A smartphone is a big purchase. You’ll be spending several hundred pounds and you’ll be expecting at least two years use out of it. In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the things to look out for to ensure you don’t spend over the odds and don’t end up with something that won’t be much use after a few months.
This will dictate the type of phone you will buy. Apple iOS is easier to use for beginners. Android offers more options for customisation. Try both in the shop and choose whatever feels right. If you’re going to be doing anything music related iOS’ code is better set up to prioritise music apps.
If you just want to browse the web, check your social sites and watch a few YouTube videos is there any point in buying a top-of-the-range model with all the bells and whistles? Phones that are a couple of years old will do everything most people want to do and can be less than half the price of the latest models. As with anything, only spend what you’re comfortable with. A facial unlocking system could be the only real difference and could add hundreds to the price
If you watch a lot of videos or like to use apps that benefit from a bigger screen, then a larger screen could interest you. If you just want a phone that easily fits in your pocket you might not need a bigger screen. Think of the practicalities and try them in the shop to find the right size for you.
Colour Quality and Brightness
On a phone screen resolution isn’t hugely important. You probably won’t need a full 4k screen for the distance you are going to be from it. What is more important is how bright it is and the quality of the colours. Look out for phones with HDR for displaying the most colours and IPS-LCD or AMOLED produce vivid images.
Megapixels don’t matter! What does matter in aperture speed (lower is better) and features like dual lenses and optical image stabilisation. If you are addicted to selfies the quality of the front-facing camera will matter. For every other person who isn’t like a baboon with a mirror, this really won’t bother you.
Most smartphone processors are much of a muchness these days. Midrange phones offer processors that are supercomputers, so unless you will be doing intensive 3d and augmented reality things with your phone it won’t matter too much. If you play games a faster processor matters. Aim for a Snapdragon 835 if you’re going Android or A11 Bionic if you’re going Apple. These offer the best performance.
Make sure you buy a phone with a minimum of 32GB storage. 16GB is not worth the outlay as you’ll soon find yourself running out of space very quickly. Standard configurations today are generally 64GB and up to 256GB. Either of these configurations should be fine for the next few years. The more storage you have the more videos, apps and photos you can have on your phone. If this matters to you, buy the most storage you can afford.
Where to buy
There are countless mobile phone dealers. Whether you buy directly from the manufacturer or through a carrier, there will be all kinds of deals on offer.