Choosing your next smartphone can be a terrifying ordeal, as pick the wrong one, and you can look forward to 2 years of frustration, helplessness and an overwhelming hatred for your chosen device. Here at DialToSave, we thought we’d give you a little helping hand.
Before you choose your desired features, you first need to decide how much you’re willing to fork out for your them, otherwise you could end up very disappointed at the end of it all after you’ve decided you want a 4 inch superphone on a £5.00/month budget. Picking the right deal is entirely about choosing a contract that matches up to your habits, and you need to decide whether to opt for pay monthly or pay as you go:
Pay monthly: Pay monthly plans make up the vast majority of mobile deals currently available, and will offer you the choice of a 12, 18, 24 or 36 month plan. You can choose the number of minutes and texts you would like, alongside your desired data allowance, and although some deals will try and charge you for the handset, this is usually avoidable. Pay monthly contracts are not so good for those of you who don’t like to be tied down, however.
Pay as you go: A PAYG deal will only charge you for the calls that are made – without a monthly line rental fee, allowing you to keep a better eye on your spending. However, you will have to fork out more for the handset, and per minute call and text costs on prepaid deals are often more expensive than those found on a pay monthly contract. Perfect for occasional use, though!
Cashback & Free Gifts: OK, so you’ve picked a £25.00/month limit, but you may be able to get a lot more for your money than you were originally expecting by taking advantage of Cashback Deals and Free Gifts. There’s no need to look at the official cost of the deal, as choosing one with £200.00 automatic cashback will hugely lower your average monthly cost. View it as a discount, rather than just an added bonus!
When you’re choosing a mobile phone, you’re also choosing the platform or operating system that powers it – such as Android, Bada, BlackBerry, iOS 4, Symbian or Windows Phone 7. This software is the brains behind everything your phone does, so we’ve outlined the crucial points of each to help you get it right.
Android: This is a platform developed by Google, and to put it simply, there’s an Android phone to suit pretty much every taste and budget. The Android Market houses around 100,000 apps, and the majority are free of charge.
Bada: Bada is the operating system developed by Samsung for use on its own phones. It’s a fairly new platform, so the range of apps available is limited. The OS is available on a wide range of Samsung handsets, although it may not be the best choice for those of you after a high-end smartphone.
Blackberry: Aimed mainly at business users, Blackberry OS is most famous for providing high-quality email and instant messaging services between BlackBerry phones. There are over 5,000 apps currently available in the Blackberry App World.
iOS: Apple‘s iOS will only be found on the iPhone, possibly the most notorious smartphone available. It’s been described as the most “advanced mobile operating system”, and has been designed for ease of use. iPhone users have access to over 300,000 apps in the iTunes Store, including all of the most popular ones.
Symbian: Symbian is the obvious choice for Nokia fans, and is the world’s most popular OS. It’s renowned for its multimedia compatibility, and is home to over 10,000 apps. Symbian^3 is a complete overhaul of the system making it more relevant to modern smartphones.
Windows Phone 7: Microsoft’s recently launched OS has an all-new user interface that combines content in hubs for pictures, people, music and video, and games. It includes bags loads of Microsoft tools, including Xbox Live gaming, but is still lacking in apps compared to its competitors.
Touchscreens have been around for years now, and there’s a reason why QWERTY keys and numberpads keep re-appearing. Some touchscreens, such as that of the iPhone 4, are fantastically responsive, but some people simply prefer the tactile responsiveness of physical keys. If you fall into this category, you have 2 options: A full QWERTY keypad or a trusty alphanumeric keypad.
If you can’t decide between a touchscreen or a physical keypad, why not push the boat out and get both! A new wave of handsets have brought both QWERTY and a full touchscreen together, providing you with the comfort of physical keys AND the functionality of a touchscreen – such as the HTC Desire Z and the Motorola Milestone 2.
Addicted to Twitter? Facebook fanatic? If so, you’ll probably want a handset with 3G, HSDPA and WiFi connectivity, which is offered on just about every high-end smartphone on the market.
For those of you who are big users of your mobile browser and social networking widgets, we’d recommend aiming for HSDPA connectivity, rather than settling for slower 3G speeds. HSDPA connectivity offers download speeds of 7.2Mbps on average, double the average 3.6Mbps speed produced by a 3G connection. If you’re after a handset primarily for calling and texting – there’s no need to worry about your connectivity options.
When choosing your Internet options, make sure you pick a suitable data allowance if opting for a pay monthly deal. For example, 1MB of data is equivalent to browsing 20 web pages, downloading 10 games or sending 100 basic emails. Don’t worry! Most networks will offer you 500MB or 1GB of data (1000MB) per month.
Once you’ve got those options sorted, it’s time to add on those personal touches, and decide the little things that are important to you.
If you’re big on taking photos, a mobile phone with a decent camera is an obvious choice. Smartphones can offer anything up to a 12 megapixel camera, and some sport features that you would find on a high-end digital camera. These can include: a Xenon flash, HD video capture, face detection and autofocus.
Music lovers need not worry, as most modern smartphones will come equipped with an integrated MP3 player. However, the handset’s storage is definitely an option to consider. If you’re looking to cart around your whole music collection, you’ll ideally need a phone with either 8, 16 or 32GB of storage. However, some handsets that come with a measly internal memory which can often be expanded via microSD cards of up to 32GB in size.
GPS navigation is another “must have” smartphone feature for a lot of people, but it’s crucial to back this up with fast internet speeds and a decent data allowance.
Done? Good. Here at DialToSave, we have all the necessary tools to help you tick that list of essential features, while helping you to stick to your original budget.
- First of all, visit our Find Handsets page, in which you can use the Features Selector to make sure your smartphone comes with all of you chosen functions. e.g. Android OS, a slide out QWERTY and a 10 megapixel camera.
- From there, click on the smartphone of your choice, read a bit more about it including our reviews, and then select the Deals link.
- If you’re stuck choosing between two phones then you can compare the specifications side by side.
- From the deals page for that handset (e.g. Nokia N8 deals, HTC Desire Z deals), we provide you with all the essential tools for getting the most for you money. By altering the sliders, you can select your maximum budget, minutes, texts and desired data allowance. You can even select the maximum contract length – and we wouldn’t recommend choosing anything about 24 months! There’s bound to be a brand new handset that’ll tickle your fancy by then!
- If you’re in a rush, you can also just browse our most popular deals or our cheapest deals across all handsets.
If you opt for that sparkly pink, diamonte smartphone – we won’t think any less of you. Well, maybe a little bit.