How to choose a smartphone

Need a phone? We’ll help you find the one that’s right for you

For a more in-depth look at what the smartphone market has to offer, take a look at our guides for the best smartphones, best Android phones, and best cheap smartphones.

Figure out what your needs are

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There are a lot of different things to consider when you’re buying a new smartphone. Do you need a phone with a large screen? Maybe you prefer something that you can use one-handed? Are you looking for long battery life or the best camera phone you can find? Do you need a lot of storage for your music collection? Maybe you’re a frequent traveler and a dual-SIM phone would be useful?

Start by drafting a list of the most important features for you and use it to compare devices to ensure your new smartphone ticks all of your boxes.

Choose an operating system

iOS 11 review

There are really only two smartphone operating systems worth considering today: Android and iOS.

Both are easy to use and support a wide variety of apps and games. While you can change from Android to iOS, or from iPhone to Android, there is a learning curve. You’ll be most instantly at home on whatever platform you’re used to.

Android offers a wider choice of devices at different prices, it offers more customization options, and Google’s excellent suite of services and apps is built in. If you already use things like Google Maps, Gmail, and Google Docs, then Android will be the better choice for you. It also features the best virtual assistant — Google Assistant — which is growing more useful all the time.

Apple’s iOS offers a more uniform, accessible experience, it’s more secure, and the App Store experience and quality of apps is slightly better. If you already have a MacBook or an iPad, then an iPhone is probably going to make the most sense for you. You’ll also find an enormous choice of accessories for iPhones, something that can be limited for lesser-known Android devices.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the top two smartphone platforms check out our guide to Android vs. iOS, where we put them head-to-head in various categories.