Buying Smartphones Smartly

A smartphone is a portable device that combines mobile telephone and computing functions into one unit. Smartphones are distinguished from feature phones by their stronger hardware capabilities and extensive mobile operating systems, which facilitate wider software, internet (including music, video, cameras and gaming), alongside core phone functions such as voice calls and text messaging.

To help you with your decision-making on how to buy a smart phone smartly, here are a few tips to consider:

Battery life

Heavy online usage tends to drain batteries faster. Are you the kind of user who is likely to have multiple applications opened at the same time or are you a heavy consumer of video-streaming apps or games?

Then it is better to go for a phone with a long-lasting battery life.


Phones have two kinds of memory – Random Access Memory (RAM) and Read Only Memory (ROM).

RAM, along with the processor of your phone, determines the speed of the phone and its ease of operation.

ROM is what most people refer to as storage. This is the memory that is used to store the Operating System (OS), applications and all the videos, photos and songs that you want to keep on the phone.

It stands to reason that phones with higher RAM will be faster and those with higher ROM will have more storage. 

An average user should be happy with a 2 GB RAM and 16 GB ROM. But if you are a heavy user, go for a phone with at least 3-4 GB RAM and 64GB ROM.

To extend your ROM you can also use a micro SD (SanDisk)  popularly called memory card, but remember, apps that are stored and run from memory cards tend to be slower.


There is a lot of hype surrounding in-built cameras on phones with brands trying to outdo one another by offering more megapixels. 

A camera with more megapixels doesn’t result in better images. 

Apart from megapixels, good quality photos are a function of factors like ISO levels (ISO is simply a camera setting that will brighten or darken a photo), aperture (aperture refers to the opening of a lens’s diaphragm through which light passes), as well as the speed of autofocus.

If you are likely to take a lot of pictures, then go for a phone with a 12 or 16 MP camera, that has an aperture of f/2.0 or lower, for good results even in low light.

If your use of the camera is not likely to be heavy, a phone with an 8-12 MP camera and aperture of f/2.2 should be fine for you.


Much like smartphone cameras, there is a lot of hype about processors with jargons like quadcore, octa core, Snapdragon, MediaTek and so on. 

To make things simple, when making a purchase of a new smartphone, look at the processing speed that is expressed in terms of GigaHertz (GHz). 

If you are going to do a lot of photo/video editing or play online games and stream videos, opt for a faster processor. The higher the speed, the faster the processor. 


A phone with a 5.5 – 6-inch HD or QHD display is usually an ideal option. This will allow you to enjoy a rich media experience and allow for portability.

Operating System

There are only two Operating Systems (OS) to choose from – Android or iOS. If you opt for iOS, then you are by default opting for an Apple iPhone. All other smartphone makers function on the Android OS

Android OS also comes in different array of names and versions. Often the Android OS is tweaked by manufacturers to add features, which could also result in bloatware, thereby slowing down the phone. So, try out the phone before you make a purchasing decision.


Smartphones come at price points that vary greatly. Prices tend to go up as you go higher up the value chain in terms of processor speed, memory, camera and display.

With the above tips, you should be able to make a smart decision in buying another smartphone. You can conveniently make your purchase online using your FirstBank Credit/Debit Card. 

Check-out our FirstBank website for more details, on how to access any of our cards.


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