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How to buy a smartphone in 2017: Your best buying mobile phone guide in the UAE

By Team Feedbaac on 02-08-2017 05:02:53
Our ultimate smartphone buying guide is meant to help our readers to decide which smartphone will suit their budget and needs. We have also picked 10 of the best smartphones from different price categories in today's market.

Nokia 3

Over the past few years, smartphones have become one of the fastest-selling electronic gadgets in the market. The popularity of the smartphones in the UAE has far surpassed the likes of other entertainment devices in such a way that almost every type of person owns one, regardless of the price and brand. Feature phones of the past have been replaced by smartphones. While there are easily more than 35 smartphone brands, it’s quite hard for any normal user to decide which is the right smartphone for them.

We don’t blame them because there are several technical aspects of a smartphone that many people still don’t know and any user would hesitate to buy the wrong smartphone with their hard-earned cash. To make things easier, our team has extensively researched the most frequently asked questions that are asked by users who reside in Dubai. In our smartphone buying guide, we will be answering these questions in the simplest way so that any novice user can understand and decide the right smartphone, so you can buy the right device from the Dubai mobile market.

 10 things to think before buying a smartphone

What are the different screen size smartphones that I can buy?

Smartphones as a whole come in different screen sizes for each type of user, starting from around 4.6-inches to as big as 6-inch displays. Most of the popular mid-range and high-end smartphones that are sold in the UAE come in 5-inches, 5.5-inches and more. The size of the display comes into consideration depending on the user’s preferences. For instance, users with smaller hands, who wants to use the smartphone with one hand would likely go for a model that features a 5-inch display or less. Smartphones larger than 5.5-inches, generally termed as phablets, brings in the portability of a smartphone and the goodness of a large screen, that can replace the need to carry a tablet on the go. Users can go for large screen smartphone if they wish to watch videos or movies on the go.

What is the resolution of the screen in a smartphone?

It’s all about how good a picture or a video look in a smartphone display. The resolution of the display is one of the main selling factors of a smartphone. It deals with the number of pixels that can be displayed and how many pixels are packed, commonly known as the Pixels Per Inch (ppi). Smartphone makers often explain the resolution of the display in terms of width and height. For example, a screen which has a resolution of 1280 x 720, has a 1280 pixels (horizontal) and 720 pixels (vertical). Entry-level and mid-range smartphones often come with 720p resolutions (HD). Many high-end smartphones feature 1080p (Full HD) and 2K resolutions. Currently, 4K display resolutions are slowly becoming the new trend. However, there are hardly few smartphones with 4K displays.

Which screen resolution should I look for in a smartphone?

If you are going for a smartphone with a smaller screen size from 4.6-inch to 5.1-inches, then it is better to go for the one that features 720p resolution. The pixel density in a smaller display will be more for better image quality. However, if you are going for a smartphone with a bigger display, then it is better to go with Full HD or 2K resolution. Although, there are many entry-level smartphones that feature large displays, and with a modest 720p resolution. While lower resolutions on a larger display may not be as bad as you think, the level of sharpness may not be the same as a high-resolution screen. 

Which are the different display panel technologies used in a smartphone?

Most of the smartphones that are sold in the UAE comes with IPS and AMOLED displays. For example, most of the Apple smartphones, including the latest Apple iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, comes with IPS displays. Many Android smartphone makers such as Samsung and Motorola release models with AMOLED displays. Samsung in particular, who manufactures their own displays, releases Galaxy smartphones with Super AMOLED displays. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S8 comes with a 5.8-inch Super AMOLED display.

What is the difference between an IPS and AMOLED display in a smartphone?

Instead of explaining the technical aspects, we will outline the visual features if you buy a smartphone with an IPS or AMOLED display. While both the panels are good in their respective ways, they have their advantages and disadvantages. Smartphone with Super AMOLED, AMOLED or OLED displays produces bright colors and deep blacks with great viewing angles. However, the colors might appear over saturated at certain cases. IPS on the other hand produces colors that are less saturated than AMOLED displays. However, the level of blacks may not be as good as AMOLED displays. The viewing angles are also good in IPS displays.

How can I backup my data if the smartphone doesn’t have a MicroSD card slot?

For those who own a smartphone that lacks MicroSD card expansion, users will need to rely on online cloud storage services. For example, iPhone users depend on iCloud services for online storage. Android smartphones without MicroSD card expansion can opt to use the Google Drive, Google Photos or any other cloud services. Android users can alternatively transfer their data to a personal computer via USB connection.

What are the different storage options that I can get on a smartphone?

