How to Choose the Right Smartphone
Mobile fans are presented with more choice today than at any point in the past, which can be an issue if you are trying to decide which smartphone you want to buy next.
Some phones are big, thin and stylish, with premium materials used in their construction and multi-core processors backed up by large amounts of RAM helping to crunch numbers under the bonnet. Others are cheap, cheerful and endowed with less cutting edge tech, while offering the basic features you would expect from any smartphone.
A recent report from industry regulator Ofcom found that close to a third of adults and nearly half of teenagers in the UK own a smartphone.
So, how do you select a new handset? What are the pitfalls to avoid during the decision-making process?
Know your budget
This is the first point you need to establish, because lusting after unaffordable handsets is not that helpful.
If you are buying a mobile outright or on pay as you go, you will need to find the cash upfront, and there are three clear price categories into which they fall.
Entry level smartphones cost less than £180, with some even dipping below £100 if you are looking for a real bargain. Mid-range models come in at between £200 and £400, with anything over this being considered high end and costing more than most laptops.
People can afford top tier mobiles if they get them on a monthly contract, with network provider subsidies curtailing the short term cost. But commitments to contracts lasting up to two years will mean that you might pay more in total.
Screen size distinctions
Smartphone screens have increased in size dramatically in recent years and even cheap models can come with four, five or six inch displays.
A bigger screen is better for watching movies, playing games and browsing the internet, but sheer area is not the only thing to look for. You also need to check up on the resolution, as this will affect the clarity of the images that are showcased.
High end handsets will have 1080p screens, with mid range models now rocking 720p panels and cheaper options falling out of the high definition arena. In short, a big screen with a low resolution is not as desirable as a smaller one with more pixels on offer.
A big screen also necessitates a larger physical size for a smartphone, so you need to work out whether you will want to take a large, slabby device around with you for practical purposes.
The reality of the smartphone market is that most people will need to recharge their phones at the end of each day. There is simply so much built into even a basic model that you will end up using it persistently, which will invariably drain the power.
However, battery life is still an important consideration, as variances in capacity will leave some devices with plenty of juice after extended use, while others end up dangerously close to powering down.
Mobile gaming is another area that has evolved thanks to increased handset power, although because different devices offer different capabilities, you may want to check up before you commit to a purchase.
Naturally we did a little bit of research in creating this post and whilst doing this came across a neat little handset selector tool created by the guys at giffgaff.com. Pretty simple to use and seems quite accurate too.