How to choose a smartphone – expert reviews

When choosing a smartphone, it is worth starting from the planned use of the device first of all.

how to choose a smartphone


  1. How to choose a smartphone: what to look for
  2. The main criteria for choosing smartphones
  3. How to choose an Android smartphone?
  4. How to choose a powerful smartphone
  5. Which processor to choose a smartphone with
  6. How to choose a smartphone with 2 SIM-cards
  7. Choosing a smartphone for the Internet
  8. How to choose a smartphone with a good camera
  9. Which diagonal of the smartphone to choose
  10. How to choose a smartphone with a good battery
  11. How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10,000 rubles)
  12. The best smartphone manufacturers
  13. Video on choosing a smartphone

How to choose a smartphone: what to look for

The main criteria for choosing smartphones are:

  1. Operating system;

  2. Processor and RAM;

  3. Permanent memory;

  4. The number of SIM-cards, their mode of operation and the supported Internet standards;

  5. Screen;

  6. Camera;

  7. Battery capacity.

  8. The manufacturer of the device is also important.

The main criteria for choosing smartphones

Smartphones are multifunctional devices. Therefore, their technical characteristics rather indirectly determine a specific specification. So, a smartphone with a good camera is suitable not only for mobile photography, but for everything else.

operating system

Smartphone operating system

The main operating systems used in smartphones are Android, iOS and Windows Mobile. Other firmwares like Sailfish, Tizen, Ubuntu, Plasma occupy too little market share, are intended for enthusiasts and therefore are hardly worth considering.


Android is the most popular mobile operating system. Almost 70% of smartphones on the market are equipped with it. However, it is worth considering that it exists not only in its pure form, but also in numerous variations like MIUI (in devices Xiaomi), EMUI (Huawei) or Flume (Meizu). In addition, the vast majority of manufacturers (Samsung, LG, Sony, etc.) make their own changes to Android, changing it in some cases beyond recognition.

However, both modifications, and third-party interfaces, and clean Android offer approximately the same capabilities and a similar user experience.

Despite the shortcomings, the operating system Android shows sufficient functionality and usability when used carefully.


  • As part of the Google infrastructure, it offers access to many Google services completely free of charge (including cloud storage of user preferences, contacts, photos, etc.);

    A huge number of applications in the dedicated Google Play store, the vast majority of which are completely free;

  • The ability to deeply customize and customize work, interface, etc. (however, for some independent modifications, special knowledge is required);

  • A similar user experience, making it easy to switch from one smartphone to another, even if they are from completely different manufacturers;


  • Fragmentation (there are dozens of versions and generations of OS at the same time), limited manufacturer support (some smartphones never receive updates);

  • The appearance of a huge amount of software 'garbage' during operation. Therefore, after a while of use, the smartphone starts to slow down, it runs out of internal memory, etc. It is 'treated' by flashing;

  • A huge amount of Bloatware out of the box (preinstalled programs from Google and the manufacturer, which in some cases duplicate each other, which is especially true for Samsung smartphones – sometimes three programs with the same functions are installed on them);

  • Vulnerability to viruses and malicious software (some applications can steal user data, including SMS from banks, applications with administrator rights gain full control over the device);


iOS is the second most popular mobile operating system. It is proprietary and therefore only available on smartphones Apple. The lack of fragmentation makes it quite optimized on any mobile device from this manufacturer, so it works smoothly on both old and new iPhone.

Optimization, good security and ease of use make iOS suitable for most users – especially those who don't like experimenting with the interface and other components of the OS.


  • The highest level of security, expressed in the absence of loopholes for malware;

  • Virtually absent bloatware;

  • Ready to work out of the box – no third-party software is required to use most of the smartphone's functions;

  • Deep optimization for hardware, thanks to which the operating system runs smoothly even on 1.5-2 GB of RAM;

  • A wide range of third-party software in the branded store Apple AppStore;


  • Inability to customize and customize the interface 'for yourself';

  • Newer versions iOS do not work well on old ones iPhone, however, upgrading to them occurs in a 'almost forced' order;

  • Lack of access to internal memory for storing files without special software for synchronization (iTunes);

  • The presence of regional restrictions that cannot be circumvented;

  • Inability to remove preinstalled software even with Jailbreak (one of the hack methods iOS);

  • iOS 11 has another drawback. Due to the fact that many pre-installed applications are optimized for use with iPhone X, on other smartphones they have a completely non-usable interface with a window title that in some cases takes up to a quarter of the screen.