Entry level smartphones that are available in the UAE, comes in 8GB and 16GB storage options. Users can also purchase mid-range smartphones with 32GB storage and high-end models come in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models. Most of the iPhones and high-end Galaxy smartphones come in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB models.

Which are the most popular smartphone brands in the UAE?

The most popular smartphone brands in the UAE are Apple, Samsung, Huawei, Honor, Sony, Motorola, Oppo, Xiaomi, LG, OnePlus, BlackBerry, TCL, Lava, ASUS, Nokia, Alcatel, Wiko, HTC, Google and more.

What are the best smartphone platforms?

While the Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 platform is kind of on a dead end, the most popular smartphone platform in the UAE is Apple’s iOS and Google Android operating system.

Why should you buy a smartphone with a fingerprint scanner?

LG G6

While smartphones do come with options to secure your device with PIN codes, it would be more convenient to have a fingerprint scanner. Users will be able to unlock their devices faster without the need to manually enter a PIN code. Currently, all smartphone makers offer models with fingerprint scanners. However, fingerprint scanners are only available on mid-range or high-end smartphones.

What are the best smartphone camera brands available?

You can get smartphones with great cameras from popular brands that include Apple, Samsung, LG, HTC, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, Google, BlackBerry and more.

Why should I buy a smartphone with a dual-lens camera?

Huawei P10 Plus

Dual-lens cameras are slowly becoming the next trend in smartphone camera technology. This new technology enables the user to shoot in different ways for achieving great results. For example, the iPhone 7 Plus has a dual-lens camera configuration in which, one sensor is used for normal shots and the other with a telephoto lens that produces portrait snaps with a depth of field effects. The LG G6 on the other hand, uses a dual-lens camera setup in which, one is used for the standard shots and the other for wide-angle mobile photography.

Which smartphone brands offer dual-lens smartphone cameras in the UAE?

You can buy dual-lens smartphones from Apple, Huawei, LG, Honor, Motorola and more. The latest dual-lens smartphone camera models include the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus, the Huawei Mate 9, the Honor 9, the LG G6 and more. Samsung is also expected to release smartphones with dual-lens cameras in the near future.

Will I get cheap smartphone cameras in the UAE?

XTouch Unix Pro

Yes, there are many smartphones that offer decent camera quality at affordable prices (Under AED 1200). However, the image quality of these smartphones may not be as good as the high-end flagship smartphone cameras.

What are the different RAM options that I should look while buying an Android smartphone?

Users who are looking for an Android smartphone will be able to choose between a wide range of RAM options. While entry-level smartphones in the past came with 1GB RAM, we would suggest going for a minimum 2GB RAM. Mid-range smartphones in today’s market come with 2GB or 3GB RAM. The high-end Android smartphones come with 4GB RAM, 6GB RAM and even 8GB RAM.

Should I buy a smartphone with 4GB RAM or 8GB RAM?

While more memory is always good, there are very few smartphones that currently offer up to 8GB RAM. 4GB RAM is now the standard for most of the fastest Android devices in the market so that would be sufficient enough for a snappy experience. 3GB RAM is the minimum that you should consider and 2GB RAM is not that bad.

What are the best smartphones that offer water resistance?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge

You can check out the Apple iPhone 7 or the iPhone 7 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ, Samsung Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 Edge, or the latest Samsung Galaxy S8 or S8+.

What processor should I choose while buying a smartphone?

There are a lot of smartphone processors to begin with so we will be explaining it short and simple. Entry level smartphones often come with the slowest processors which consist of dual cores or more. These devices are quite good enough for normal tasks. The mid-range Android smartphones come in 6-core and 8-core processors and higher-end models with the fastest 8-core chips. Almost all the mid-range and high-end models are good enough for most of your smartphone tasks and gaming.

However, Apple iPhones come with powerful dual and quad-core processors which are good enough because the iOS operating system is well optimized for a fast and snappy experience.

Which e-commerce websites offer the best smartphone prices in the UAE?

You can get the best smartphone prices in the UAE from most of the online retail stores such as Souq.com, Crazydeals.ae, Jumbo Electronics, Sharaf DG Online, Carrefour Online, LuLu Webstore and more. We also advise users to check out the respective retailer stores for special smartphone discounts and best bundle offers and deals in Dubai. Keep an eye on the special promotions offered during GITEX, the Dubai Shopping Festival and other local festival occasions.

What factors should I cross check while buying a second-hand smartphone in the UAE?

