10 Tips for Buying an Android – From an Apple Hater


What's Hot


2 Types of Black Marks Might Vanish From Your Credit File SoonBorrow

6 Ways the Obamacare Overhaul Might Impact Your WalletInsurance

7 Dumb and Costly Moves Homebuyers MakeBorrow

This Free Software Brings Old Laptops Back to LifeMore

Obamacare Replacement Plan Gets ‘F’ Rating from Consumer ReportsFamily

Beware These 12 Common Money MistakesCredit & Debt

21 Restaurants Offering Free Food Right NowSaving Money

17 Ways to Have More Fun for Less MoneySave

House Hunters: Beware of These 6 Mortgage MistakesBorrow

30 Household Uses for Baby OilSave

25 Ways to Spend Less on FoodMore

Nearly Half of Heart-Related Deaths Linked to These 10 Foods and IngredientsFamily

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercising Outdoors in WinterFamily

10 Ways to Save When You’re Making Minimum WageSave

Boost Your Credit Score Fast With These 7 MovesCredit & Debt

7 Painless Ways to Pay Off Your Mortgage Years EarlierBorrow

The Most Sinful City in the U.S. Is … (Hint: It’s Not Vegas)Family

The True Cost of Bad CreditCredit & Debt

10 Companies With the Best 401(k) PlansGrow

This Scam Now Tops ID Theft as the No. 2 Consumer ComplaintFamily

6 Stores With Awesome Reward ProgramsFamily

6 Ways to Save More at Lowe’s and The Home DepotSave

6 Healthful Treats for Your DogFamily

New Study Ranks the Best States in the U.S.Family

Thousands of Millionaires Moving to 1 Country — and Leaving AnotherGrow

Strapped for College Costs? How to Get the Most From FAFSABorrow

6 Overlooked Ways to Save at Chick-fil-AFamily

Ask Stacy: What’s the Fastest Way to Pay Off My Mortgage?Borrow

Where to Sell Your Stuff for Top DollarAround The House

8 Ways to Get a Good Price on a Shiny New AutoCars

Ask Stacy: How Do I Start Over?Credit & Debt

Secret Cell Plans: Savings Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint Don’t Want You to Know AboutFamily

30 Awesome Things to Do in RetirementCollege

14 Super Smart Ways to Save on TravelSave

The Rich Prefer Modest Cars — Should You Join Them?Cars

You’ll Soon Pay More to Shop at CostcoSave

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts DrivingFamily

I don't have an iPhone, and I'm proud of that fact. Like many folks, I have an Android phone. If you want to avoid the hype and save some money on a great smartphone, here's how to do it.

Apple has the iPhone 4S on the market – and I still don’t care. I’ve been on Team Android since the launch of the G1. Why? One reason: customization. Sure, my die-hard Apple-fanatic friends make fun of me, but I just think they’re jealous because they’re stuck with one handset model and a whole lot of rules.

I like options, and now that I’m on my sixth Android, I’ve learned a thing or two about narrowing those options. If you’re ready to make the switch to Team Android, use these tips to help you find the best Android model for your money…

1. Wireless provider

Decide on a wireless carrier first. Even if it’s the best Android handset ever sold, you’re not going to care if you’re paying a ginormous bill every month or standing in the corner of your kitchen because it’s the only place you get service. Compare plans and ask your friends about their coverage. If you’re considering their carrier, invite them to your house to see how it is where you live. But don’t rely too much on service reviews. Wireless coverage varies widely by area, so you’re better off getting an honest opinion from people who work and live near you.

2. Manufacturer

Almost every smartphone manufacturer except Apple is pumping out Androids these days. In my experience, it’s not the manufacturer that matters – it’s the Android series. Great manufacturers can release some horrible phones. For example, the Motorola Droid series is excellent, but the Cliq series, also by Motorola, pales in comparison. Bottom line: Don’t pick an Android based on the manufacturer.

3. Display

Screen size matters, but it’s all based on personal preference. If you want a smaller handset, you need a smaller display. So look for an Android in the 3-inch range. If you want to watch movies on your handset, go for something in the 4-inch or higher range.

4. Keyboard

For keyboards, you have two choices: touchscreen or a full QWERTY external keyboard. QWERTY keyboards are easier for typing longer emails, but having that full keyboard makes the handset bulkier. If you want a sleeker handset, go with a touchscreen keyboard. And if you end up hating Swype (the keyboard common on touchscreen Androids), you can always download a new keyboard app. For example, Better Keyboard does what the name implies.

5. Camera

For still cameras, I’ve found that 5 megapixels is the dividing line for getting quality shots. My Samsung Galaxy had a 5-megapixel camera that took near-digital-camera-quality photos. For video cameras, the 3D-video capturing looks amazing, but 1080p will also produce high-quality videos.

Most Androids are still bare bones when it comes to photo settings and options, but you can fix that with different photo apps. The Android Market has dozens of great photo-taking apps available. I love MagicHour and PocketBooth.

6. Operating system

Google releases updates to the Android OS fairly regularly, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get them. If and when your handset will get an upgrade depends entirely on the manufacturer and your wireless provider. It’s better to play it safe and buy a handset that already has the latest OS installed. Right now, that would be Android 2.3 Gingerbread, but Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich is on its way.

7. Processor

The processor affects how your Android runs. Processor speeds are one category where I have to give props to Apple – they really know how to make a phone run smoothly. But a few of the newer Android models have similar speeds. For example, the HTC Rezound has a 1.5 GHz dual-core processor, and the Droid Razr has a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor. Both are fast enough to handle any multitasking you throw at them.

8. Storage

Android devices typically have two storage capacities: the internal storage and the expandable memory slot. Apple only has the first type.

Turns out 2 GBs of internal storage and an expandable SD card slot are enough memory to download apps, save photos, and keep a few ringtones on hand – which is all most users will ever need. But if you want to do more with your handset, look for one with a larger internal memory or higher SD storage capacity. For example, I switched to the Samsung Galaxy II and dumped my old iPod. With 16 GBs of internal space and a memory card slot, I have all the space I need to use my Android as an MP3 player.

Once you get your handset, clear off as many factory-installed apps as you can to free up storage space. Every wireless provider loads their Androids down with not-very-helpful pre-installed apps, and they’ll eat away at your storage.

9. Data speed

4G is faster than 3G, but it’s also more expensive and not available in all areas. If you want to save some money, opt for a 3G data plan if your wireless provider still offers them. 3G is more than enough speed to browse the Internet on your Android. If you can only get 4G through your provider, opt for a lower monthly limit – 2GB is enough for most users.

10. Interface

Each manufacturer has its own interface installed over the Android OS. The interface changes the appearance of your home screens and different menus. Try out different interfaces in the store, because the online pictures really don’t do the screens any justice. Personally, I think HTC has the cleanest interface. But if you miss your old iPhone, try Samsung’s interface – after all, the two were similar enough to start a legal war.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: Lookin’ Good! How to Get a Killer Deal on Eyeglasses

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,950 more deals!