A Quick Guide To Mid-tier Smartphones

A Quick Guide To Mid-tier Smartphones

Smartphones have become an important staple of our daily lives. No longer are they luxury items sought out by the technologically minded. From communication and entertainment to navigation and banking, our phones play a pivotal role in many of our activities. However, their prices can be off-putting and downright prohibitive when it comes to top-notch devices. Choosing the right phone at an affordable price can be a cumbersome experience if you’re not familiar with the technical specifications and their meaning, and you might end up paying extra for features you don’t need.

This short guide will look at five smartphones priced below $500 AUD, highlighting their features and explaining the difference between them. In this price range, these devices often eschew state-of-the-art bells and whistles and yet are powerful enough to allow for a hassle-free experience.

The phones we propose are the Samsung Galaxy A5, the Motorola G5 Plus, the Huawei P9, the HTC U Play and the Oppo R9s. At a glance, they are very similar devices, roughly the same size, although aesthetically different.

Display

Screen sizes in these devices are the same, 5.2”, except for the Oppo R9s, 5.5”. Screen size is important if you plan to do a lot of reading on your phone or if you want to use it to watch movies or TV shows. Of course, a larger screen means a bulkier phone you’ll have to carry around.

When it comes to resolution, full HD is as far as you’re going to get at this price range. This means a picture 1920 pixels wide and 1080 pixels high, also known as Full HD. If it’s any consolation, lower resolutions aren’t too noticeable in smaller screens. The difference between 4K and FHD on a 55’’ TV would be huge, whereas on a phone screen it might require closer inspection to even notice.

The biggest difference between these phones is the technology used for the screen. Broadly speaking, the two different options are AMOLED (Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode) and IPS LCD (In-Plane Switching Liquid Crystal Display). Without going into technical detail, LCD’s present a sharper image, brighter colors and a wider viewing angle. On the flip side, it uses more power, and its components require more space, which means thicker phones. AMOLED shows darker blacks and higher contrast and requires no backlighting, which means less energy consumption. However, AMOLED’s have a shorter lifespan than LCD’s, are generally more expensive, and aren’t environment-friendly.

There is no consensus on which is better, so you’ll need to look at each kind of display for yourself the next time you’re out shopping.

Camera

One would usually think that a higher megapixel count is all that matters, but you must also take into consideration that a lower resolution camera might still have better sensors, shutters and focus speeds than their higher resolution counterparts. This translates into better pictures in different conditions, such as low light and moving objects. For example, the A5 has a higher megapixel count than the Huawei P9, both on the frontal and the selfie camera, but the P9 boasts a Leica dual lens setup that allows for more professional pictures. That said, larger megapixel counts are required to take higher resolution video, like 2K.

CPU and RAM

These two components determine how fast your phone works and how many tasks it can handle at a given time. Although bigger numbers are usually better, you may not see too much difference between a phone with 3 GB of RAM and one with 4 GB.

On the CPU side, more cores (quad-core, hexa-core, octa-core) with larger clock speeds (gigahertz, or GHz) mean a better phone. The apps in your phone don’t use all of the CPU’s cores at the same time, though, and a phone with four decent cores (> 2.0 GHz) and four smaller ones might be enough for your needs. For example, the Motorola G5 Plus has eight 2 GHz cores, while the HTC U Play has only four at that speed, the remaining four being clocked at 1.1 GHz. A regular user might not even tax the phone’s resources enough see a difference in performance.

Storage

Most of these phones come with 32 GB of storage, except for the Oppo R9s, which comes with 64 GB. You can expand this storage space by purchasing a microSD card, to add up to 256 GB extra space. Whether or not you want to do this depends on how you plan to use your phone. If you prefer to download all of your music, movies and TV shows, you’ll definitely need the additional card. On the other hand, if you usually stream this content using services like Spotify or Netflix, then you might get by with just the base storage space.

