreno 200 or PowerVR SGX 530, but unfortunately, the GPU specification is not always written on the phone or tablet specs, so you must ask to other users who already used the phone or tablet through the Android community forums.
A.4. RAM (Random Access Memory) Capacity
RAM Capacity has a connection with overall Android phone performance. The bigger RAM Capacity, the better the performance, especially when doing multi-tasking or open multiple applications at a same times. RAM capacity that usually used in Android mobile phones is 128 MB, 256 MB, 512 MB and 1 GB. Phones that use 128 MB RAM will experience a bit lag or slow when operate the phone, especially for multi tasking. Therefore, we recommend buying an Android phone that has minimum 256 MB of RAM. For Android Tablet, it’s better if it uses at least 512 MB RAM.
B. Other specifications that you should pay attention
B.1. Phone Screen
There are several things you should understand about the phone screen, such as:
- Screen Resolution: The screen resolution that commonly used in Android phone is 240 x 320 pixel, 320×480 pixel and 480×800 pixels. Bigger resolution (more pixels) will display smoother images and text.
- Screen Size: Large size screen is convenient to use. It also means easier to use the virtual keyboard. However, bigger screen also means a bigger size. It might be not so comfortable to insert big-screen phone to your pants.
- Capacitive or Resistive Screen: Most of the new Android phone and tablet nowadays are using capacitive screen. Capacitive touch screen is sensitive to finger (skin) touch, whereas the resistive is less sensitive to touch, so the users have to do a little push on the screen. The advantage of the resistive screen is it can respond to other objects beside the finger such as stylus pen.
- AMOLED Screen: Active matrix organic light-emitting diode (AMOLED) screen consume less power and usually show more vivid color and contrast compared to ordinary screen.
- Gorilla Glass: The screen that has been using Gorilla Glass technology will be more scratch resistant and also more resistant to break.
- Multi Touch: Multi touch means the screen can detect two or more touch points simultaneously. If the screen supports multi touch, you can touch two screen buttons simultaneously. For example, when playing some shooting game, if the user touches the screen using the left thumb to aim the weapon, at the same time, the right button can touch the screen to fire weapons. If the screen does not support multi touch, the users cannot aim and fired weapons at the same time. Android phone or tablet that doesn’t support multi touch is less convenient for playing games.
B.2. Phone Camera
Some features to pay attention on the camera sector:
- Camera resolution: Actually, there is no guarantee that bigger resolution means better picture quality. So, to know the camera quality, you should read the phone or tablet review. However, if there is no review available, in general bigger resolution means better picture quality.
- Auto Focus (AF): Auto focus means the camera can adjust the focus automatically based on the distance between the devices with the object that you want to take a picture. Some people call this feature automatic zoom. The advantage of the auto focus than a fixed focus camera is when taking picture of an object from short distance (usually under 30 cm). If the camera doesn’t support auto focus, the object picture will be a bit blurry or out of focus. However, if the user takes a picture from medium or long distance, between fixed focus camera and auto focus camera won’t show a much different results.
- Camera Flash: If you often take photos at night, then you should buy Android phone or tablet that has flash light on its camera.
- Dedicated camera button: It is more convenient if the Android phone or tablet had dedicated camera button. This button is also really handy when the user wants to take a self-portrait using the main camera.
- Front Facing Camera: For those of you who need video call or video chat feature, you should make sure that the Android tablet or phone you want to buy have front facing camera. You need to know that there are still many Android devices that don’t have front camera. If you look at the Android phone or tablet image and you see at the front of the device there is small circle that looks like front camera lens, it is not necessarily the camera lens, it could be just a light sensor and / or proximity sensors, so you must make sure first and don’t counting based on the image only.
B.3. Internal memory capacity
not all Android applications are moveable to the SD card (unless you root the device), hence if you install many applications and those applications installed on internal memory, the free internal memory will be reduced so fast. Therefore, it’s better if you buy Android tablet or phone that had an internal capacity as big as possible.
B.4. Physical Keyboard
Most of Android phone and Tablet is a full touch screen type, but there are some that have a physical keyboard. If you are not familiar or not so comfortable to type text using a virtual keyboard, then you should choose the Android that has a physical keyboard or at least some add on keyboard.
B.5. FM Radio
For those of you who like listen to the radio, make sure that the Android phone or tablet has this feature.
B.6. Battery Capacity
Android device is consumes battery a lot, so it is best to look at an Android phone or tablet that has a large battery capacity.
B.7 Other Features
In general, the Android device is equipped with features as follows:
- GPS (Global Positioning System): It Allows you to determine your current location as well as find a direction using satellite.
- Accelerometer sensors: the sensor is useful to know the angle of the mobile phone. This feature is used for auto-rotate the screen or to control the game or other application. If used on certain games, such as car racing games, users can control the car by tilting the phone. Sometimes people call accelerometer sensor as a gravity sensor.
- Digital Compass
- Light Sensor: This sensor can make the device adjust the display brightness level automatically depending on ambient light conditions.
- Proximity sensor: this sensor has a function to detect nearby objects without touching it. For example, you want to make a phone call, when you hold your phone close to your ear, the proximity sensor will detect the phone is close to the ear, hence it will automatically turn off the phone screen because it’s not necessary. In some of the types of Android phone or tablet, the screen will turn back on when you move away the device from your ear.
All those features that I mentioned on section B.7 are usually already available on all Android devices, but it’s better you double check before buying it.
B.8 Default Applications
About Android application, you don’t have to worry too much if the Android phone or tablet you want to purchase does not have an application that you want or need. This is because you can easily download and install the applications that you need from the Android Market. However, you better check is the application you need is available to download. You can do this by visiting https://market.android.com using your computer.
How to buy an Android Tip #5: The Price
And the last but not least, before you buy Android tablet or phone, you should consider about the price. An Android phone or tablet that made by not so well-known brand is usually offer affordable price with so many feature and have a high specification (fast processor, etc.). It is tempting to buy it, but you should consider about the after-sales service too.