So, you need a new phone huh? Sounds like it should be easy enough- that is until you realise that there are thousands of handsets out there, all boasting features like megapixels, chipsets and gigahertz processors. But don’t panic! Instead, go and get a cup of tea and put your feet up because this guide will teach you everything you need to know when looking for a new phone…

To smartphone or not to smartphone…

Ah, that age old (well, from around 2007) question, should I get a smartphone or a basic phone? And what exactly is a smartphone? To answer that simply, you could say, apps! If your life is governed by emails, Facebook and the latest game of Flappy Bird, then you’re best to opt for a smartphone, which might not be as expensive as you might think.

However, if you only ever turn your phone on in case of an emergency, or hate the modern world of technology, then sticking with a budget phone might be a safer bet.

Which phone should I get? Does size matters?

When it comes down to smartphones the first question on everyone’s lips is size. And in the smartphone world, size matters. Back in the day, the smaller your handset was, the cooler you were, but that’s not necessarily the case anymore.

Smartphones generally come with screens measuring anything from 3.5-inches (measured diagonally) to a whopping 6-inches. So whether you want to be able to read a whole novel on your smartphone or simply slip it into your skinny jeans, size should be your first consideration when buying a new handset.

As a general rule, the bigger a phone is, the more costly its price tag can be (unless you want an iPhone). In the same way, most budget handsets come with a slightly smaller screen than your typical flagship smartphone. So if budget is key in your search for the perfect handset, then this could be a good starting point.

Cameras, megapixels, filters and front lenses

Next on most people’s wish list is a decent camera. The good news is that more or less all smartphones now feature a camera – the only hard part is deciding which one is the best.

What are megapixels?

Megapixels are used to measure the quality of cameras. A megapixel is made up of a million pixels, which are tiny tiles that make up any picture. As a rule, the more megapixels your camera has, the better your photos will be (though be aware that there are many elements other than megapixels which can make one camera better than another too).

Flagship smartphones can boast cameras with anything from 8 megapixels to 41 megapixels, with the average sitting at around the 13 megapixel mark. At the other end of the scale, budget smartphones can feature between 3 megapixels to around a 5 megapixel lens.

What’s a front facing camera for?

A front facing camera is a relatively new phenomenon, triggered by the latest selfie craze. Most smartphones now have a front facing camera, which is also great for making video calls, so while this might not be at the top of your shopping list, a front selfie snapper will always come in handy.

What are filters?

With the arrival of Instagram back in 2010, the world has been going crazy for sprucing your photos up using filters. Filters are simply layers that you can place on top of your photos which jazz up the colours, sharpness and brightness of the image, turning even the most basic of photographers into an artist in seconds.

Most top of the range smartphones offer filters built into their cameras, but if not, Instagram can be downloaded for free. Which brings us nicely onto app stores…

Operating Systems and App Stores

Something that you might not realise is that there are a number of operating systems out there which are used by all the phone manufacturers to power your smartphone.

The main operating systems include

-iOS (made by Apple for the iPhone range)

-Android (made by Google and adopted on the majority of smartphones)

-Windows Phone (which is made by Microsoft and mainly powers Nokia handsets)

-BlackBerry (made, yep you guessed it, by BlackBerry).

There are key differences between all operating systems, and two phones that run Android might even look totally different depending on the handset brand.

Sound confusing? Don’t despair; all you need to know is that all of these operating systems allow you to do exactly the same things, just in different ways. From sending emails to downloading apps, you’ll find it all on whichever smartphone you opt for.

At the moment BlackBerry and Windows Phone are slightly behind Android and iOS when it comes to the number of apps available, but with all the good-time favourites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram available on all four types of smartphone, you might not necessarily be missing out.

What About Wearables?

Wearable technology is a relatively new trend, and one which is catching on fast. If you’re looking at getting a phone which will link with this latest batch of technological goodies you’ll almost certainly need to splash the cash to some extent.

The Apple Watch for example needs an iPhone to work with, so if you’re planning on grabbing a cheap Android phone, you can kiss that Apple Watch goodbye. However, there are some cheaper wearables, like the Pebble, which link with numerous systems, so do your research if you plan on investing!

Sorted!

So there you have it, our simple guide to enable even the most clueless of buyers to select the perfect phone that suits their usage, and most importantly, budget.

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