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How to Choose a Mobile Phone

Catalogue

Mobile phones have many different parameters and choosing the right one can be difficult. Whether you are a manager looking for a device to organise your work, or just looking to buy a new phone for your grandmother, we will help you choose according to the right features. In this article, we are going to introduce you to different categories of mobile phones, important parameters and frequently asked questions. We will also discuss features, such as LTE and eSIM.

Jak vybrat mobil

Several tips for choosing a mobile phone

  1. Decide if you want a smartphone or a classic keypad phone

  2. With a large diagonal, you can enjoy multimedia, games and internet browsing, but large phones are harder to control with one hand

  3. Choose a smartphone that takes beautiful photographs among camera phones

  4. Choose a rugged model to protect your mobile phone in every weather

  5. Mobile phones for seniors feature large buttons and a large, easily readable screen

Chapters of the mobile phone guide

Smartphones

Smartphones offer a large, yet reasonably sized touchscreen. They are based on a pre-installed operating system (iOS or Android) with the option to install a wide range of applications and games. They also offer an integrated camera, a music player, internet access and other life-enhancing features.

Smartphone parameters

Display

When choosing your phone, think about a screen size that is optimal for you. If you only use a phone to make calls and send messages, a smaller display of up to 5.5" should suffice. However, if you like taking photos and viewing your results on a larger screen, we recommend that you choose higher resolution and a larger display. A smartphone standard today is Full HD or Full HD+, with a 5" to 6" screen. If you are buying a larger phone, make sure it has a resolution of at least Quad HD (2560 × 1440).

Bezel-less phones with extremely thin frames around the screen are everywhere these days. They allow you to place a larger display in the same body of the phone, which is not only practical but also looks good. Today, the screen aspect ratio of 18:9 (or 19:9, 19.5:9, etc.) is common, replacing the obsolete 16:9. These elegant, long phones are easier to hold in one hand and beautifully display various visual content.

In 2017, iPhone X (replaced by iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR in September 2018) popularised the display cut-out or notch. Different manufacturers may call it by different names but it is essentially the same thing—a cut-out at the top of the smartphone's display that retains the display space on either side. Some manufacturers use the free space only as an extended display, while others have added optimised notification bars. The notch is also often hidden by software (the "ears" around the viewport are covered by a dark screen), so if you are not a fan, you do not have to have one.

In 2020, the trend for the manufacturers is to get rid of the notch as much as possible. Some manufacturers have even introduced notchless concepts that have front cameras hidden in the display.

Smartphone display sizes

  • 4.5" to 4.9" - these small phones can be easily operated with one hand. There aren't too many mobiles of this size aside from the iPhone 8 and iPhone 7. In the past, phones of this size  were considered large but today they are relatively small. They do still have lots of fans though.
  • 5" to 5.4" - even this diagonal can be considered to be on the smaller side. It was common on older mobile phones and rugged models. If these phones  have thin frames, they can be operated with one hand.
  • 5.5" to 5.9" - popular with many users. It offers a well-chosen size compromise, so it's small enough to be easily controlled while being large enough to allow you to watch movies, play games, browse the web and more. Some phones with these diagonals are so compact that we've incorporated them into our Best Mini Phones for 2019 article.
  • 6" and more - smartphones that were previously considered huge. Today, however, they have acceptable dimensions due to their thin frames. On such large surfaces, every task is easier to perform. Larger phones can also contain larger batteries with longer battery lives.

A larger diagonal does not always mean a larger device. Many phones have reduced frame sizes to a minimum, so a larger display can fit into a body of almost the same size. The following illustration shows two mobiles of similar height. See how the thin frame enables the phone on the right to boast a much larger display.

You can also check the following tables.

Examples of phones with large frames:

Telephone Diagonal
Display size to body ratio
Dimensions Year of release
iPhone 8 4.7" 65.4% 138.4 × 67.3 × 7.3mm 2017
Sony Xperia Z3 5.2" 70.9% 146 × 72 × 7.3mm 2014
iPhone 8 Plus 5.5" 67.4% 158.4 × 78.1 × 7.5mm 2017

Examples of thin-frame phones:

Telephone Diagonal
Display size to body ratio
Dimensions
Year of release
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
6.9" 89.9% 166.9 × 76 × 8.8mm 2020
iPhone 11 Pro 5.8" 82.1% 144 × 71.4 × 8.1mm 2019
Xiaomi Mi Note 10 Pro 6.47" 87.8% 157.8 × 74.2 × 9.7mm 2019
iPhone 11 6.1" 79% 150.9 × 75.7 × 8.3mm 2019
iPhone 11 Pro Max 6.5" 83.7 % 158 × 77.8 × 8.1mm 2019


In the last few years, the ratio of the display size to the total size of the phone's body has grown considerably. However, the total dimensions have largely remained at the same. For example, last year's iPhone 11 Pro is slightly smaller than the Sony Xperia Z3 from 2014 even though it has a larger display. Similarly, the iPhone 8 Plus has a 5.5" screen while the newer iPhone 11 Pro Max is just as big (maybe even slightly smaller) but boasts a 6.5" display.

So, when you see a large display diagonal, it does not necessarily mean that you are buying a great big brick of a phone. Check out the dimensions of your smartphone. You may find that a 6-inch phone can be a pretty compact device.

Screen technology

OLED screens are the best on the market. They are divided into two categories based on the matrices used.

  • AMOLED - they contain an active matrix. They differ from other imaging technologies due to their incredibly faithful black colour rendering, which results in unrivalled contrast. This includes wide viewing angles, low battery usage and low response.

  • P-OLED - passive matrix screens. There are simpler and cheaper designs. They are mainly used in smartwatches and small displays.

LCD screens generally have a higher power consumption than OLED screens. However, their design is much cheaper, and therefore we see LCD screens in cheaper models.

  • Super LCD - popular for their bright colour display and low power consumption. The minimum distance between the screen itself and the cover glass is great advantage.

