What you have to take into account to buy a good mobile phone:
The screen is an element that has many factors. The most obvious is size: Every year we see how smartphone screens grow. However, depending on the use you usually give it, it will be better to go towards the larger models or opt for something more discreet.
For normal phone use, the screen should be up to 5.5 inches in size. Except for the iPhone SE, which maintains its most popular size with a 4.7-inch screen, the rest of the models in this comparison exceed these measurements with an average of 6.5 inches. This is mainly because video consumption over the phone increases as the years go by.
The inches of a screen are paid at a golden price: better to make sure that we need them and that we are going to enjoy them.
Another important factor will be the resolution of the screen that is measured in pixels. If we are looking for a good smartphone, we should not go below a Full HD + resolution (1920x1080px) which is the most common, even in medium ranges.
The next level of resolution is QHD (2560x1440px) also called 2K. Recently, QHD + (or 4K) resolution appeared on the market that is capable of displaying 2880 × 1440 pixels.
However, we will not be able to enjoy the latter until new virtual reality technologies are developed and democratized. Until then, take QHD resolution as the maximum resolution that the eye will be able to appreciate.
If we tend to watch movies or other audiovisual content with the smartphone regularly, we will enjoy the QHD. Of course, let’s not forget to choose a screen of a minimum of 6 inches to be able to fully enjoy it.
Another factor to consider is the type of screen. The range of colors or the contrasts between one and the other can vary quite a bit. They also affect battery life. Broadly speaking, there are three main types of screens:
LCD screens: They are the usual ones in low or medium-range mobile phones due to their low production cost. In general, this type of screen consumes a lot of energy, which will directly affect the battery life.
OLED screens: This is typical of high-end phones. Its main feature is that they do not need the power to show the black color, which makes it more energy-efficient and the battery lasts longer.
These screens achieve a higher color contrast. It has several variants: AMOLED (improves colors and brightness) and Super AMOLED (focus on achieving superior sharpness and definition). Whenever we can choose, we will opt for this type of screen.
The Retina screen: They are a variant of LCD screens, although they enjoy a higher pixel density. You’ll find them on iPhones before 2017. iPhone currently works with OLED screens since the launch of the iPhone X.
Internal memory and RAM
Internal memory is not the same as RAM. Although many terminals allow you to increase the capacity of internal memory with microSD cards, this does not happen with RAM. Therefore, it is important to take into account some minimum requirements when investing in a phone.
As for RAM, if we are going to bet on a high-end phone (with the outlay that entails) we will demand a minimum of 4GB. The latest more powerful models offer from 6 to 12 GB of RAM.
These references on RAM are for Android. However, in IOS other data is handled: the system is optimized on the iPhone, so they do not need as much RAM.
With internal memory, it is something else. Although some telephones allow us to increase their capacity through cards, we should not underestimate it.
The latest generation models include a minimum of 64 GB, reaching up to 512 GB for the most ambitious, which technology experts advise for photography fans or gamers.
Since we are going to invest in a good phone, we will ask for around 32GB of storage.
If we want to go towards medium ranges, we can lower this capacity to a minimum of 16GB. In this way, we can take and receive videos or photographs without having to free up space in too short periods.
However, if you are a fan of mobile photography, you should choose phones with a larger memory. In high ranges, you can find 128GB internal memories that you will appreciate.
Battery life is a touchy subject as users look for fast and efficient charges that promise long device life at peak performance.
For reference, if we want the phone to last a full day without charging it, we will look for models that have at least 3000 mAh. In 2020 this aspect has come a long way, being able to find devices with a range of up to 5000 mAh, ideal for those who enjoy streaming content or use their phone for many hours.
Almost all of them offer the option of fast charging and many even wireless.
The photo camera is one of the features that will further raise the price of the phone. Therefore, if we are not too interested in the world of photography, in mid-range phones we can find great options with which to save money.
If, on the contrary, the camera is an important factor to deny a fact: megapixels do not ensure that a camera is good. Therefore, we will stop looking at that figure as an indicator.
From now on, we will focus on the optics, focusing all our attention on the aperture of the camera (also known as the f-number).
The opening is what allows greater sensitivity and treatment of light, so we will see better results (especially in low visibility circumstances).
The minimum opening that we will require from our phone will be f / 2.0.
A warning about this indicator: greater openness is indicated by a smaller f-number. That is, an aperture of f / 1.7 will always be better than one of f / 2.0.
