There is such a large range of Android smartphones in the market today that the consumer is spoilt for choice. If you are looking for a handset that costs more than Rs 10,000, you can get anything from the Motorola Moto G and go all the way up to an iPhone. But at the lower end, several phones are skimping on two important elements. These are things you should be keenly aware of and never settle for anything lesser.
1) Scratch-Resistant Glass
The Moto G, thankfully, features Gorilla Glass on its display. Gorilla Glass is a type of scratch-resistant surface that protects your phone without needing a screen guard. We often deduct points from smartphones for not having such glass and there’s good reason for that.
First, screen guards distort the viewing angles of the phone, especially in direct sunlight. Additionally, the touch response and feel on a plastic screen guard and that on glass surface is vastly different—glass is superior technology, by some distance.
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The screen is the most important part of your smartphone. It’s what you look at all the time, it’s what you use to interact with your handset. To not get Gorilla Glass is a silly decision when there are enough phones that come with it, whether it’s the Moto G or the Micromax Canvas 4. Also note that there are other scratch-resistant glass technologies apart from Gorilla Glass, like Dragontrail—used on some Nexus and Samsung devices.
Still, there are lots of phones which skip this crucial element. So before you buy a smartphone, check out specifications sheet at a reputable website like GSM Arena or the manufacturer’s own official site and ensure “Gorilla Glass” or some other type of scratch-resistant surface is listed. If you are spending more than Rs 10,000, you deserve this experience.
2) 8GB Or More Internal Memory
On the box, many Android phones will claim to have 4GB of internal memory and a microSD card to expand that. But what they don’t say is that the microSD card is going to be used to store media like photos and music, not your apps.
In real-world usage, the 4GB actually translates to around 2.5GB, after the phone’s ROM and other essentials are taken care of. With those 2.5GB, you will soon hit an error message that says “Insufficient internal memory” when you try to install an app, like we did with the Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini. And if you are going to use your phone for a year or more, chances are you will see this error often. The best approach then is to go for a phone with more internal memory.
While you can technically install apps on an SD card, Android doesn’t make it easy to do that. You need to activate that setting from the Developer options of your phone and install an app like App2SD to transfer apps from your internal storage to an SD card. It’s too much for an average user, not to mention the added headache of your app crashing or stopping if you connect your Android to your PC as a media transfer device.
Plus, most Android apps add games now have to first be downloaded entirely to your internal storage, after which they can be moved to the external SD card. The bad news here is that if you’ve already used up some of your internal storage, downloading a large game (and there are several which hit the 2GB mark) is no longer an option.
It’s because of all this that when you go to buy a phone, look for something with at least 8GB of internal memory, but preferably 16GB. It’s not a huge hassle to find these either. Again, the Micromax Canvas 4 with its 16GB memory and Moto G with its 8GB or 16GB models meet the criteria, as do several other smartphones. Having that microSD card for more data is always good, but it’s not what should matter—it’s the internal memory that really affects your long-term usage.
Mobile phones are meant to make our lives easier and more convenient. But trying to save a few bucks by skimping on these features will only make the device not as pleasant to use in the long term. Do yourself a favour, don’t compromise on these, especially when enough devices have scratch-resistant glass and ample internal storage.
Image credits: Seeweb, Corning
TOMORROW: Micromax Canvas Turbo Mini review