Windows 10 Mobile

Windows 10 Mobile is the third most popular mobile operating system. Despite the fact that the company Microsoft stopped supporting it in September 2017, smartphones with it can still be found on sale – from companies HTC, Nokia, HP and some other manufacturers.

The operating system Windows 10 Mobile is quite convenient to use and therefore well suited for budget (up to 10 thousand rubles) smartphones.


  • Excellent optimization level (works well even on weak processors and devices with less than 1 GB of RAM);

  • Part of the ecosystem Windows, due to which data is synchronized between a smartphone or computer;

  • High level of security (viruses for this operating system no longer exist);


  • A very small number of applications in the brand store Windows Store;

  • Impossibility of customization;

  • Lack of developer support;

  • During work, various problems periodically appear (for example, with synchronization);

  • Out-of-the-box user experience;

How to choose a smartphone on Android?

Smartphone on Android

The operating system Android gets better with every new version. She has useful functions, increases autonomy, improves work with a large number of simultaneously running applications.

Therefore, when choosing a smartphone, you should give preference to devices with the most recent version Android. It:

  1. Android 6.0 Marshmallow;

  2. Android 7.0 / 7.1 Nougat;

  3. Android 8.0 / 8.1 Oreo.

  4. Smartphones under control Android 5.0 / 5.1 Lollipop and 'old' are not recommended for purchase.

In addition, it is desirable that the operating system is 'clean', with no installed software from the manufacturer or deep modifications. Unfortunately, only smartphones from Nokia, Google and a number of Chinese manufacturers are equipped with such an OS. Samsung and LG are making quite profound interface changes, while Sony is not very (but tangible).

From third-party firmware based on Android, only EMUI (smartphones Huawei) and Flume OS (smartphones Meizu) can boast of a good level of optimization. MIUI, the most famous 'mod' 'Android', is not too optimized and therefore can slow down and lag on budget smartphones.

Processor and RAM

The processor and RAM are the brains of the device. It is on them that its performance depends in a variety of cases. So, a powerful processor allows you to run resource-intensive applications like 3D or even AR games, and a large amount of RAM allows you to work with a large number of programs at the same time.

In 2017, the optimal value for the processor configuration is 4 cores and about 2.0 GHz clock frequency, and RAM – 2 GB or more.

How to choose a powerful smartphone

Powerful smartphone Xiaomi

The most productive line of processors is the series Qualcomm Snapdragon 800. And the most powerful at the moment (November 2017) is Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. An alternative to it is MediaTek Helio X35 (or P35, they are about the same). Therefore, if you need maximum performance from your smartphone, you should choose models equipped with processors of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series, MediaTek Helio X and MediaTek Helio P.

The amount of RAM is at least 2 GB. Better, of course, more. The standard in flagships for 2017 is 4 GB – this is the amount of RAM installed in the Samsung Galaxy S8, Google Pixel 2 and LG G6. Some smartphones – Samsung Galaxy 8+, OnePlus 5 – can be equipped with even more RAM: 6 or 8 GB.

However, the operating system kernel Android cannot adequately utilize more than 4 GB of RAM, even though the transition to 64-bit architecture starting with Android 7.0 Nougat. Therefore, when buying a smartphone with 8 GB of RAM, you will need to reflash the kernel to a custom one, which included support for so many 'RAM'.

Which processor to choose a smartphone with

If maximum power from a smartphone is not required, you can pay attention to other, less powerful – and at the same time less expensive processors. These are, for example, series Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 and ruler MediaTek MTK 67XX.

Thus, the method for choosing a processor for a smartphone is as follows:

  1. If you need the highest performance, then: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, 830, 825, MediaTek Helio X35, X30, X35, P35;

  2. If high performance is required: Qualcomm Snapdragon 825, 820, MediaTek Helio from X15 and from P15;

  3. If sufficient performance is required: Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, 810, 815, MediaTek Helio any, Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 series any, MediaTek MTK 6700 series any.

