Mobile phones

How to find the perfect mobile phone for your needs.

Row of people holding smartphones.

Your mobile phone is probably the most important device you own, so we’re here to make sure you choose the right one.

If you're ready to buy a mobile phone, see which models we recommend from our test results or find out how we test mobile phones.

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, so which one is best for you?

The most important questions

When you’re deciding what phone to buy, there are three questions you need to ask yourself. These will narrow down the field dramatically.

What do you currently use?

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 change between Apple (iOS) and Android, you’ll have to re-download, and possibly repurchase, any apps you had. Whether you’re sticking with the same system or changing, both operating systems have a process for copying all your data, such as photos, from an old phone to a new one. It does take a little while but it’s easier than the manual transfer option.

In terms of the device itself, ask yourself what you hate about your current phone. Does it take bad photos? Is it always running out of space? Once you know this, you’ll know what to focus on when looking for 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.

We recommend looking at phones that are slightly higher specced than you think you might need. This helps future-proof your new purchase and it’s also likely that you’ll start using your phone differently if the device is capable. For example, a phone with a better camera might mean you start taking more photos.

Storage space is a big issue for most users. While 64GB is a decent amount for a low-to-average user, if you take a lot of photos you might need more than that. Even apps can take up a lot of room. Luckily, music-streaming services, like Spotify, mean you might not need room for music files.

Are you going to be using it out in the elements? If so, you may want to look at waterproof phones or even ruggedised phones that can survive being dropped (or worse).

If you do a lot of note taking or drawing, look for a model that comes with a stylus pen, like the Samsung Note series.

What are you going to use with it?

Will you be using it with other devices in your house, like laptops? If you have an Apple computer, for example, you may lean towards getting an iPhone as they work better together, rather than an Android.

Are you going to connect the phone to another device, such as headphones? If so, are you going to go for wireless options, or will you need a phone that has a physically compatible plug?

Do you want a case for it? If so, check you can actually get one for the phone you want before buying it.

You also need to think about the network you’ll be using, and specifically whether or not you need 5G. The new technology allows for much faster download speeds, though for most users these speeds aren’t necessary.

We've tested 79 mobile phones.

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