Home Cell Phone Buying Guide – How to Choose the Right Smartphone

Cell Phone Buying Guide – How to Choose the Right Smartphone

cell phone buying guide choose the right smartphone

Buying a new cell phone can be an overwhelming experience. With so many choices available, buyers often find it difficult to narrow down the field. However, your specific needs and budget can help you dictate the best phone for you.

Cell Phone Brands

cell-phone-buying-guide-cell-phone-brandsThe first consideration for many consumers when buying a new cell phone is brand. You may feel a strong loyalty to Lenovo Motorola phones.

Or you may tell yourself you cannot possibly live without the latest Samsung Galaxy. Each year, the list of top-selling phones usually includes offerings from Apple, Samsung, Lenovo Motorola, and Huawei.

With many features available across models, buyers often find it hard to determine if brand really matters. However, many consumers prefer the prestige associated with purchasing a certain brand like the latest Apple iPhone.

Reliability and reputation will also affect the brand selected. For instance, you may feel inclined to choose a Huawei because you have owned phones before from the manufacturer and have never experienced problems.

Phone Styles and Types


When deciding between phone types, you must first choose whether you need a smartphone or not. Smartphones act as portable computers for people on the go.

Features often include GPS, mobile web browsing, email support, and more. A basic phone is marketed to those who merely want a device to keep in touch with contacts through talk and text.

The design of a cell phone is another factor driving your decision. The size and weight of a desired phone will vary from person to person.

Do you like a small device that could easily slip in and out of your pocket? On the other hand, would you prefer a phone with a larger screen to easily read text messages and browse the Internet? A new style of phone is available nicknamed the “phablet.” These phones have minimum screen sizes of five inches or larger.

A final style decision is whether you prefer to have a keypad available on the device. Besides a standard keypad, select phone models have a slide-out full QWERTY keyboard included to quickly type out texts and emails. Most smartphones are offering touch screens with keyboards appearing on screen while in use.

Smartphone Operating Systems

cell-phone-buying-guide-smartphones-and-their-operating-systemsWith many other operating systems now becoming obsolete, most smartphone shoppers are debating between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android.

When choosing an operating system, you will want to compare functionality and availability of applications.

The benefits of iOS include the following:

  • Over a million of apps sold through the App Store
  • Easy to use
  • Consistent updates with newer features added
  • iCloud drive with remote access across Apple devices
  • Built-in apps and security features that allow you to use iPhone out of the box
  • Higher user experience scores
  • Runs faster on speed tests versus Android

A few drawbacks reported by iOS users are:

  • Exclusive to the iPhone
  • Jailbreaking an iPhone permits more customization, but voids warranty
  • iPhones are typically more expensive than most Android devices

The benefits of Android phones include:

  • Operating system is available on many brands of phones including models from Samsung, Motorola, and LG
  • Open source operating system
  • Android allows instant messaging to non-Android phones
  • Desktop widgets availability
  • Over a million of apps sold through Google

Cons of Android phones are:

  • Higher crash rates reported than iOS
  • Most phones run slower on processor speed tests against iOS
  • Older phones may not support Android updates and latest features
  • Less security with the open platform

Although most cell phone buyers choose either an Android or iOS device, there are other choices available.

Windows and Blackberry offer their own respective operating systems. Windows and Blackberry run on a limited number of phones, but do offer unique features. Windows has introduced universal app development while Blackberry has started combining their slide-out keyboard features with Android app functionality.

Phone Carriers

cell-phone-buying-guide-cell-phone-carriersThere are plenty of options available when it comes to cell phone service providers. Customer choices include Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, Boost Mobile, AT & T, and Cricket Wireless.

Coverage area is typically the deciding factor when choosing a provider. Select a provider who has network availability in the locations you are most likely to use the phone.

Referrals from friends and family members can let you know about the reliability of each carrier’s coverage. If they have experience with frequent dropped calls, then you may want to choose a different carrier.

Another consideration is the prices of each available service plan. Providers with smaller networks may have low discounted monthly plans.

For a relatively low fee, you could have unlimited text, talk, and data each month. The trade-off is the service may not be as highly rated as national carriers.

Phone selection is another part of deciding which carrier to use. Not all providers have the same lineup available. Model prices can also vary from carrier to carrier.

Available Cell Phone Plans

When choosing a basic cell phone, your plan choice is straightforward. You will need a text and talk plan based around your total estimated monthly phone usage.

With smartphones, you must include a data plan to receive service. Data plans can be tiered based on estimated usage each month or a flat rate for unlimited data.

Buyers also have the option to have a contract or no-contract plan through providers. With a no-contract plan, you pay month to month and can usually cancel at anytime.

The drawback is service providers typically require you to pay full retail price for a phone. With a one to two-year contract, you may be offered a discounted rate on one of the provider’s phone models.

In the case of cancellation, you are subject to a termination fee. Besides buying a phone, carriers may also adjust the plan’s price if you decide to lease the phone through their company.

Phone Features and More


The features you select are dependent on how you plan to use the phone. For customers who want a phone to double as a camera, they will want to look for devices with a 12-megapixel camera or more and image stabilization.

A front-facing camera is important for anyone who plans to voice chat through apps such as Skype and Facetime. Newer phones are adding front camera flashes to improve quality of selfie shots.

Voice command is another popular feature for smartphones. For instance, Apple’s Siri can help you utilize your phone with only the sound of your voice.

Internal storage has become very important to smartphone owners. When your phone is low on storage, you will need to delete data to make room for more applications, photos, and music.

Most cell phone owners need a minimum of 32 GB to store their data. One of the main complaints of iPhone users is the lack of portable storage options.

The iPhone does not support SD cards while many Android phones offer the extra space. If you need to back up your iPhone, you must do so through iCloud or iTunes.

Check a phone’s battery specifications before purchasing. The talk time and standby time listed by the manufacturer gives you an idea of how long you can use the phone before needing access to a charger.

Additional features cell phone shoppers may consider for their new devices include:

  • Fingerprint sensors
  • Processor speeds
  • Screen quality
  • Heart rate monitors
  • Built-in GPS navigation

We hope that this guide has been helpful in choosing your perfect Cell Phone for Cyber Monday 2017! Make sure to check out our dedicated Cyber Monday Cell Phone Deals page for all of the latest cell phone sales from a variety of retailers & carriers for Cyber Monday 2017!