How to choose a smartphone – expert reviews

When choosing a smartphone, you should be guided primarily by the planned use of the device.

How to choose a smartphone


  1. How to choose a smartphone: what to look for
  2. The main criteria for choosing smartphones
  3. How to choose a smartphone for “Android”?
  4. How to choose a powerful smartphone
  5. With what processor to choose a smartphone
  6. How to choose a smartphone for 2 SIM-cards
  7. Choosing a smartphone for the Internet
  8. How to choose a smartphone with a good camera
  9. What diagonal smartphone to choose
  10. How to choose a smartphone with a good battery
  11. How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10000 rubles)
  12. The best companies-manufacturers of smartphones
  13. Video on choosing a smartphone

How to choose a smartphone: what to look for

The main criteria in choosing smartphones are:

  1. Operating system;
  2. Processor and RAM;
  3. Permanent memory;
  4. The number of SIM cards, their mode of operation and supported Internet standards;
  5. Screen;
  6. Camera;
  7. Battery capacity.
  8. The manufacturer of the device is also important.

The main criteria for choosing smartphones

Smartphones are multifunctional devices. Therefore, their technical specifications are quite indirectly determine the specific specification. So, a smartphone with a good camera is good not only for mobile photography, but for everything else.

Operating system

Operating system of your smartphone

The main operating systems used in smartphones are Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. Other firmware like Sailfish, Tizen, Ubuntu, Plasma have too small a market share, are intended for enthusiasts and therefore hardly worth considering.


Android is the most popular mobile operating system. Almost 70% of the smartphones on the market are equipped with it. However, it is worth considering that it exists not only in its pure form, but also in many variations like MIUI (in devices Xiaomi), EMUI (Huawei) or Flume (Meizu). In addition, the vast majority of manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) have their own mobile phones.d.) make their own changes to Android, changing it in some cases beyond recognition.

However, both modifications and third-party interfaces and pure Android offer approximately the same capabilities and similar user experience.

Despite the disadvantages, with careful use, the operating system Android shows sufficient functionality and practicality.


  • As part of Google’s infrastructure, it offers access to many Google services for free (including cloud storage of user settings, contacts, photos, etc.).d.);

    A huge number of applications in a special store Google Play, the vast majority of which are completely free;

  • The ability to deeply customize and customize the operation, interface, etc.d. (However, some independent modifications will require special knowledge);
  • A similar user experience that simplifies the transition from one smartphone to another, even if they are released by completely different manufacturers;


  • Fragmentation (there are dozens of versions and generations of the OS simultaneously), limited support by the manufacturer (some smartphones never receive updates);
  • The emergence of a huge amount of software “junk” during operation. Therefore, after some time of use, the smartphone begins to slow down, it runs out of internal memory, etc.d. “Cures” by reflashing;
  • A huge number of Bloatware out of the box (pre-installed programs from Google and the manufacturer, which in some cases duplicate each other, which is especially a sin of Samsung smartphones – they are sometimes installed by three programs with the same functions);
  • Vulnerability to viruses and malware (some applications can steal user’s data, including SMS from banks, applications with administrator rights get full control over the device);


iOS is the second most popular mobile operating system. Is proprietary and therefore only available on Apple smartphones. The lack of fragmentation makes it fairly optimized on any mobile device from that manufacturer, so it runs smoothly on both old and new iPhones.

Optimization, good security and ease of use make iOS suitable for most users – especially those who do not like to experiment with the interface and other components of the OS.


  • The highest level of security, which is expressed in the absence of loopholes for malware;
  • Virtually no bloatware;
  • Ready to work “out of the box” – to use most of the functions of the smartphone will not need to install third-party software;
  • Deep optimization for hardware, making operating system run smoothly even on 1.5-2 GB of RAM;
  • Wide range of third-party software in Apple’s proprietary AppStore;


  • The inability to customize and customize the interface;
  • New versions of iOS do not work well on older iPhones, but upgrading to them is “almost forced;
  • No access to internal memory for storing files without special software for synchronization (iTunes);
  • Presence of regional restrictions, which are impossible to bypass;
  • The impossibility of removing the preinstalled software even with Jail
    eak (one of the ways iOS is hacked);
  • iOS 11 has another flaw. Due to the fact that many pre-installed applications are optimized for iPhone X, on other smartphones they have a completely unusable interface with the header window that takes up to a quarter of the screen in some cases.

