Article 55: Smartphone Selection

Smartphone Selection: What are the Important Things?

Advertising is everywhere. For good or for evil, we are stuck with it. Even AdBlock doesn’t get it all. But that is a story for another day. When you are looking through someone’s advertising, do you know how to pick out the most important selling points of a device? Phones, Tablets, Computers, and all of the other technology has some bottom lines that are important. If you can figure out how to do a real comparison, it will make you a savvier buyer, and you can get the most for your money. Let’s have a look at smartphones and you’ll get the Modern Nerd’s insights for what to look at.

Skip the Promotional Videos and Overviews

See the title. It’s important. Many people go to college to learn how to sell you things. You are bombarded with psychology-backed, well-researched, graphic design and videos when looking at just how shiny something is. Skip all of it. You can come back later, we promise. For now, look at the technical specifications. You want four important pieces of information to start with, then you can look at all the bells and whistles.

Processor and RAM

Just like a computer, the heart and soul are the processor and memory. Think of the processor as the power to do things fast, and the memory as the power to multi-task. Obviously faster is better, but there are levels to that. A ‘core’ is a section of the processor. So if it is advertised as a Quad-Core, then there are 4 sections that each run calculations at the “Clock Speed”. Clock speed is measured in GHz, or millions of cycles per second. More cores and better clock speed is better.

RAM is the digital storage that is required to do things instantly, and switching between apps and multitasking is very RAM intensive. More again is better, but you don’t need upwards of the 8GB that computers need. If you have 2 GB of RAM, that is considered a lot for a modern smartphone. DDR2 vs. DDR3 is another debate, but I’ll just simplify it to say that while DDR3 is better, it is normally seen in computers only as of this article. DDR2 was running your computer until just a few years ago, so it can handle anything your smartphone can throw at it.

Battery Life

How long does it last? If you burn out your phone watching 2 videos and reading an article during your commute in the morning, do you really want to carry the charger with you all day? (No. The answer to this question is no.) Modern phones are loaded with features, but they require lots of power. The second specification to direct your attention to is the battery life.

Talk time and Standby time are poor numbers for accessing internet and engaging in all the multimedia things that make smartphones great, so a little further research will be needed on this one. Just keep in mind that accessing the web takes a lot more battery power than just talking on the phone.


The last thing to look at will be storage. Storage is not the same thing as RAM, which can be confusing. Storage is the amount of stuff, music, games, videos, pictures, etc. that can be on your phone at any given time. RAM is the active memory that shuffles them around. Sticking to the metaphor, the Storage is the deck, the RAM are the hands that can hold one card at a time. More is better, obvious.

Now the Cool Features

Once you compare these numbers side by side, you can get a better idea of how things stack up. Don’t be blinded by sales pitches, a fancy name, or a features list until you have done some deeper digging. It’s important to always remember to think for yourself. Thanks for reading. Like our page on Facebook and follow our RSS and Twitter feeds to get all of the updates from the Modern Nerd, every week.

Aaron Krick
Blog Contributor at the Computer Fixer



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