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What phone should I get? How to choose a mobile phone

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Choosing a new phone can be a big commitment, and a scary one too, if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. To help you, out we’ve put together this handy guide for choosing a mobile phone, so you know what your main choices are and what to look out for in a phone.

Step 1: Choose your network

The first thing you need to do when selecting a smartphone is to choose your network. The top things to think about are the network coverage and the customer satisfaction. Obviously, you’ll need to make sure that your area is covered by your provider, so your phone will work reliably, and customer reviews are the perfect way to get an overview of what it is like to have a phone on that network.

Find out if your area is covered with our Tesco Mobile coverage checker and browse our independently collected Tesco Mobile reviews today.

Step 2: Android or iPhone?

It seems strange that one of the biggest choices you have to make when picking a phone is what operating system to use, but it’s definitely true. The big two options are between Android and iPhone, and while there are a few other choices, they aren’t as popular and don’t have as much support.

There’s quite a big difference between the two with Apple’s iOS being famous for ease of use, while Android is popular for its customisability and high degree of control. Both types offer good integration with their parent companies, so if you own an iPad already an iPhone could be a great choice, and if you’re always using Google’s tools such as Google Drive and Gmail, then an Android device might be the better pick.

It really comes down to what you are looking for in a phone – a simple intuitive interface, or the freedom to customise your phone to suit you. Whether you end up with Google’s powerful AI assistant, or Apple’s incredibly convenient FaceTime, make the choice that is right for you.

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Step 3: Set your budget

Smartphone prices can vary hugely depending on how new a model you are looking for and what you are looking for from your contract. It’s a good idea to work out what you’re willing to pay in advance – whether that is a budget £10 per month phone or a high-end £44 per month option.

Be aware that the lower your budget, the fewer features you’ll be able to afford – with the cheapest plans only giving you limited call minutes and texts, without data.

Step 4: Look at specs

Finally, we’re at the point where you can start looking at models.

There are some things that are pretty much essentials when looking at phone specifications. For one, you want to make sure that the phone has at least 32GB of storage – most people will need more storage than they first think and if you want to have a good amount for photos, videos, and files. You should also make sure to have at least 2GB of RAM if you want your phone to be properly responsive and function well.

If you are keen on taking photos with your new phone, then you should focus on features such as a low aperture, dual lenses, or optical image stabilisation – the sheer number of megapixels at this point is not really a factor anymore.

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Step 5: Other considerations and features to look out for

Make sure you know what phone size is right for you; if you want something that can easily and comfortably fit into your pocket, then you should look for a phone with a screen size up to 5-inches. Or, if you are looking for a large ‘phablet’ that you can use to read on, and take video calls easier, then you could choose a phone over 5.5-inches.

Also, look out for convenient features that might appeal to you, such as built-in fingerprint scanners for quick and secure unlocking, or fast-charging, so you don’t have to wait when you’re phone runs out of battery.

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