Battery

Battery capacity is expressed in miliamperes hour (mAh), and the higher the better. It means how much energy the battery can output in an hour. Non-replaceable lithium-ion batteries have become the norm, and the one aspect you should look out for is if it allows for fast charging. All of the phones have 3000 mAh batteries, except for the HTC U Play, which comes up short at 2500 mAh.

SIM Cards

All of these devices allow you to use two different SIM cards. This card holds your phone line data, such as your carrier and your phone number. Some people prefer to have separate numbers, one for personal use and one for their business. Having them on the same phone is obviously practical. The HTC U Play and the Oppo R9s cut some corners and only let you do one of two things: you can either expand the storage space with a microSD card, or you can use a second SIM card. Since they use the same slot, you’ll have to pick one.

In the end, you must choose the phone and phone plan that feels right for you. Most stores will have a display where you can examine each device and test out the camera, display, speeds, etc. You might find that a feature that many people prefer is actually not for you, as might be the case with the different kinds of displays. Hopefully, the information provided here will help you get the phone that best suits your needs.

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Why You Should Repair Rather Than Replace Your Smartphone

Why You Should Repair Rather Than Replace Your Smartphone

Gadgets don’t last forever, smartphones included. Whether you spill a liquid on it or accidentally drop it from your hand, your smartphone will finally succumb to damage at some point in time. The big question is, “will you choose to fix or replace your gadget when its day of reckoning comes?” Yes, the smartphone world is growing bigger by day due to technological advancement, and if you have seen the sexy and sleek curves of the latest handsets, then you probably understand what this means. But you don’t have to purchase every new device that comes on the market no matter how appealing it may be. Certainly, you have other needs to meet, and saving your cash may just be “smart.”

Unless your phone is due for an upgrade, it’s more advantageous to repair than replace it. The advantages of a smartphone repair include the following:

1. It Is Cheaper to Repair Than Replace

Consider this scenario: you just bought a smartphone that you have been admiring for many years. The handset accidentally falls down after only three months of use. You pick it up, but the screen has sustained a crack. You examine the phone and realize that other features are intact. Yes, the gadget does not appeal to you anymore, but do you have to ditch it and acquire a new one? You don’t have to. Typically, it will cost you more to replace your damaged handset than repair it. The truth of the matter is that no one wants to spend money unless it is necessary. Some smartphone damages are so minor that you don’t have to spend your cash buying a new handset. For instance, a cracked screen can easily be replaced without compromising the quality of your phone.

2. Data Preservation

Your smartphone is as good the data contained in it. Remember, you just don’t want to lose the video that was taken on your wedding day. If you took a photo with Leo Messi, one of the most talented, if not the most talented soccer player to ever kick the ball, you probably understand that some events happen once in a lifetime. Losing such a photo may mean more than you can imagine. And yes, many people may argue that phone data is something that can be recovered, but let us get real here- the recovery is possible if you have the data backup. If you don’t have the backup, then losing your gadget means losing your data. Even if you have a backup, you will still need to spend the better part of your time transferring the data to your new gadget if you chose replacement over repair. But is the transfer worth the time? Time is a scarce resource that should be utilized wisely. It is never recovered once it passes.

3. You Don’t Have to Learn Using Your Repaired Gadget

If you decide to replace your damaged handset with a new one, chances are that you may purchase a different handset. Remember, phone technology is so dynamic that new phones with more improved and admirable features are coming up every day. From a psychological point of view, an unknown stimulus object raises the curiosity of a human being more than a known one, and this is the nature of the human mind. However, a completely new handset comes with some responsibilities. It is not the phone you are used to. Probably, the phone has new features that you have never seen or used before. You will need time to study, understand, and use such features. It is a different story when it comes to repairing your phone. The repair does not come with any new features or functions, meaning that you will continue using your phone as you have always done.

