In a world of innumerous phone brands, models and features, you might find it hard at first where to start and what to consider when buying a brand-new device for the first time or replace your old one. The guide below will cover the essentials in a few tips that everyone should look for before they buy a new cell phone.

Operating System

Nowadays there are two major OS that have consolidated in the market. iOS, for the iPhone users, is great if you’re looking for overall simplicity and quick updates. If you’re looking for different hardware options and more affordable prices, then Android should be your pick, as it’s the OS available for pretty much all other devices, like the Samsung Galaxy or the Google Pixel.


The iPhone 11 Pro and Android models like the Samsung Galaxy or the Huawei Mate 30 Pro are some of the most expensive smartphones out there, costing around $1,000, and should offer you the best overall specs available. But what you should pay attention is that if you actually need to pay for all that. Perhaps if you’re looking for just a good camera and a decent battery life, then the Xiaomi and Motorola models that cost up to $500 could be better options for your needs. Sometimes, these models can actually have better individual features than the more expensive phones as they are from less ‘hyped’ brands.

Screen size

If you use your phone to watch videos, play games or you just have big hands, then screens at 5.5’ or above should be the perfect size. Smaller screens in the 5’ range should be the best fit for those looking for a compact phone for their small hands. You should always physically hold the phone in your hand before buying it to see if it’s the right size for you.


As more and more people use their phones as their main camera, this aspect has become one of the most important when choosing a model nowadays. High megapixels sound impressive at first, but you should also look at other specs like image quality, shutter speed, aperture size and other features. Likewise, some more expensive devices have multiple lenses for different purposes (the Nokia 9 PureView comes with five!) and could be a very good option if you are an amateur photographer.

Other specs

Processor capacity and RAM size are very important if you enjoy using multiple apps and playing high-performance games. Display quality and brightness matter for those looking for sharp colors and lots of viewing angles. Phones that come with AMOLED Display and with HDR support will be the best options out there. Battery size in mAh matters a lot depending on the other specs the device has, as drainage should be higher with bigger screens and processors. Additionally, check if your device has fast or wireless charging options for saving time and convenience.


You probably don’t care about all these intricate features, find the touchscreen interface complicated, hate seeing notifications all the time or just don’t want to spend a lot of money in the devices and data plans. Is there an option for you? Yes, there is. Brands like Alcatel, Kyocera and Nokia have old school looking models with physical buttons, incredible battery life and should feature the basics, like calling, sending SMS and listening to music. Although it may be quite hard to find models with good cameras or that includes GPS, significant internal storage or even Wi-Fi support.

No matter what new phone you buy, please note that if you’re replacing your current device, some carriers and brands offer trade-in options for a discount in a new device purchase. So don’t throw out that old phone sitting in your drawer, even if it has dents and cracks! Always check with multiple carriers the offered plans, as they can offer good discounts in plans whether you want to purchase individual data packages or an unlimited plan. Smaller carriers should have better prices but might not work flawlessly everywhere.

Lauren Sanchez - Author

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