Simple flow chart :: Buying a phone

by Volker Weber


I look at lots of phones, and I have been impressed by the Motorola Z Force and Play, by the Huawei P10 and Mate 10 Plus, by several BlackBerrys. They are all great fun and after a while I return them. But if I need somebody to spend money, I would always advise them to buy an iPhone. It does not have to be the very latest and greatest one. And for those that have already decided they do not want to buy from Apple, it's very simple: buy a Google Pixel. If you cannot afford the Pixel 2, get the Pixel. It's only my second choice, but it's the only second choice I recommend.

Are there other powerful phones on the market? Absolutely. You cannot really buy a bad smartphone anymore. But if you ask for what I recommend, see above.


Thank you Volker!

Torben Volkmann, 2017-12-12

Why the Pixel even though the other mentioned devices are also great fun and all that?

Dieter Baum, 2017-12-12

@Dieter, the point here is (paraphrasing):

Buy an iPhone.

If you have to buy Android, buy the closest possible thing to an iPhone, the Pixel1 or 2.

This is a weighted, considered opinion that boils down a lot of factors into a solid recommendation. (see: "I explain difficult concepts in simple ways...")

I weigh the factors differently and have reached a different conclusion.

Craig Wiseman, 2017-12-12

You are so right Volker, but.
I really need a dual sim phone and prefer a micro sd card slot. The successor of the Lumia 950 XL DualSim would be my choice. But there is no such thing. Now I'm stuck between Nokia 8, waiting for Nokia 9 or Huawei Mate 10plus. C'est la vie.

Axel Seifried, 2017-12-12

The Z2 Play has dual SIM and a micro SD card slot. I'm very happy with it (especially with the addition of the battery mod) and so far they even delivered monthly security updates (albeit a month late, but still).

Armin Grewe, 2017-12-12

The way I see it the iPhone has a more polished and refined experience. Every animation is perfectly timed, the pages scroll smoothly, the design is consistent. Take a look at the App Store design introduced on iOS 11 and compare it to the Google Play Store. But Android has some strong point in its favor also, like the notification system that's way better than that of iOS (at least for me). And for people who like to tinker and customize their phones, Android is the right choice. The fact is that either platform will do the job, albeit in different ways.

@Vowe, I'm curious to know if you've tested any OnePlus device in the past. I've been reading great things about the 5T and it seems unbeatable for the price.

Pedro Meireles, 2017-12-12

This is a good way to look reduce choice. However, I believe the big advantage of the Android based devices market is choice. You have a wide array of devices. Some want to be good for everybody and some are specialised to particular groups of people. Actually I prefer the approach to come up with a device that is directed at a particular group of customers.

Klaus Seibold, 2017-12-13

If someone is asking me for a recommendation, I never recommend anything right away. And this is especially true for people, who are actually spending their own money. Why? Because I first ask, what is important to them. My opinion and use case might be totally wrong for him or her. Therefore I really can't stand those articles, claiming to have just reviewed "the best _____ in the world". Which is of course not, what you are saying, but I think, that use cases do play a much bigger role than "the latest, the greatest" for many, many people outside our bubble and this is even true for security and software updates.

Timm Caspari, 2017-12-13

Looks like we have a good discussion going on. Keep it coming.

Volker Weber, 2017-12-13

In the past i tried a Nexus 5 and a OnePlusOne.
Both were very nice an I thought I would never get an 08/15 Samsung Galaxy. I really liked the Sandstone Back and everything was working perfect.
When OnePlus 2 came out I ordered directly.
But after I few days I started being dissatisfied. They made a, in my opinion perfect "Flagship Killer, to just another "China phone". It was buggy and felt not being ready to sell.

I tried a few months and waited for updates. Then I sold it and got back to my Nexus 5. Everything worked there and I looked for newer Google phones. But
In March 16 I moved to a new carrier and they send me the Samsung S7 Edge.
From the first day everything worked as it should. No loops, no crashes, no freezing.
When using android phones before I often installed launchers to customize them to be perfected for me.
On s7 I installed 5 different launchers. For maybe 5 hours each to get back to stock UI because it just worked.
Yes Updates come slowly. In this moment it runs with Android 7.0 and 1. August 2017 Security Patch. Of course this isn't good. But I thing many others devices from Februar 2016 are running on older software.
Which is the only really negative android aspect I think.

A few days ago I broke the display glass. I went to the next media markt and they repaired in just 35 minutes. No reservation or appointment needed.

This wouldn't have worked with OnePlus or Nexus or Pixel. Unfortunately.

