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Which Smartphone Is Right For You? February 2012

I use an HTC Desire S and since I got the HTC Sense 3.0 update, I love the phone I have. A lot of people shopping for a smartphone would get a BlackBerry or an iPhone, depending on how much money they have to spend. A lot of people at my school use BlackBerries and a lot of people I know use iPhones. However, I will be discussing the advantages and disadvantages of these phones, as well as why you might want to get an Android or Windows phone. Another option for buying a smartphone would be to go with a Nokia. However, the situation with Nokia is a little more complicated, as their phones use different operating systems, which are not as widely used by other manufacturers.

If you want a  smartphone that is easy to use, I would recommend getting an iPhone or a Windows Phone. If you are fairly new to technology and you are not very used to touch screens, Windows Phone would be a good choice. Windows Phone has a touchscreen user interface, like many other smartphones have, but the on-screen buttons are quite large and the on-screen keyboard has autocorrect so when you are typing a text message, you don’t have to hit every letter exactly right. Another great advantage of Windows Phone is that it will integrate really well with Windows 8. While Windows 8 hasn’t been released yet and won’t be released for a while longer, when it is released, assuming all Windows phones get the required software updates, your phone and a Windows 8 PC will work really well together.

Another great option, as I mentioned earlier, is getting an iPhone. An iPhone is a good option for someone who understands technology but is not an expert on it and just wants a phone that will work. It is also a good phone for a Mac user to consider, as iPhones and Macs are made by the same company which is an advantage because if an iPhone is plugged into a Mac, the Mac will usually detect it and set it up automatically. However, the best advantage of buying an iPhone is that if you buy the latest model, you can expect to get the latest software for it a year or two after you buy it. One disadvantage is that the iPhone’s on-screen keyboard doesn’t have autocorrect. However, that feature is on its way and should come in a software update in the near future.

My favourite mobile operating system is Android. That is because of how much it can be customised by the user. It is incredibly easy to change aspects of Android such as the homescreen and the on-screen keyboard. Another great thing about Android is the overall user interface. The homescreen supports widgets and live wallpapers which can not only move but also be interacted with by the user. Android might not be a great mobile platform for absolute beginners, as some people might not know how to change what widgets they have on the homescreen. However, if you are not my mum, you shouldn’t have too much of a problem getting to understand Android. My favourite Android phones are the ones made by HTC, because of HTC Sense and because their phones have good build quality. However, I have also heard good about the Samsung devices. The main disadvantage of Android is that no matter what phone you buy, there is no guarantee that you will get future software updates because Android itself and smartphones running Android are made by different companies. Manufacturers make customisations to Android to give their users a unique experience and when a new version of Android is released, before manufacturers release the update to their devices, they have to make sure their changes will work on the new OS and if they don’t work, they have to change everything.

BlackBerry smartphones are good for people who want a phone with a great keyboard. I haven’t had great experience typing on a BlackBerry keyboard but I hear that they are great to type on so I’m guessing that it takes a bit of practice but you can eventually type really fast on a BlackBerry. The BlackBerry platform also has good value, because the phones don’t cost too much and they all come with BlackBerry Messenger, an encrypted chat client which, if you buy a BlackBerry, you can use as much as you like, for free. However, I think BlackBerry might be a dying brand because on-screen keyboards are getting better and as for BBM, which from what I can gather, is a selling point of BlackBerries, you can get a Pay As You Go plan on Three in which £15 top-ups can get you unlimited Internet access which can be used for communicating with people using tools such as Facebook Messenger, which can be used on nearly all smartphone platforms.

Nokia smartphones are quite interesting, as their smartphone are very different from a lot of other smartphones. A lot of Nokia devices such as the N8 and E7 use Symbian. As far as I know, Symbian is only used by Nokia. However, since Symbian was probably around since the late 90’s, the latest Nokia devices use different operating systems. The Nokia N9 and the Lumia 800 have essentially the same design. However, they are very different phones. The Lumia 800 uses Windows Phone 7 while the N9 uses MeeGo, a Linux based operating system. I’m not entirely sure what changes Nokia made to MeeGo to put it on their N9, but I imagine they moved things around quite a bit. The N9 has a very simple user interface which uses a lot of swipe gestures throughout the operating system. It has a very simple multitasking interface which I actually like a lot. However, the disadvantage with a lot of Nokia’s phones is that because such few phones run MeeGo and Symbian and because not very many people will buy them, not very many third party apps will be developed for those devices.

I don’t have any recommendations for smartphones that everyone should get. However, I would actually recommend looking at smartphones to see which phone or platform is right for you. You could watch reviews on different phones. TechnoBuffalo do good reviews at youtube.com/jon4lakers and PocketNow do good reviews at youtube.com/pocketnowvideo. Another way to get a good idea of what type of smartphone you want is to just go into a phone shop and actually play with the phones. The good thing about doing it this way is that you don’t have to know all the mobile operating systems. You simply just have to play with all the different phones and buy your favourite phone.

Posted on Saturday 4th February 2012 - Leave a comment