Few days ago I bought a new phone.  My old phone is a Samsung GT-I8190 (S3 Mini), which I purchased, if I am able to recall correctly, in 2013.  Physically, the phone is still in pretty good shape, except for some discoloration of the plastic body casing.  The battery performs still as new.  The responsiveness of the phone itself in general is not that bad as well, but when using large apps like Chrome and Facebook, it can get a bit frustratingly slow.

Anyway, the main reasons (besides the thrill of having a brand new gadget to play with) for which I figured that I needed a new phone could be as follows:

  • First, I tend to browse the internet on my phone quite often (mostly on wifi, not data, don’t worry :P), which I think is the best thing smartphones can offer to us really.  However, with my S3 Mini, it was no longer very practical, as the phone had gotten pretty slow.  It’s still the same hardware as I bought back then, and I did not install unnecessary apps.  Storage on the phone was also not the problem.  So how could it have become slow with time?  I guess because inevitably you will want to update the apps on your phone regularly to get bug fixes and new features.  But newer versions of software will also be more resource-intensive as they can afford it, since hardware technology is also progressing.  So I needed a more powerful device, in terms of processing power and RAM.
  • Second, I tend to read on my phone, and I wanted a phone with a bigger and better screen.

I guess that’s about the main reasons that pushed me to buy a new phone.  There are obviously other goodies that come with a new phone, like better cameras, better and more sensors, bigger battery etc.

So how do you buy a smartphone in 2017?  Well, you could head straight to the myriad phone-selling stores to check out the possibilities out there.  But, if you go unprepared, be ready to be overwhelmed with the huge number of choices you get nowadays.  There are a zillion number of brands, with each brand having a trillion number of models, and each model having a billion number of sub-models.  Believe me, you WILL faint.

Or, you could narrow down your choices to what really matters to you in this sea of smartphones, for example, budget, type of OS, etc.  This itself should give you a nice list of devices, and then you can research more to further narrow down your choices.

I proceeded by listing the essentials of a potential phone:

  • Not necessarily an expensive flagship phone; could be a mid-range device, as long as it provides decent functionality – preferably with a price tag of under Rs.15000
  • Should have at least Android 7.0 out of the box
  • Should have been released at least this year (2017)
  • Full HD screen (1920×1080), at least 5.2 inches
  • At least 3 GB RAM
  • At least 8 cores
  • Preferably a more popular brand in Mauritius: Samsung, Huawei or LG

With these basic criteria in mind, I looked around in stores a bit whenever I got some time.  Turned out that for under 15000 rupees you can get a pretty decent phone.  One thing that I noticed is that most modern phones come with built-in non-removable batteries.  I wasn’t really sure if this was a good idea or not, but since this is now practically the norm, I barely had a choice – after all I would not reject a good phone just because it had a non-removable battery!

One thing that I really wanted in a phone was a type-C connector, which according to the buzz is the successor to the venerable microUSB.  However, I could only find very few phones that sport that connector, and they were all expensive high-end phones (e.g, the Samsung S8 has a type-C).  So I established that I would need to settle with microUSB for now.

Finally I was able to draft a short list of phones from which I had to choose:

  • Huawei P10 Lite
  • Huawei GR3 2017
  • Huawei GR5 2017
  • Samsung J7 2017

I was going to buy the J7, but the version that was available in Mauritius was the 16GB ROM one.  If the 64GB ROM version was available, it would definitely be an alternative to the P10 Lite, and they are both practically the same price.  The J7 also has a really cool all-metal design which can be very appealing.

All in all, I estimated that I would get the best value for money with the P10 Lite, and so it was the lucky winner.  I paid Rs.13290 for it.  I got a selfie stick (which I will probably never use) and a power bank as gift.

In short the Huawei P10 Lite is an octa-core (4×2.36 GHz Cortex-A53 & 4×1.7 GHz Cortex-A53), has 4GB RAM, a full HD 5.2 inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, comes with Android 7.0 out of the box, has 32GB ROM with microSD expandability upto 256GB, 12MP primary camera and 8MP secondary, rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, non-removable 3000mAh battery, FM radio tuner, microUSB 2.0 connectivity, and fast-charging feature.  The pair of earphones I got from the box are also surprisingly very good.  The phone is also dual-sim capable, although you can use a second SIM only if you are not using a microSD, since they share the same physical tray.

Well then, let’s hope this phone is up to expectations ;).