If you’re in the market to buy a new smartphone in India or following this space closely, you’ll know how difficult it has become to keep a tab on the sheer number of smartphones landing here every week – across price segments and brands. A non-techie friend of mine was joking that there are more smartphone models in Indian market than bathing soaps, and he’s probably right as well. As per our data, as many as 115 smartphones were launched in the period between July and September this year. That’s how commoditized the smartphone market has become over the past year or two.
As tech bloggers, we love and hate this at the same time. Content discovery is no more a problem, but it has become increasingly difficult to suggest the right phone to the right person, specially when the prices keep fluctuating and new phones from Asia and elsewhere keep popping up to spoil your recommendation list. If this is the plight of someone whose primary work revolves around smartphones, imagine the plight of an unsuspecting consumer who wants to buy the best phone available at a price he is comfortable to pay. This is where a new app, Smartly.me comes to our rescue.
This is their official pitch:
Confused on which Android smartphone to buy?
Get personalized recommendations for your next phone or recommend the right phones to your near and dear ones.
And that’s exactly what the app does. Although we have several resources like GSMArena, MySmartPrice, PriceBaba etc to dig deep into the specifications of a phone or to find all available options in a particular price range, they are still not smart enough to personalize their recommendations to you based on your existing smartphone and/or your usage. This is where Smartly.me strikes it rich.
Being an Android app, it has access to all the information about your existing smartphone and also the apps installed. Within a few seconds, the app scans for your usage pattern and intelligently builds your persona. I tested this from three different smartphones – the Xiaomi Mi 4 (which is currently my primary phone), the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (my secondary phone) and the Oppo R7 Plus – and it built a different persona each time. And I found it pretty accurate on all the 3 counts!
There’s some deep computation that goes on in the background to deduce your persona, which basically includes the current smartphone hardware, your device usage (like available RAM/storage) and your app usage. With this information, Smartly.me can magically evaluate what kind of an user you are and then suggest the best suitable Android smartphone for you. The process hardly takes 4 to 5 seconds before presenting you with the top 10 smartphone options. You can choose to dig more into the specifications of these phones or even compare between the options if you want to. The whole process is slick and logical. The app is based on Android material design, so the design is minimal and transitions are pretty.
The personalization is extremely handy for people who don’t know whom to rely upon for smartphone recommendations. From our experience with the app on multiple phones and scenarios, the suggested results were fairly accurate, although it can be seen as overwhelming with so much data and jargons for people who aren’t that tech savvy. In such cases, simply hit the chat button on the bottom right of the screen and their experts will help you out.
For those who actually know what they are looking for in their next smartphone and are simply trying to discover the right smartphones, they can go ahead and filter out the offerings by providing some general use cases like photography, gaming etc and get the top rated smartphones for their needs. Someone who’s a lot more tech savvy can dig deep and look for options like number of cores, amount of RAM, SD card availability, battery capacity and hundred other options. Again the recommendations were fairly accurate, although there were some occasional surprises here and there. Thankfully, we didn’t encounter any major bloopers in our random tests.
But it’s not all hunky dory here. At times, we feel Smartly.me is trying to do too many things inside. It requires you to login with your Facebook account, which helps them build a mini social network inside of the app – getting recommendations from your friends directly – while also grasp information related to your likes and interests to build your persona (which we discussed above). Not just that, Smartly.me is trying to provide app and game recommendations as well, again personalized and based on your existing smartphone and usage. This is probably to ensure that the user has reasons to keep using the app instead of deleting it once he/she pins down the smartphone to buy. In an ideal world, this would have been a valid use case, but we hardly found the app recommendations accurate or useful enough, and thereby diluting the primary use case – which is helping you discover the right smartphone to buy.
Also, there’re other sections like Latest news, reviews and best price to buy a smartphone. Thankfully, these are not in-your-eye things and neatly tucked inside and become visible only when you really want to. The biggest feature which isn’t getting properly highlighted by the app developer is the information related to the nearest service centers. After sales service is a pain in country like India, and this alone is a reason enough for many to install the app. Go ahead and give Smartly.me a try. We are pretty sure it makes your adventure of smartphone discovery a lot easier.