Windows 10 Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile is the third most popular mobile operating system. Even though Microsoft stopped supporting it in September 2017, smartphones with it can still be found on sale – from HTC, Nokia, HP and some other manufacturers.

Windows 10 Mobile operating system is comfortable enough to use and therefore well suited for budget (price up to 10 thousand rubles) smartphones.


  • Excellent level of optimization (works fine even on weak processors and devices with less than 1 GB of RAM);
  • Part of the Windows ecosystem, allowing data to be synced between a smartphone or computer;
  • High level of security (viruses for this operating system no longer exist);


  • Very few applications in the branded Windows Store;
  • Impossibility of customization;
  • Lack of developer support;
  • During operation, various problems occasionally appear (for example, with synchronization);
  • Non-standard user experience;

How to choose an Android smartphone?

Android Smartphone

The Android operating system gets better with each new version. It has useful features, increased battery life, improved performance with a large number of simultaneously running apps.

Therefore, choosing a smartphone, it is worth giving preference to devices with the most recent version of Android. This:

  1. Android 6.0 Marshmallow;
  2. Android 7.0/7.1 Nougat;
  3. Android 8.0/8.1 Oreo.
  4. Smartphones running Android 5.0/5.1 Lol
  5. Pop and “ancient” is not recommended for purchase.

In addition, it is desirable that the operating system is “clean”, without installed software from the manufacturer or deep modifications. Unfortunately, only smartphones from Nokia, Google and a number of Chinese manufacturers are equipped with such OS. Samsung and LG are making some pretty profound interface changes, while Sony is making some not so (but tangible) ones.

From third-party Android-based firmware only EMUI (Huawei smartphones) and Flume OS (Meizu smartphones) can boast a good level of optimization. MIUI, the most famous “mod” of Android, is not very optimized and therefore on the low-end smartphones can sluggish and lag.

Processor and RAM

The processor and RAM are the “brains” of the device. It is from them that its performance depends on a variety of cases. So, a powerful processor allows you to run resource-intensive applications like 3D or even AR-games, and a large amount of RAM allows you to work with a large number of programs simultaneously.

In 2017, the optimal CPU configuration is 4 cores and about 2.0 GHz clock frequency, and RAM – from 2 GB.

How to choose a powerful smartphone

Powerful Xiaomi smartphone

The most productive line of processors is a series of Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. And the most powerful at the moment (November 2017) – Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. An alternative to it is MediaTek He

  • o X35 (or P35, they are about the same). Therefore, if you want maximum performance from a smartphone, it is worth choosing models equipped with processors from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series, MediaTek He
  • o X and MediaTek He
  • o P.

    The amount of RAM – at least 2 GB. Better, of course, more. The standard in flagships for 2017 is 4GB of RAM, which is the amount found in the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2, and LG G6. Some smartphones – Samsung Galaxy 8+, OnePlus 5 – may have even more RAM: 6 or 8 GB.

    However, the Android operating system core cannot adequately utilize more than 4GB of RAM, even despite the move to 64-bit architecture starting with Android 7.0 Nougat. Therefore, when buying a smartphone with 8 GB of RAM will need to reflash the kernel to custom, which included support for this amount of “RAM.

    With which processor to choose a smartphone

    If you do not need the maximum power from your smartphone, you can pay attention to other, less productive – and at the same time less expensive processors. Such are, for example, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series and the MediaTek MTK67XX line.

    Thus, the method of choosing a processor for a smartphone is as follows:

    1. If the highest performance is required, then: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 830, 825, MediaTek He
    2. o X35, X30, X35, P35;
    3. If you need high performance: Qualcomm Snapdragon 825, 820, MediaTek He
    4. o from X15 and from P15;
    5. If you need sufficient performance: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 810, 815, MediaTek He
    6. o any, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600-series any, MediaTek MTK6700-series any.

    Smartphones based on other processors from these product lines are not recommended for purchase, as well as those based on Intel Atom.

