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Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is a perfect smart phone?

After trying so many phones over the past 6 months, I came down to the following conclusions, or rather lessons. So that you do not need to spend time and money (restocking fee or early termination fee) to try yourself.

iPhone 5








Droid Razr Maxx (HD)

Samsung Galaxy Note II
 Samsung Galaxy S 4
 HTC One
 Nokia Lumia 928
Blackberry Z10








Above are the phones currently available in US market and I have tried in the past previous month. Hit the link for a review based on my real life experience using them as potential daily driver using my hard earned $$ (not some review unit received by tech websites for free)
Idea is the give you very personal advice on what phone to buy, not just another comparison of specs or bragging reviews because you get your gadget from the company for free.
Ok, let's get started.

Set up: New York City Midtown high rise build during day time, One of the boroughs during night time
Activity level: Very actively using smart phone for navigation, surfing web and checking email. Screen hours per day is around 3+ hours.
Carrier: Verizon Wireless (Or AT&T for some exclusive units when I tried them)
Signal level: It is weak to say the lease. Basically in the battery statistics of your phone, the signal area is yellow or grey, very close to red (meaning no signal). The signal reading is most of the time lower than -100 dbm (A good signal is around -60 dbm to -80dbm)

So, under those assumptions above, what should a perfect phone have?

CategoryDescriptionBest in this categoryWorst in this category
BatteryA dead phone is not a helpful smart phone, unfortunately too many phones are too conservative in putting their batteries, even they have 1080p screen and in a LTE marketDroid Razz Maxx and Galaxy Note IIHTC One or Blackberry Z10
OSIf your phone survived a battery challenge, the next is what you can do with your smart phone. iOS or AndroidWindows Phone 8 and Blackbery OS 10
DesignSome will go for the looks. But for me, not before they pass Battery and OS criteriaiPhone 5, HTC-One and Lumia 928 or 920Galaxy Series
CarrierYou spend over 500 bucks on your phone and over 70 bucks each month on your data and voice, you expect your Carrier to do a good job. This is not always be the caseVerizon for 4G LTE Coverage, AT&T for 4G LTE speed in NYCVerizon for 4G LTE Speed, AT&T for 4G coverage
CameraIt matters so much when you want to brag your phone to your significant other or friends. Don't be surprised, while Lumia focuses their commercial on their camera, their pictures performed worst...iPhone 5 or Blackberry Z10Lumia 928
StorageAn expandable storage can be deal breaker for some. Especially nowadays a movie file is more than 4G sometimes. Galaxy Series for expandable up to 64 GB with external MicroSD CardiPhone, Lumia 928, HTC One
SizeYes, size matters. That's what she saidiPhone 5, HTC OneGalaxy Note II
OEM SoftwareThe features that OEM added on top of the original OS. Samsung is showing its bank account by putting thousands of tricks. Some of them DO WORK. iPhone 5 and Galaxy SeriesHTC One
Screen ResolutionThis is measured in terms of ppi (point per inch)HTC One (roughly 468 ppi)Galaxy Note II (It is 720p screen and it is 5.5 inch... what do you expect..)
Build QualityNot everything metal means higher build quality. Especially after numerous issues from HTC One's handsets. iPhone 5 or Lumia 928HTC One
OverallIn the end, you have pick your poison. There is no perfect phone that fill up every area here unfortunately. In my case, outlined in the assumption above, I have to stick to one of them. But "Worst in this category" is not an absolute sense. If your carrier is ATT and you are in San Francisco, for example, you may have a very different pick. Galaxy Note II (For having good battery, Android system, lots of Camera setting for best photo taking and fine quality in other areas)I can't get a worst out of all. They all have flaws in some area. But I will not recommend Z10 or Lumia 928 to my friends who is new to Smart Phone world yet.