Open Thread: What’s the first thing you test on an Android phone?

Android smartphones are amazingly feature packed. HD displays, huge performance, amazing cameras! These are some of the things we are treated to with our new phones, but of all the features which is the first one you test out when you get a phone in your hands?

Whether it’s at the mall, or when unpacking your new purchase, everyone has a set routine when it comes to Android phones. Rip open the packaging, tear off the screen cover, insert the battery (if applicable) and SIM, power it up and then….. then what?

Well this is where many of us tend to differ. With phone your not common with in your hands what is it you do first?

What do we test first on our Android phones

To get the ball rolling I asked some of the GizChina team about their usual habits when getting a smartphone in their hands. As I’m writing this I’ll first:


For my personal everyday use I’m not that bothered by the sheer grunt of a phone, the most important aspect is the rear camera. When getting another phone in my hands for review, a friend’s phone or when in the store, the first thing I do is fire up the camera app and snap some photos.


First impressions are important to me and it’s the scree which speaks volumes about any phone. It has to be bright, clear and have amazing viewing angles. Once I know the screen is up to scratch I test the front camera and take a few selfies.

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Here’s what I do: I usually check the screen for any dead pixels or creaking around the body, and then test the overall snappiness (UI transitions, app loading time) and lastly of course, the rear camera.

Mario (

For me the first thing I test is the touchscreen. I hate it if a screen isn’t smooth, it ruins the whole user experience. After the screen the camera is tested.

Eduardo (

The first thing I test in an Android phone is the launcher and the browser to see if the normal use of the phone is smooth or not.For the browser I open a website and zoom in and out to see how it works. Also the rear camera is important to me so I took a very close to an object photo to see the near focus.

Now it’s your turn, what do you try first?

So now it’s over to you guys, what is the most important aspect of a smartphone to you? what do you test first, and what is it that can really put you off using a device?

Our last ‘Open Thread’ article received over 200 amazing comments, let’s see if we can beat that!

Disclaimer: We may be compensated by some of the companies whose products we talk about, but our articles and reviews are always our honest opinions. For more details, you can check out our editorial guidelines and learn about how we use affiliate links.

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  1. Connor Baker
    November 27, 2013

    CPU binning, flex test, screen for pixel defects, speakers, and lastly the camera. The camera is the most important for me. I learned all this from my having RMA’ed my Nexus 4, four times.

    • November 27, 2013

      Ah, flex is one I do also 🙂

    • November 27, 2013

      I’ve made it a point not to check CPU binning, I guess it really sucks to know you have ‘normal’ when others have ‘fast’!

    • Roberto
      November 28, 2013

      how do you check CPU binning? i’ve looked up what it means, now i’m curious as to how you check it on (or in) a cell phone.

  2. paul19
    November 27, 2013

    test gps – this is the most important usage for me. then compass.

    • November 27, 2013

      Yup and a big one to test especially on MTK phones

  3. Yes Sir!
    November 27, 2013

    The first things I test is 1º – the screen (touch, image quality, dead pixels, view angles, etc) 2º – is the speakers (volume and quality of all) 3º – the cameras (image quality, software etc) after these tests is random

    • November 27, 2013

      Awesome thanks 🙂

  4. benoitb
    November 27, 2013

    1st: screen
    2nd: music quality with my headphones
    3rd: USB OTG
    4th: GPS speed and accuracy
    5th wifi signal

    Then after a while, battery life and cellular performance.

    • Cambodia Droid
      December 7, 2013

      bro what is your ideas about good china android phone (quad core) for a music lovers like me?

      thank you!

  5. Manish M Mishra
    November 27, 2013

    First thing when I get any phone is close my eyes n try to feel the phone, it’s touch n feel. I don’t care about the brands. If this test is successful then I check touch screen, as it is the most important part in the phone which only work on touch. If touch is not good, then whether the phone is single core or 16 core, it doesn’t serve it’s primary duty well. Also I am firm believer that my phone should have all the reasons to replace my digital camera, it should have a very good zippy sharp camera which can take picture with real depth. Last but not the least, if I have android phone with GPS, good Camera, good bright screen then to support it, I need a very good battery, or else all other features are just waste. It is same like having a sexy car but no fuel to run it…..

  6. Xiaolu
    November 27, 2013

    Well, maybe is not the FIRST thing, but on my last phone, which I bougth mostly because of its monstrous battery, I really did try everything just looking forward its impact in battery life. And the Settings→Battery menu option was visited every now and then, taking some screenshots to keep track of it.

    That’s all!

