The Crowdstorm guide to mobile phones
Welcome to our comparison page dedicated to the latest mobile phones.
Here you can compare mobile phones deals and offers from all the leading manufacturers that are available from your favourite and most trusted online and high street retailers.
But choosing the best smartphones isn’t easy, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the ever changing specs and terminology.
So to help you out with done something of a rough guide to help you narrow things down. You’ll still want to click through and read some reviews before you buy, but our guide will help you hone in on exactly what you need.
Types of mobile phone deals
Before we go any further, let’s talk about the kind of phone deal you want to get. At Crowdstorm you’ll find deals on handsets alone which may not be a way you’ve bought a mobile before. In the UK we’re used to getting smartphones ‘free’ on a contract, but you might be surprised this is actually a pretty uncommon way to get one worldwide. Here are the pros and cons:
- Contract deals: These tend to offer a slightly better deal on data and calls, in return for locking you into a deal for a year or more. Don’t be fooled by getting a ‘free’ phone though: the cost of the handset is built into the overall monthly fee you’ll be paying.
- Pay-as-you-go (PAYG)/prepay deals: These cost a little more per minute/MB, but you have the freedom to switch provider whenever you please. Just be sure you have a SIM-free handset (as you’ll get on many deals here), otherwise your phone will be locked to a particular network (as in a contract deal) and you’ll have to pay an extra fee to have it ‘unlocked’.
Prepay can be a real advantage as it allows you to switch phones, and providers, when you choose – and use what you choose. This is particularly important if you live/work in varying areas where signal strength can vary massively, or if your mobile phone needs are well below the high call and data allowances many contracts offer.
Smartphone operating systems (OS)
Next you’ll want to choose an OS. Most people now have either an Android or Apple smartphone, with Android leading the way worldwide.
Android and Apple are comparable in most ways: both have literally millions of apps (yup, scary!) and it’s purely a matter of taste which you go for: there isn’t a right or wrong answer.
If you’re new to buying a smartphone we suggest you ask around your friends and simply ‘have a go’ on their phones, to see what feels most comfortable. Or if a lot of friends use the same system, it’s a good bet to go with that as a beginner – you’ll have people to ask about the best apps, when you get stuck, or if something goes wrong!
But in simple terms: Apple iPhones are cool but expensive; Android phones are made by lots of manufacturers (Samsung, Motorola, Huawei, Sony, HTC, LG etc) and vary massively in price and quality.
Which mobile phone? How to narrow it down
So now we get down to the nitty gritty: how to find the perfect handset. Here are the key things to look out for when looking at those big lists of specifications:
- Price: When buying brand new SIM-free prepay mobile phones, you can pay anything from under £20 to well over £1,000. From around £150 you'll get a fully featured Android handset (such as the popular Motorola Moto G series); but the more you pay, the faster and flashier your phone will be.
- Screen size: The average phone screen size (measured diagonally) has risen from below three inches to more than five in about a decade, but you’ll still find everything from three to seven-inch screens on the market. Experiment with what feels comfortable in your hand – and what is comfortable for reading – before you decide. Again, use your friends’ phones to get a feel for what’s best for you.
- Memory – processor: As with any computer, this operating memory will decide how well your phone can deal with using complex, or multiple apps/processes at once. Look for an absolute minimum of 2GB of RAM but heavy users – or those wanting to play more complex games – should aim for at least 4GB.
- Memory – storage: This will decide how much ‘stuff’ you can fill your smartphone up with – from songs, pictures and films to apps. This can vary greatly, with a song being just a few MB (there are 1,000MB in a GB) while a full film downloaded in HD can be 4GB, so think about what you’ll be using your phone for. Also look to see if the phone has a memory card slot, as this can be a lifesaver for additional storage (if you don’t mind the added cost of cards).
- Battery life: Some mobile phones are notoriously poor when it comes to battery life. If you’re a heavy user and spend a lot of time in places where charging is an issue, be sure to read mobile phone reviews to see how other customers have fared. If there’s an issue with battery life, you’ll soon notice in reviews.
- Camera: Our advice is not to pay too much attention to your phone’s camera. No matter how many megapixels it has, it won’t have great lens – if you want to take great photos, buy a camera! Instead look for fun, happy snapper features (and a flash is always a winner).
- Connectivity: The UK networks are starting to convert from 4G (almost everywhere now) to 5G. 4G is brilliant for the fast transfer of data, so if you’re going to want to take advantage – and you spend a lot of time in a 4G area – you’ll want a 4G capable device. The benefits of 5G aren't expected to arrive in the UK until 2020, but if you're looking currently and don't upgrade often it makes sense to futureproof yourself now.
I’ve found the best smartphone: What’s next?
Don’t worry – the hard part is behind you now! All that’s left to do is click through and buy the phone of your choice.
Remember, Crowdstorm isn’t a retailer: you’ll be buying your mobile phone direct from your favourite online or high street store.
And better still, we don’t add any commission – Crowdstorm makes its money through advertising, so rest assured you’re finding the best online deals available with no hidden charges from us. Enjoy your new mobile!