Choosing the right phone can be a daunting task, especially in a place with as many consumer choices as Singapore. As an international hub of commerce and industry, Singapore residents not only have access to models that get a global- or Asia-Pacific release, but they also occasionally get exclusive models and limited offers that aren’t available elsewhere. And given the country’s prosperity and the fact that almost all Singaporeans today own at least one smartphone, you’ll find a domestic market that’s filled to the brim with choices.
Thankfully, we’re here to help. If you’re having trouble deciding what your next phone should be, read our list of considerations below to find out what you should be taking into account when getting a new phone in the city-state.
Before you start shopping for a new phone, it’s important to work out a realistic budget. Good phones can be had at an extremely wide range of price points, and it’s worth considering the diminishing returns that come with getting a flagship model over a mid-priced or even a budget model. Working out a budget naturally means that you also need to consider the other things you need to spend on.
For many people, their budget constraints mean that a new phone—or at least the phone that they want—is out of the question. However, that doesn’t mean that they couldn’t change their data plan if they need to. Fortunately, you can find a variety of SIM only plans that better suit your data and talk-time needs—and won’t require you to get a new phone.
Android and iOS are currently the two most popular operating systems for mobile devices. While there are a few other operating systems out there, their market shares are quite small and the devices they’re used on tend to have niche applications.
In any case, if you’re still on the fence about which operating system to use, consider which specific qualities of each you value more. Android is generally best known for its unmatched customisability while iOS is well-regarded for its user-friendly interface and tight integration with Apple’s app ecosystem. If you’re a power user that wants the best possible customisations for their needs, an Android phone might be better. If you already have other Apple products and just want things to work, then an iOS device may be for you.
For many people, the quality of a phone’s camera is a major selling point. In an age where everyone uses social media, picture quality and the ease with which one can take great-looking photos matter more than it ever has.
If you’re looking for something that can deliver the goods on picture quality, look for phones with reasonably high megapixel counts and camera lenses made by well-regarded manufacturers. Nice-to-haves include optical image stabilisation and AI-enabled image enhancements. If you want a phone with a camera that would be fine for some kinds of professional-level photography, consider expanding your budget and taking a deeper dive into the true capabilities of the phones you’ve shortlisted.
Screen Size and Resolution
The size and resolution of a phone’s screen have a major effect on the overall user experience that it affords the phone owner. While larger screens may be better for watching videos and playing games, they may also be too large for some people to handle with just one hand. Additionally, you might prefer the higher screen resolutions of pricier phones—or you might find that it doesn’t matter at all to you.
When in doubt, first consider how you intend to use your phone. Once you’ve figured that out, you can more confidently choose a screen size and resolution that works best for your budget and your needs.
When it comes to battery life, longer is always better. At least, in isolation. In reality, more powerful phones with bigger screens tend to use more power compared to other models within the same generation. Manufacturers may opt to make sacrifices in battery life to boost performance or vice versa. This may not matter if you’re always within arm’s reach of a charger, but if you do a lot of fieldwork or hate carrying a power bank, then a small sacrifice in performance for better battery life may be warranted.
Your phone’s storage capacity directly affects how many photos, videos, and apps you can store on it. Consider phones with expandable storage, or consider one of Singapore’s many excellent cloud storage options if you want more space. If you plan on taking a lot of HD videos with your phone, storage should be higher up your priority list, right after camera quality.
If you prefer a specific carrier, make sure the phone you purchase is compatible with their network, particularly if you plan on using certain carrier apps. This is usually a non-issue, but it may be worth checking out before you spend your hard-earned cash.
Spec sheets are one thing; real-world performance is another. Reviews can give you insight into the real-world performance of the phones you’ve shortlisted. Take time to read reviews from other people who have used the phones you’re interested in. For a better overall view of how the phones do in real-life situations, make sure to look at reviews from outside Singapore as well.
If you already own several other devices made by a certain brand, it may be worth considering a phone made by the same manufacturer. Major phone makers like Apple, Samsung, and Xiaomi all have large app and smart device ecosystems that are usually much easier to manage through their own phones. It’s also worth considering whether or not the brand offers an extended warranty on its products, particularly if you plan on keeping the same phone for several years.
With so many models, carriers, and other considerations to sort through, choosing a new phone can be overwhelming. Fortunately, looking through and weighing the nine factors above should help you make an informed decision. Most importantly, try to be honest with yourself about what it is you want to achieve by getting a new phone. By taking some time to weigh your needs and options, you can ensure that you not only get the best bang for your buck but also a phone that you’ll truly enjoy.