Currently, the photographic equipment of smartphones that no longer conform to the Dual Camera has been developed a lot —which has become obsolete—, so the large companies have incorporated several rear sensors of different magnifications and utilities to obtain the best result in every shot; in addition to one or two fonts for lovers of the selfie.
There are numerous operating systems available when choosing a mobile. However, three have the largest market share:
Android (from Google): This is the most flexible operating system. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why it has more than 80% of the Spanish market share.
Despite its flexibility, it usually requires more powerful hardware than iOS to run. However, this is supplemented by the immense variety of models and manufacturers, being able to choose from a multitude of options in all the available ranges.
The latest news already incorporates the latest version, Android 10.
iOS (from Apple): It is an exclusive operating system for Apple products (unlike Android, which is open source and can be integrated into any device by any manufacturer).
Although it is a functional, fast, stable, and simple system, it is much more closed in options and interface.
Another drawback is that there is not much variety of mobiles with this system (only the iPhone) and they are all quite expensive. But if the budget does not worry you, iOS will always be a great option. The latest version of this operating system is iOS 13.
Windows Phone (from Microsoft): In the third position, very far from iOS, is Windows Phone. It is a very stable system, but with many shortcomings still compared to the other two (especially on update issues).
It has the advantage that it allows the integration of telephone, computer, and web applications (includes Office applications). Despite everything, it is expected that this system will increase more and more market share. The latest version of the system is Windows 10 Mobile.
There are other systems not as established as the previous ones. For example, Blackberry or Firefox OS. Even being good systems, if we want the best on the market we will go to the top three.
Although the design of the terminal is a matter of taste, we can look at the material with which they are made. As a general rule, plastic or metal is used. In high-end phones, it will be difficult to find plastic. If you find it, run away from it and opt for the metal.
Some manufacturers also use glass. However, the attractiveness that this material may have is detrimental to its resistance.
Currently, it is rare to find high-end phones that are not waterproof. As a general rule, all will be IP68 certified (the maximum resistance to dust and water).
Although short-range connectivity is somewhat established and established in the mobile industry, the phone we choose must have NFC and Bluetooth.
The NFC is a connection system that allows the pairing of two devices just by bringing them closer to each other. However, the current trend is to use the NFC to make payments from the mobile and, in this way, not need the bank card for our purchases.
Although the current Bluetooth offer is not a big deal, it is interesting to have it. The trend is to do without cables as much as possible and we will notice it in the accessories for mobile phones. For example, for the use of wireless headphones.
Among the interesting extras, especially if we are going to enjoy a good screen, are the stereo speakers. These speakers will allow us to listen hands-free, make video calls, or watch videos without distorting the audio. Preferably, we will choose a terminal in which the speakers are on the front.
You will also find devices that have different authentication methods: facial, eye, or fingerprint recognition. They can be useful if you like to lock your mobile and are looking for quick and easy unlocking methods.
Other interesting extras are wireless charging, Dual SIM support, or the possibility of pairing the phone with virtual reality accessories.
The Best Mobile Phones of 2021
Favorite: Google Pixel 4
Google Pixel 4 14.5 cm (5.7 “) 6 GB 64 GB Black 2800 mAh Pixel 4, 14.5 cm (5.7”), 1080 x 2280 Pixels, 6 GB, 64 GB, 16 MP, Black
The latest Google smartphone, Pixel 4, has been improved in many features compared to the previous model.
Its OLED screen, Full HD +, is 5.7 inches; stereo front speakers are added; it has a renewed refresh rate of 90Hz compared to 60 for the Pixel 3; it has 6GB of RAM and 64 or 128GB of internal memory, and incorporates IP68 protection that protects the body of the phone from water and dust.
But one of the most praised advances is the Snapdragon processor that has gone from 845 to 855. The software has also been updated, with the latest version of Android 10.
The Pixel 4 competes to become the best photographic smartphone of 2020, that’s why Google has taken pains to further improve the excellent quality of its devices. This new version has two rear cameras, and not just one, like its predecessors, which are capable of recording in 4K UHD.
The rear main camera has a 12.2-megapixel sensor, while the secondary, a 16-megapixel telephoto lens, incorporates an optical zoom of 1.8x. For its part, the front camera maintains the 8 megapixels that the Pixel 3 already had.
All of them allow you to take professional photos, both in portrait mode with dimmed backgrounds and in night vision mode. You can even capture the starry sky!