    On Kirin or Exynos can be taken – they provide sufficient performance at the level of current or previous flagships.

    Permanent memory

    Memory capacity determines the amount of user data you can fit into your smartphone. In addition, the Android operating system and installed applications are stored on the internal drive.

    1. As a consequence, the higher the amount of permanent memory – the better. In 2017, the minimum adequate volume is 16 GB. On such internal drive will fit all user applications, as well as leaving room for a couple of threesome of music albums in Loseless-quality, or even a movie.
    2. The optimal size of permanent memory – 32 GB. In addition to user applications, such a drive can hold an entire season of 13 episodes of any TV series in HD quality.
    3. 64 GB and more will only be needed for those users who are used to carrying an entire music library, video library, etc.d.

    With a small amount of internal memory (32GB or less), you can use a flash card to store user data. If you plan to carry movies and other “weighty” content, it’s recommended to get a smartphone with a microSD slot.

    The number of SIM-cards, their modes of operation, supported standards of mobile Internet

    Native (built-in, without third-party “crutches”) support for two SIM cards appeared only in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Of course, smartphones with several GSM-modules were produced before, but the quality of networks in them left much to be desired. For example, mobile Internet was available only on one SIM-card, and the second was used exclusively for calls and SMS.

    So if you’re planning to buy a smartphone with two SIM cards, it’s worth making sure it runs on Android 6.0 or newer.

    The SIM cards in smartphones can operate in one of three modes:

    1. Simultaneous. If a call is made on one SIM card, it can also be received on the second SIM card;
    2. Expectations. If there is a call on one SIM card, the person calling on the second SIM card will hear something like “This caller is on the second line”;
    3. Alternating. If there is a call on one SIM-card, the person calling on the second one will hear “Subscriber is out of the coverage area”.

    In this case, the simultaneous operation of two SIM-cards leads to intensive drain on the battery, standby – to a smaller, and the alternate – to a minimum.

    Supported mobile Internet standards also come in the following:

    1. 2G – the slowest, up to 128 Kbps. Suitable for communication in some messengers;
    2. 3G is the best. Suitable for web surfing, social networking, listening to music and watching movies online;
    3. 4G – the fastest. Suitable for watching movies online in high quality, video calls, downloading files;
    4. LTE-A is an extended version of 4G, which supports more streams to maintain speeds while actively using the channel.

    Each subsequent standard includes support for all the previous ones – that is, smartphones with a 4G module can work in 3G and 2G networks.

    How to choose a smartphone for two SIM-cards

    smartphone for 2 sim cards

    When choosing a smartphone for 2 SIM cards, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

    1. Android operating system version – the more recent the better;
    2. SIM cards operation mode (simultaneous, standby or alternating);

    Slots for SIM cards. Most modern smartphones use a combined connector, in which you can insert either 2 SIM-cards, or 1 SIM-card and a memory card. If you want to use two SIM-cards and a memory card at the same time, it is worth paying attention to the model with “separate” slots.

    Choosing a smartphone for the Internet

    When choosing a smartphone for the Internet, you should pay attention to the supported standard of mobile communication. The amount of RAM is also important (the higher it is, the lower the risk of unloading a web page or any application).


    A smartphone’s photographic capabilities are affected by camera resolution, sensor model, processor model, camera optics and other features.

    The camera resolution – the actual number of pixels on the sensor. Most smartphones use modules designed for 5, 8, 13 or 20 MP. For mobile photography is quite enough 13 or 20 megapixels.

    The sensor model largely determines the quality of focusing, color and saturation of the picture. The “fresher” it is, the better. The most commonly used sensors from Sony, called IMX. After this letter code goes the number set. The higher the three-digit number, the “fresher” the sensor.

    Camera optics determines the saturation and clarity (exposure) of the image. For most users enough stock optics Sony, but if necessary, you can pay attention to the models with lenses from Leica – for example, Huawei Mate 9 or 10.

    Among other characteristics include aperture (aperture) sensor (the lower it is – the better), the number of sensors (in smartphones of middle and flagship classes two camera modules shoot better than one) and additional features (support for HDR +, software technologies to improve quality, dual-color flash).

