Choosing a smartphone is a very complicated decision, in fact I would go so far as to say that today it is. more difficult than ever because of the significant competition that exists at all levels and ranges, and because a priori it seems that all manufacturers offer a very similar level of specifications, which makes it difficult for the average user to identify important differences between different models.
Making the difference creating added value o fine-tuning the price to the maximum are some of the keys that the big players in the sector have been using to differentiate themselves, but not all brands do it in the same way and in the end we should not give the same value to all these types of added value that we can find in the smartphone sector, since some make a more important and interesting difference than others.
At MC we are perfectly aware of this reality, and that is why we have decided to give shape to guide, where we are going to review with you. five things that give great value to a smartphone and to which, however, we do not always give the importance they really deserve. These can help you decide between two models that are apparently the same, or very similar, and in the end will allow you to refine your choice to the maximum. As always, if you have any questions after reading the article, please leave them in the comments.
1.-Android version and support that the smartphone will receive.
This is very important because it influences the useful life that the smartphone will have, and it will also determine whether we are buying a product that comes properly updated or if on the contrary we are getting a model that comes “obsolete” from home.. I know that, with the pace of development and Android update policies in the hands of each manufacturer this point is quite complicated, but most major vendors are quite transparent in this regard.
For example, if we buy a Xiaomi Redmi Note 11 Pro today. we will be getting a smartphone that comes with Android 11. Given that Android 14 is coming this year it is clear that we would be buying an outdated smartphone, even though Xiaomi has committed to offering three major Android updates on that handset and four years of security updates, so it will have a good lifespan considering its price and the range in which it fits.
A manufacturer that offers three years of Android updates and four years of security updates within the range already offers a differential value to take into account. If we move in the high-end range, the ideal is to look for manufacturers that offer at least four years of Android updates and five years of security updates.. One of those that meets this requirement is Samsung. As for the preinstalled version of Android, it is not essential that the smartphone comes with the latest version available, but at least that it comes with the penultimate one.
Contents of the box: more than just the smartphone and the connection cable.
When Apple stopped including the charger with its iPhone, some of the big players in the smartphone sector started to follow in its footsteps and gradually reduced the contents included in the box with their new handsets. Some only removed the charger, and others removed the headphones as well, which means that in the end they only included the handset and the charging cable.
This assumes a significant loss of value for the userespecially when the price of smartphones has not only not been reduced accordingly, but also increased significantly in most cases. I could give Apple as a clear example, but others like Samsung and Xiaomi have done exactly the same.
Those manufacturers continue to give the charger and even the headphones with their new smartphones, and others are daring to raise the bar and include an adapter for fast charging and even add a protective case. and a film to protect the screen. All of this is a significant added value that we should ultimately take into account, although it is true that this is becoming more and more of a rarity. Think about the cost of buying all these accessories separately.
3.-What Android customization layer do you use?
This is important because not all Android customization layers are equally optimized.and neither do they offer the same level of features or perform in the same way using the same hardware. For example, Xiaomi’s MIUI and Samsung’s One UI are characterized by an excellent feature set, but they are demanding on hardware and are not as well optimized as lighter ones.
Other handsets, such as Google’s Pixel series, use Android in its purest versionwhich means that they typically offer higher performance even on more modest hardware and are much lighter. On the downside they lack some features that may be exclusive to certain customization layers, and these tend to give them a longer life cycle compared to clean versions of Android.
It should also be noted that Android customization layers. tend to have slower update cycles because of all the additional work they represent, and that these are more prone to suffer performance degradation over time. If this happens we can try to perform optimization processes, but in the end in many cases the ideal is to reset the terminal.
4.-Cost of repairing the terminal.
Undoubtedly this is one of the most important issues when buying a smartphone, and it is one of the ones that receives the least attention. I know that we cannot buy a smartphone thinking that we are going to end up breaking it, but. in the end this is something that can happenand that is why we must take it into account before choosing our new terminal.
It is also important to keep in mind that, in the end, with the use of the device. wear and tear which affects the aesthetics of the terminal, and which also has a significant impact on the battery. This loses retention capacity over time, which causes its autonomy to be considerably reduced. It can also affect the performance of the terminal if the battery is not able to maintain a good peak performance that allows the SoC to perform at full power.
Buying a smartphone that has a very high repair cost can become a real headache, as something as common as a fall that affects the screen or the structural integrity of the terminal could cost almost as much as buying a new smartphone. Identifying the repair costs of a smartphone before buying it is a good idea, and choosing one that has low costs, or that we can repair ourselves, represents clear value.
5.-MicroSD card slot
Having a microSD card slot is an important value because it it will allow us to expand the storage capacity of our smartphone, and in a considerable way, since in most cases it is normal that we can double or even triple the base space of our terminal.
Unfortunately, nowadays most smartphone manufacturers have been eliminating the microSD slot from their terminals.This has become common, especially in the high end. This is, in part, a measure to “incentivize” the user to buy the configurations of their high-end models that come with more storage capacity at home, and which are obviously more expensive.
All in all, it is still possible to find smartphones that maintain such a slot in different price ranges. For example, the Xiaomi Poco M5s features such a slot and can be purchased for. about 200 euros in its 64 GB version storage capacity. On a higher step we have the OPPO Reno8 T 5G, which also has a microSD slot and is priced at approximately 360 euros. In the high-end it is more difficult to find models with such a slot, but the Sony Xperia 5 IV is one of them.