The only weak point of the Pixel 4, compared to other high-end smartphones is in the battery that falls back from the previous model with 2800 mAh. However, fast charges, which are kept at 18 watts, and the wireless charging option, counterbalance the battery limitation.
To finish, we will tell you about the last modification of the Pixel 4 that leaves behind fingerprint recognition, giving way to facial recognition.
The Best of Apple: iPhone 11 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max (256GB) – Space Gray
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is one of the best Apple devices until this fall the American giant presents a new version: the iPhone 12.
It has a 6.5-inch screen that covers almost the entire surface of the phone and lightweight design with textured matte glass finishes that can be purchased in gray, night green, gold, silver, and space gray. So far it is the toughest glass an iPhone has been made from.
One of the modifications concerning its predecessor, the XS Max, is the incorporation for the first time in an iPhone of a triple-lens camera with 12 Mpx each, a telephoto lens, and two large angles of 13 and 26 mm. It is also capable of recording videos at the highest quality level in slow motion and 4K.
Another novelty is that the 11 Pro Max has released the new IOS 13 operating system that is distinguished by its greater speed and security of the phone, as well as by automating applications. Likewise, its processor, the A13 Bionic, makes this smartphone one of the fastest on the market, being able to perform a billion operations in just a second.
It is resistant to water and dust (IP68) and, unlike the XS Max, it can be submerged up to four meters deep for half an hour.
As for the battery, it offers up to five hours more than the 11 Pro, with the possibility of fast charging of 18 w and wireless charging.
Finally, it is worth mentioning its facial recognition system, Face ID, ultra-secure that does not share or save any photo to ensure privacy.
If you are an unconditional Apple you cannot do without the iPhone 11 Pro Max. You can choose with 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB internal memory.
Speed in your hand. Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro Pack Launch (FHD + 6.67 “Screen, 8GB + 256GB, 108MP Camera, Snapdragon 865 5G, 4500mah with 50W charge, Android 10) Gray
The strategy of Xiaomi, the Chinese company that has become the fourth manufacturer of smartphones, has changed this year and has launched to compete with the highest-end smartphones with its Mi 10 Pro model.
This device supports 5G navigation and enables 8K video recording with impressive resolution thanks to the included optical and digital stabilizer.
It includes four rear cameras: the main one with 108 Mpx; a second 20 MP ultra-wide-angle; the third special for selfies has 12 Mpx; and the fourth with 8 Mpx and a mixed zoom of 10 increases with which to photograph even the smallest detail without detracting from quality.
It is made of aluminum alloy and features a 6.67-inch AMOLED rounded screen with Full HD + resolution and a 90 Hz screen refresh.
As for other technical aspects, it is worth mentioning its hardware, the eight-core Snapdragon 865; its 8 or 12 GB RAM; its storage capacity, of 128 or 256 GB; and its 4,780 mAh battery with 30W wireless fast charge option.
Forget Android because Xiaomi has its operating system: the Miui 11.
Biggest screen: Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G Factory Unlocked New Android Cell Phone US Version | 128GB of Storage | Fingerprint ID and Facial Recognition | Long-Lasting Battery
This list could not miss the latest Samsung model, the Galaxy S20 Ultra, a smartphone that stands out for its large dimensions, its most complete photography kit, and a higher RAM configuration.
Experts highlight its photographic capacity, which is made up of a four-camera module: the main lens and a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens; a 64 Mpx telephoto lens with up to 30x optical zoom; and a 10 Mpx front camera. In addition to photography, the S20 Ultra records professional videos in 8k resolution.
Its AMOLED glass screen is almost 7 inches and a curved design that favors a more ergonomic and pleasant grip. The image resolution is Full HD + with a refresh rate of 120Hz and a screen utilization of 89.9%. Without a doubt, one of the characteristics that gamers will appreciate the most.
In terms of performance, the S20 Ultra offers, in addition to a 5G speed, a 12 GB RAM, a storage capacity of 128 GB expandable by MicroSD card up to 1 Tb, a new processor that Samsung trusts, the Exynos 990 as well as its software, One UI 2.0, which sits against Android 10.
Experts have found a great improvement in the ultrasonic fingerprint reader that guarantees a minimal error rate and allows up to four different fingerprints to be registered.
It also has the option of facial recognition, but it is stricter than the digital one because it does not work in the dark or it can cause failure in alternative profiles, such as when wearing glasses.
To finish, it is worth mentioning the high capacity of its 5,000 mAh battery with the possibility of fast charging at 25W.