Users should first see from where was the smartphone purchased and if the device still holds a warranty. Do not go for users who are selling old products at high prices. Check out if the device has been dropped and if the display has scratches. It’s also advisable to make a few phone calls with the smartphone and browse the internet with any nearby WiFi to know if the display is intact and the speakers are good. Also, take a look at the camera module for scratches. You can also buy second-hand smartphones from Crazydeals.ae and Dubizzle.ae

Is there any portal where I can find all the best online smartphone prices in the UAE in one place?

We at Feedbaac.com have integrated a price comparison tool for most of the gadgets that are sold in the UAE. We cover almost all the online retail stores in the UAE and also highlight the price cuts in our website. Users will be able to directly go to the online store by simply clicking the “Go to Shop” tab on each online store price listing. This will help you to get the easiest and most convenient online shopping experience in the UAE.

How to buy the best Android smartphone for your needs?

Take a look at the most frequently asked questions that are important when buying a new Android smartphone.

 

 Google Pixel

Why are smartphones with curved edges becoming popular in the UAE?

While smartphone displays with curved edges may not be an absolute necessity for every user, it’s become more of a fashion statement to flaunt their devices. That said, users will be able to use these edge screens as a means for accessing quick shortcuts by simply swiping from the edge for more options. However, there are only very few smartphones in the market with curved edge displays. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and the BlackBerry KEYone.

What are the advantages of Android smartphones over iPhones?

This is quite a debatable question so we will stick to the actual facts. One advantage is that users will be able to choose from a wide selection of Android smartphones from different brands in terms of price, style and features. The most important thing is that you can get a very cheap Android smartphone that falls below AED 500, while most of the iPhones are still expensive (except if you are going for the old Apple iPhone 5c). Apple iPhones, or iOS devices on the other hand, are solely made by Apple. There will be no other variations except for colors and storage for each iPhone generation. Another advantage of Android over iPhones is that users will get the flexibility to store their data on MicroSD cards. Android smartphones also allow users to customize their devices with different themes and options, however, Apple iPhones do offer software customization up to a certain degree. Some of the latest Android smartphones also offer split-screen functionality. We wouldn’t want to talk about multitasking here because both the smartphone platforms offer great performance and fast app switching.

What are the advantages an Android smartphone with NFC connectivity?

Smartphones with NFC capabilities allows users to make instant Bluetooth connections with portable speakers or to transfer files. While establishing a Bluetooth connection manually between two different devices takes a bit of time, NFC instantly enables the connection with ease. You can also use NFC to make cashless payments like the Samsung Pay service which was recently launched in the UAE.

What are the best Android smartphone brands in the UAE?

You can buy the best Android smartphones from Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC, Huawei, Honor, Google, Xiaomi, Oppo and more.

Which brands offer cheap Android smartphones in the UAE?

You can buy cheap Android smartphones in the UAE from brands such as Samsung, OnePlus, Sony, Oppo, Huawei, Xiaomi, HTC, and more. We would also advise going for older high-end smartphones, which will be sold at reduced prices.

How to buy the right Apple iPhone?

Here are some of the important Q&A that you should remember before buying a new Apple iPhone.

 Apple iPhone 6s

What are the advantages of Apple iPhones over Android?

For starters, Apple iPhones usually offer great and stable performance. The apps and software are well optimized. The latest iOS updates are always ready for downloads once it’s available. However, most of the Android smartphone makers take a bit of time to roll out the latest Android updates except for Google for their Pixel devices.

Does Apple iPhones come with MicroSD card expansion?

Unfortunately, none of the Apple iPhone models come with MicroSD card support.

Are there any Apple iPhones with water resistance?

Yes, the Apple iPhone 7 and the Apple iPhone 7 Plus comes with IP68 certification for dust and water resistance.

Does Apple iPhone 7 come with wireless charging?

As of today, there are no iPhones that feature wireless charging capability. That said, the Apple iPhone 8 is expected to have this feature.

Are there any Apple iPhone models with large displays?

Yes, you can go for the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple iPhone 6s Plus or the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.

Can we transfer data via Bluetooth from an Apple iPhone?

No, file transfers via Bluetooth are not possible from an Apple iPhone.

Are there common applications between the iPhone and Android platform?

Yes, there are many common and free applications between iPhones and Android devices, such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Snap speed and plenty more.

Where can I get the best Apple iPhone prices in the UAE?

You can check out prices from Souq.com, Crazydeals.ae, Jumbo Electronics online, Sharaf DG online, Carrefour Online, Lulu Webstore, Jacky’s Online Store and more.

