Smartphones have become increasingly popular over the course of the decade and let’s be honest it’s hard to see anyone without a smartphone in their hand. Smartphones offer phone users a wide variety of features, including a range of different apps, professional photos, Internet browsing, fun ways to communicate, and more. Basically, it’s a computer in your pocket.

Whether it’s upgrading or first-time buying, it’s never easy to decide which one to pick, thanks to the variety of smartphones on the market. So, here are seven question to consider before buying a smartphone.

1. What operating system should I choose?

One of the most important aspects to consider before buying a smartphone is the operating system (OS). A mobile OS will determine the look, feel, and function of your phone. The two operating systems to choose from are: iOS and Android.

iOS

iOS is Apple’s mobile operating system and it’s used to run their iPhones, and any of their touch products including iPad, iPod, and Apple Watch. This OS uses a multi-touch function to operate the device (by swiping or pinching your finger across the screen). Apple iOS is not allowed to be used by third-parties, therefore you’re restricted to only using Apple-approved products, services, and apps.

Pros:

  1. Offers a user-friendly interface.
  2. As of 2018, there are over two million apps to choose from in the Apple App Store.
  3. Apple is always updating older and newer versions of its phones.

Android

Android is owned by Google and is dominating the smartphone market. It uses an open-source OS, which means developers can unlock features of the phone to modify or develop programs. This means it’s open for people to develop apps for the phone, which can give users access to loads of free content.

Pros:

  1. This OS is gives you more options in the market as it’s used on a wide range of devices, such as LG, Samsung, HTC, Sony, and Motorola.
  2. Android offer an extensive selection of free mobile apps to download.
  3. Android allows the user to have more control over the appearance of their home screen.
  4. Uses widgets, which allows users to get quick glances of an app’s information without fully opening the app.

2. What screen size is best for me?

After considering the operating system, the next thing that usually comes to mind is the display. Phone manufactures all compete to offer the best screen possible in terms of: size, display technology, and resolution.

Before buying a smartphone, it’s important to consider what you’ll be using it for. For instance, if you know you’ll be wanting to view pictures and watch videos, you’ll want to spend the extra money to opt for the larger, high-res screen. But of course, larger screens are more prone to scratches and cracks.

3. What’s the battery life?

Battery life is key when considering which smartphone to purchase. Before making your decision, it’s important to read reviews online about what other’s have experienced in terms of their phone’s battery life since this may give you a heads up of what phones you might want to avoid. Although, battery life really comes down to how much you’ll be using the phone, if you’re constantly watching videos or using your phone’s apps, it will quickly drain your battery. Also, if you keep 4G on throughout the day, do not expect your battery to last very long.

Also, according to Tech Advisor, phones with QHD displays are more prone to draining your battery than phones with lower resolutions. Therefore, if battery life is more important for you, you may want to opt for the lower resolution screen (it will cost less too).

4. How’s the quality of the camera?

More and more people are using their smartphones to take pictures, and some might say that there are versions of smartphones that takes just as great of photos as professional cameras. Many of the smartphones on the market offer a 13-megapixel camera or higher, this is fine if you want to capture moments for personal use. However, if the professional looking photos are important to you, you’ll want to consider things like: image quality, camera speed, and features like autofocus and aperture.

Google has put a lot of camera development into their Pixel 2/Pixel XL Smartphones. According to Digital Trends, the camera has “lightning fact focus” and “produces sharp, detailed photos in a wide range of settings.”

There’s also the iPhone X, which according the Digital Trends, is Apple’s top performing camera yet. This smartphone offers duel cameras rated at 12-megapixels and offers the best optimal zoom on the market.

5. How much storage do I need?

Hopefully by now you know what kind of smartphone user you are, as this will help you to decide how much storage you will need. For example, if you know that you only want to use your phone to place calls, texts, and use a few apps, then there is no need to spend the money for the extra storage, a phone with a 16GB internal memory will do. However, if you’re planning on storing music, videos, and pictures on your phone you will want to consider a 64 or 128GB.

6. Carrier or unlocked phone?

You’ll also want to consider how you will be getting your smartphone. You have two options: buying an unlocked phone or signing a contract with a carrier to get a brand-new device.

If you go the carrier route, then depending on the type of smartphone you want, you’ll have to pick a carrier that offers that phone.

Buying an unlocked phone allows you to have more choice when it comes to models, carriers, or plans — not to mention this option is a lot cheaper. An unlocked phone is not tied to a certain carrier or contract, this gives you the option to shop around for the better plans on the market.

So, the question now is, how much are you willing to spend on a new or unlocked phone?

7. When is the best time to buy?

There’s nothing more disappointing then buying a smartphone only to find out a new model is set to release in the coming months. Therefore, it’s very important to consider when to buy a smartphone (unless your phone fell off your bedside table and you can barely see what you’re texting). According to Tech Advisor, when it comes to upgrading or buying a new phone it could pay to wait.

Here are some dates to consider:

  • Galaxy Note 9 is set to launch on August 9, 2018
  • Galaxy X is set to release January 2019
  • Look out for the Galaxy S10 and S10+ on 24 February 2019
  • Rumor has it that the new iPhone for 2018 will be announced in September 2018.