Mobile phone buying guide
From basic mobiles to the latest smartphones, our guide will help you find the phone that's best for you.
What type of phone shall I get?
There are two types; basic mobile phones and smartphones. Prices range from £10 to over £800 and choosing the right one depends on what you're going to use it for.
Basic mobile phones
- Perfect for basics like calls and texts
- Longer battery life
- No touchscreen or smart features
- Generally cheaper than most smartphones
- Smart features at a lower price
- Capable of everyday tasks
- May lack the latest tech and highest specs
- Smooth performance and top features
- The latest flagship products from leading brands
- Up-to-date technology
SIM Free or pay as you go?
Most phones need a SIM card to make calls, send messages and use data. We offer two options for this; pay as you go phones and SIM free phones.
Pay as you go phones
- Choose a phone and network provider together
- No monthly contract
- Top up your credit when you want and by how much you want
SIM free phones
- You need to buy a SIM card to go with your phone
- Usually a monthly usage contract
- Estimate how many texts, minutes and data you'll use each month before purchase
Top tip: There are three types of SIM card; nano, micro and standard. Before buying a SIM card, you can check our product pages to find out what type of SIM each phone takes.
Using your phone abroad
Going abroad with your phone? Check with your provider about costs as your monthly usage plan probably won't cover you overseas and you could come back from your holiday with unexpected charges.
Smartphones are essentially pocket computers and our guide is here to help you understand the specs and what features to look out for.
What is an operating system?
The operating system defines the layout, features and usability of your phone. There are 3 main operating systems; Android, iOS and Windows.
Android, iOS or Windows – What's the difference?
- Only used in Apple products
- Simple layout and smooth performance
- Sync with other Apple devices
- Apple app store has around 2 million apps
- Operating system used by various brands, including Samsung, Sony & LG
- Good choice of devices, with varying specifications and prices
- Home screen is easy to personalise
- Google Play Store has over 2 million apps
- Tiled home screen layout is good for organisation
- Simple to transfer files between Microsoft laptops, tablets and desktops
- Limited selection of mobiles
- App store has over 500,000 apps
If you want to view them all we have a wide range of mobile phones to choose from.
What size phone should I get?
Phones with smaller screens are likely to sit more comfortably in your hand. Larger phones are more suitable for work and if you use your mobile to watch lots of videos, as you'll get a bigger screen.
Top tip: If you're worried about a phone being too big, some brands have compact versions that pack all the main features into a smaller design.
Phone Specifications Guide
When it comes to smartphones, it's what underneath that matters and it's vital to choose one with the right camera, connectivity and specifications to suit your needs.
If your phone is your main way to take photos, a good camera is a must. Most phones have two cameras; a front one for selfies and a rear camera for everything else.
Megapixels – Generally, the more megapixels a camera has, the better picture quality you'll get.
Auto-focus – Gives clearer results by helping the camera concentrate on people or objects.
Image stabilisation – Prevents blurry images by compensating for camera movement.
4K video – Some smartphones can now record videos in 4K – the highest quality of video recording.
How much storage do I need?
Most phones come with built-in storage, but the amount you need depends on how much you plan to keep saved.
Low usage – 8GB to 16GB – Basic file, app and image saving.
Medium usage – 16GB to 32GB – Ample storage for music, some videos, apps and games.
High usage – 64GB – Space for TV shows, films and a large music collection.
Top tip – Most phones come with pre-installed software which can take up a portion of storage. This means a phone with 16GB might only have 12GB free.
What if I need more storage?
If your phone has a MicroSD slot, you can add more storage with a memory card.
Top tip: Some smartphones come with free online cloud storage, helping to free up space and letting you access your files whenever you need them.
What type of processor do I need?
Processors determine how well your phone can multi-task. The more cores a processor has, the more things it can do at once. You can find out what processor a phone has on individual product pages.
Does RAM matter when it comes to smartphones?
Yes! More RAM (random access memory) should mean better performance and smoother
multi-tasking. 2GB RAM will offer a noticeable improvement over phones with 1GB. Some models offer up to 4GB and 6GB if you're after strong gaming and multi-tasking performance.
Here are some of the key features to look out for when searching for your new mobile.
Fingerprint sensor and retinal scanning – Sensors add an extra layer of security to your mobile, meaning the only person who can get into your phone, is you.
Dual SIM – Manage two different SIM cards on your phone. Great for separating work and personal use.
Battery Life – Mobiles have varying battery life and if you're constantly on-the-go, you may need one that'll last longer. Specifications and performance can impact battery life, so we recommend you check individual product pages for more information about how long a phone will last between charges.
Waterproofing – Many phones are now waterproof, giving you protection against wet weather and accidental drops into water.
Essential extras for mobiles
Once you've picked a phone, there are a number of important extras that will make your mobile experience even better.
It's important to protect your phone against drops and bumps. We offer cases in a range of sizes and designs, while some are waterproof or hard-wearing and others feature artistic designs or LED lights.
If your phone doesn't come with a charger, there's a range of mains, USB and super-fast lightning chargers you can buy.
Power packs and wireless power pads let you stay charged when you're out and about.
Increases the amount of storage space your phone has.
Prevents damage and scratches to your phone's screen.
Delivery and collection
If you've settled on which type of mobile to buy, then you're ready to shop. Still not quite sure? Our Customer Services team will be happy to give you more information and advice.
We'll deliver your mobile for as little as £3.95.
Collect in-store for free
Buy online and collect in-store in as little as 60 seconds from our dedicated counter.
Same Day Delivery
Buy online before 6pm and we'll deliver by 10pm for only £3.95, 7 days a week.
Reserve your mobile computer online and collect and pay for it in-store.