TOP 10 SMARTPHONES THAT YOU CAN BUY IN THE UAE

As a special addition to our smartphone buying guide, we have also listed out the best smartphones that you can buy from all categories, whether it's a premium model or a budget smartphone. Take a look below:

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhone 7

Apple iPhones are generally the most preferred smartphones in the UAE, and the latest Apple iPhone 7 comes with a 4.7-inch display with 750 x 1334 resolution. It’s also the first IP67 certified iPhone to feature dust and water resistance. Users will be able to take the iPhone 7 up to 1 meter deep underwater for about 30 minutes. The screen also features 3D Touch and wide color gamut. The device is powered by the Apple A10 Fusion quad-core processor with 2GB RAM and runs on the latest IOS 10.3.2. Users will be able to choose between 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB internal storages. The primary camera of the iPhone 7 comes with a 12MP sensor and the front camera features a 7MP selfie snapper. The aperture of the main camera is F1.8 and the aperture of the front camera is f2.2. You can capture high-definition videos up to 4K at 30fps. The battery of the device is 1960 mAh in capacity. The talktime of the device can last up to 14 hours and music playback up to 40 hours. The Apple iPhone 7 also comes with stereo speakers.

Motorola Moto G5

Motorola Moto G5

Lenovo who owns Motorola, had recently released their latest budget based smartphone in the UAE called the Moto G5. The smartphone comes with a 5-inch display and features a resolution of 1080 x 1920. The smartphone weighs 145g and is 9.5mm thick. The screen is scratch resistant and the smartphone also comes with a fingerprint scanner. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 430 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal storage. There is also a 32GB version of the device with 3GB RAM. The smartphone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat OS. The camera holds a 13MP image sensor on the rear and the front camera features a 5MP snapper. The rear camera holds an aperture of F2.0 and the front camera with F2.2 aperture. Users will also be able to focus instantly with phase detection autofocus. The smartphone also comes with a 2800 mAh battery. The device comes in Lunar Grey, Fine Gold and Sapphire Blue colors.

Honor 8

Honor 8

The Honor 8 is a premium smartphone with good specifications at an affordable rate in the UAE. The device comes with a 5.2-inch IPS display with Full HD resolution and is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. The device also is 7.5mm thick and weighs about 153g. The Honor 8 features the Kirin 950 processor that’s paired with 4GB RAM and runs the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. Internal storage options come in 32GB and 64GB variants, that can be expanded with a MicroSD card. There is a dual 12MP camera setup on the rear side with f2.2 aperture and an 8MP camera on the front with f2.4 for selfies. The device can capture videos up to 1080p at 60fps. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear side. The smartphone also holds a 3000 mAh battery on-board with the support of fast-charge via the USB Type-C port. The device also features NFC, infrared and active noise canceling. 

LG G6

LG G6

LG’s latest smartphone comes with a unique, all-screen display, thanks to the slim-bezel screen with 18:9 aspect ratio. While the display is 5.7-inches in size, the smartphone appears slightly smaller than a regular model with the same screen size. The display features a resolution of 1440 x 2880. The LG G6 is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, which is first on an LG flagship device. The smartphone is powered by the Snapdragon 821 processor with 4GB RAM and runs on the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The software is capable of scaling video content in 18:9 aspect ratio. The camera setup on the rear consists of dual 13MP image sensors, one for standard shots with an f1.8 aperture and the other for wide-angle photos. The front camera features a 5MP sensor with an f2.2 lens. Users will be able to record videos on 4K at 30fps. The battery of the device holds a capacity of 3300 mAh and supports fast charge via the USB Type-C port. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the rear side. 

Samsung Galaxy S7

Samsung Galaxy S7

Another great smartphone to choose is the Samsung Galaxy S7 that was released in 2016. The smartphone holds a 5.1-inch display with 1440 x 2560 resolution and is protected with Gorilla Glass 4. The Super AMOLED panel has a pixel density of 577. The smartphone runs on the latest Android 7.0 operating system and features the Exynos 8890 chip and with 4GB RAM. The smartphone also features water and dust resistance (IP68 certification). The camera holds a 12MP image sensor with an aperture of F1.7. The 5MP selfie snapper on the front also comes with an aperture of F1.7. You can record up to 4K videos at 30fps. The internal storage comes in 32GB and 64GB variants with options for MicroSD expansion. The fingerprint scanner is placed on the front-facing home button. The smartphone is 7.9mm thick and weighs 152g. The battery on the Galaxy S7, holds a capacity of 3000 mAh and supports fast charging. Users will also be able to do wireless charging with the device.