4. Choosing a Good Smartphone Repair Service Provider

Repairing your smartphone can be the best choice for fixing your gadget problems if it is done right. Remember, repairing your handset means entrusting someone else with the gadget that means a lot to you. You just don’t want your phone to spoil any further. But how do you choose the right service provider that suits your needs? To answer this question, there are several qualities you need to look for in a good smartphone repair service provider. They include:

5. Reputation of the Service Provider

When choosing a suitable repair service provider, go to a credible provider with a good reputation. You can establish if the service provider has a good reputation by looking at the comments that people make about his service. If the service provider had a forum where clients post comments, be sure to access such forums. If you know of any person who has had his phone repaired by the service provider you are just about to hire, be sure to ask that person about the service provider.

6. Convenience

Do you have to travel 100 miles just to have your phone repaired? If your smartphone has a problem, you probably need it fixed within the shortest time possible. Go to a repair service provider who is near you. However, you don’t have to compromise the quality of the service because of distance.

7. Price

This is probably the most important factor to consider. Why not purchase a new smartphone if the cost of repair is almost equal to the cost of a new gadget? Some service providers may take advantage of your ignorance and charge you more than it is necessary. You need to be careful here. Compare repair prices from various service providers to ensure you end up with a fair price.

8. Bottom Line

Making a decision to replace or repair your smartphone is understandably not easy. In fact, it is a discussion that seems never to end any time soon. Most smartphones are made of delicate glass fronts. Glass is the preferred material for obvious reasons: it allows for a thinner front assembly and precise use of a touchscreen. These fronts can easily be replaced when they crack. Also, other common smartphone problems, including water damages, can easily be fixed without replacing your entire handset.

 

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Is the Galaxy S9 better than the iPhone X?

Is the Galaxy S9 better than the iPhone X?

It’s 2018, and a new Samsung Galaxy phone is almost out. The S9 isn’t a massive improvement over its predecessor, but when its technical specifications are displayed next to those of its closest competitor, the iPhone X, it seems to be the better choice, and with a gentler price tag at that.

When you’re looking to buy a top-tier phone, you want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible. You want to get the most mileage out of it and make sure that it has the best components available. Apple and Samsung have always been head to head in the smartphone race, but I believe that in this lap, Samsung is taking a clear advantage.

A couple years ago both Apple and Samsung were in trouble. Apple was heavily criticized by its detractors for its decision to remove the headphone jack, a staple of personal electronic devices for decades. Samsung had one of its biggest failures ever when faulty batteries caused some phones to literally explode. In this scenario, Apple stuck to its guns, claiming that the removal of the port was a bold move made in the name of progress, while Samsung had to admit their mistake, apologize for it and correct it.

Apple has now taken a new bold move. They have removed the Home button from the iPhone X, and with it the fingerprint scanner that once gave us access to our phone. No headphone jack and no button on the front sure give the iPhone X a slick, clean look, and yet I can’t help but feel that instead of streamlining the experience, Apple is taking away options from its customers.

Samsung, on the other hand, has not only kept, but enhanced previous features. Accessing by fingerprint is still an option, and the sensor has been placed farther away from the camera lens to avoid mistakes. Facial recognition has been merged with iris recognition to produce a more reliable identification mechanism.

While some may argue over which method, fingerprint or facial recognition, is more secure, in the end, both features can be bypassed with a PIN number. Thus, the issue is not one of security, but of convenience. The differences are subtle, but having to pick up your phone and having to put it in front of your face is a little more effort than just placing the right finger in the right position. You would think that every time you need your phone, you’d be staring right at the screen, but this isn’t always the case. What’s worse, you’re no longer able to register another person for access to your phone, as you could with Touch ID. If your significant other wants to use your phone, they’ll have to use the PIN, and all the convenience of biometric identification goes out the window.

Time will tell if the decisions taken by Apple are revolutionary, or just aimless attempts at innovation by removing features. If the phone itself were superior to its competitors it wouldn’t matter much. But the fact remains that the Galaxy S9 matches most of the iPhone X’s features and exceeds many others.