Christopher Schmidt, 2017-12-13

The availability of repair services is directly linked to market share. Only Samsung sells enough Android phones to provide business for those who fix broken screens on the spot. Huawei was very impressive because they provided a repair services at IFA directly across from the press centre. Phones will be dropped, phones will need new screens. Make it easy for influencers and you get good coverage. Very smart move.

Ruggedized devices, Multi-SIM support, yes there are lots of niche requirements that demand specific solutions. I am not arguing with that. I also do not evangelize. If somebody says I am going to buy my kid a hundred Euro Motorola phone, I don't argue with that. It's a good decision under constraints. They might as well decide to get a Nokia 3.

Then there are fans of particular phones. Somebody who wants a Galaxy Note will always buy a Galaxy Note. It has no competition. If you need a BlackBerry "for security reasons", go ahead. If all your friends have Samsungs, why not?

It's only for those who really ask, I tell them to buy an iPhone. I have had nobody coming back and telling me that was bad advice. And for those who ask about an iPhone alternative, mostly because they want to flip it to Appe, I tell them to get a Pixel. Because that is the closest thing to an iPhone if you cannot have an iPhone.

Software matters most. And nobody is going to take better care of Android than Google. It is always the best version, always the first to be fixed, always supporting the best innvations. Watch what happens with computational photography. Pixel 2 only has a single lens and sensor, and yet it competes head-to-head with Apple's dual cameras.

The Chinese brands (and we only see Huawei and OnePlus) are in a race to catch up and pass the incumbants. Currently that means a product cycle which is too short for my liking.

Volker Weber, 2017-12-13

What is often overlooked is the longevity and worthiness of iPhones. For example, my wife had an 64GB iPhone 5 for 5 years now. I already changed the batterie because it began to bulge a year ago. But with the new batterie it worked like a charm again, but a few weeks ago we installed hue lights in the house and because the iPhone 5 didn‘t get the latest iOS updates we thought it was time to switch to a newer iPhone. For 200 euros i bought her a used (like new) iPhone se 64GB and thought i try to sell the 5 year old iPhone 5 on ebay Kleinanzeigen. After a few hours i could sell it to a young lady for 95 euros. She was happy to replace her broken iPhone 5 with ours. So, for 200-95=105 euros we have a like new iPhone which gets the latest and greatest iOS updates at least for another 1 or 2 years. So what did you get for a 5 year old android phone and how much money have you add to get a current one with the latest android updates?

Bernd Hofmann, 2017-12-13

I Think around 20 Euros. If not damaged. And I think you have to add around at least 350 €. This is a really good point often mentioned by VoWe himself.

Yes market share is the key there. But as long Samsung puts so much money in advertising or shopping assistents nothing will change there.
In many carrier shops they will always tell you that Samsung is the best android. Because every 3rd or 4th person has one of these.
Other Brands have just no chance I think. Unfortunately

Christopher Schmidt, 2017-12-13

Samsung is playing this very well. I have no problem with that.

However, Samsung is in danger of being squeezed out between Apple at the top and Huawei/Honor at the bottom. It already happened in China, where the market has consolidated with just five players: Huawei (Honor), Xiaomi, Apple, Vivo, and Oppo (where Vivo, Oppo and OnePlus are owned by the same company). OnePlus is too small to make an impact against Samsung here, but Huawei is not. And their flagships are really, really good.

Volker Weber, 2017-12-13

Another crucial point: Apple products have a very good reseller value.

Horia Stanescu, 2017-12-14

A bit late to the party: I am a happy camper with the iPhone X now, also thanks to Volker's repeated recommendations. Size is perfect, display magnificent, camera outstanding, wireless charging great. If only iOS had more dedicated features for business users. Some things like alarm, notifications or bedside mode were simply better on BB10 (and also are on Android as far as I can tell). Sounds minor but we use them every day, Apple should learn and copy/paste. Emailing is much worse for me, not intuitive, other things like podcasts and app store are fantastic. In short: Hardware great, software still a mixed bag for me.

Yesterday at Heathrow I could finally touch the BlackBerry KeyOne for the first time and play around with it a bit. I always had it in the back of mind but no longer: The physical keyboard is not as good as on the Q10 or the Classic and glossy (!), didn't like it. The poor responsiveness of the touchscreen (which seems also too small) made me appreciate the iPhone even more.

I do like the Pixel 2 XL but it's just too large for me (same as the iPhone Plus), and the regular Pixel 2 still has the old bezels like the iPhone 6/7/8 (and the Pixel 1).

Jochen Kattoll, 2017-12-14

@Pedro, here you go:

Vitor Pereira, 2017-12-14

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I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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