  • IPS - A very authentic display of a wide range of colours with the best viewing angles. It is the most widespread technology among mobile phones and can be found on most mid-range models.

  • TN - An older LCD technology, widely used especially for desktop monitors. They are inexpensive to produce, have high brightness, and are less demanding on battery life. However, the poor viewing angles can be a disadvantage. We can find them mainly in older and cheaper phones and tablets.

Display aspect ratio

There are several aspect ratios. There are no limitations, and manufacturers often experiment. In most cases, however, you will encounter:

  • 18:9 - A modern aspect ratio that appears on the vast majority of today's smartphones.
  • 18.5:9 - mobile brands have tried to make themselves stand out from the crowd with many subtle variations on the classic 18:9 ratio. However, in no way does it mean that you should avoid this ratio.
  • 19:9 - Common ratio, which sometimes grows to 19.5:9. The larger the ratio, the more elongated the display.
  • 16:9 - an obsolete ratio you won't even find on new phones these days.
  • 4:3 - an older ratio, which can be seen on push-button phones.

Most common resolutions

 
 Screen resolution Screen resolution size
HD 1280×720p
Full HD 1920×1080p
WQHD 2560×1440p
4K 3840×2160p


The higher the resolution, the sharper the picture. The cheapest phones with smaller diagonals have HD resolutions. Full HD is the mid-range standard while high-end phones have finer resolutions. At the moment, 4K resolution is just an experiment on a few models. There are also other resolution values beyond those listed in the table.

Display frequency

The display frequency is another parameter that can be controlled when selecting a phone. The standard is 60Hz but if you want super smooth images, some displays can reach 90Hz or 120Hz. Higher values mean smoother imaging when moving around the system and playing games. 120Hz displays are usually only seen on gaming phones but, with the introduction of the OnePlus 7 Pro and its 90Hz display, higher frequencies are starting to make their way into regular phones. You can see a comparison using the Samsung Galaxy S10+ in the following video.

Flexible display

Flexible displays are becoming an increasingly hot topic. Many manufacturers are starting to include this technology and each of them handles it a little differently. For example, the flexible Samsung Galaxy Fold bet on book-style opening, while the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip and Motorola Razr are modern clamshells. Xiaomi released a bizarre prototype called Mi Mix Alpha, which is literally all display. However, Alpha is not available to the general public.

Operating memory RAM 

Every smartphone has its own memory. When choosing a phone, it is one of the most important parameters to consider. The larger the memory size, the faster and easier will it be to handle more operations at a time.

How many GB of memory do I need?

  • 1-2GB - only seen in the cheapest and older smartphones and is usually not enough for today's apps. The system often freezes and does not respond under heavy load.

  • 3-4GB - this is now considered a standard. 3 to 4GB of memory is enough for casual web browsing, listening to music, and playing games.

  • 6GB or more - there aren't any phones with 5GB of RAM, so the next level starts from 6GB. Today's high-performance phones can have 8, 12, or 16GB. You won't usually use the full amount of memory but it is a good way to future-proof your phone, as the app demands are constantly increasing.

Processor

Processor cores

The most important part of the processor that is responsible for all computational operations. In smartphones, the number of cores usually ranges from 4 to 8, the more cores the better. Multiple cores work better between each other to shorten the processing time.

Processor frequency (clock)

Frequency indicates the number of instructions the processor can perform in 1 second. It is indicated in GHz. Higher frequencies increase CPU performance. Common frequency values range from 1.6GHz to 2GHz.

What processor do I need?

For the Android operating system today, a quad-core to octa-core processor at 1.5GHz is considered to be a standard. For Apple iPhones with iOS, you do not have to choose from performance-based options, as each model is designed to be swift and smooth. The Windows Phone has minimal demands, therefore a processor that is three times weaker than an Android's one will be enough. 

Processor model specification

This is the only indication that can help you predict the performance of your phone after searching for reviews and benchmarks. For example, a modern quad-core chip may be more powerful than an outdated eight-core.

Artificial Intelligence

With the latest high-end models, you may come across phones with artificial intelligence features. What is it all about? Maybe the phone's processor has a processing unit or an extra piece of code that makes it easy to take photos or save battery power. You can also experience artificial intelligence with virtual assistants like Google Assistant (Google), Alexa (Amazon), Siri (Apple), Bixby (Samsung), and so on. Smart algorithms are discussed in detail in AI - Artificial Intelligence (EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW).

The best-known manufacturers


Qualcomm
Their processors and graphics accelerators are particularly praised for their multitasking capability and gaming performance. The company has been manufacturing processors since 2005 and has gone through a long history of mobile engineering. Their Snapdragon processors are also used on flagships of the largest manufacturers, such as Google Pixel, Xiaomi Mi, or some of the Samsung Galaxy S model variants.

  • Snapdragon - a CPU unit performance class specification. The series is marked with numbers: S200, S400, S600, S800. The first number marks the processor range and the second the processor model. The higher the number, the more powerful the processor. A graphics accelerator is also part of the processor.

  • Adreno - graphics accelerators that have a similar function to graphic cards in notebooks and computer desktops.


MediaTek
The Taiwanese processor maker MediaTek is one of Qualcomm's main competitors. In its portfolio, it has everything through low-cost processors, mid-range chips, futuristic X-series - which reaches up to 3GHz. It boasts plenty of original features such as the patented MiraVision. These processors are very popular with Chinese manufacturers - most notably Xiaomi and Meizu.

  • Helio - the most recent pride of this company. The MediaTek Helio processors combine the best of all previous generations. The manufacturer calls it the processor of the future.


Samsung
The Korean electronics company has kept up with the competition and makes the processors that are used in their flagship mobile phones. It often mixes them with Qualcomm's processors, depending on the market the phone is made for.

  • Exynos - a key range of octa-core processors by Samsung. Due to the advanced graphics chip, they are capable of being used for playing 3D games and processing a 4k UHD resolution.


Apple
Apple does not make or design its processors. Instead it uses ones from different companies, such as Samsung and TSMC.