Smartphones on other processors of these lines are not recommended for purchase, as well as on Intel Atom.

You can take Kirin or Exynos – they provide sufficient performance at the level of current or previous flagships.

Persistent memory

The amount of permanent memory determines the amount of user data that can fit into a smartphone. The internal storage also hosts the operating system Android and installed applications.

  1. As a consequence, the higher the amount of permanent memory, the better. In 2017, the minimum adequate volume is 16 GB. All user applications will fit on such an internal drive, and there will also be room for a couple of music albums in Loseless quality or even a movie.

  2. The optimal amount of permanent memory is 32 GB. In addition to custom applications, such a drive can accommodate an entire season of 13 episodes of a TV series in HD quality.

  3. 64 GB or more is required only for those users who are used to carrying around a whole music library, video library, etc.

With a small amount of built-in memory (32 GB or less), you can use a flash card to store user data. If you plan to carry movies and other 'weighty' content with you, it is recommended to take a smartphone with a microSD slot.

The number of SIM-cards, their modes of operation, supported mobile Internet standards

Native (built-in, no 'crutches' from third-party developers) support for 2 SIM cards appeared only in Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Of course, smartphones with several GSM-modules were produced before, but the quality of the networks in them left much to be desired. So, for example, mobile Internet was available only on one SIM card, and the second was used exclusively for calls and SMS.

Therefore, if you plan to buy a smartphone with two SIM cards, you should make sure that it works on Android 6.0 or newer.

SIM cards in smartphones can work in one of three modes:

  1. Simultaneous. If a call is made on one SIM card, it can also be received on the second one;

  2. Expectations. If a call is made on one SIM card, the person calling the second will hear something like 'This subscriber is talking on the second line';

  3. Alternating. If a call is made on one SIM card, the person calling the second will hear 'The subscriber is out of the network coverage area'.

At the same time, the simultaneous operation of two SIM cards leads to an intensive discharge of the battery, waiting – to less, and alternating – to a minimum.

The supported mobile internet standards are also the following:

  1. 2G is the slowest, up to 128 kbps. Suitable for communication in some instant messengers;

  2. 3G is the most optimal. Suitable for surfing the web, chatting on social networks, listening to music and watching movies online;

  3. 4G is the fastest. Suitable for watching movies online in high quality, video calls, downloading files;

  4. LTE-A is an extended version of 4G that supports more streams to maintain speed while using the channel actively.

Each subsequent standard includes support for all previous ones – that is, smartphones with a 4G module can work in 3G and 2G networks.

How to choose a smartphone with 2 SIM-cards

smartphone for 2 sim cards

When choosing a smartphone for 2 SIM cards, you should pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Operating system version Android – the fresher the better;

  2. Mode of operation of SIM-cards (simultaneous, standby or alternate);

Slots for SIM-cards. Most modern smartphones use a combo slot that can accommodate either 2 SIM cards or 1 SIM and memory card. If you need to use 2 SIM cards and a memory card at the same time, you should pay attention to models with 'spaced' connectors.

Choosing a smartphone for the Internet

When choosing a smartphone for the Internet, you should pay attention to the supported mobile communication standard. The amount of RAM is also important (the higher it is, the lower the risk of unloading a web page or any application).


The photographic ability of a smartphone is influenced by the camera resolution, sensor model, processor model, camera optics and other characteristics.

Camera resolution is the actual number of pixels on the sensor. Most smartphones use modules designed for 5, 8, 13 or 20 MP. For mobile photography, 13 or 20 megapixels are enough.

The sensor model largely determines the quality of focusing, color and saturation of the picture. The fresher it is, the better. The most commonly used sensors are from Sony called IMX. After this letter code, there is a digital dialing. The higher the three-digit number, the fresher the sensor.

The camera optics determines the saturation and clarity (exposure) of the image. For most users, stock Sony optics are enough, but if necessary, you can pay attention to models with lenses from Leica – for example, Huawei Mate 9 or 10.

Among other characteristics, one can single out the aperture (aperture) of the sensor (the lower it is, the better), the number of sensors (in smartphones of the middle and flagship classes, two camera modules shoot better than one) and the presence of additional functions (HDR + support, software quality improvement technologies, two-tone flash).

