Mobile phone finder

The latest from the world of mobile phones – read in-depth guides and reviews to help you find the right mobile handset.

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What to consider when choosing a new mobile phone

Whether you’re picking up a top of the line phone or just a cheap prepaid device, there are a number of factors you should consider before you make your purchase:

  • Price: While this won’t necessarily stop you from choosing the device you want, it will have an impact on the type of phone you can afford. Many of today’s flagships cost over £700 outright, or are subject to significantly larger monthly payments if you’re picking up the phone on contract. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up cheap phones from retail partners if you shop around, which can help ease the strain on your wallet.
  • Operating System: For all intents and purposes, there are two mobile operating systems to choose from, Google’s Android platform or Apple’s iOS. While Windows Phone technically still exists, it accounts for less than 5% of UK market share, and other custom operating systems are also too small to consider as a viable choice. The choice between the two platforms comes down to a matter of preference for hardware, with iOS exclusively on offer for iPhones, while Android is on the vast majority of other UK smartphones.
  • Screen size: The trend over the past few years has definitely tended towards the “bigger is better” mantra, with phone screens approaching 6 inches on the diagonal. Having a bigger screen makes reading text and watching videos easier, but drains the battery faster and can be difficult to control one handed.
  • Screen resolution: Smartphone screen technology has come a long way in the past few years, with the ability to get devices with 4K capable screens now possible. For the most part those resolutions are wasted on a device smaller than 6 inches, but it’s worth comparing the Pixels Per Inch (PPI) specification to see just how many pixels the manufacturer was able to cram into an inch, with more pixels generally resulting in a crisper image on screen.
  • App availability: This is tied to the operating system, but can definitely be a deal breaker. While many popular apps are available for both iOS and Android platforms, there are still plenty of examples of apps and games that are only available on one platform. If those apps are important to you, you should ensure you choose a phone that will offer the app in question.
  • Battery life: Battery life is the one feature of smartphones that hasn’t really changed significantly. While manufacturers have managed to offer improvements through both cramming more battery into larger phones, and reducing battery consumption through smarter software, battery technology still remains largely the same as it was when Apple launched the first iPhone. For a full day’s battery life, you should probably focus on phones with 3,000mAh or more.
  • Camera: The smartphone camera has all but replaced the compact digital camera market, and the quality of phone photos gets better every year. It’s not all about megapixels though, with sensor size and twin lens technologies helping make smartphone pictures even better.
  • Storage: If you’re buying a phone that’s going to house your entire life, from contacts to photos and videos and everything in between, you need to make sure you have enough storage to keep it all. Lower storage devices are cheaper, but look for an expandable memory microSD slot so you can expand the capacity at will. Alternatively, look for a higher capacity device.
  • Contract availability: Chances are, not all phones will be available on the contract you’re considering. If you can’t grab a phone on contract, be prepared to pay more for the phone up front. This will likely save you money in the long run, however.
We show offers we can track - that's not every product on the market...yet. Unless we've said otherwise, products are in no particular order. The terms "best", "top", "cheap" (and variations of these) aren't ratings, though we always explain what's great about a product when we highlight it. This is subject to our terms of use. When you make major financial decisions, consider getting independent financial advice. Always consider your own circumstances when you compare products so you get what's right for you.

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2 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    geoffNovember 2, 2018

    I encounter many poor signal areas including at my home. How can I find a cell phone handset with the best performance in such areas. Most reviews focus on trivial attributes but RF performance seems to be largely ignored! Thanks, Geoff

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JoshuaNovember 19, 2018Staff

      Hi Geoff,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder. I hope all is well with you. :)

      While it is true that the phone model could potentially affect the quality of your signal, it is really more about the signal coverage of your carrier. Thus, it is not surprising that most phone reviews don’t focus so much on its ability to acquire signal since it is more dependent on how your carrier covers your area.

      What I can suggest is for you to ask around your neighborhood and see which carrier they are with. If there’s really no carrier that provides a good signal in your area, then you might just have to wait until telcos would be able to meet your needs. Moreover, you can also reach out to telcos and suggest that they improve their signal coverage in your area.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!


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