  • Apple A - processor specification in phones and tablets. iPhones 11, 11 Pro, and 11 Pro Max use a hexa-core A13 Bionic model.


HiSilicon
A Chinese company owned by Huawei. It is the largest printed circuit manufacturer on the Chinese market and has a great background for the development of new technologies. Unlike other Asian manufacturers, it does not increase performance by the number of computational cores but improves the core itself.

  • Kirin 900 - the latest range of mobile processors used almost exclusively in Huawei and Honor smartphones and tablets.


nVidia
A well-known graphics card player started manufacturing mobile processors a few years ago and is certainly not behind the competition. nVidia processors excel primarily due to their performance in games. The state-of-the-art Tegra X1 is a quad-core chipset with a 256-pixel graphics unit and is therefore used in the Nvidia SHIELD Android TV portable game console. nVidia processors are ideal for all players.

  • Tegra K1 - a processor used in many different mobile phones, or the Nvidia SHIELD tablet that can be used for computer games such as Half-Life or Knights of the Old Republic.

Battery

Battery life is measured in mAh (milliamp hours). The higher the number, the greater the capacity. The standard battery capacity for an entire day's battery life is approximately 3500mAh. Values of 4500mAh or more can be considered as an above-average battery that will provide good battery life from a single charge. However, you should consider other factors that may affect the rate of discharge, such as display size, processor performance, and the use of data functions. To make battery life comparisons between phones as objective as possible, a laboratory-tested stand-by time is given. This is the maximum amount of time that a phone can last from a single battery charge when it is on but not in active use.

Many phones support fast charging. The name of this technology can differ depending on the manufacturer - sometimes it is called Rapid Charge, Pump Express, Quick Charge and so on. The most common is Qualcomm's Quick Charge 2.0 technology, which can charge a battery from 0 to 60% in about 30 minutes. At the end of 2015, an upgraded version of Quick Charge 3.0 was introduced to charge the phone from 0 to 80% in about 35 minutes. The evolution for 2018 is Quick Charge 4+, which uses several power circuits, making it not only faster but also more battery-friendly.

With more expensive phones, you may encounter wireless charging. This comes in handy if you don't want to constantly look for cables to plug in or you want to use a dock to simultaneously charge your smartphone and smartwatch.  Nowadays, several brands support wireless charging and more and more are following suit. Wireless power banks, such as Samsung Wireless Battery Packs work on the same principle as classic docks and are growing in popularity. Read more about  Wireless Charging.

Another feature that has recently emerged is reverse charging. This is a cool feature found on some phones that support conventional wireless charging. Reverse charging turns your phone into a wireless charger. You can recharge a friend's battery  on the go or recharge smart accessories. Reverse charging is currently supported by the Samsung Galaxy S20 (or S20 Ultra and S20+) or Xiaomi Mi 10.

Camera

Increasingly, the most important factor when choosing a mobile device is the built-in camera. Whether it's for nature, portraits, food, or selfies, the best camera phones are successfully replacing large-sized compacts.

Rear/front camera

Every smartphone and keypad phone comes with  a rear camera, whether standard, dual, triple, etc. The rear camera almost always has a higher resolution, aperture and a wider lens for nature and scenic photos. The front camera, which is often dual, is used for selfies.

Multiple-lens camera

Today, every modern smartphone has a camera with multiple lenses. In addition to the main (widescreen) lens, you will also find other types, with all of them excelling in something different. The most common lens types are:

  • Ultra-wide - angle lenses - used to capture large areas (e.g. panoramas). They often have a viewing angle over 120°.
  • Telephoto - good to have when shooting distant objects. Since zooming in with a wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle lens causes the picture to become blurry, telephoto lenses usually come equipped with optical zoom. (Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers 10x optical zoom)
  • Macro - great for capturing very close and small objects. Often used to photograph flowers or insects, for example.
  • ToF - a depth camera, or its advanced ToF (time-of-flight) 3D variant, is used to detect different depth layers in photography. You can then easily separate and adjust them in a range of different ways. The popular bokeh effect is one well-known example.

Resolution

This is the number of pixels that the resulting photo will contain. It's not a sole factor that should determine the quality of the camera because the quality is primarily determined by the size of the sensor chip, and there is almost no difference between 14-28Mpx. Even some of the best manufacturers use lower resolution cameras – iPhone 10 Pro (12 + 12 + 12Mpx); Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G on the other hand, uses a 108Mpx sensor.

Higher resolution is ideal for large image sizes, but the size of the sensor will be limited and the image quality will be lower in comparison to SLR cameras.

Luminance and aperture

The main camera parameter is not only megapixel (Mpx), but also the aperture. This is indicated by the letter "f". The number behind it indicates the loss of light when passing through the lens. The lower the number, the better the device can handle a lack of light, which is necessary in order to achieve sharp shots, not only in dim light. Greater luminosity can also create beautifully blurred backgrounds that we all love so much. The ideal smartphone aperture size is around f/2 to f/2.4. The best devices offer f/1.5.

Video

Mobile phone cameras can also record high-definition videos, often with different features, such as slow-motion or a time lapse video. Most phones record in Full HD resolution, with the more high-end models handling even 4K or 8K.

For video, an important parameter is the number of frames per second (fps). Typical values are 30 or 60 frames. If your phone handles Full HD video at 60 frames per second, the video will be smoother than Full HD at 30 frames per second.

HDR and scene modes

Because mobile cameras work more automatically than manually, they have lots of different modes for every occasion.

HDR is a feature that has always been used in photography and now finds its place in digital photography. It is a combination of photographs of various exposures used to produce a high-contrast image.

Panorama mode allows you to take very wide photos, such as the entire view from a lookout tower.

Portrait mode is for taking pictures of people. It uses the smallest aperture and blurs the background.

Macro mode is used when shooting small objects, such as flowers or insects.

Stabilisation

As you rarely use a tripod when taking photos with a mobile phone, image stabilisation is an integral part of each camera. It is divided into two categories - Electronic (EIS) and Optical (OIS). Cheaper models have electronic stability that only increases the ISO sensitivity to achieve a shorter shutter speed. The quality of resulting photos would sometimes be better if EIS was not applied at all. OIS, on the other hand, provides much better results, as it is built into the camera.

