Tips on purchasing an Android Phone

Here are some tips which I think you may find useful when you are looking to buy an Android phone.

Unlike the iPhone , the Android mobile space has a huge number of variants, which is good and bad at the same time. Good - cause you get variety ( though the current designs all seem to be very similar) , and Bad as you cant figure out what to buy !

My tips below will be looking beyond the advertized features of the phone. So, you will have to read the specifications of the phone you are trying to get and see if it fits for you!

Tip#0 : Wait for ICS

ICS is the next version of Android ( Version 4.0 ) but it is still not available in the market. So, if you can wait then wait for the phones with the new versions to be available.

Android 4.0

Tip#1 : Check for available custom ROMs

When you buy an Android phone from a manufacturer, you will end up with a system with a lot of customizations from the manufacturer. Its like how you go and buy a laptop and get all the preinstalled software. Now, you may actually want this, in which case you can ignore this tip. But, you may also be thinking that this is a lot of bloatware. Not only does it reduce the amount of space that you have available in the phone, it also causes your battery to drain much faster and slows down the phone.

So, have a look at the mods available in the market. I used the Cyanogenmod for installing onto my phone:

Samsung Galaxy ACE running CyanogenMOD7

Some sites you can refer to :
1. Cyanogenmod
3. XDA Developers

Please note : by flashing the new OS you will void any guarantee from the manufacturer and also you have a risk of bricking your phone. Take all backups and then take them again. Use recovery mechanisms to take backup of the actual OS.

Tip#2 : Check the battery

Don't go by the claims from the manufacturers about the uptime. Its usually by turning off all the features and on a stock device. It falls flat on the face in actual use - the gap is quite large. The one thing you can do now is to look at the mAh rating on the device. Minimally it should be above 1500mAh for lasting around a day. The more the better it is.

Tip#3 : Check the internal memory

The advertisements will be pointing out that you can get upto 32GB of memory by using a SD Card. Ignore that. It is true, but it is not what you are looking at. You are looking at the internal memory present on the device. Look for things which are atleast 2 GB if not more.

Why ? Because most of the apps to function properly need to use the internal memory. Some can function only if they are installed in that part ( e.g. enterprise software ) and almost all require the memory to store user related data. The external SD card is where you store the pictures/videos/songs etc  ( and can move some apps to that area also)

Tip#4 : Now look at other specs
Now you are free to look at the other specs that are available on the phone which you may like. But if you neglect the above 4 tips, i am pretty sure you will end up wishing you hadn't.