Choosing the best smartphone for business use

Business Smartphones

A while ago, my ZTE blade X2 Max got really slow and I needed to buy a new smartphone. So, I went searching the web for the best device within my budget – a device that would serve most of my business and personal needs.

As a blogger, I was shopping for a compact smartphone with good battery life, flexible RAM, quality camera and a serene HD display. So I set out to review some online resources. My search queries took me to Amazon, eBay, Catch, etc, and as you might have already guessed, I found hundreds of options that seemed like just the smartphone I needed.

There are now thousands of smartphone models geared with multiple operating systems from a variety of manufacturers like Samsung, HTC, ZTE, Apple, Oneplus, Alcatel, and also many brands from other big tech giants or even smaller manufacturers. With such multitude of options, it can be quite difficult to find a budget smartphone that is best suited for your business needs.

Basically, all simple business operations can be run via a smart device. Having the right smartphone allows you make the most of your working day. With the right smartphone, you can get all the information relating to your business at your fingertips and therefore be able to run your business remotely from anywhere you find yourself.

Lately, choosing the right smartphone can be a bit of a puzzle. However, with an in-depth knowledge of smartphones, you would find it as easy as pie. So before you opt to buy a smartphone this day, there is a lot you will have to take into consideration.

Quick guide to help you make the best smartphone choice-

Figure out what your needs are

Everyone has a preference and there are lots of personal choices to make while shopping for a new smartphone.

Do you prefer a phone with a larger screen?
Or do you feel more at ease with a device you can comfortably operate with one hand?
Are you looking for long battery life or a high quality camera for your pictures and vlog videos?
In any case, have in mind the specific case use of the phone you intend to buy.

You can begin by drafting out the list of most important features you want in a smartphone and shop for a device that ticks all of the boxes.

What is your budget?

There are phones capable of performing basic operations that cost as low as $50. There are also high-tech (or fashion) smartphones like the Falcon Supernova iPhone 6 Pink Diamond that costs a whooping USD 48.5 million. Others like the Samsung Galaxy s9 ~ $800 and Tecno Camon C9 costs below $200.

So if you cannot afford the latest iPhone or the Samsung Galaxy, No probs, you can still find the smartphone that perfectly fits your budget. Most budget smartphones are just as good as the expensive branded ones. There is one thing though, you might have to forego some features. For example, high-end Samsung and iPhones have good water resistant abilities. Some budget smartphones may be water resistant, but not as much.

There are also certain jigs companies include in new releases, like touchscreen features, that you may not get with budget phones. Other than that, you can still enjoy great standard features on a budget phone. Though I’ll still recommend a phone that costs a minimum of between $150 to $200 in any case (depending on what you can easily afford).

Battery life

In choosing a smartphone for your business, here are some key things you should have in mind, with regards to battery life:

Budget smartphones with low resolution graphics have longer lasting batteries because they don’t have the gimmicks high-end phones have.
The larger the screen resolution, the more the power required in illuminating the backlight LCD or actual pixels (OLED).
Many apps – especially those that are heavy on graphics and audio are notorious battery-guzzlers.

One of the major drains of phone batteries is the screen brightness. You would need a lower screen brightness to operate your phone in dark spaces. Conversely, you would need to increase your phone brightness when you step out in the open. So there is a correlation between battery life and the amount of illumination in your work environment.
So, here are the questions you should ask yourself;

How long would you or your employees be out on the road?
What applications would your smartphone be using?
Are you going to be working more in an enclosed (dark) office or in the field where there is higher illumination?

Operating System (OS)

If you are looking for a budget smartphone for your online business, Android is the way to go. There is really no way to buy a budget iPhone unless you are okay buying a used or refurbished device. In the mobile world, Android is one of the most used OS.

The android OS is popular because of its many features and numerous advantages which include;

Model versatility

The Android OS has the least restrictions, hence there are many android phone models in the market.

Easy accessibility to apps (which can be found on play store)

eAthletes in love with phone games, and those who like downloading different apps on their phones would surely go for an android.

