Touchscreen technology is now the dominant method for us to control our mobile phones. Many phones of this type are in the Nigerian market more than ever before, and their appeal seems to be gaining ground increasingly among consumers, especially young people.
Some touch screen phones may look the same, but they are definitely not all the same. They may look very similar in form and appearance, but there are a lot of variety in functionality and performance. The experience is never the same.
So, what sets them apart? And how do you make the right choice? If cost is out of the considerations then, the high end phones such as the latest iPhone 5, the Samsung S4 or the HTC One provide would provide a generally pleasurable experience.
However, one of the main things to watch out for when buying a touchscreen phone is how responsive it is to your touch. When you tap the screen, you want it to react immediately. More powerful phones tend to provide a more responsive interface as was mentioned earlier, but even an entry-level smart phone should let you skip through its menus as swift as flipping through a pack of crisp currency notes. If it doesn’t, move on to a different phone. We note here that because Android operating system was built for touchscreen, even the entry-level Androids do well in this regard. Nokia has said of its Lumia series that the screens can be controlled even with gloves on one’s hands, meaning that it is very responsive.
This can be said to be an improvement over its earlier Asha range of touchscreen phones which require much pressure to respond to finger gestures, and whose screen transitions were nothing but smooth.
A touchscreen phone’s software is very important. Android is generally viewed as more in depth than the simple grids of icons of iOS on the iPhone, while Windows Phone 8 sits somewhere between the two. Whether you need simplicity of operation or endless customisation is a matter of choice.
Android is the most customisable, while iOS is the most intuitive. The iPhone has been the first to make head way in touchscreen technology and so has been built over time to perform very smoothly. A Blackberry official when speaking at the introduction of the Z10 boasted that the Blackberry 10 software would never ‘hang’. The screen transitions and operation of the BB 10 series that includes the Z10, Q10 and recently released Q5 are noticeably faster and smoother than previous touch screens by Blackberry.
The processing speed of any smart phone will determine performance. Dual core, ARM Cortex-A9 of the iPhone is 800 MHz fast. The S3 is faster with its Quad core, 1400 MHz, ARM Cortex-A9 and the Lumia 920 tops the three with Dual core, 1500 MHz, Krait processor. Others have speeds that vary among these, however speeds up to 800MHz is acceptable.
However, if apps are your major concern, then among mobile operating systems Android leads the pack. This is because it is open source and developers have easy access to source code. There is wide variety and innovation among Android apps of which many are free. iOS also has a good number of innovative app, but most of them are not free. Nokia and BlackBerry also offers free apps, but the variety is quite less than what’s available to Android and iPhones.
A large screen means more room to display all your photos, videos and a better browsing. Iphone 4s has 3.5 inches size, the S3 is 4.8 inches and the Lumia is 4.5 inches. Other touchscreens have varying sizes. Bigger may be better viewing experience for web pages and movies, but not everyone likes a device that cannot slip easily into a pocket because it is too big. You can always choose the size that right for you when you handle the phone in your hands before buying.
Touchscreens prone to fingerprints and potential cracks if you sit on it or drop it. We note that some phones like Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung S3 have what is called Corning Gorilla Glass 2 as a form of extra protection that is scratch- resistant. Look out for such protection against scratches by the manufacturer. Yet, keeping your device in good shape is important, therefore look for what kind of accessories you can buy, such as cases or screen protectors.
Also, watch out for battery life. Having a large screen is a real battery drainer, so find out how long the battery lasts. Normal talk time for the iPhone 4s is put at 14 hours, 22.5 hours for the S3, and 17 hours. Of the three, only the S3 has a user-replaceable battery. So does the Z10. The importance of this is the fact that if the phone drops into water or gets wet some other way, you can easily open it up, remove the battery and let it dry. One way of saving energy is to turn down a screen’s brightness and, if the phone has one, using a battery-saving function.
Basically, it all boils down to personal preference. Do not get carried away by intense marketing and what manufacturers say is hot. Go for long the long term values, let quality be the main focus to be sure you get value for your money.
Written by Paul Omorogbe & Seyi Sokoya