Which phone to buy – our advice

Diagonal screen, the number of cores of the processor or camera pixels are dilemmas that plague everyone who faces the necessity of buying a smartphone. Cheap phone or a smartphone for more than 1000 zł? We will try to find an answer to these and other questions.

For the purpose of our guide we divided smartphone users into the most common groups with different needs and financial capabilities.

For each group we present the most interesting smartphones available on the market, discuss their capabilities, show strengths and weaknesses. We do not discuss failed models. We have prepared this guide so that it starts with the cheaper models – costing several hundred zlotys – and ends with the most expensive smartphones for 2000 zlotys.

A smartphone that is easy to use

Today, many phone users are afraid to replace them with a smartphone because of the complicated operation. If you’ve only ever used your phone for calling and texting, the sheer volume of possibilities a smartphone can be overwhelming. That’s why your first smartphone shouldn’t be overly expensive (just in case you’re not convinced by this type of device). It should have a simple and clear interface.

Uncomplicated menu characterizes smartphones with Windows Phone – these are primarily models from the series Nokia Lumia (the cheapest Lumia 610 you can buy from 700 PLN) and a few devices HTC, Samsung and LG. In this system, the entire home screen of the smartphone (the so-called desktop) consists of square icons corresponding to the functions of the device, e.g. phone, messages, e-mails, music player.

You can change the content of the desktop yourself by placing icons of the most frequently used functions on it. The settings screen is also easy to use – it dispenses with icons in favour of text. This makes it less likely that you’ll have to guess what each option is for than on other systems. What’s important, the Windows Phone interface looks the same on every Windows Phone smartphone – so if you upgrade to a more expensive model in the future, you’ll find your way around immediately.

If you don’t like touch

Some people who started using touch phones a few years ago – in the era of resistive screens – have become discouraged by their low sensitivity, lack of accuracy and lag. Nowadays, it is difficult to convince them that modern smartphones have screens devoid of these drawbacks. Such users are recommended to choose a smartphone with a hardware qwerty keyboard. It can be a keyboard that slides out of the casing (at the cost of its greater thickness), as in the case of Sony Ericsson Mini Pro for 700 PLN; it can be a keyboard placed under the screen – at the cost of the display size, e.g. Samsung Galaxy Y Pro Duos (650 PLN).
With the help of a hardware keyboard, you will not only write text messages or e-mails. You can also launch and operate programs, and on occasion, try out the touch screen and gradually get used to this technology.

A modern smartphone at an affordable price

Currently, the determinants of modernity of smartphones are primarily the size of the screen, the processing power of the processor and the operative system updatability. In the popular group of smartphones costing about 1200 PLN (or 100-300 PLN with an operator contract), it is difficult to find devices that have all 3 features at the same time. You have to make a compromise between price and smartphone capabilities.

A larger screen makes it extremely easy to use the device. On a 4 inch display it is much better to browse the web, watch movies, play games and write emails than on a device with a 3.2 inch screen. The screen resolution is also higher, so the system interface looks much better – the icons of application functions are nicer, the fonts are more legible. A reasonable minimum is a screen with a diagonal of 3.7 inches. Several models can be recommended here: Nokia Lumia 710 (1000 PLN), Sony Ericsson neo V (PLN 1050), HTC One V (PLN 1100) and Samsung Galaxy Ace II, which you can buy for about 1000 PLN. This is a device with a dual-core processor (although quite low clocked – 800 MHz), but with an average appearance, and with an older version of Android – 2.3.

How to install applications in Android mobile system

Android, which currently dominates the smartphone market, has been heavily revamped and in the latest, fourth version, it offers, among others, a more modern, nicer interface, a better web browser and keyboard and some very useful features (including a program to manage data transmission in 3G networks). Therefore, before buying a smartphone, you should be interested in the version of the operating system. New Android have not only new smartphones. Also some older models have received the update, which opens the door to purchase an older smartphone with a modern system, such as. Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc S (1250 PLN). This is a very interesting model, although it debuted on the market over a year ago. It has a 4.2 inch screen, 8 GB of built-in memory and a camera with 8 megapixel sensor.

Arc S will also be a good choice if you are looking for a smartphone with an interesting design – the thickness of its body does not exceed 9 mm, which is characteristic for much more expensive smartphones. If you are looking for an original design, we also recommend checking out the offer of HTC smartphones. Almost every model of this manufacturer is characterized by impeccable workmanship, and a special feature is the case Currently, the determinants of modernity of smartphones are primarily the size of the screen, processor computing power and acto rounded corners, covered with a pleasant-to-touch rubber, which makes the phone fits well in the hand and is resistant to scratches.

Among the smartphones costing less than 1200 PLN dominate devices with single-core processors. Sometimes these are chips clocked at a high frequency – even 1.5 GHz, which allows them to keep pace with dual-core processors. Still, the latter always have an advantage of a few frames per second in 3D gaming. They also perform better in simultaneous operation of multiple applications. An example of an affordable smartphone with a dual-core processor and a 4-inch screen is Samsung Galaxy S Advance. It has 8 GB of memory and (unfortunately) an older version of Android. When you do not need such a large screen, you may be interested in the model Sony Xperia U, which also has a dual-core processor and will soon receive an update to Android 4.

The camera is the most important thing

Nokia 808 PureView test – the phone to take pictures

Photo features are for some users the most important part of a smartphone. No wonder, since the best models can match the capabilities of simple compact cameras and also allow you to quickly post photos and videos on the Internet (eg Facebook). If you are looking for a smartphone for photography, you do not have to reach for a model from the highest price range. For about 900 PLN you can buy Samsung Wave 3. It is an interesting phone with a great SuperAMOLED screen and Samsung bada system. It is not very popular OS, which is present only in some Samsung models. Interface of bada system is clear and a little easier to learn than Android. It does not have a very modern look.

Slightly more expensive smartphones are Xperia P (available from 1500 PLN) and Sony Xperia S (PLN 1700). This manufacturer has been cooperating with the German manufacturer of optical systems Carl Zeiss for years. In addition, the camera sensor (the S model has a resolution of up to 12 megapixels) can take pictures with low noise, which is useful when you take pictures after dark or in a dimly lit room. Nokia 808 PureView was designed with taking pictures in mind. Photos have very high sharpness (even when using the zoom), good colors and low noise.

When price does not matter

Samsung Galaxy S III test – the best Android phone of 2012?

If you have more than 2000 PLN to spend, you can choose any of the biggest smartphones available: HTC One X, LG Swift 4X HD or Samsung Galaxy S III. These devices have a few things in common: a 4.7- or 4.8-inch screen; a quad-core processor – the fastest (1.5 GHz) is in the LG model; Android version 4 with the possibility of updating to version 4.1, which introduces, among other things, further changes in the interface, improves the workflow and adds new features to the keyboard.

Since the devices have high-resolution screens (1280 by 720 dots) and fast processors, they require capacious batteries. LG has the best one – 2150 mAh – but Samsung’s battery has only 50 mAh less. Samsung takes the best photos of the three, but has an uncomfortable, low-set home key.

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