When someone asks “Which smartphone should I buy,” the answer is never an easy one. Never, ever! Because let’s face it, the process of buying a smartphone is as complicated as String Theory – unless you are very, very sure of what your needs are.

If your primary needs are apps, you’re always better off with iOS or Android, both of which offer nearly a million different types of apps. By contrast, the Windows Market place has just over 1.76 lakh apps to offer. That said, the Nokia Lumia series come with some very interesting apps and have remarkable social network integration on the devices. BlackBerry World too has more than 2.5 lakh apps, but only a few popular ones have made it through for the BB 10 OS.

And if you need a really good camera on the smartphone, then the best options out there are the HTC One for Android and Nokia Lumia 1020 for Windows Phone. And for iOS, the iPhone 5. These are, of course, the high end ones. If you’re planning for something less, you need to decide on a budget and then go ahead with what smartphone you should be picking up.

So first things first, you need to settle on a budget – only then you will be able to pick out something that’s worth your money. The best options to pick from the low to mid-range (Rs. 10-25k) are always the ones with Windows Phone 8. That’s because whatever Windows Phones we have used in that price range have always outperformed the Androids, in terms of CPU performance.

We have always found low to mid-range Android smartphones to have CPU problems – they stall, slow down, or freeze completely if you run heavy apps or too many apps – mainly because of low specs or low quality of components used. With Windows Phone, however, the devices are tailor made to suit the OS and the apps, irrespective of the specs onboard. So a Lumia 720 will give you more value for money than the Samsung Galaxy Grand. And while we’re talking about large screen phones such as the Galaxy Grand, we need to point out that if you’re buying a large screen (4.8-inch and above) smartphone, it’s always better to opt for one which offers at least 720p resolution, or else the huge screen is just a waste. There are, however, some really good mid-range Android smartphones such as the Sony Xperia L and the Panasonic P51.

But going high-end is always a good idea – you get top end specs and are always the first one to receive the latest updates. And top-end Android smartphones always offer more screen real estate, some come with stylus integration, awesomely skinned user interfaces, convenience features (check out the Galaxy S4’s review) and well, the best of everything. And, the specs can handle the heaviest apps and games made for Android.

In that range, we’d recommend the HTC One as in our opinion it’s the best Android phone so far. In case you’re looking for a phablet, the LG Optimus G Pro is the best one around. But it’s always a good idea to pick up the iPhone 5 if you’ve always been using an iPhone or have other Apple devices. Because the iOS/OS X ecosystem is so evolved and connected seamlessly, it just makes sense to go for an Apple product if you already have one.

So winding it up, if you’re going mid to low range, you’d be better off with a Windows Phone for its hassle free interface and robust performance (and the vivid colours, if you like that). And at the to-end, it’s better to go for a high-end Android, except if you’re a fanboy. Then you should always go for Apple.

(This article was published on August 6, 2013)
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