Apple iPhone SE

Apple iPhone SE

The Apple iPhone SE is currently the most affordable smartphones in the Apple portfolio that replaces the Apple iPhone 5s. The smartphone comes with a 4-inch IPS screen with a modest resolution of 640 x 1136 pixels. The smartphone looks and feels like an iPhone 5s, holding a thickness of 7.6mm and weighs 113g. The iPhone SE is powered by the dual-core Apple A9 processor that’s clocked at 1.8Ghz, along with 2GB RAM and is upgradable to the latest Apple iOS 10.3.2 operating system. The camera on the rear is 12MP with f2.2 aperture and dual LED flash module. It’s capable of recording 4K videos at 30fps. The main camera also features phase detection for quick autofocus of subjects. The front camera is 1.2MP with f2.4 aperture and can record videos up to 720p at 30fps. The smartphone has a fingerprint scanner on the front side home button. There is also a 1624 mAh battery with talktime up to 14 hours. The device comes in Silver Gray, Silver and Rose Gold colors. 

Xiaomi Mi5

Xiaomi Mi5

The Xiaomi Mi5, which was released in 2016, features high-end specifications at an affordable price as compared to the competition. The device is 7.3mm thick and weighs 129g. The smartphone comes with a 5.15-inch IPS display with 1080 x 1920 resolution and features Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection against accidental bumps and scratches. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 820 CPU with 4GB RAM and internal storage options of 32GB, 64GB and 128GB capacities. The smartphone can be upgraded to the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The 16MP main camera on the rear side features phase detection for instant autofocus and optical image stabilization to reduce blurs and shakes while capturing images or videos. The aperture of the main camera is f2.0. The front camera holds a 4MP image sensor with f2.0 aperture and can capture videos up to 1080p at 30fps. The main camera can record videos up to 4K resolutions at 30fps. The battery capacity is 3000 mAh, and users will be able to use the fast charge feature with the USB Type-C port. 

Motorola Moto Z

Motorola Moto Z

The Motorola Moto Z is one of the few modular smartphones in the UAE market. It’s easy clip-on feature allows users to swap mods at an instant without the need of removing any internal components or turning off the device. The Moto Mod connectors are located behind the device. There are mods for speakers, zoom camera, projectors and more. The smartphone holds a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with 1440 x 2560 resolution. The device is 5.2mm thick, which is impressive and weighs 136g. It’s powered by the Snapdragon 820 processor with 4GB RAM for smooth multitasking. Storage options include 32GB and 64GB with MicroSD card expansion. The device can be upgraded to the latest Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The camera is 13MP on the rear side with f1.8 aperture and the front facing camera holds a 5MP image sensor with f2.2 aperture and LED flash. The main camera supports capture of 4K resolution videos at 30fps. There is also a fingerprint scanner on the front side. The battery on the Moto Z is 2600 mAh with support for fast charge with the USB Type-C port. 

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung Galaxy S8+

Samsung’s flagship smartphones are considered to be one of the best Android devices in the UAE market with the latest being the Galaxy S8+. The device comes with a large 6.2-inch screen along with slim bezels. This makes the screen estate much larger while having a smaller body size. The screen is termed as the Infinity display and features a resolution of 1440 x 2960. It’s one the few smartphones in the UAE that features an aspect ratio of 18:9. The processor is the octa-core Exynos 8895 with 4GB RAM and 64GB of internal storage. Users will be able to expand the internal memory with MicroSD cards. The smartphone runs on Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The main camera of the smartphone holds a 12MP Dual Pixel image sensor with phase detection autofocus and the front camera is a 7MP shooter. Both the smartphones come with an aperture of F1.7. The main camera also has support for optical image stabilization and 4K video recording. The Galaxy S8+ is certified for IP68 dust and water resistance.

BlackBerry KEYone

BlackBerry KEYone

While BlackBerry may have officially stopped producing smartphones, they have given its manufacturing and licensing rights to TCL, who then released the BlackBerry KEYone smartphone. Unlike all-touchscreen smartphones, the device features a built-in keyboard and each of its keys can be programmed for app shortcuts. The spacebar in the device also houses the fingerprint scanner which is a smart way of implementing in the device. Users can also scroll through menus or web pages by swiping the keyboard. The KEYone features an aluminum body and the screen is 4.5-inch in size with a resolution of 1080 x 1620. The 3:2 aspect ratio brings better readability of articles or emails and content. The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass 4 to resist scratches. The smartphone also holds a 12MP main camera on the rear side and an 8MP selfie camera on the front side. The main camera has support for phase detection AF for fast focusing and dual tone flash to lighten up dark areas. The device is powered by the Snapdragon 625 processor with 3GB RAM and the internal storage is 32GB. Users can also use MicroSD cards to expand the storage. The internal battery comes with a capacity of 3505 mAh. 

Looking for premium smartphones under AED 2000. Check out our top 10 premium smartphone listing in UAE

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