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Forget the brand… How's your

BY NEIL H LAWRENCE

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

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The typical banter in the smartphone community today is between iPhone and Samsung users. Both groups have their devoted following and rarely do you find persons flip-flopping between the brands. As a matter of fact, switching is perceived as infidelity and raisies the question of one's integrity and judgement overall. That said, when it's time to upgrade, one simply grabs the latest to their current model to avoid a court hearing.

Here in Jamaica, there is no exception. The conversations about which phone is better many times turn into a heated war which carries along with it shouts of which features make them front-runners. If there is a circle of persons gathered, even before proceedings, every soul is required to declare and showcase which side they are on. You may hear things like “My camera quality is better”, “My screen is cleaner”, “My phone is faster”, “Can your idiotic phone do this?”, and the list goes on.

My usual response is that none of these features are relevant if your phone battery is dead — true? If you have to be carrying a phone charger or battery pack with you everywhere you go like it's your life support, or always asking for a charger, what's the point? The justification is always: “I use my phone way more so I need reinforcements.” This is utter nonsense!

A year ago it was time for me to upgrade. I had a Samsung most of my life but I got sick and tired of the battery draining. I also felt that the iPhone was a bit restrictive for me, but I still was not ruling them out — disclaimer, my wife has an iPhone. My focus was, battery life, speed, storage and price. Everything else, I thought was either standard across the phone models or just gimmicks I wasn't interested in. I opened my options to all possibilities and commenced my subterranean research.

Before I declare my choice, let us examine the latest five quarters of global market share trends as reported by the International Data Corporation — the premier global provider of market intelligence.

The trend shows Samsung, Huawei and Apple at 20 per cent, 15 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively as the top three smartphone companies. In comparing the battery life of the go-for models of each of the companies at similar price ranges (US$850-US$1,000), the Huawei Mate 20 wins at 4200 milliampere hours (mah), the Samsung Galaxy S9 or Note 9 second at 3000 or 4000 Mah, and the iPhone XR in third at 2900 Mah. A milliampere hour (mAh) is commonly used to describe the energy charge that a battery will hold and how long a device will run before the battery needs recharging. This is, of course, dependent on how the phone is used as clearly the more apps used, the more strain there is on the battery life.

To put this in context, the renowned Nokia 3310 back in early 2000's had 900 mah and those who were fortunate enough to own one can attest to charging this baby once a week. This is due to its very limited non-smart capabilities such as texting or calling. The smartest thing one could do with it (literally) was to play the snake game! I am certain if the latter was not utilised, this phone would be charged annually. Regardless of usage patterns, the mah is a distinct metric to look for when shopping for a new phone with good battery life, where every 1,000 mah can be translated to about six hours of “smart” use.

Now to tell what my upgrade choice was — the Huawei Mate 10. There have been no regrets since. As an aggressive smartphone user, I can say that I NEVER need to charge my phone outside of home anymore, with a full day of usage guaranteed. Even the back and front camera megapixels, on paper, for the latest model I intend to upgrade to (Mate 20 Pro) has three times its Samsung and iPhone rivals. What's interesting is how I am perceived when the mediocre declarations of Samsung or iPhone are exhibited, then my esoteric Huawei avowal is perceived as substandard.

Let me declare that I have nothing against anyone's smartphone preference as there are some excellent phone models in the market, many with 5000+ mah. However, the general recommendation I am making is that, before you take an action — whether it is to upgrade your phone, car, house, job or partner — do your homework to get informed on facts first. Don't follow the hype.

Neil H Lawrence is the CEO of Growth-Tech, a technological company with a vision to see connectivity in Jamaica and the region available to everyone. He can be contacted at neil@growthtech.net


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