Flexibility (Android phones allow for ROM modifications)

In case you are not in love with the original display of your android phone, you can still change it and have the one that pleases you.

There are many other advantages of android phones including wider screens, accessibility to google services like Gmail, Google maps etc as well as affordability.

Camera Quality

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. (credits: GSMArena)

If you are about buying a smartphone for your business, camera prowess should be a thing of concern. Smartphone cameras are portable, light, and convenient to carry, have better connectivity, and are easier to use.

As more manufacturers claim to have great camera quality, choosing the best can be puzzling. So, if you are shopping for a smartphone with the best camera quality, here are the things you should have in mind

Megapixels are not the only yardstick

Gone are the days when more megapixels directly meant better quality cameras. Lately, smartphone camera performance is a mix of both hardware and software factors, auto-focus capability, quality of flash, pixel size, zoom levels and many more.

Intelligent cameras do a better job

In this present age of artificial intelligence (AI), smartphone cameras aren’t left behind. AI powered cameras can now recognize scenes and auto-adjust settings to produce the best quality pictures.

Lighting enhances camera/photo quality

Most smartphones today can produce good quality pictures in well-lit surroundings. It is under poorly-lit conditions that a smartphone’s camera quality can be truly tested. In order to choose a smartphone with the best camera quality, make sure you test its camera lighting power under low-light conditions.

ROM and RAM

How much RAM do you need?

RAM (Random Access Memory) is where bits of data are stored as they wait in line to be processed by your CPU. A smartphone RAM is important especially when you’re multitasking, as recently-active apps are stored on it pending when you would switch back to them.

Phone Apps like the keyboard, system interface, and home screen are almost always stored on the RAM for quicker access.

Depending on the system, these basic elements can permanently occupy up to half a gigabyte of RAM, so you know you need at least that much to begin with.

Apple devices are generally more RAM-efficient than Android devices, and that’s why iPhones generally have a lesser RAM than their Android counterparts.

As it turns out, iPhone 11 pro Max with 4GB of RAM may run much faster than a similarly specced Android smartphone with 8GB of RAM. And it all has to do with the fundamental difference in the way iOS and Android handle apps.

In any case, always go for a phone with at least 2GB of RAM. Phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus comes with up to 12GB of RAM, though such phones cost a good fortune. The more the RAM, the more apps that can run simultaneously in the background of your phone without slowing it down.

What about ROM?

Talking of memory, smartphones have two main specs, RAM (Random Access Memory, discussed in point 4), and ROM. RAM equals the memory (or memory bar) of the smartphone, while ROM is a part of the device’s internal storage, equaling the hard disk of the computer.

The bigger the RAM, the more software the phone runs smoothly; While the bigger the ROM, the more data a smartphone can store and still function efficiently. Usually, a phone with big RAM doesn’t easily get stuck and processes faster than that with a smaller RAM.

However, unlike RAM, ROM which is an acronym for Read Only Memory is non-volatile. This type of memory keeps the saved data even if the device power is turned off. The word Read-only identifies it as “read-only memory”, since the reprogramming process is generally infrequent, comparatively slow, and often does not permit random access writes to individual memory locations.

It is important to note that ROM is completely different from storage memory. Storage memory is the actual nonvolatile memory of a device used to keep things such as music, photos, and additional apps/programs. On the other hand, ROM can only be written at the factory. The ROM functions basically as a store for operating system files that shouldn’t be tampered with.

64GB of ROM should be more than enough memory space for a phone. In any case, most Android and Windows phones come with a slot for SD card to carry extra items.

On the average, most of today’s mid-range phones come with 32GB of ROM. Other smartphones like the Oppo Reno 10X zoom are equipped with as much as 256GB large ROM.

Type of Processor (SoC)

Android smartphone processors
Phone Processors. (credit: TechLector)

In points 3 and 4 above, we discussed smartphone memory (RAM and ROM) and how important it is to the performance of any device.

But memory isn’t the only thing that matters. The processing speed of a smartphone is equally important. Processor is like the brain of a smartphone. Almost every task you do on your smartphone, more or less depends on it. The better the processor, the smoother and lag-free experience you would have while operating your device.

