Your mobile phone is probably the most important device you own. We’re here to make sure you choose the right one – from connectivity to storage and everything in between.
What do you really need in a phone? Some people need a giant screen, a huge processor and as many hi-res cameras as possible. Others just need something basic that can send messages and make calls. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle. Which is best for you?
Things to think about
Apple and Android are essentially the two options when it comes to phones. What are you currently using, and do you want to change?
If you do switch between Apple (iOS) and Android, you’ll have to redownload, and possibly repurchase, any apps you had. Whether you’re sticking with the same system or changing, both have a process for copying all your data, such as photos, from an old phone to a new one.
What will you use it for?
If you’re someone who only needs a phone with the most basic functions or someone who needs every spec to be the highest possible, things are pretty straightforward. It’s the users in between who have to be to be a bit more selective about which phone they pick.
Err toward higher specs. We recommend looking at phones that are slightly more advanced than you think you’ll need, to help future-proof your new purchase. It’s also likely you’ll start using your phone differently if it’s capable. For example, a phone with a better camera might mean you start taking more photos.
Storage space is an issue for most users. While 64GB is a decent amount for a low-level to average user, if you use a lot of apps or film a lot of video, you might need 128GB or even more. Some phones have an SD (secure digital) card slot, which lets you expand storage capacity at a later date.
Water resistance is useful if you’ll use your phone out in the elements. Just know that no phone is truly waterproof. Going one step further, ‘rugged’ phones are designed to survive being dropped (or worse).
If you want a case, check you can actually find one in a store before buying the phone. It’s tough to locate accessories for some obscure brands.
Make sure your phone integrates well with your existing devices, such as laptops and smartwatches. If you have an Apple Mac computer, for example, you may lean towards getting an iPhone as they work better together.
If you’re going to connect to another device and you can’t use a wireless connection, make sure your phone has the right physical ports. For example, headphones require a 3.5mm audio jack.
Think about the network you’ll use, specifically whether you need 5G compatibility. This new wireless tech allows for much faster download speeds, but it’s not currently necessary for most users.
When you’re at home or work, a phone compatible with WiFi 6 is capable of faster uploads and downloads on local networks.
A phone that’s easier to repair decreases waste and supports a circular economy. It’s also likely to save you money in the long run.
We report the French government’s repairability index alongside our test results to indicate how easy phones are to repair.
The index is calculated from criteria including what repair documentation is available, how hard it is to take the phone apart and which spare parts are available. For more information, read our article about the index.
Which mobile phones are most reliable?
We ask thousands of Consumer members about their products to find out which brands are most reliable and satisfying to own. The results are available to members and Digital Pass holders.
Tell us about your broken phone
If your mobile has had any issues, from a cracked screen to a charging failure, we need your help. Take our 3-minute survey to help us learn what’s going wrong.
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