Autofocus

Any decent camera should support autofocus. Better phones accelerate focusing at short distances using laser and arbitrary phase shift detection (PDAF). The best devices use a combination of both methods. For iPhone, the PDAF variation is called Focus Pixels.

ToF technology

ToF (Time-of-Flight) technologies, or sensors based on it, are very common in the latest phones. These are advanced depth sensors that measure the distance between themselves and objects in its field of view using light beams or ultrasound. They operate with a maximum error rate of just 1%, while conventional dual cameras have an error rate of up to 10%. This makes the ToF sensor more precise for creating a bokeh or focus effect. You can read more about Time-of-Flight sensors in this article.

Connectivity and sensors

Connectivity

  • LTE/4G

Nowadays, no smartphone should be without LTE high-speed Internet support. However, you should be aware that some devices that support LTE do not understand Czech frequencies. Most of the local LTE network is built at a frequency of 800 MHz. In our technical parameters, you can usually find out whether the given device supports “Czech” LTE or not.

  • 5G

The construction of 5G-based networks has begun worldwide, but is not yet a widespread standard for mobile networks. In the Czech Republic, 5G networks are only seen in specially designated test areas. In a few years, however, 5G could already become the norm, providing high data rates in towns, villages and remote parts of the country. You can read more information about 5G network in our article.

  • GPS

Connecting to the Global Positioning System allows you to track your position on maps anywhere on Earth with an accuracy of several meters.

  • Galileo, GLONASS and BeiDou

European, Russian and Chinese satellite systems similar to American GPS. Galileo should be fully operational by 2019 and achieve greater accuracy than GPS. By 2020, BeiDou is expected to have up to 35 satellites to cover the world with an accuracy of 10 metres.

  • WiFi

Internet connection via WiFi wireless technology.

  • Bluetooth

Provides wireless communication between your phone and other devices, such as wireless speakers and headphones. The higher the series, the higher the connection speed and the lower the power consumption.

  • NFC

NFC is a way of communication between two electronic devices. It serves for both data and information transmission. It is referred to as a technology of the future and is now commonly used for mobile payments. In Europe, we use Google Pay, Apple Pay, and many more. With NFC, you can pay with your phone just like you would with a contactless credit card.

  • Infraport

Used to transmit data using infrared radiation. Today it is not used too much as it is being replaced by Bluetooth and NFC. However, it still finds its use with a variety of electronics, such as televisions, air conditioners, home music players, etc.

  • USB-C/Lightning/Micro USB

Sockets designed for a data cable connection. The data cable is used to charge or connect the phone to the computer.

USB-C - a modern version of USB. Most new smartphones have it.

Lightning - connector exclusive for iPhones.

Micro USB - still the most common connector for cheap Android phones. However, it looks like they are on their way out as this connector is slow and unsymmetrical.

  • USB OTG

Do you plan to connect additional peripherals to your mobile phone? Then you will appreciate the presence of the USB OTG (On-The-Go) standard, which will further expand the connectivity of your phone. With the help of a special USB-C/Micro USB to classic “large” USB connection, you can connect external flash drives, hard drives (which may need additional power from a USB hub or an SD card reader. In certain situations, an Ethernet port or a wired keyboard or mouse may come in handy.

Sensors

  • Barometer

An atmospheric pressure meter. A very useful gadget for smartphones.

  • Light sensor

If you do not enjoy adjusting the screen brightness, the light sensor will do it for you.

  • Motion sensor (accelerometer) and gyroscope

They monitor the movement and position of the phone. They are particularly used in the gaming industry, but can also have uses in everyday life, such as a mobile spirit level.

  • Magnetic compass

It is used to determine cardinal points by the Earth's magnetic field.

  • Proximity sensor

A very important sensor for every smartphone. When the phone is too close to your face during a call, the screen locks to prevent you from ending your call in error.

Internal storage and memory cards

It is important, especially when buying phones without a memory card slot, to be careful and choose an option with a slightly larger memory. Bear in mind that the phone's operating system memory size is not included. So, if you buy a device with 16GB of memory, take into account that the average operating system occupies approximately 4-5GB of free space, leaving you just 11-12GB for your data. Since each manufacturer pre-installs different apps in their phones and uses their own graphical superstructures, the available storage for Android phones may vary between models and manufacturers.

The following memory size variants are offered on the market:

  • Up to 16GB - for light users. Capacity holds a few applications.
  • 32GB - for a few dozen applications and common use.
  • 64GB - Store dozens of apps, games or music albums, several movies. This will be enough to do the trick for most regular users.
  • 128GB - Store hundreds of apps, games and dozens of movies. Also suitable for intensive use.
  • 256GB - Stores dozens of movies, games and applications to satisfy demanding users.
  • 512GB to 1TB - these capacities are suitable for those who take a lot of photos, shoot 4K videos or use hundreds of large apps.

Tip: If your phone has low storage, you can help by removing all your backed up photos (e.g. in Google Photos) from your phone. You won't lose them, they'll always be available online, but they won't take up space on your mobile.

Materials

The material used to make your phone plays an important role in its appearance, durability and price.

  • Plastic - all-plastic phones are relatively fragile and are normally the cheapest models. Plastic is also often used for camera lenses.
  • Aluminium - pricier premium phones are primarily constructed from aluminium alloys. You may see combinations of aluminium and plastic or polycarbonate with a machined surface in mid-range models.
  • Glass - a material used mainly in premium telephones to design the back cover.
  • Stainless steel - a material sometimes used for frames as can be seen on the iPhone X, XS and XS M.
  • Ceramics - a very hard material that is scratch-resistant but more brittle than metal.  

Useful features

Fingerprint reader and facial recognition

If you're worried about your private information and files on your mobile phone, these features provide solid security. The standard location for the fingerprint reader is either on the back of the device, at the front, below the display, or directly integrated into the display.