The S9 boasts an eight-core processor (4×2.7 GHz Mongoose M3 and 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55), where the iPhone X has only six cores running at lower clock speeds (2.39 GHz 2x Monsoon + 4x Mistral). The S9 has 4 GB of Ram, compared to the iPhone’s 3 GB.

With regard to storage space, Samsung offers three different models: 64, 128 and 256 GB internal storage, which can be enhanced with a microSD card up to 400 GB. Apple offers 64 GB and 256 GB models, without any possibility of adding extra storage. Of course, one may say that Apple offers its iCloud service, but that won’t do you any good when you need the space for a few extra apps or games.

The resolution of the screen is higher on the S9, achieving 1440 x 2960 pixels with a 570 ppi density, whereas the iPhone X stays at 1125 x 2436 pixels with 458 ppi density. Both devices have OLED screens, a technology that Samsung has been using since their first Galaxy phone.

Samsung is not without blemish, though. The S9 is a meager improvement upon the previous installment, giving Galaxy users little incentive to upgrade this year. The screen is precisely the same; size, resolution and pixel density remain unchanged. The improvements include a dual camera setup, superior storage space, and a slightly faster processor.

Both the S8 and the S9 are compatible with the Samsung DeX, a device that can turn your smartphone into a workstation. The DeX is a dock that connects to your TV, to give you a desktop environment where you can comfortably work with office suites, modify documents, edit pictures. All with mouse and keyboard support. This addition gives extra importance to the powerful processing capabilities of the S9, as it allows it to rival laptops and even some desktop computers. And it’s not all business. The S9 Mali GPU allows for mobile gaming that can also be transferred to your TV via the DeX.

I can see two kinds of people buying a Galaxy S9. The first are those coming from lower tier experiences, finally getting their hands on a top of the line product. These guys are most likely very familiar with the Android environment and will very seamlessly migrate to Samsung. The second kind are the people coming over from Apple products. For some reason or another, now that the time has come to upgrade their phone, they no longer feel identified with Apple. They might be puzzled by the changes made to the hardware, or are simply tech-oriented and can no longer deny that Samsung is giving them a better deal for their money, at least spec-wise. The change from iOS to Android might be trying for some of them, but they’ll eventually adapt.

Unless you are heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem, this might be your chance to give Samsung a try.

 

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The Best Phones Available in 2018

The Best Phones Available in 2018

Upgrading your phone can sometimes feel like a hassle. The longwinded process of transferring all of your pictures and data and getting used to a new phone can often put people off the task. The mobile phone world is moving fast though, and if you choose to stick with an older model, you may be missing out on some great features that can make your day-to-day life a lot easier.

For example, it looks like water-damage is becoming a thing of the past, as many new phone models have begun to incorporate waterproofing. Faster processing speeds, wireless charging, and face recognition are just a few of the other features you could be taking advantage of.

But with so many great new options, it can be difficult to choose the phone that has exactly what you’re looking for. That’s why we have created a list of some of the best phones on offer in 2018. If you feel it’s time to finally ditch the iPhone 4 with the cracked screen that you’ve had since you were in the womb, this list might be able to help. Read on for advice on the best phones available in 2018 to help you make your decision.

1. Apple iPhone X (Obviously)

You would be hard-pressed to find a list of best phones that does not feature an iPhone in one way or another. The newest addition to the iPhone family is the iPhone X. Apple is describing the iPhone X as the most intelligent iPhone to date, which is, of course, a trait everyone looks for in their smartphone. But seriously, the iPhone offers some pretty amazing features that would be hard to say no to. In addition to the already popular touchID feature and voice recognition, the iPhone X now comes equipped with a face recognition feature, meaning you can secure your phone with your face! The phone also consists of a 5.8-inch screen, which makes using this phone a very immersive experience. As well as being water and dust resistant, the phone also features wireless charging. which makes you feel like you really are in the future.

2. Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus

The Galaxy S9 Plus is the newer version of the Galaxy S9. It differs from its predecessor in that it offers a second camera lens on the back for taking portrait photos. This camera really stands out from the other Samsung phones on the market as it gives the user the chance to use depth of focus and blur backgrounds to improve their photography. It features a 5.8-inch screen, a sleek design and incredible speeds due to its Snapdragon 845 processor. In fact, it probably has the fastest response time of any phone currently on the market. There are some great colour schemes available, from lilac blue for a bright and happy look to titanium grey for a more conservative look. The battery life is top-notch and should last all day. It also features wireless charging and waterproofing. There are some issues with low-light photos and the 3D avatar software, but overall, this is a great phone.

3. Google Pixel 2

Pixel is Google’s answer to the iPhone. And for the most part, Google’s flagship mobile phone was well received when it was released back in 2016. Since then Google has followed up on their success with the release of the Pixel 2 in October 2017: a phone which remains one of the best available on the market. The main reason to buy this phone is, of course, its superb camera – the best of any other Android phone. But it has some other great features as well, like water-resistance, fast updates and the Google Lens feature. On the downside, it lacks a headphone jack. If you like to use wired headphones when you listen to music, this might be a problem. Other than that though, it’s mostly an excellent phone.

4. The LG V30

If you’ve established that a headphone jack is important to you, then look no further than the LG V30. This phone’s jack has a quad-DAC built in for superb quality audio. But that’s not all; it also has a fantastic camera, superior battery life, waterproofing, and that all-important wireless charging capability. The design makes it a little awkward to hold, and the autofocus on the camera can sometimes move frustratingly slowly, but overall this is a great option. If you’ve grown disillusioned or bored with iPhones, and you don’t fancy the Galaxy S8 Plus, this may be the phone for you.

5. Huawei P20 Pro

For those who like to stand out, and for those that understand that their phone is as much a style accessory as it is a functional device, you might want to look into the Huawei P20 Pro. This phone will turn heads with it’s incredible ‘twilight’ pink and blue colour scheme. If you prefer an understated look, though, it’s also available in solid blue, black, or pink gold. But don’t worry, this phone hasn’t prioritised style over substance. It backs up its good looks with some superb features. It has a total of three – yes, three – lenses on the back, which allow it to take great images in the day and even better images at night, thanks to the Night Mode feature. It’s also water-resistant and has a superb battery life. With all these great features, you’re probably wondering ‘what’s the catch?’ Well, it doesn’t support wireless charging. Like the Pixel 2, it also doesn’t have a headphone jack, nor does it have a lot of storage space. It also doesn’t quite match the Galaxy S9 for processing speed. Despite all this, it’s a good phone and deserves a place in the top 5 phones in 2018.

There you have it – the best five phones available in 2018. The above list should have something for everyone. Whether you’re an Android or an Apple fan, a photographer or a gamer, an email-checker or Facebook-trawler, you should be able to find a phone that works for you.

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Here Are 10 Things to Consider When Buying a New Smartphone

Here Are 10 Things to Consider When Buying a New Smartphone

If you’ve been reading smartphone reviews over the last few years, you might have noticed that some features on one phone outweigh others when it comes to a phone receiving a good review or not. It can be stressful purchasing a new phone, especially with prices going over the $1,000.

Fortunately, you don’t need to spend as much; all you need to know is what you should be looking for as you shop for your next smartphone.

Below is a list of what you should be paying attention to:

Display

Like most people, you will probably be spending hours every day staring at the phone’s screen. Make sure that your purchase is bright enough outdoors and sharp enough to offer you a clear view of texts while surfing.

If you opt for a large screen phone, its resolution should not be anything less than 1920 x 1080 p. You can splurge on a sharper 2560 x 1440 Quad HD resolution phone for sharper images and texts.

At the same time, consider the phone’s screen size. Make sure that you can reach across it quickly. Take note that larger screens are great for movies, while smaller ones make it easy to handle the phone without dropping it.

