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Some people may think that choosing a new smartphone comes down to picking a brand that they like. Because besides camera quality and storage, these things are all pretty much the same, right?

That assumption isn’t baseless because many phones do look and operate much the same on a surface level. Mainly thanks to Apple and Google Android’s domination in the mobile space. When people get into the circuits of the mechanical beast, they realize there’s a lot more to it.

Instead of just focusing on superficial factors when choosing a new smartphone, here are some of the important things to look out for.

A Small Clarification

While there are some universal factors, of course, much of this depends on how someone plans on using their phone. If someone wants a mobile device for gaming, they will be focusing on way different things than someone who wants to model on Instagram. Some smartphones are equipped to handle both these demands easily.

5 Important Specs to Consider

1. The Operating System

While Android and iOS have their hardcore fans, don’t be swayed by brand loyalty and look at what the OS offers instead. For example, iOS is considered simpler and much more restrictive than Android, but it’s generally seen as safer. Android, meanwhile, allows for a lot of customizability, but it can sometimes be confusing for those who are less tech-oriented.

Think about the apps that are available for each OS as well. Android has access to a much bigger library of apps and games. There’s almost twice the amount of apps on the Google Play Store vs. the App Store. But that doesn’t necessarily account for quality, plus both systems have the most popular apps like YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp available.

2. Phone Screen

Phone screen specifications can get incredibly confusing because there’s a lot of information to take in. First off, there’s the phone screen size, measured in inches, and they’re all different in terms of bezel size.

Then there’s screen resolution, which is usually displayed in pixel size – something high end would be around 1080 x 1920. Also included is pixels per inch, which in a high-end device would be something like 458 PPI.

Lastly, there’s the type of screen. Most smartphone screens on the market are LCD, but the hype around OLED is growing since it produces deeper colors and brighter displays.

Tech enthusiasts aside, though, go with whatever looks good. That’s all that matters.

3. RAM

Don’t underestimate the importance of memory. The more RAM a phone has, the better it can handle multiple tasks and demanding apps and games. For instance, something like Chrome eats up a lot of RAM with every new tab, which can slow the phone down. Someone who plans on using their smartphone for games should also consider a model with more memory. 4GB worth of RAM is pretty standard these days, but gamers should consider looking at 6GB.

4. Processing Power

Like memory, processing power will determine how much oomph a phone has to run apps and other processes. This is also what determines the responsiveness of the phone. The two important factors to take a look at here are the processor’s clock speed (in GHz or MHz) and the number of cores.

A higher GHz speed means better responsiveness, and more cores equal more power. A good standard is something around 1.2 GHz with a dual-core processor, and more high-end phones can go over 2GHz with quad cores.

5. Camera Quality

Camera quality can be a decisive feature because many people prefer using their phones as their main camera these days. So when shopping around, make sure to check the megapixel size of both the main and front-facing cameras. Someone looking for something a little more high-end would probably go for at least 16 MP. Even someone who doesn’t like taking many photos shouldn’t go for anything lower than 8 megapixels for that occasional photo op.

The Bottom Line

It goes almost without saying that these five specs aren’t the only important things to look out for when buying a new smartphone. But they are generally the most important things for most people. Something like storage is a very important factor as well, but that can always be augmented with cloud storage or SD card storage.

Make sure to keep security in mind as well. Always use a VPN when searching for smartphone deals and while using web-based services on the smartphone. Data thieves and hackers are present everywhere these days, and mobile is a big target since everyone has phones now. What is VPN? It’s a tool that encrypts a network connection to keep it safe from outside interference by keeping hackers from spying and installing malware.