    How to choose a smartphone with good camera

    choosing a phone with a good camera

    Pay attention to the following parameters:

    1. Sensor model (preferably IMX300 series). OnePlus 3T, for example, has an IMX333);
    2. The actual resolution (13-20 megapixels is enough);
    3. Optics (preference should be given to Leica optics);
    4. Processor (the more powerful it is, the faster the pictures will be obtained and the more beautiful they will be);
    5. Type of focus (laser is best for macro and portrait, contrast is best for landscape and urban).


    When choosing a screen you should consider three characteristics – the diagonal, resolution and manufacturing technology.

    1. Diagonal – the actual size of the screen. Measured from corner to corner (e.g., bottom left to top right). Determines the usability of your smartphone.
    2. Screen resolution – the actual number of pixels on the display matrix. Determines the “smoothness” of the picture. On the other hand, the higher it is, the more energy the screen consumes.

    Manufacturing technology – the design solution by which the smartphone screen is made. A distinction is made between the following technologies:

    1. TN. Has low contrast, low saturation, small viewing angles. Found only in the cheapest smartphones;
    2. IPS. Has a good color rendering, wide viewing angles. Power consumption is directly related to the brightness of the backlight. Displays non-true black. Can be found in almost all mid-range smartphones and some devices in the top price range;
    3. AMOLED. Has excellent color reproduction, good viewing angles, excellent contrast. Power consumption depends on the saturation of the picture. Disadvantage – it burns out over time. Occurs only in the flagship smartphones;
    4. IGZO. Has the highest resolution, optimum power consumption, optimal contrast and color reproduction. Found in a very limited number of smartphones.

    Smartphones on IPS or AMOLED are recommended for purchase.

    What diagonal smartphone to choose

    phone screen

    Optimal diagonal values:

    1. 4 inches – this smartphone will be comfortable to use with one hand;
    2. 5 inches – some people with miniature palms will not be able to use a smartphone with one hand;
    3. From 6 inches – in any case you will need two hands to use the smartphone.

    The best diagonal value is 5 inches (or so).

    The optimal resolution is 1280×720 pixels for 4 inches, and 1920×1080 pixels for 5 inches and larger.

    Battery capacity

    On the capacity of the battery depends largely on battery life. Optimal value of this parameter is from 2800 mAh. A smartphone equipped with such a battery will “live” for about 8-10 hours of mixed use.

    How to choose a smartphone with a good battery

    battery capacity

    If you need a high autonomy smartphone, you should consider the following criteria:

    1. Battery capacity. The higher the value the better;
    2. Type of display. Preferably AMOLED or IGZO;
    3. Processor. It is recommended to choose models with the lowest tech process (up to 16-20 nm). You can find out the value of this parameter from the specifications to the specific chip;
    4. Operating system. The “fresher” the better.

    Nevertheless, it is very difficult to accurately determine battery life, as it is affected by many factors, from the type of use of the smartphone to the quality of cellular network coverage.

    How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10000 rubles)

    When choosing a low-cost smartphone will have to compromise in any case. But the optimal values of the parameters are as follows:

    1. Operating system – the “fresher” the better;
    2. RAM – at least 1.5-2 GB;
    3. Permanent memory – at least 8 GB, a slot for a memory card is mandatory;
    4. Camera – from 5 MP;
    5. Screen – IPS;
    6. Battery capacity – from 2000 mAh.

    Good budget smartphones are: Meizu m5, Huawei Honor 6A, Xiaomi Redmi 4X and some other models.

    The best manufacturers of smartphones

    The best smartphone manufacturing firms are:

    1. Apple. Produces the iPhone line;
    2. Samsung. All price segments are available;
    3. Nokia. Recently returned to the smartphone market with interesting devices;
    4. LG. Always getting support from Google;
    5. Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu – Chinese manufacturers who can definitely be trusted.
    6. It is also worth mentioning the company OnePlus, which produces flagship smartphones at a relatively low price.

    In the following articles our experts tell you how to choose a phone with a good camera and the secrets of choosing a Chinese smartphone.

    Video on choosing a smartphone

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