Hi guys. I had promised myself to be releasing a new post at least every month, then along came a spider called writer’s block. But then I remembered my niche, I have none! I write anything about anything right? Good.

Shopping for phones in 2017 is pretty straightforward for some of us, easy as batting an eyelid. Correct? Numerous options to that effect even e.g.:

  1. See a nice promo somewhere on a Facebook page, inquire the price, walk into the shop/have the product delivered to you, pay – easy-peasy.
  2. Scroll down your phonebook, locate your ‘Chris wa OLX’, call him up, transact…
  3. Ask that one guy in your life (apparently guys who know about phones are also called IT guys) which is the hottest phone right now and how much it is, you go get it.
  4. Walk in blindly to a phone store (mostly Safcom shops), locate that gentleman/lady who smiles at you widest or who looks like they know their stuff. Yada yada, get an overpriced phone, just because of the 1GB Data bundle lure etc. (story for another day)
  5. Etc.

I realized that for quite a number of people, migraines begin when they think of walking into a phone-store to look for a new phone. Maybe it’s the confusion, the fear of the salesman, the fear of technology, lack of confidence and so on… 😟

So I decided, “Hey Ian, why not empower the masses?” (I’ve always loved the strength of that phrase). Why? Consumer awareness, Knowledge is power, more informative decisions … I don’t really know.

In this digital age, guys are becoming more and more self-aware and a lot use the powerful tool of information to empower themselves. We have Google doctors, Google stock-traders, Google consumer price regulators, Google lawyers… list is endless. So why not equip yourself with a bit of tech before your next phone purchase?

To put it plainly, this is mainly for anyone who’s heard of the word ‘specs’ (specifications) but still fail to understand why you’re supposed to give a hoot and pay more for a phone with 2GB RAM as compared to 512MB RAM.

Nice… We’re together now.

First and foremost, my dear iPhone users, I apologize, I have nothing for you here. Please locate the ‘X’ at the top of this tab and click it. Ok Bye!



Haha. I’m kidding. Ignore my pettiness and come back.

Aaaanywho, if you’ve heard of the site GSM Arena, you’re steps ahead, kudos. The rest, let’s keep up.

Now specs are everything you need to know about a phone (or any other gadget) before you actually know the price. Most people ask for the price first then specs later. I suggest you first get to know its capabilities so that you can appreciate how low (or highly) priced a gadget is. But who am I to tell you what to do, right?

Specs basically describe what the phone/tablet has and what it’s capable of doing. I’ll go through this very simply and quickly, careful not to bombard you with all the tech jargon. I hereby certify the following completely nerd-free:

Open your Google search bar and type in the phone model (tablets also apply) in question but add ‘gsmarena’ at the end.  Alternatively, open up GSM Arena and locate the search bar in the site and type in the specific phone. An example is this Samsung S8 review I just checked out.

Disclaimer: Some phones/tablets may not appear in this site. These brands are the ones mostly sold by our friends in China 😁. However you can always Google those and try your luck on other websites.

Cool! Let’s look at the categories you’ll typically find in the page, if we’re together up to this point that is.

  1. Summary: This is probably the first thing you’ll notice once you load the search. You’ll see how the device looks, how popular it is, camera specs, CPU specs, RAM etc. We’ll get to those as we read on.
  2. Network: This shows you what network technology is associated with your gadget. Here is where you know if a device is 4G/LTE or not. Important to note: The higher the Gs the better i.e. 4G network is faster than 3G
  3. Launch: You’ll see the device’s announcement date and when it was/will be released.
  4. Body: You’ll know how big, how heavy (Do you know what an ounce is? LOL), also what kind of SIM card it uses. Any other specs about the build will be here. e.g. if it’s waterproof, the type of casing etc.
  5. Display: Screen size, screen type, screen protection etc. Important to note: A technology called gorilla glass is commonly used to toughen screens up. It’s a big plus! Else, you have to invest in screen guards. Display resolution is also here; Anything higher than 720×1280 is HD. It’s measured in pixels-per-inch or ppi’s. The higher the ppi’s the better the resolution is. (Layman’s terms: resolution = clarity)
  6. Platform: The device’s OS (Operating System) out of the box (e.g. Android 7.0.1 Nougat) and the latest upgrade available for the device, CPU technology and GPU (graphics).  Important to note: The more cores your CPU has, the better the performance. e.g. you can run huge apps amazingly fast on a Octacore (8 cores) device as compared to a Dualcore (2 cores) device.
  7. Memory: Internal and external storage (ROM) and RAM. Important to note: Some devices don’t have an expansion slot. This means that you’re stuck with the phone’s inbuilt memory (Hello again, iPhone people😋). Also, the higher the RAM, the better the multitasking ability without ‘hanging’. e.g. With higher RAM, you can play a game while streaming music all while downloading videos and still get your WhatsApp messages with ease.
  8. Camera: Specs for both front and back cameras. I think we all know a bit here. The higher the megapixels the better. You can also see if the device is capable of taking HD/4K videos or not.
  9. Sound: Basically the alert types, type of headphone connection etc.
  10. Comms: Communication technology. E.g. FM radio, Wi-Fi, USB etc.
  11. Features: Special features that come with the product. e.g. fingerprint sensor technology.
  12. Battery: Here you’ll see the battery capacity, measured in mAh (milliampere hours). Higher means better. Shows how long the batt would last (when it’s active and idle).  You also find out if the battery is removable or not.
  13. Misc: Colours available etc. , miscellaneous jargon. Note: Here you’ll see the price group, measured out of 10; 7 – 10 being relatively expensive.
  14. Tests: Tests… duuh. & technical jargon.
  15. Opinions & Reviews: What people are saying about the device.
  16. Compare: This is very handy if you want to compare 2 or more devices side by side. An example is an iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 head-to-head comparison


And we’re done!

Simple, right?

No? Oh no, 😢 you felt like you were in a torrid 3-hour lecture and I’m the boring professor with the funny accent.

Seriously though, I hope you’ll bamboozle that smiling chap with better questions when you visit the retail store next time.


7 thoughts on “Consumer Insights 1: Smartphone Shopping Guide

  1. Why you hating on us iPhone people?? also this was actually very insightful.I learned a new thing GSM Arena..

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