AI Assistant

A handy feature built into any operating system. It can finds the nearest restaurant for you or dial the contact you specify. The AI assistant in iOS is called Siri, while Google named its own Google Assistant.

Notification LED

Customise your phone's LED notification colours. Definitely a useful feature for  a smartphone! However, new phones use it less and less and you are unlikely to find it on a 2020 smartphone.

FM Radio

Most phones can use your headphones as a radio signal receiver, so you can tune in to your favourite station even when you are without an Internet connection.

QWERTY keyboard

The entire keypad simplifies and speeds up typing on classic keypad phones. If you write a lot of messages per day and are interested in a keypad phone, such as a BlackBerry, consider this feature,

Dual SIM

Telephones with the ability to use two SIM cards at one time are called Dual SIM. On one card you can have a voice tariff and a data card on the other, or you can use the services of two operators at the same time. A large number of phones allows the use of data services in only one of the SIM card slots. Dual SIM mobile phones are manufactured in both keypad and touch-screen versions.

eSIM

Thanks to eSIM (embedded SIM), you no longer need to own a physical SIM card and insert it into your phone. You won't have to ensure you choose a SIM, micro SIM or nano-SIM. The built-in chip in the phone, which replaces a conventional SIM card, allows you to enable any phone number by simply playing the eSIM profile over the 3G or 4G/LTE network of your operator. However, in the case of multiple eSIM profiles, only one of them can be used (for the time being).

Increased resistance

You can subject phones with increased resistance to some moisture or dust without damaging them. The level of resistance is usually indicated by the degree of protection, e.g. IP67 or IP68. The first number indicates resistance to dust penetration and the second to water. You can immerse an IP67 phone in water for half an hour at depths up to one metre without causing it harm. Rain won't damage it either. The crash resistance required for outdoor and sports activities is judged best by the rubber bumpers on the body of the phone.

Desktop mode

If you work with your mobile phone frequently on the go, have a monitor and require a portable PC-like workstation, you will love desktop mode. Selected phones, especially from the higher series with sufficient performance, have the ability to connect to your monitor, keyboard, mouse and other peripherals using a special hub. This gives you some desktop computer functionality that uses the power of your mobile phone. Examples include the Samsung DeX Station on their flagship S and Note series, and Desktop Mode on Huawei Mate models.

Mobile Services

The parameter of mobile services has only recently become relevant for Android smartphones, due to the conflict between the USA and China. Huawei has been banned from using Google services on its phones. So the new Huawei phones with new processors must be equipped with their own services. Currently, there are two options for Android phones:

  • Google Mobile Services – the popular collection of all Google applications, including the Play Store. You will find GMS on the majority of Android smartphones.
  • Huawei Mobile Services – a platform that doesn't allow the use of Google applications or the Play Store. Huawei is replacing these applications with its own ecosystem. You can read more in the article about HMS, where we tested these services. Huawei Mobile Services can be found on all new (approximately since 2020) Huawei smartphones.

What phone do I need if I'm a...

mobil pro holky

• High-quality camera
• Bezel-less display
• 5.5" screen or larger

manažerský mobil

• Large display
• Wireless charging
• Fingerprint reader

telefon pro geeka

• High performance
• Bezel-less display
• At least 128GB of storage

telefon pro fotografa

• Camera with OIS
• At least 256GB of storage
• Triple lens

telefon pro gaming

• High performance
• 6" display or larger
• Fast charging

klasický telefon

• Physical buttons
• Dual SIM
• FM radio

telefon na outdoor

• Water and impact resistance
• Large battery
• LED flashlight

telefon pro seniory

• Physical buttons
• SOS button
• Large battery

telefon pro deti

• Touch display
• Lower price
• Large battery

telefon na sport

• Water resistance
• Bluetooth
• GPS

telefon pro VR

• 500+PPI display
• Light weight
• Gyroscope

telefon pro natáčení videa

• Camera with electronic stabilisation
• At least 128GB of storage
   

Basic mobile phones categories 

Chytré telefony (smartphone)

Smartphone

  • Internet connection
  • Large touch screen
  • Camera, music player
  • Operating system
  • Numerous applications and advanced features

Smartphones are equipped with a wide touchscreen that is ideal for watching videos, playing games, reading books and emails, and, of course, browsing the internet. Modern smartphones also include a camera, and the best models produce images with the same quality as a conventional compact camera.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Large display
  • Touch control
  • A variety of features
  • High-quality camera
  • Larger dimensions
  • Shorter battery life
  • Less mechanical resistance

Smartphone operating system

The countless passionate debates on the internet prove that every user defines the "best" operating system a bit differently. If you are still unsure about which OS to choose, we have prepared a comprehensive guide to operating systems for you.

Smartphones by price

Premium smartphones

Chytré telefony s cenou nad 12 000 kč

These phones boast the best parameters. You won't find  plastic phones in this price category as high-quality materials, such as metal and glass are standard. Compared to cheaper models, no compromise is made. You will get an ultimate camera, a perfect display, an extremely powerful processor and more than enough RAM.

If you want the best in the market today, choose a premium phone and you can be sure that your new phone will be able to keep its head held high among the newer models that are inevitably released during the forthcoming years.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Top-class performance
  • Premium display and camera
  • High-quality construction
  • Updates are available for a longer period
  • Higher price

Upper mid-range Smartphones

Chytré telefony s cenou do 8000 Kč do 12 000 Kč

Smartphones in this range are on the border between a regular smartphone and a premium model.  A high-quality design that often matches the best phones on the market is very common. The reason these models are cheaper than premium phones is mainly due to a worse-quality camera, a weaker processor, a smaller but fully sufficient memory capacity and a display that does not quite reach the highest quality. However, flagships from the previous year are often included in this price category.

