Guess it's that time again: Choose a mobile phone
3 min read

Guess it's that time again: Choose a mobile phone

Here's my analysis to decide which phone I should get.
Guess it's that time again: Choose a mobile phone
Photo by Eirik Solheim / Unsplash

A bit of history: I used to get mid-range phones and then be frustrated by their performance after a year or so (battery and audio usually). Then, one of the local providers had a promotion on an iPhone and I really considered getting it... until a friend pointed out about the discounted version was older and the performance would degrade quick (and also support, really). So I switched to high end-ish and "recently released" phones.

I had a Samsung Galaxy S9 since 2018, which was a fabulous phone and, despite the battery getting worse, it still did everything I wanted it to do. Over the holidays my phone died - it fell into a lake and then died with the inflated battery syndrome. So I guess it's time to pick up a new phone. With the above philosophy, I established a list of criteria:

  1. Battery life - I want the phone to last at least 2 days with moderate usage,
  2. Camera quality - My wife is very happy with the iPhone 11 camera capabilities,
  3. More-than-Europe coverage, because we go outside EU once in a while and
  4. 5G connectivity - this is a "nice to have" thing because I find 4G OK and 5G is spotty at best where I live.

Based on the above, I looked at some performant phones today:

  • Iphone 11 (my wife's phone)
  • Iphone 14 pro
  • Pixel 7 pro
  • Samsung S23 ultra
  • Samsung A54
  • Samsung Z-Fold 5 - for giggles because I can't possibly justify 2000 Euros for a phone

I looked at various reviews source and got the following table:

Phone Outdoor Indoor Low light Portraits Battery
Iphone 11 136 119 78 114 94.00
Iphone 14 pro 147 129 81 119 84.00
Google Pixel 7 pro 163 147 110 141 83.00
Samsung S23 ultra 156 148 106 130 126.00
Samsung A54 122 113 64 109 119.00
Samsung Z-Fold 5 133 123 90 119 95.00

Camera data comes mostly from DXOMark (at the time of writing, they didin't have a Z-Fold 5 review so it's interpolated based on Z-Fold 5 vs 4 comparison and the Z-Fold 4 data) and the battery life score comes from GSMArena.

On paper, Samsung S23 Ultra is the best for battery and Pixel 7 Pro has the best camera. Surprisingly, Z-Fold 5 has a low battery score.

Using the magic of Excel, I did a ranking average for each component:

= (RANK.EQ($B2,$B$2:$B$7)

The results are "as expected":

Phone Average Rank
Iphone 11 4.6 5
Iphone 14 pro 3.6 3
Google Pixel 7 pro 2.2 2
Samsung S23 ultra 1.6 1
Samsung A54 5.2 6
Samsung Z-Fold 5 3.6 3

The just rank evaluation makes them seem quite far apart (0.6 between the first two - 10% when comparing to the max value i.e., the number of items). Therefore, I tried to base myself off the relative values with the following method:

For each category (column), calculate a percentage value as cell_value/max(category).

The formula I got is:

  + $C2/MAX($C$2:$C$7)
  + $D2/MAX($D$2:$D$7)
  + $E2/MAX($E$2:$E$7)
  + $F2/MAX($F$2:$F$7)

The result I think reflects better the reality:

Phone Average Rank
Iphone 11 78.04 5
Iphone 14 pro 80.40 4
Google Pixel 7 pro 93.03 2
Samsung S23 ultra 96.85 1
Samsung A54 76.22 6
Samsung Z-Fold 5 81.26 3

As you can see, the order remains the same, but the valies show that the ranks 3,4,5 are only 3.2%-ish apart. So if you don't need the absolute best in something, maybe you can get it down to cost, or obsession if you can still find a way to justify Z-Fold 5.

The simple excel file I used for ranking is below: