6 Tips for Buying a Smartphone

6 Tips for Buying a Smartphone

It is not always easy to find the right one among the many phones on the market. These tips will make your smartphone choice easier. guidance. […]

New or used?

Examples of specialized sales platforms are: verkaufen.ch or Revendo. Used smartphones from contract renewals are also sold on social media. Alternatively, online retailers such as Digitec also offer used devices for purchase. These are as good as new and tested and often only have slight signs of wear on the packaging. But the difference in price from a new device is often small.

However, you should be careful to buy an Occasions device online simply unseen.


  • Get to know the seller as much as possible. Study the profile or reviews from previous sales. Get in touch before placing a specific offer.
  • Always pick up the device and pay in cash (if possible) or by Twint. So you get to know the person and can inspect the device.
  • Do not give credit card details, ID copies or similar sensitive data to the seller.
  • If the offer sounds too good to be true, it is probably not true.

Selection operating system / App Store

The currently popular smartphones run either on Android (Google) or iOS (Apple). Although there are others such as Blackberry, these play a minor role today.

This is basically about how the smartphone is compatible with existing devices (e.g. notebooks) and which apps are available for download. Regarding the latter, it can still be said over the thumb that there are more apps in the Android Store and they are usually cheaper than from the Apple Store. If you like to pay for apps, you will find many sometimes very high-quality apps in the iOS Store.

App top charts on July 21 (c) Play Store (Google)

Camera, Photos and Video

The differences between phones are getting smaller and smaller. The smartphone camera has become one of the most important features in the battle for customers.

In good lighting conditions, you can take good photos with entry – level and mid-range phones. Do you need the smartphone camera only for snapshots? Then an entry – level or mid-range model will do. Or should it replace your digital camera if possible?

Just to look at the megapixels is a bit too short. A smartphone with a very good lens and a resolution of “only” 12 megapixels can produce very good photos.

blankIcon image (c) pixabay.com

With videos, it’s like this: Full HD recordings can succeed well in good light. As soon as the sun goes down, however, the difference to high-end devices becomes noticeable. Some midrange phone nowadays can play 4K videos easily and in good quality.

If photography is your hobby, a current high-end device may be worth it. It is best to read test reports, e.g. from Colorfoto or under www.dxomark.com (English). In addition, you will of course find both in the PCtipp booklet and on pctipp.ch regularly our tests, including regularly from smartphones.

A little more about the current smartphone camera types: there are, for example, the telephoto, wide-angle or super – wide-angle camera, optical zoom or time-of-flight (ToF). The difference, however, is often the camera software.


Midrange phones offer slightly weaker hardware than a manufacturer’s flagship models-but they are usually sufficient for everyday use. For example, the Huawei Mate 20 Lite (2018) convinced in our review with a long battery life. The 3750 mAh battery lasted two days in a practical test with average use of the colleague Bodoky (2 hours of phone, 2 hours of Spotify streaming, 20-minute hotspot use and messaging). The Nokia 8.1 (review), also a midrange device, comes with a 3500 mAh battery.

Examples from 2020 are: The Oppo A91 (our speed test), Oppo Reno 4 (test of the Oppo Reno 4 5G), Nokia 7.2 (test) or the iPhone SE (test).By the way, the best models can also be found in the respective top 100 booklet from PCtipp. Subscribers can download it as an e-paper or you can buy the issue individually.

Of course, high-end smartphones offer even more in terms of battery (e.g. iPhone 12 Pro Max: (review), Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G (our review) but they are a lot more expensive and depending on what you use them for, they bring unnecessary chichi.


The displays of smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. If you prefer one for your pocket, you should pay attention to it.

Or do you like to watch movies with it regularly? For example, Sony states that the Xperia 10 Plus has a screen ratio of 21:9 (Hollywood format without black bars at the top and bottom) – with a diameter of 6.5 inches was deliberately chosen to be able to display films more immersive and text or web pages more efficiently, as colleague Riediker writes in his test.

Or the Oppo A91 (2020), a 6,4-inch model with Amoled touch screen, which resolves with 2400 × 1080 pixels and is equipped with Gorilla Glass 5 (review).Another point is screen sharpness. This is specified in pixels per inch or inch (ppi). About the thumb it can be said that a value from 300 ppi is good.

Read also our reviews on pctipp.ch under tests, here in smartphones the display is usually evaluated separately.


Of course, price is also an important criterion. If you have found an answer for yourself on the other points, it is important to get the desired as inexpensively as possible.

A midrange phone moves approximately in the range of 300 and 699 euros. High-end smartphones cost approximately between 700 and go up to 1200 euros (or higher).Before making a purchase, be sure to compare prices online, for example with Comparis, Jungle Compass (tariff comparison with mobile phone) or toppreise.ch.

These tips are not exhaustive and should give a first orientation. Before making a purchase, it is always advisable to study test reports and, if possible, inspect the device on site or take it in hand.

(This article was first published in November 2019 and was updated and supplemented on 02.07.21.)

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