If you want a perfectly crafted and sufficiently powerful phone with a quality camera but price is an important factor, you should find something in this category.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • High-quality design
  • Sufficient performance
  • A decent camera and display
  • Good price/performance ratio
  • Some compromises compared to premium models

Mid-range smartphones

Chytré telefony s cenou do 4000 Kč do 8 000 Kč

For many users, the middle class of smartphones represents the phones with the perfect price/performance ratio. Some, usually more expensive, models from this price category come with  a metallic construction, a nice Full HD display and sufficient performance for everyday use. Compared to more expensive smartphones, mid-ranged smartphones usually have weaker cameras. You should also bear in mind that their performance may be insufficient in a few years and that manufacturers do not always provide several years of support for these models.

Mid-range phones are often the first choice of new smartphone users. They offer good quality and performance at a relatively low price. However, you will be making a compromise on  performance, design, camera quality and the availability of updates.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Price
  • Sufficient performance for normal use
  • Relatively good display
  • Update availability in the future
  • Lower performance for demanding applications and games
  • Worse camera

Budget smartphones

Chytré telefony do 4 000 Kč

The cheapest smartphones offer features known from the premium models, yet at a considerably lower price. They work on the same operating system and they offer the same applications and games. Cheap phones, however, do not achieve the same performance as expensive models, thus your apps and system will probably not run as smoothly. The low price is also reflected by the poor-quality camera, a lower-quality design, a lower screen resolution and worse colour rendering.

A cheaper smartphone can be ideal as a second phone, for example for business calls, for children, or for journeys where there is a risk of loss or damage.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Low price
  • Similar features to more expensive models
  • Low power
  • Poor camera
  • Lower resolution display
  • Reduced availability of updates
  • Poor construction quality
Chytré telefony s Androidem

Android Smartphones

  • Android operating system
  • Wide range of models
  • Many applications and games
  • Customisable user interface

Android smartphones are suitable for almost all regular users. Google's Android operating system provides users with greater customisation and personalisation options. Android phones also have the widest range of apps and games. You can find smartphones with an Android operating system in all price categories and in many different sizes and designs. Due to their simplicity and the wide range of models, almost everyone can find an Android phone that they can afford and enjoy.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Quality models at affordable prices
  • Wide selection
  • Customisable operating system
  • Many applications and games
  • The OS on cheaper models is not as smooth
  • Worse update availability
Apple iPhone

Apple iPhone

  • IOS operating system
  • Apple ecosystem
  • Top-quality construction
  • Simple control

Apple products boast high-quality workmanship and fine-tuned software. The Apple iPhone adds one of the best mobile cameras, a high-quality display and an intuitive iOS operating system. Like all Apple devices, it is ideal for use with other products within the Apple ecosystem. The iPhone is a phone that has always been one of the best you can  buy.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • High-quality camera
  • Impeccable construction quality
  • Operating system fluency
  • Connect with other Apple devices
  • Lower screen resolution for VR
  • Fewer models to choose from
  • Price

Which iPhone to choose?

iPhone 11

iPhone 11

The iPhone 11 is one of the models Apple introduced  in September 2019. When compared to its predecessor, the iPhone Xr, we can see a number of improvements. The rear camera now has a partner in crime. For the first time, Apple is using an ultra-wide lens and the camera also supports optical stabilisation and optical zoom. The new Apple A13 processor is currently one of the most powerful in the world. Those interested in getting their hands on one of these beauties will also appreciate the lower price compared to the previous generation.

iPhone 11 seems to be a great entry-level model if you're thinking of investing in Apple. The smartphone is similar to the iPhone Xr while fine-tuning out any bugs.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • The display is an acceptable size for most users
  • Dual camera with OIS and optical zoom
  • The first iPhone with an ultra-wide lens
  • Great performance thanks to the A13 processor
  • It costs less than last year's equivalent
  • Unlike other phones in this series, it doesn't have an  XDR display
  • It will not be offered with 512GB

iPhone 11 Pro

iPhone 11 Pro

Along with the new iPhone 11, Apple announced a new 11 Pro series on  in September 2019. As a standard, it is similar to last year's Xs. But in terms of functions and equipment, this is a clear step forward. For the first time ever, an iPhone has a triple camera with all three lenses offering a 12Mpx resolution. When compared to the basic model, a telephoto lens has been added to help with portrait mode. Like the Xs, the iPhone 11 Pro is slightly smaller than the iPhone 11, which may come in handy. As you would imagine, a smaller phone has a smaller display. However, this year's Pro models do have  larger batteries and bring improved XDR technology, which you may know from Apple monitors.

If you're looking for the best of Apple, the iPhone 11 Pro is the obvious choice. The triple camera, enriched with artificial intelligence, is great for taking stacks of impressive shots.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Triple camera with excellent software
  • Top-notch performance and design
  • Longer battery life
  • Same price as for the last year's model
  • High-quality OLED display with XDR technology
  • Very compact dimensions
  • The smallest display in the series
  • Not everyone likes the design of the photo module

iPhone 11 Pro Max

iPhone 11 Pro Max

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is the longest model in the 2019 series. The name “Max” suggests that the display is larger than the iPhone 11 Pro and the OLED panel with XDR technology measures in at 6.5". The larger display does mean a larger body, which can make it a little more difficult to operate. Like all 11-series models, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is IP68 certified and is powered by the industry-leading Apple A13 processor for higher performance and more efficient operation.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is ideal  if you like the iPhone 11 Pro but would prefer a larger screen. Be prepared to pay extra for models with higher storage capacity.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Apple's best camera
  • Huge Super Retina OLED Display with XDR
  • The larger display retains the same softness
  • Battery life is noticeably longer
  • Impeccable workmanship
  • Higher price
  • The design may not suit everyone

iPhone SE 2020

iPhone SE 2020

The iPhone SE has been an entry model into the iOS ecosystem since 2016 and has proven popular with many users because of its smaller size. The new iPhone SE 2020 is clearly continuing this trend, although it is somewhat larger, following the iPhone 8.

Its iPhone 8 DNA is clearly visible in its dimensions, screen size, display technology, but also the iconic home button. Being newer, however, iPhone SE 2020 is more powerful. It still works with only 3GB of RAM, but its fine-tuned iOS makes it a non-issue in practice.

