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Why it is becoming harder to choose a phone

Few years ago, while shopping for my wife's phone, we walked into a store, checked out a few mobile phones, liked one and then paid the amount. It took us about 20 minutes for the entire thing.

Choosing a phone was easy - physical stores had an array of collection and models were limited. Nobody cared so much about specs or the weight or the display brightness. 

Fast forward to today in 2023, I  have spent almost 3 weeks now trying to decide the best mobile to purchase. Here's why:

  1. Too many models  - There about 1000 mobile phone launches every year. Some companies launch 2 versions of the same model in the same year. How on earth can one decide which one to buy?
  2. Too many reviews - Youtube and tech blogs review almost every new phone that lands in the market. The more you watch and read, the harder it becomes to pick one because let's face it. I don't want to make a $800 mistake.
  3. Lack of physical stores - Most phones are listed online. I wanted to select iphone 13 so, I walked to the nearest dealer to feel one. But, it only had iphone 14, Plus and Pro(Max) models. So, I walked out.
  4. Cost - Mid-rangers have gotten better over the years. A phone that costs $450 is almost as good as a flagship one. But it does come with some sacrifices - camera and performance. It is hard for me to decide how much performance I need or how good the primary camera will be compared to a flagship. Will the performance deteriorate over time? Who knows? Will the picture quality be enough for evening photos? A big question mark.
  5. FOMO - Phone companies are great at marketing. I fear missing out on feature if I buy a mid ranger. With flagship running AI chips and software, will a mid-ranger perform worse over the course of next 3 years?
  6. Repairability and battery - 10 years ago, I could walk in a service shop and replace parts and battery of my phone. I currently own a Samsung 10FE which needs a battery replacement. I cannot find a service shop willing to replace the battery. I have a cracked screen - where can I find a spare part? Should I buy a phone for the ease of repair and battery size?
  7. Finally - Should I buy a phone that offers expandable memory and a headphone jack? or should I priortize camera and software support over everything else? Frankly, I have no answer.

I suspect, I will spend couple more weeks or months figuring out the best phone for my needs. But before that, let me figure out my needs.


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