Window Shopping

So this week I broke my phone. Typical problem with LCD-based screens (TN, IPS, and the likes) is that it's liquid between 2 panes of glass. Subject the phone to enough pressure, the glass will cease to work properly. In my case, the screen had some serious ghosting/burn-in.

And when your phone is a "local brand" that doesn't have a service center nearby, you're out of luck. The nearest would still be in another province and service would cost as much as buying a new phone which I plan to do starting off with window shopping.


So the first several stops were boring. I ignored the sales people, they ignored me, all is good. The few stops later were interesting, as the sales people were ladies who were younger and they were trying to charm me into buying one of their phones. But what caught my attention is how they market the phones.

More pixels equals better camera?

More pixels equals better camera right? WRONG. What people don't know is that there's more to a camera than just the amount of pixels. There's also sensor sensitivity. No matter how many pixels your camera has, if your camera sensor is slow, your videos and photos will be blurry. Remember those cameras where you have to stick around for a second after clicking the shutter to get a non-blurry shot? That's a sign of a slow camera sensor.

What to do: Always get a demo phone and try out the camera. When taking a picture, press the shutter and then move immediately. If the resulting picture blurred out, then the camera sucks.

Gestures equals faster?

So gestures make your phone life faster? WRONG. They said "pull down from the top left, draw an 'F' then you're on Facebook." Uhm, I can do that in 2 moves actually: Press home, and granted you have a Facebook shortcut in the home screen (which you probably do), press that. That's 2 presses compared to 4 swipes. If I got the math right, 4 > 2. How is that fast?

What to do: Never get swayed by the marketing. Android was created by smart people who have factored in the usability into the design. The home button and the homescreen are there for a reason, and that's to get to and put in stuff to make you navigate faster.

Greater processor and RAM equals faster?

Uhm... WRONG because there's more to it than just "faster".

To give you a bit of context, I once had a Galaxy S Advance with 1Ghz dual-core processor and ~500MB of RAM. I played Dead Trigger with that thing (a 3D zombie fps game for Android). Facebook, on the other hand, isn't even half as power-hungry. If I can run a processor-intensive game on a mid-range device, then an octa-core phone is overkill, as well as overpriced.

As for RAM, 1GB is totally enough. I have played games (Fifa) on my phone, switch to FB and Twitter, and send SMSes to people all at the same session. Android as well as the apps you use are smart enough to manage your RAM, and 1GB is just enough for a phone.

What to do: Don't fall for the octa-core/Intel inside/2.xGhz processor. For an average user using mainstream apps, a 1Ghz quad paired with 1GB RAM is enough for regular use.

Gorilla glass equals better protected phone?

I bet, at a rough guess, 80% of the time you actually drop your phone as opposed to scratching the glass with something scratchy. And in that 80%, most likely you'll break something else other than the glass. My Flare S just had a plastic screen, but with a screen protector but I broke the screen (the LCD inside) because of rugged use.

What to do: While you're safer with some [insert glass tech here], chances are you'll break your screen in another way. Also, screen protectors are good enough when installed properly. So don't readily fall for the "Gorilla Glass" marketing.

Metal body makes a sturdier phone?

iPhone 6 Plus. Bendgate. Nuff said.

What to do: Personal choice. I prefer the bendy "cheap plastic" phones because they flex but don't permanently deform.

Conclusion

I know that processor power, RAM and storage capacity isn't always the "main points" of a phone. You should also consider "pain points" as well. Lack of sensors, crappy sensors, near-dead battery life, everyone should take a look at these as well.

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© Joseph Descalzota