  7. liljohn
    November 27, 2013

    all the visible hardware,

    1) screen – dead pixels, touch responsiveness
    2) cameras
    3) physical buttons – volumes and power
    4) speaker
    5) charger and battery
    6) ports
    7) bluetooth, gps, 3g and wifi signal
    8) the pyhsic of the phone n screen, i dont want it to have any single tiny scratch! cause i’m paying for it! =)

  8. Usman
    November 27, 2013

    Usually, first i check the build quality and Display
    then comes toward its performance especially antutu scoring and then the rear camera and its camera app…..

  9. ChecchoT
    November 27, 2013

    screen, wifi, antutu

  10. GS88
    November 27, 2013

    “Now it’s your turn, what do you try first?”
    I try to call… that’s what I try first. Really.

    • November 27, 2013

      Finally someone who uses a phone like a phone 😉

      • November 27, 2013

        haha! +%9000

        • November 27, 2013

          Why currently phones are phones, too? 😀

        • GS88
          November 28, 2013

          I expected to see reactions like “you silly guy, why would you try calling with it?”

          • Allanitomwesh
            November 28, 2013

            WAIT,I CAN DO THAT?

    • agismaniax
      November 28, 2013

      i think i forgot to do this when i bought my latest phone. 😀

  11. Allanitomwesh
    November 27, 2013

    1.Lag test,I run around the UI real fast looking for choppiness.
    2.Viewing angles and overall quality of the display,touch sensitivity, basically “is it a good screen?”
    3.Browser speeds
    4.Antutu to confirm specs,if I can,usually on a phone I’m smelling a fish with [1.2 ghz dual core snapdragon,yeah right…cheap ol’ msm8225]
    5.Front facer,then rear cam.
    I’ve gotten real good at it too i can do this all pretty fast.

  12. tom
    November 27, 2013

    andi, please always test if gps is functioning out of the box when you review any new china mtk phones. this will help us to make decision whether to buy the phone. we also want to know if gps with glonass apart from the camera function. thanks for a good source of info on china phones

    • November 27, 2013

      Hi Tom, this is more to do with personal habits with a new phone not how we should be reviewing them, but thanks 😉

  13. Arschi
    November 27, 2013

    – workmanship
    – UI responsiveness of the ROM
    – Screen max brightness
    – Front and Rear camera quality with room light with & without flash

    – max volume of speaker and headphones

    • November 27, 2013

      Which phone have you tried now with the best workmanship?

      • Arschi
        November 27, 2013

        I’m currently still using my Galaxy S2, so I have no experience with phones from china.
        I think in january I will order the zopo zp998.
        I was also interested in the OrientPhone One MAX(H801+) but couldn’t find a hands-on video of it, so I’m not sure if the body is plastic or metal and if the front-speakers are real or just for the appearance

        • November 27, 2013

          I think it’s plastic

          • Arschi
            November 28, 2013

            I think so too, that wouldn’t bother me.

            But if the holes on the front are just for the appearance, I wouldn’t buy it.
            The real nice feature of the HTC One for me are these front speakers, without them the device isn’t attractive anymore to me.

  14. John Gass
    November 27, 2013

    1. General first impressions – build quality, speed and smoothness of screen scrolling etc.
    2. Sunlight visibility of screen.
    3. Speed of GPS lock.
    4. Music quality using my own good quality earphones.
    5. Camera quality and ease of use – I’m glad that some phones are now getting a dedicated camera button.
    6. Battery life (this is last because it takes time to find out, but I would only buy a phone with a large, removable battery).

  15. joe computers
    November 27, 2013

    see the smoothness like go to see version number, some stupid phone when scroll down to end of list in settings will bounce
    install google play, see can open

  16. Tibui Gerard
    November 27, 2013

    i definitely look for screen quality and touch smoothness!

  17. November 27, 2013

    Watch some porn.

    Indeed you are testing all the aforementioned aspects at once

  18. Darren Tan
    November 27, 2013

    The camera. I do not want to be in a position to have a uncomfortable friend who I have asked for help to take my family photo. Both of us will be embarrassed if the camera is crappy and unresponsive.

  19. The Chosen One
    November 27, 2013

    The following is the first four things I do everytime without fail

    1) I check the build quiality. I look for cracks, gaps, flaking, rigidity etc. in both phone and battery.

    2) I then power up with SIM and do four call tests. Regular call, Speaker Phone call, call through supplied earphones and call through Bluetooth Headset and Bluetooth Conference speaker with built in mic.

    3) Then I focus on the screen. sensitivity, viewing angles, video play back resolution – live TV through TV app both through WiFi & Data connection, games etc. all done in bright sunlight

    4) Cameras. pics and videos both front and back both done in various lighting conditions

    If in my opinion the phone passed my personal test i then install the rest of my apps and i proceed to personalize the phone to my needs. Home screen assignments, app clusters etc.