The phone is powered by the industry-leading Apple A13 Bionic processor (also found on flagships like the iPhone 11 Pro Max), which is still the most powerful mobile processor on the market as of April 2020. It also outperforms the Snapdragon 865 or the competition from Samsung and Huawei. So if you want a small but powerful phone with that Apple know-how, there is currently no better choice than the 2nd gen iPhone 2020.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Noticeably smaller than most modern smartphones
  • Latest Apple A13 Bionic processor
  • Fan-favourite design
  • Supports fast charging and other latest technologies
  • Most affordable new iPhone in history
  • No OLED display
  • No Face ID
  • Only one camera

iPhone Xr

iPhone XR

The iPhone Xr is currently the cheapest of the iPhones introduced in 2018. It is slightly larger and has a larger screen than the iPhone Xs. However, its resolution is one third lower. The fundamental difference lies in the rear camera. While the iPhone Xs and Xs Max operate with two 12Mpx cameras, the iPhone Xr only has one camera. This does not deprive the phone of the much-vaunted portrait mode. It is powered by a high-performance Apple A12 Bionic processor.

The iPhone Xr is suitable for anyone who wants a stylish phone but is limited by budget. If you accept a few compromises, you will be happy with the Xr.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Still perfect performance
  • Large display
  • Stylish design
  • Top design
  • Reduced price
  • Absence of Touch ID
  • “Only” one rear camera

iPhone Xs

iPhone XS

The iPhone Xs is the successor to the iPhone X and has an improved camera plus IP68-certified external resistance (the iPhone X was only IP67 certified). You can dive with your phone to depths up to two metres. Another change is the newer Apple A12 processor, which ensures smooth performance even when playing demanding games.

The iPhone Xs was introduced in 2018, but it can still be said to be top-notch. It differs from the Xs Max only in its smaller display and battery. If you want a compact iPhone with a large display, this model will be ideal for you.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • First-class performance
  • High-quality dual camera
  • Stylish design
  • Fine display
  • Impeccable workmanship
  • Smaller display than the Xs Max
  • Higher price

iPhone Xs Max

iPhone XS Max

The iPhone Xs Max was the highlight of Apple's X Series in 2018. Compared to the iPhone Xs, it delivers a much larger 6.5" screen while maintaining the same fineness. The phone is also slightly larger, which may not suit everyone. Like other smartphones in the series, it comes with an Apple A12 Bionic chipset and enhanced IP68 protection.

If you  want a great Apple phone but aren't interested in the latest additions to the  2019 range, you might like the iPhone Xs Max. Again, models with higher storage capacity will make you reach deeper into your pocket.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Great performance
  • Large, high-quality display
  • Top Dual Camera
  • Modern design
  • High-quality workmanship
  • Too big for some
  • High price

iPhone 8

iPhone 8

The successor of the iPhone 7 is the iPhone 8. The traditional succession marking with the letter "s" was skipped in this case due to the many differences between the models. The iPhone 8 has a back made from glass instead of aluminium, which makes wireless charging possible. The smaller iPhone 8 has a 4.7" Retina screen and a 12mm rear camera, but the performance and features are the same as in the larger "Plus" model.

If you want a compact phone with top features, the iPhone 8 is a good choice as you will get a high-performance iPhone in an easy-to-use body.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • High performance
  • High-quality 4.7" display
  • Excellent camera
  • Top-quality processing
  • Older design

iPhone 8 Plus

iPhone 8 Plus

The iPhone 8's bigger brother offers a 5.5"screen and a dual camera that little brother had to do without. The large screen is suitable for viewing multimedia or surfing the internet, but it can also serve as a pocket-sized office that you will always have at hand.

The successor to the popular iPhone 7 Plus offers significantly higher performance, a better camera and wireless charging.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Maximum performance
  • Quality 5.5" display
  • Excellent dual camera
  • Perfect construction
  • Larger dimensions
  • Older design
  • Higher price

iPhone 7

iPhone 7

The iPhone 7 does not even know that it is a model from 2016. It has more than enough power for every application, a camera that is still one of the best, and a superb 4.7" screen, making it relatively compact and easy to handle.

It is a perfect phone with a smaller screen for easy operation, high performance and Apple's traditionally flawless design.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Top-quality design
  • Great performance
  • High-quality camera
  • 4.7" Retina display
  • Older design

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhone 7 Plus

iPhones from 2016 are still high-quality and sought-after devices with a popular, albeit ageing design. The iPhone 7 Plus features a large 5.5" Retina screen, a dual camera and plenty of power performance for the future. There is also the smooth and intuitive iOS control and the much lower price compared to the latest models.

The iPhone 7 Plus offers superior quality and more than enough performance for less money than newer phones. However, it lacks wireless charging and has a slightly worse camera.

Advantages and disadvantages

  • Price
  • High-quality processing
  • Great  performance
  • Super 5.5" display
  • Larger dimensions
  • Common design
Fotomobily, Huawei P20 Pro

Camera Phones

  • Superior camera quality
  • Image stabilisation
  • Great photos in any conditions
  • A camera always at hand

The best camera is the one you always have with you. And cameras in photo mobiles are getting better and better. Mobiles in the Camera Phone category possess top-quality photo equipment  that allow you to capture any snapshot. The results are good enough for family holidays, celebrations, or your own fun photoshoots. Camera phones are ranked alongside smartphones as they come with an installed operating system. This brings all of the benefits of a smartphone, such as the vast selection of apps and games available.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • High-quality camera
  • Shoot high definition video
  • Features and functions like other smartphones
  • You do not need to carry a separate camera
  • Optical zoom is often missing
  • More light sensitivity than compact cameras

Frequently asked questions when choosing a mobile phone

Is a camera with more megapixels better?

More megapixels does not necessarily mean better photos. The size of the camera sensor is important. Mobile phones usually have a small sensor and more megapixels in a small area can cause more distortion. Subsequent photo editing is often used to delete  small details. That's why the best camera phones have 12-15Mpx.

