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TechKnow: Your Ideal Smartphone

Buying a new phone? Read this first!
by Neps Firmalan | Feb 19, 2013
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So, you have the hots and the need for a brand-spankin' new smartphone. You say to yourself "sige, makabili na nga" because you have the guts and the moolah to take the dive. Then, finally, you go to your fave mall/suking gadget shop/retail store, etc. to get it over with.

But, HOLD IT! Before you burn money on a new phone, hear us out first! Because we are still experiencing some Valentine's Day hangover, we're giving you some brotherly love by giving you a few helpful tips for your smartphone hunt. Who knows, maybe this will save you from those dreaded panghihinayang moments and help you find the ideal handset for you.

1. Physical vs. virtual buttons

Today's smartphones like to be touched...

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Going the full-touch route seems to be the choice for today's smartphone buyers for obvious reasons. However, going for a unit that has a set of physical buttons has its advantages, too. For example, you'll have lesser hit or miss affairs, something that plagues touchscreen devices, especially the slow and crappy ones, since you can feel the physical tactile sensation telling you you've pressed the right buttons. Also, since the keys are not part of the screen, screwing the display up won't force you to repair the keyboard as well. Plus, they're cheaper!

Why not have both?

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So there, come to think of it, choosing between physical and virtual buttons isn't always an obvious win for the latter.

Tech tip:
Go for virtual keys if:
Sanay ka na with handling touchscreen devices and/or if you're someone who values more display size (i.e. if you're a multimedia junkie) and can live with a few more typos along the way.

Go for physical keys if: You're out for a no-nonsense gadget and doesn't care much for all those cool but not really vital bells and whistles. A physical keyboard will also be just right for those who can't afford to make too many mistakes in sending text messages or mobile email. Lastly, for those on a very tight budget, you can save more if you buy a phone with physical buttons.

Go for hybrid input if: You value display real-estate but is not too fond of typos and accidentally touching and activating the touchscreen. There are a few notable hybrid input phones that have both a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keypad, like the HTC ChaCha and the BlackBerry Bold 9900.

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2. Bigger = better?

The "runt" in the middle is actually the 3.9-inch Nokia N9!

To b e honest, it depends on the user. This is the numero uno reason why the saying "one size fits all" doesn't work for touchscreens. The things to consider on this choice include how much of a multimedia user or gamer are you, if whether or not you like big things in your pocket, and the size of your hand.

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Tech tip:
Go large (over 4 inches) if:
You're a large dude/girl who always uses graphics-intensive apps (e.g. YouTube app, video player) and games and/or does mobile web browsing often and put a high premium on visuals. Also, it helps if you have a big hand to boot and you're not fond of skinny jeans.

Go medium (3 to 4 inches) if: You're a casual user of apps and multimedia content who can live without a very large screen. This also works even if you use mobile web browsing on the side since 3.5-4 inches might be enough for you to not squint to see what you're reading.

Go small (less than 3 inches) if: You're not really big on graphics, web browsing, apps and games and can survive with just using the phone for basic phone needs. Also, it's good for those with Hobbit-sized palms.

NEXT: How many cores and what platform to choose and use?

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