    • November 27, 2013

      Wow! If you have any reviews written up maybe you can send them in to be posted here? 😉

      • The Chosen One
        November 28, 2013

        Ok no problem when I upgrade i’ll make a sound contribution to the GizChina community

  20. carlorff
    November 28, 2013

    Hi… if it is slow on finding the focus and the quality of pictures,videos and flash.
    2.screen quality,resolution and response on touch,screen rotation, although I expect that to work out of the box.
    3. wifi and browser speed
    4. gps
    5. search of pdf and opening large 500+ pages of pdf and scrolling them.

    Basicaly the things I use the most on any mobile daily.

  21. Chrispynutt
    November 28, 2013

    1. Responsiveness
    2. Screen viewing angles etc
    3. Camera quality
    4. Sound
    5. Fit and finish
    6. Version of android
    7. quality of customisation
    8. crapware level.

    In many ways my observations on phones are based on what I currently don’t like about my current phone.

    I have an Acer CloudMobile, I don’t like the slowness of the autofocus on the camera, the terrible battery life and being stuck on 4.1.

    I won’t buy a chinese phone till they come with 4.4 standard as most don’t seem to care about updates. Being 2 versions behind on day one won’t cut it.

    I use my phone a lot whilst traveling so finding out from people in RL using phones on trains etc really matters to me.

  22. Mik
    November 29, 2013

    GPS.. the only thing I ever had a problem with, with Chinese phones

  23. vaan
    November 29, 2013

    camera picture quality in low light

  24. Cuerex
    November 29, 2013

    display panel quality because you look at your display like 98,99% of the time depending how beautiful your device is 😉

  25. Zeca
    November 30, 2013

    First, it has to make the function to make and receive phone calls.
    Then it must have excellent microphone and audio.
    Then it must have an excellent battery and GPS.
    The rest is cosmetics.

  26. Batman
    November 30, 2013

    For me the software doesn’t really matter, most important is if the phone will have good support from the custom rom community, I just want CyanogenMod on my phone!

    So I first of all I read a lot of reviews and try to make a guess whether it will get the support, no Mediatek for me it is thus. Doesnt need to be a high end SoC but it needs to be fast enough and efficient (Qualcomm is the way to go for me, supportwise and for now its just the best choice).

    Then build quality, battery life and memory are most important. It needs good ‘handling’ which means, size and ergonomics.

    Screen and camera are less important for me, as long as I can use it in the sun thats fine by me.

    Camera, to me it still is a phone camera so… thats just fine most of the time, allthough Im exitied about the Sony Z1S because of its camera (and all other aspects which make it almost perfect).

    I think thats about it. For now I own a Xiaomi M2S and a Sony Xperia SP. Both amazing phones, the Xiaomi would be the perfect phone if it had SD-card support!

  27. ro.edi
    December 1, 2013

    let’s be honest.
    if an thl mk2 cost 115 $ US to fabricate in retail mode than why cost as being on sale with 399 $ US.

    here are the specs for less tha 200 € Euro phone
    aa.         CAMERA = HQ CAMERAS 14 MPX (not 5 bucks cameras anymore)
    a.                     CPU = MT6592 Octa Core x8 at 2Ghz
    b.                    GPU = MALI-T678 or MALI-T720 X8 Core EGL 3.0 / DX Direct3D 11
    c.                   RAM = 2GB / DDR3
    d.                   MEM = 32 GB internal memory 
    e.          BATTERY = 2800mah minimum or 3500mah or more
    f.                    INCH =  4.7 minimum or 5 inch maximum screen size
    g.                       OS = Android KitKat 4.4 Bug Free (On Android Bug Free, Neeeeveeeer )
    h.   CASE SHELL = Aluminium or Steel Alloy
    i.         NETWORK  = 4G-LTE / WCDMA / GSM (Of Course Unlocked World Wide with 2 Sim)
    j.                      WiFi  = 5 GHz dual channel
    k.    BLUETOOTH  = 4.0
    l.                       NFC = YES
    m.                    OTG  = YES
    o.               TV-OUT = OH YES via MhL or HDMi
    p.            SCREEN = GORILLA GLASS
    r.                SOUND = DEDICATED HQ CHIP
    t.                         2D  = 2D HIGH PERFORMANCE (Takes The Lag In Android Forever)
    u.                  MAGE = MEDIATEK High Advanced Lock Screen Personalization
    x.           UPDATES = YES
    y.          CHARGER = HQ Charger with 1mha or more
    z.                      SAR = Low Radiation Level

  28. Aeonia
    December 1, 2013

    1st: build quality..
    2: make sure all specs are correct with Antutu e.t.c(especially chinese brands)

    3. General responsiveness
    4. Camera

    5. earphones quality
    6. cellular coverage

    7. then i try

  29. Ahmed Sayid
    December 2, 2013