Does size matter? The new dilemma of phone buyers
Anybody currently going into the phone market (especially for the high end budget) will face one dilemma, which screen size to go for. This fight was started in order to distinguish Android phones from the iPhones. The iPhones have retained screen size of 3.5 inch since inception. On the other hand Android phones and others have gone for many diversified choices in their fight with iPhones, popular ones being 3.7”, 4.0” and 4.3”. Recently two new screen sizes have emerged in 4.6” and 5.3” recently with devices like Galaxy Nexus, HTC One X, and supposedly Galaxy S3 for the earlier and Galaxy Note for the latter. Size comparison can be seen here.
While all these devices have brought on new innovation like S-Pen in case of Galaxy Note, I find these phones incredibly hard to recommend. These so called 'phablets', asking the question, is it a phone or is it a tablet, don’t serve good enough as either. A phone in my opinion should tick two boxes with respect to dimension; one, be pocket friendly, secondly be usable with a single hand. And these phones with screen size 4.3” and greater just don’t make the cut in this department without the user agreeing to compromise. A tablet on the other hand needs to provide a good multimedia viewing experience where you can watch stuff like movies and TV shows for long hours.
And that is the reason why my most preferred size in a mobile phone is 3.7”-4.0”. Unfortunately, currently there are no good android handset considering ICS in this screen size earlier dominated by Samsung’s major success Galaxy S, but there is Xperia U, Sola, P coming soon (May end supposedly) in this size segment with specs equivalent to the high end phones. You also get Windows Phones in this range which are great VFM like Lumia 710 and Omnia W. While not only convenient, they are almost certainly way more affordable. This not only provides you with a decent phone for the next year or two, it also decreases your loss against the breathtaking pace at which mobile industry is growing, with phones becoming outdated in less than an year.
And hey, maybe for the money you save, you can go for a tablet too!
PS: Opinions have been made sighting the Indian Phone market.
Windows Phone-To buy it or not
*Note: I chose this topic because a lot of my friends have been facing similar confusion.*
Current crop of smartphone buyers in India have a big confusion circling their heads and those with the budget of around INR 15k-20k have the biggest one. This budget is the mid range, and dominated by Android out and out. Most of the phones are of similar specs; a 1Ghz processor, 3.7-3.8 inch screen, 512 MB RAM, 5 MP camera etc. These phones are those which have most suffered from the common Android problem: *upgrade to the next big Android version*. Latest victim of this was Galaxy S. The high selling phone wont be getting the new Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) even though it meets specifications. For most devices currently in the market, either Gingerbread or Ice Cream Sandwich is the last update. I dont think any devices currently selling below 25k will be getting the post ICS version (rumored to be named Jellybean, to be announced December 2012) Mentality of us shrewd Indians has always guided us to buying long lasting products, and it pains many of us when we start feeling that our phone is outdated in just a few months. What is the solution to this?
The solution in my opinion lies with Windows Phone. Windows Phone has a strict hardware specification. What this means is that all the phones conform to a standard hardware sets, all of which are given more or less the same software. This ensures that all the devices are running in the same way as the latest ones. As the software variation is little, all the handsets get the big updates that Microsoft releases, atleast for sometime.
One can also think the amount of investment and hope put in Windows Phone by Nokia. The current Nokia devices all have specs of 1.4 GHz processors, 512 MB RAM. For Nokia Lumia 800 and soon to be launched 900 and 910 carrying the same specs are benchmarks and they will definitely be compatible with the next updates for quite some time. This also ensures that the cheaper Omnia W and Lumia 710 which have the same specs but are priced significantly cheaper (INR 15-17k at the time of writing) will also get these updates. So for INR 15k you are buying a phone that has top end specs and will continue to get updates for sometime.
Another concern is the applications. There is no doubt that the Windows Phone MarketPlace is not as thickly populated as the Android market. What one needs to look is check if the apps that he/she already uses is already there on the MarketPlace or expected soon in the MarketPlace or not. In most cases of popular application, they themselves or their alternative would be present or coming soon. Also with respect to future, no developer is ignoring Windows Phone and any new app coming to Android will in most cases also come to Windows Phone.
Apart from these, there is also the benefit of the gorgeous Windows Phone UI, the very smooth and fluid experience of Windows Phone and its simplicity. In front of that Android experience almost seems crude.
Yes, Windows Phone is still adding features, and for this it has 2 big updates in the name of Tango and Apollo scheduled this year, first of which aims to bring Windows Phones to a lower end while the latter increases the top end with dual core and other enhancements. But the fact that the OS is already very fast and smooth is undeniable.
So in my opinion, Windows Phone is a better buy in long run, considering you don’t change your phones your 8-10 months. 12 months later you will be showing brand new features of Apollo update while your friends will be with an year old OS! Please share your opinion below.
Disclaimer: This post does not intend to advertise any brand. I don’t even own a Windows Phone and currently use an Android. Hopefully sometime soon when I am looking for a new phone!
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