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So one of the biggest topics of the past week was CES 2017.  This is a major event where some of the biggest names in electronics show off what they will soon release.  One of the biggest parts of this event is always about what smartphones will come out next.  If you watch my videos on YouTube, you know that I have 2 phones.  One is a LG Nexus 5x and the other is a OnePlus 2.  I’ve used both over the past few months, and my sim card is currently in the OnePlus 2.  Even though the phone will soon be 2 years old, and OnePlus no longer sells it on it’s site,  it performs very well.  Still, it is not a perfect phone, especially if I get to move to Korea.  With that being said, here is what I would look for in a new phone for me this year and why?

RAM and ROM

Having lots of RAM and ROM are essential for me.  The is especially true if there isn’t a memory card slot available on the phone.  I wondered why so many top of the line phones stopped coming with memory card slots and removable batteries.  I talked to a Samsung rep about this a couple of years ago and he said it was due to phone makers feeling that phones work best when the have few moving parts.  In other words, when it’s hard for you to mess something up, it’s easier for the phone to work properly.  While some will debate this, having a large amount of RAM and ROM is not debatable for me.  So how much will I look for in a new phone?  I need at least 4GB of RAM and at least 64GB of ROM.  Even with 4GB of RAM in my OnePlus 2, there are a number of times when I get to about 80-85% of the RAM being used.  (Hence why my Nexus phone, with 2GB of RAM is not my daily phone anymore.)  I still have over 25Gb of the available 64GB ROM on my phone.  But I’d rather have too much memory than too little.

Battery Life

As of late, I have been very stressful on to my phone.  Between Twitter, Facebook, multiple email accounts and other apps, I can be on the phone quite a bit.  Without great battery life, I may have to charge my phone once or twice a day.  So how much battery life do I need?  That’s hard to answer.  Using dark mode can save battery life, as well as other other battery saving measures.  Also, a good processor and a good amount of RAM can help a phone to operate better.  If there is one thing I would like to see, it would be a removable battery so I can have a spare on me at all times.  That way I can go from 0% to 100% in an instant.

Camera

Because I sometimes shoot video for YouTube on my phone, I need a good camera.  Many people get impressed with a high megapixel count, but that doesn’t mean your pics and videos will be great.  Also, while shooting in 4K sounds great, most cell phone providers in the U.S. will limit the video to 480p resolution. One thing that I look for, that some phone makers don’t seem to care enough about is stabilization.  Without good stabilization, a great camera can take horrible pictures and videos.  So stabilization is more important to me than megapixels and super hi res capabilities.

Easy Sim Card Access

This is one of the most annoying aspects of a phone for me these days.  For a number of phones, you need a key to get to the sim card tray.  While this is designed for phones that have a full metal jacket design, it’s not the greatest design for an international traveler.  International travelers that need to rent a sim card need easy access to replace their regular sim card for one that they can use from a different carrier in another country.  The design that works best for me is the one on the OnePlus 2.  A removable back and a tray that can hold 2 sim cards.  That way, I can keep my sim card for home, and have a different one for international use in my phone at the same time.  This way allows me to make sure I have calling and data in the airport without relying on WiFi to get work done.

What Else Do I Need

Having a good and quick charging system is very important.  Sometime, I can only charge my phone for a little bit.  So I need to get as much out of a charger as I can.  But I also need to do that without having to have a special charger and special adaptor for the phone to charge.

Since I use Android phones, pure Android, or as close to pure Android as I can get, is also key.  Phones sold via carriers often tend to have bloatware on them.  (Software that they feel you need, but may never use.)  For me, these phones don’t run as smoothly as phones with pure Android.

I also do not buy phones from phone carriers in the U.S. because then tend to lock their phones to their network. (The exception in the past has been Verizon, which used a default SPC code of 000000.)  A phone that is unlocked and have the radios that are used in Korea is very important to me.

The biggest complaint I have with the OnePlus 2 is that it does not have NFC.  NFC can be used in Korea to pay for bus rides, subways and taxis.  OnePlus was rumored to not put this feature in the phone due to it not being used much in the original OnePlus phone.  But it made a comeback in later OnePlus models. While I can argue that I don’t have to have NFC in a phone for Korea, it would be very useful.

What’s the Verdict?

There usually is not a perfect phone for me.  To get one key feature, I’d have to sacrifice another feature.  If you wonder what I would consider reviewing for a phone, it has to have most of the key features outlined above, and be under $500.00 USD.  For a number of people who read my writings, they also want to move to Korea.  But they cannot afford to spend $650.00 USD+ on a quality phone.  With that being said, is there a phone that meets this criteria that you think I should look for?  What phone(s) would you like to see me review?  Let me know in the comment section below.

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