How to choose a smartphone with a good camera

choose a phone with a good camera

Pay attention to the following parameters:

  1. Sensor model (preferably IMX300 series. For example, IMX333 is installed in OnePlus 3T);

  2. Actual resolution (13-20 megapixels is sufficient);

  3. Optics (Leica optics should be preferred);

  4. Processor (the more powerful it is, the faster the pictures will be obtained and the more beautiful they will be);

  5. Focus type (laser is better for macro and portrait photography, contrast – for landscape and city).


When choosing a screen, it is worth considering three characteristics – diagonal, resolution and manufacturing technology.

  1. Diagonal is the actual screen size. Measured from corner to corner (for example, bottom left to top right). Determines the convenience of using a smartphone.

  2. Screen resolution is the actual number of pixels on the display matrix. Determines the 'smoothness' of the picture. On the other hand, the higher it is, the more power the screen consumes.

Manufacturing technology – a design solution for a smartphone screen. The following technologies are distinguished:

  1. TN. Has a low contrast, low saturation, small viewing angles. Only found in the cheapest smartphones;

  2. IPS. Has good color rendering, wide viewing angles. Power consumption directly depends on the brightness of the backlight. Displays untrue black. Found in almost all mid-range smartphones and some top-end devices;

  3. AMOLED. Has excellent color rendering, good viewing angles, excellent contrast. Power consumption depends on the saturation of the picture. The disadvantage is that it burns out over time. Found only in flagship smartphones;

  4. IGZO. Has the maximum resolution, optimal power consumption, optimal contrast and color reproduction. Found in a very limited number of smartphones.

We recommend buying smartphones with IPS or AMOLED.

Which diagonal of the smartphone to choose

phone screen

Optimal diagonal values:

  1. 4 inches – this smartphone will be convenient to use with one hand;

  2. 5 inches – some people with tiny palms will not be able to use a smartphone with one hand;

  3. From 6 inches – in any case, you need two hands to use a smartphone.

The best diagonal is 5 inches (or so).

Optimum resolution is 1280 × 720 pixels for 4 inches, 1920 × 1080 pixels for 5 inches and more.

Battery capacity

The battery life largely depends on the battery capacity. The optimal value of this parameter is from 2800 mAh. A smartphone equipped with such a battery will 'live' about 8-10 hours of mixed use.

How to choose a smartphone with a good battery

Battery capacity

If a high autonomy of a smartphone is required, the following criteria should be considered:

  1. Battery capacity. The higher the better;

  2. Display type. Preferred AMOLED or IGZO;

  3. CPU. It is recommended to choose models with the smallest technical process (up to 16-20 nm). You can find out the value of this parameter from the specifications for a particular chip;

  4. Operating system. The 'fresher' the better.

However, it is very difficult to accurately determine the battery life as it is influenced by many factors – from the type of smartphone use to the quality of cellular network coverage.

How to choose an inexpensive smartphone (up to 10,000 rubles)

When choosing inexpensive smartphones, you will have to compromise anyway. But the optimal values ​​of the parameters are as follows:

  1. Operating system – the 'fresher' the better;

  2. RAM – at least 1.5-2 GB;

  3. Permanent memory – at least 8 GB, a memory card slot is required;

  4. Camera – from 5 MP;

  5. Screen – IPS;

  6. Battery capacity – from 2000 mAh.

Good budget smartphones are: Meizu m5, Huawei Honor 6A, Xiaomi Redmi 4X and some other models.

The best smartphone manufacturers

The best smartphone manufacturers are:

  1. Apple. Releases a line iPhone;

  2. Samsung. Devices of all price segments are produced;

  3. Nokia. Recently returned to the smartphone market with interesting devices;

  4. LG. Receives continuous support from Google;

  5. Xiaomi, Huawei, Meizu are Chinese manufacturers that you can definitely trust.

  6. Also worth mentioning is OnePlus, which makes flagship smartphones at a relatively low price point.

In the following articles, our experts will tell you how to choose a phone with a good camera and the secrets of choosing a Chinese smartphone.

Video on choosing a smartphone

Attention! This material is the subjective opinion of the authors of the project and is not a purchase guide.

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