The importance of research when purchasing a phoneAnna Scantlin - Contributing Editor
This mobile industry that we are all so fascinated with can be about as competitive and brutal as politics sometimes, depending on the type of people you come across. You might come across the confrontational person in line at the grocery store who doesn't like the phone you're using, or the person on that forum you occasionally visit who loves to tell you off for not using their platform of choice. Surprisingly, the mobile industry requires thick skin when it comes to sharing your opinions, because a lot of the time people aren't going to like what you have to say and have no issues correcting you on which phone is truly the one phone to rule them all.
That being said, a lot of the time when doing research on a phone you are initially interested in you'll come across these websites that inevitably host back and forth banters on whether a phone is good or not. Before I actually broke into the industry and was just browsing websites and reviews as a hobby rather than a job, I would often use these debates to heavily influence whether a phone was worth my time or not. Even when I first broke into the industry, I continued to rely on other's opinions to find the best phone for me without really taking the time to do any research on my own. I quickly realized that popular opinion is not the best way to figure out which phone is best for me.
I have purchase phones that seemed to have fairly good reviews across the board and ended up having a less-than-stellar time with it. When I first started out at Sprint, the phone to have was the HTC EVO 3D. I remember asking my manager, co-workers, and even my trainers at campus that if they had to choose one phone out of any in the store, which would they pick? Unanimously people would suggest the EVO 3D. So I toyed with it for a few minutes and decided to purchase one, and it was okay for a couple of weeks. But man, did that phone give me issues. I actually ended up trading a co-worker for a BlackBerry Bold becase I really couldn't stand the issues I had been experiencing with the device. But even though I had a terrible time with the device, through firsthand experience I was able to determine that the EVO 3D was not for me, despite the fact that others would highly recommend it.
The next experience I had was more recent, with the purchase of my Apple iPhone 4S. I purchased mine a few months after it was released from a co-worker who absolutely hated it. She actually went back to her EVO 3D after selling it to me, which just goes to show that just because a device doesn't work for one person doesn't mean it doesn't work for another. My co-workers all advised me against purchasing the iPhone saying it was just http://www.phonedog.com/2013/06/27/i-want-to-ditch-my-ipa terribly outdated software and that it had nothing to offer when compared to Android, but with so many customers coming in and having just about as much of a clue about iOS as I did I felt that I needed to take the initiative to educate myself on the product through research followed by firsthand experience. Aside from educating myself, I also found that I surprisingly fell in love with the phone despite the fact that so many people advised me against it. For a long time the iPhone was (get ready for it) the "Apple" of my eye.
I've recently become interested in getting familiar with either the Windows Phone platform or BlackBerry 10. I was tempted to go back to an Android smartphone, but since I have the Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 at my disposal I feel like I should take the opportunity to branch out a little bit and maybe take a leap of faith. Habitually, I've been asking around on whether I should actually take the leap or not; most people advise against it. After all, who would willingly choose from having everything to having 1/6 or 1/10 of what I have available to me now? I admit that I'm a little worried about it, but I still want to know for myself whether I will like a platform or not. There are a lot of features that I like about both Windows Phone and BlackBerry that neither Android nor iOS can offer me, but I'd like to experience them more extensively for my own intents and purposes.
It's actually what I recommend most people to do when it comes to finding a new phone that's right for them: perform extensive research on multiple platforms or phones, then visit the store to get some hands-on experience with the devices. This will give you a better first impression before you drop a pretty penny or sign any contracts. I was always the most nervous about selling phones to people who came into the store and expected me to place the perfect device in their hands. While I tried my best, it wasn't uncommon for them to come back saying it wasn't what they expected. The bottom line is: you can certainly rely on other's recommendations for phones if you want, but you might find that even if there is a unanimous vote for a certain device, it may not actually be the phone for you. The HTC One might be number one on the charts overall here on PhoneDog's Official Smartphone Rankings that we do every week, but that doesn't mean that it is, unquestionably, the best phone ever (to everyone). Take the time to conduct your own research to get a better idea of what works for you.