IPS or AMOLED Display?

Instead of looking into the technical aspects of each display, the visual features will help you choose what type of smartphone display works best for you. While both have their advantages, each display type also comes with its disadvantages.

OLED, Super AMOLED, and AMOLED smartphones give you brighter colors, and more deep blacks as well as more viewing angles. In some cases, unfortunately, colors may appear over saturated.

On the other hand, IPS displays produce less color saturation than AMOLEDs. However, black levels are not as good, but viewing angles are excellent.

Storage

Many people would instead save money by purchasing cheaper smartphones, but they are usually shipped with little onboard storage space. Choose a phone that offers you at least 64GB storage if you will be downloading movies and music.

Plus, today’s apps are significantly bigger, and your pictures and videos will take lots of space if you are not using cloud backup. Services like Google Photos and Apple Photos allow you to send images to the cloud without storing them on your device. Also, a couple of Android smartphones have microSD card slots that you can use for boosting storage space.

Phone’s Age

Older-model or refurbished smartphones are a big temptation if you want to save a couple of bucks, but there are a few things you need to consider before purchasing such a phone.

If the phone is 2 to 3 years old on the market, the chances are high that it will stop receiving critical software updates and security patches. Moreover, the phone might be incapable of running newer version apps that require more processing and memory power.

However, if you will only be sending texts or checking e-mails, an older or refurbished smartphone will do you right.

Design and Functionality

While choosing a new smartphone, one of the biggest decision makers is personal taste regarding outward appearance and software. While some prefer rounded lines and a flowing design, others prefer a sturdy look with straight lines and sharp edges.

However, each month sees the introduction of smartphones that are increasingly looking alike due to trends and marketing campaigns. However, choose the phone’s design based on its functionality.

For instance, a trendy and stylish metal unibody looks great, but it might prevent you from using functionalities like a removable battery or microSD card. Before purchasing, make sure you check on the device’s quality to be sure that you can use it comfortably and conveniently.

Battery Power

Before purchasing any smartphone, make sure that you’ve read reviews or talked to people who already own the particular model you want. Obviously, you want a phone that will last a full day.

One of the biggest complaints from smartphone owners is that they have what they call “always dead” phones. If you count yourself as been among these phone owners, its time you consider purchasing a phone fitted with fast charging capabilities.

In addition, many Android phones have special chargers that can juice up the battery to half charge in a few minutes. iPhone owners should consider purchasing an iPad charger for better charging performance.

Camera

If family and friends photos are your passion, you need a phone that’s fitted with a good quality camera. Phones within the expensive range – iPhone X and Galaxy S9 – are capable of taking great photos in low light situations without the flash. In most cases, budget phones will not offer you such great pictures; so, consider paying a bit more if photos are important to you.

Manufacturer Reputation

If possible, spend some time researching a bit more about the company behind the phone. Some safe bets include names like Samsung, Apple, and LG. A few other companies have come under fire for numerous reasons including sending of private user data to third parties.

Know When to Buy

It’s tempting to purchase a smartphone as soon as it’s released to the market; however, be patient. For starters, you will likely pay a high price, and while you will end up with a new shiny phone, your wallet will frown.

It is best if you could wait a couple of months and watch out for phones that do not sell well. Such phones will eventually drop prices by almost 50% in a couple of months.

Your Current Smartphone

If you have been using smartphones, the chances are that it’s either an Android or iPhone phone. The market is mostly (90%) served by Apple and Google operating systems, and these companies are working hard to ensure you stay with them.

If you have used a particular platform for several years, you might have purchased movies, TV shows, and music that’s inaccessible if you decide to change platforms. For instance, a diehard Apple fan with hundreds of Apple Music and iTunes movies is better off purchasing an Apple phone. If you are not tied to a particular smartphone operating system, you can always buy a phone based on the most value and innovation.

 

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