We don't live in the times of Nokia 1110 anymore. There's a reason why I brought it up.
For a generation that was the ideal phone.
It had great battery life, excellent call reception, was built like a brick, something that'd last several years. Now, phones have a shelf life that stretches, at its best, up to two years.
So, what should we buy?
Buying phones shouldn't be a whimsical affair
Let's start with the exterior
You should pick up something with a display-size of 4.7-5.7 inch. This makes sure that you are able to operate your phone with one hand. Anything smaller than this range will tax your eyes and anything bigger would require two hands.
Always buy something that has scratch- and impact-resistant glass on the display and a solid body, so the device doesn't break easily.
Make the smart choice
The battery of a phone is important. However, "the bigger, the better" approach is not always right.
Battery requirement depends on your daily usage. Do you use your phone all the time or just once in a while scroll through the notifications? Typically, a 3000mAh battery, bundled with tweaks to save the power usage, is good enough to last you for 8-9 hours.
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Repeat after me
More megapixels don't necessarily mean better pictures. Every time a company launches a phone, they pull this stunt. There are a lot of things at play.
The most discerning factor is the sensor, then image processing and so on. However, the easiest way to choose is simple - use a phone's camera before you buy it. Proof of the pudding is in eating. Amen!
These are non-negotiable
Now it's time to look under its hood. The phone, you buy, should have a minimum of 2GB RAM, fast processor, and enough inbuilt memory. Don't compromise on these things.
Prefer a handset that allows expandable memory, gets stable updates regularly and the firm has a reputation for good aftercare service. It should be waterproof or, at least, water-resistant to a certain degree.
There is nothing called the ultimate phone
It's, perhaps, fair that you buy a phone knowing that this will be obsolete after some time. However, while you are using it, you should enjoy the phone and it should meet your requirements.
It's very easy to get lured into the trap of jazzy promotions and loud promises. Avoid them and always make sure you get your money's worth.
That's all that matters.