With the vast range of technology available and different price ranges out there, choosing a new smartphone can be a difficult choice.

Upgrading might have once been easy when a single new model replaced the old one. Now every manufacturer has a new model out every year, with better-than-the-last features and the screens growing ever bigger.

It can feel overwhelming looking at the options, so this guide will show you the four essential features you should look for when choosing a new smartphone.

Camera quality

In recent research, 32% of 25-34 year old age group said that camera quality was the most important factor when they were buying a new smartphone. The quality available on the market is of incredibly high standard, and 20% of users in the UK have switched to Android phones because of the superior camera quality in their recent models.

If you are someone who wants to use your phone for photography or social media content, then the camera you have in your pocket could be the most important factor when choosing a new phone.

Screen size

Smartphones have been getting bigger. Most up to date handsets are between 5.5 and 6 inches, compared to the mere 3.5 inch screen of the iPhone available 10 years ago.

If you are someone who watches a lot of video content, plays games, or uses your phone to watch TV and film, then the bigger the screen the better.

However, a lot of people would prefer a phone they can use comfortably in one hand and so a small handset would be preferable. A lot of recent phone models, such as the iPhone 12, actually come in ‘mini’ versions, with the same operating power and technology, just in a smaller package.

Gone are the days of having the useable screen centred, with a border on the handset – now the screen reaches to the very edge of the phone to maximise the screen capacity. So, if you want something comfortable to hold, and fit in your pocket, then a smaller handset will still provide you with as much screen space as possible.


If you are someone who takes a lot of photos or videos, or potentially who uses your phone for work purposes as well as personal, then you may need to take the storage capacity of a handset into consideration.

Look at your current phone storage and see what apps are taking up the most room. Consider the following:

  • What apps could you go without?
  • Could you streamline the way you use your phone (for example, don’t use it for work purposes)
  • Could you be more efficient with your storage (such as deleting old text conversations etc.)

Ask yourself these questions and see if you could manage on your current storage, or if you need to get a higher storage capacity handset.

Using a cloud system to store old pictures may be a way you can use a lower storage phone, as it usually costs less than the higher capacity equivalent.

Data packages – 4G vs 5G

4G has been around for decade, and even some rural areas still get poor signal. 5G is now available and in theory, can be much faster than 4G is. But is this important to you? If you are someone who travels a lot this might be an important factor when choosing your new phone.

Look at what your package offers. How much data do you get and is the handset compatible with the data you can get? Some older handsets may not even be able to get 5G but if you aren’t too bothered about having the most up to date technology, then it could be a wise choice to choose an older handset that is not 5G compatible in order to save some money.

To sum up, there are many factors that go into a phone purchase decision. It’s one of the more expensive buys you’ll make across your lifetime, and you’ll be using it every day so it’s important to know what features are most important to you before you make your choice.

Independent journalist. Naval defense analyst. Privacy, security and the right to be forgotten.

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