However, getting a high-end processor translates to investing in an expensive flagship phone. There are many smartphones with different processors in the market such that you can easily get one within your budget. Question is, what processor speed do you really need?

Choosing a smartphone processor based on cores and clock speed

Smartphone processors are mostly labelled by the number of cores and clock speeds they can offer. Let’s breifly explain what these terms mean.

Smartphone processor cores

The current generations of smartphones come in a range of multi-core processors. The more number of cores, the more and heavier apps a device run simultaneously. Most commonly found are dual-core (two), quad-core (four) and octa-core (eight), with the latter being the most powerful. Some processors also come with hexa-core (six), but they are pretty rare.

Smartphone processor clock speed

Smartphone Processors are also defined by their clock speeds, which is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). This often refers to the speed at which each of the cores can perform tasks. Naturally, higher the number, better the performance. However, you might find multiple GHz numbers for multi-core processors, even on some high-end variants. That’s because most manufacturers try to create a balance between power and efficiency.

Choosing a processor based on the brand and series

Apart from ‘cores’ and processor clock speed, smartphone processors can also be chosen based on the brand and series.

There are only a handful of companies that make smartphone processors, out of which two are more popular than the rest. Qualcomm and MediaTek. Other companies like Apple, Samsung and Huawei also make processors, but they are used exclusively in their own devices.

The general misconception is that Qualcomm processors are better. However when it comes to real-world scenarios, Mediatek processors can be equally good, especially in the budget segments. They focus on offering high-end features at much lower prices. Something that also reflects in the brands that use them.

Both companies have a range of chipsets setup across classes. Qualcomm has Snapdragon 200, 400, 600, 800, and 845 with performance also based in that order. Each series carries a number of variants that have been launched over the last few years. The bigger the number, more recent and powerful the performance in that series.

MediaTek’s approach for identifying their processors is different. Their entry and mid-level variants are generally coined with ‘MT67’, followed by a two digit number. The higher that number the better the processor is in its given series. Moving up the ladder, MediaTek’s premium mid-range offerings are called Helio P, while their high-end ones go by Helio X. There are different variants in each of these segments. The one with the largest model number is the most powerful.

So when picking a processor, make sure you not only look at the number of cores and clock speeds, but also the brand and series that make them.

Frequency of firmware updates

More often than not, smartphones are running multiple programs at a time and this means one thing – the system performance will degrade and its pace get slower over time. When this happens, there are two obvious solutions people consider; Replace old worn out hardware with new parts Or update the firmware that the system runs on.

Firmware is data that is stored on a computer or other hardware device’s ROM that provides instruction on how that device should operate. Unlike normal software, firmware cannot be changed or deleted by an end-user without the aid of special programs and remains on that device whether or not it’s on or off.

Firmware updates are more cost-effective and easier compared to replacing the hardware components. Nowadays, most smartphone operating systems are often configured for periodic firmware updates.

Firmware updates give your device a better look, solves heating problems, fixes bugs and optimizes your phones software performance among many other advantages.

Independent studies from canonspace.com places Nokia way ahead of the pack for pushing updates, with over 80 percent of the phones it shipped in the past year already running Android 10. Samsung is in the second spot with at least 65 percent of its devices running the latest Android version.

Manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei have slightly average numbers, while companies like Lenovo, Oppo, and Vivo have slightly disappointing figures.

However, note also that companies often release more frequent updates for their high-priced devices. Mid-range and budget smartphones may not enjoy that much love. So while shopping for a new smartphone, have this information at the back of your mind.

Summary

In addition to the specs explained above, there are many other specs to consider while shopping for a smartphone for your business. These include,

  • Size and type of display
  • Hearing aid compatibility
  • Firmware/Android version
  • Ability to connect to wireless and other forms of connections,
  • Sensors,
  • and many more most of which we are already conversant with.

Are there any other features you are specifically looking for in a smartphone for your business? Don’t fail to let us know in your comments.

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