So what parameters should I focus on?

To estimate the quality of your phone's camera, it is a good idea to focus on the aperture and optical image stabilisation. Aperture represents the amount of light that hits the sensor. The lower the number, the more light hits the sensor. This is especially useful when shooting in low light conditions. Optical stabilisation is built directly into the optical lens system and is significantly more efficient than software stabilisation. It reduces shake when shooting handheld so that photos are not blurred. If you want to experiment with depth of field (bokeh), a phone with a dual-camera is required.

Is there a significant difference between smartphones and camera phones?

No, camera phones are just smartphones with a top-quality camera.

Odolné telefony

Durable Phones

  • They will survive in challenging conditions
  • Durable construction
  • Smartphones and keypad models
  • Always water-resistant

Durable phones feature enhanced IP-certified durability and resistance to dust, water, and even falls. They are available in both classic keypad phones and smartphones. If you like to do sports or outdoor activities while browsing the internet and installing any applications, a smartphone is the perfect option for you. On the other hand, when compared to the keypad versions, they have the disadvantage of significantly shorter battery life and a heavier weight.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Increased durability
  • Button models and smartphones
  • All price categories
  • Ideal for outdoor activities
  • Usually higher weight and dimensions

Water-Resistant Phones

Water-resistant phones have the manufacturer's protection guarantee against water damage. Modern smartphones are often relatively water-resistant with no negative impact on their design.

What is the degree of resistance?

An IP rating, such as IP57, is used to express the resistance. The first digits of the "IP" prefix indicate the dust-resistance or more precisely how dustproof it is, and the range is represented from 1 to 6. The second digit represents water-resistance and is represented by a range from 1 to 8. The most durable phones on the market are IP68 - they are fully dustproof and waterproof. You can safely immerse your phone in water at a given depth for an amount of time specified by the manufacturer. This starts from 1 metre deep for 30 minutes.

Impact-Resistant Phones

Phones that are shock-resistant are among the most durable ones to purchase. They have an increased resistance to mechanical damage and falls from a certain height. They are also water-resistant. These phones usually have several different reinforcements, a rubberised surface and other protective "jags" at their risk points. They are designed for extreme conditions, such as challenging outdoor activities or working in risky environments.

Klasické tlačítkové telefony

Classic (Keypad) Phones

  • Physical keypad
  • Ideal for calling and SMS
  • Very long battery life
  • Basic functions only

Regular keypad phones are reliable in every situation and are ideal if you require a long battery life from your phone. They are primarily intended for making calls and writing messages, which are to do thanks to the physical keypad. They can also have integrated cameras, yet of a significantly lower quality than those seen on smartphones. Due to their low cost and long service life, they can make ideal back-up or travel phones.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Designed for making calls and sending SMS
  • Physical keypad
  • Long battery life
  • Low price
  • Poor (or no) camera
  • Small display
  • Missing advanced smartphone features

Frequently asked questions when choosing a classic (push-button) phone

Does it make sense to buy a keypad phone nowadays?

It is true that now mainly smartphones are sold, but even push-button phones still have their fans. The keypad design suits many people who do not wish to use a smartphone. Another advantage is their simple control and low cost. Manufacturers remember this and they still present new models, even though their offer is not as extensive as that of smartphones.

Can I take pictures with a button phone?

The built-in camera is standard on push-button phones as well. However, its quality cannot be compared with compact cameras or smartphones.

Mobilní telefony pro seniory

Mobile Phones for Seniors

  • Models with physical buttons
  • Easy operation
  • Large text on an easy-to-read display
  • Call for help button

Phones for seniors form a separate category. Their manufacturers focus on practicality and simplicity. They also offer features, such as the Call for Help button, that can save lives. They have large keys and a font that can be easily read without glasses.

Advantages and disadvantages
  • Simple control
  • Large buttons
  • A readable display
  • SOS button
  • Basic functions
  • Design

Frequently asked questions when choosing a mobile phone for seniors

What is the SOS button and how does it work?

The SOS button is used in an emergency and can be assigned to one or more contacts, such as family members. After it is pressed, the phone usually sends an SMS message to the contacts, or even calls the defined contact, for example, the emergency number.

How to choose a phone for seniors and what functions should I look for?

Even the cheapest models, starting at 500 CZK, offer large buttons, a contrasting, easy-to-read display and a few extra features. Phones with SOS buttons range from 700 CZK. Clamshell mobile phones, starting at the same price, are also available. More expensive models have a larger display, support Bluetooth support or feature a more attractive design.

For some mobile phones, the manufacturer also provides a handy charging stand. This saves the user from connecting a charging connector to their phone.

The SOS Locator feature, which some Aligator phones have, can also be very useful. When  the SOS button is pressed, the phone sends a link with a map pinpointing the user's current location along with an emergency message.

Glossary - mobile phones

LTE

Indicates 4th generation data network. The maximum theoretical LTE-A (LTE Advanced) data transfer rates are currently up to 375Mb/sec for downloading and up to 50Mb/sec for uploading. Most Czech LTE networks are built unlike the foreign LTE networks at 800MHz, so when choosing a phone, make sure that it also supports this frequency.

Notch

Notch is the name for the screen cutout used on mobile phones. It is designed to allow the screen to occupy as much as possible the area of the smartphone, but also to keep the sensors and selfie camera ergonomically positioned.

Pure Android

Pure Android is the name used for the Android operating system in its simplest form - it does not include a customised graphical interface or any functionality that individual manufacturers insert into the operating system.

Degree of protection (IP)

Ingress Protection (IP) is an internationally standardised code that indicates the immunity of electrical appliances to foreign bodies and liquids, especially water. It is expressed in the form of the characters "IP" followed by two digits: the first indicates protection against dangerous contact and foreign objects, the second indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of water.

eSIM

Plastic SIM cards are already being rung a death knell. ESIM is the future. This is a separate chip built into the motherboard of the phone. What will change from moving away from plastic cards? And does modern eSIM have any pitfalls?

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