Your Guide to Buying a Mobile Phone

With so many new mobile phones to choose from, it can be tough to decide which one to buy! There are countless variables in specifications including screen size and resolution, storage capacity, RAM and processor speed, cameras and differences in software.

This smartphone buying guide will help you make the best decision when purchasing a new phone.

Phone Specifications Explained

Processor

The processor performs every function and operation on your phone. Opening an app, taking a photo, playing some music, sending a text message - these all use the processor. A phone's processor is measured on how fast it is, and how many 'cores' it has. Each core inside a processor can work on separate functions on your phone, meaning they can perform complex functions more efficiently.

Storage

RAM: Random access memory is a fast type of storage that allows you to access a small number of files and processes quickly at any one time. This is frequently used if you often switch between apps. 

Internal Storage: Your storage is where most of your data is kept. This includes the phone's operating system, system apps, any other app data, messages, songs, photos and other media. Most smartphones will include 4GB to 512GB of storage space, however some may have less or more.

Screen size and resolution

Screen size: With media consumption on phones becoming increasingly popular, phones are getting larger and larger. Screen size is measured diagonally across the screen.

Resolution: Is how many pixels are on a screen. The more pixels there are, the sharper and higher quality images on your phone would look.

Cameras

Smartphone cameras are getting so good these days you don't even need to have a separate point-and-shoot camera. However, there are a few things you need to take into consideration:

Camera Resolution: the resolution determines the number of pixels a photo or video will have. The higher the megapixel count, the more pixels the camera captures.

Number of Cameras: some phones come with multiple rear cameras that perform different functions. Some act as depth sensors to give extra data to the main camera. Others are telephoto which provide extra zoom, or wide-angle which provide a slight fish-eye effect and allow you to get more into a shot.

Optical Image Stabilisation: Some cameras come with something called OIS, which helps rid the photo of any blurring due to rough handling of the phone. A camera lens with OIS will make tiny movements to counteract the phone moving and produce an image with less blur.

Aperture: The aperture of a camera controls how much light is let into the sensor. The higher the measurement, the less light is let in. A photo taken with a measurement of f/1.6 will take in much more light than a photo with an f/3.4 lens. Camera sensors that specialise in low-light performance will have a higher aperture.

Battery Capacity

Smartphones have a wide range of battery sizes, usually ranging from 1500mAh and up. Power users that frequently have media apps such as video games, Instagram or YouTube open are going to want to opt for a phone with a large battery size. Those who use their phone for just the basics - infrequent calls, messages and the odd email or two - will be fine with phones with more compact batteries.