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Choosing a new phone

If you want a top-quality camera, speedy 5G or you're on a budget, we’ve found the best of the bunch.

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Choosing a new phone

Whether you’re making a beeline for a specific feature or haven’t a clue where to begin, we’ve simplified head-spinning jargon for easier decision making.

Latest phones and 5G

What is 5G?

  • 5G is the latest and fastest way of accessing the internet on your phone.
  • It enables faster downloads, a more reliable connection and greater bandwidth.
  • To put it in perspective, 4G takes approx. 7 minutes to download a full HD film, whereas 5G typically takes less than 1 minute.
  • Not all phones are 5G enabled and not all locations in the UK currently cover this speed.

Here are our top 5G phones

 

    Best camera phones

    The camera has become one of the defining features of any smartphone. We’ve picked out some key features to look out for and top brands making waves with their camera phones.

      Apple

      iPhone 11:

      • iPhone 11 has 12MP ultra-wide and wide cameras. Capture more of the landscape and get all the family in the frame.
      • Ideal for action shots, great for gigs. 4K video shoots super sharp clips, and if you zoom in, the audio zooms in too.
      • Night mode allows you to shoot in low lights without a flash and still get all the details.
      • Portrait mode provides more lighting controls and options to edit your pic to perfection – as if you’re in a studio.
      • Smart HDR naturally accentuates details of the subject and their surroundings without sacrificing the quality.
      • Slofie lets you put your selfie in slo-mo, and if you turn your phone to landscape, you can fit more in. 

      Shop iPhone 11

      iPhone 11 Pro:

      • The only difference between the iPhone 11 and 11Pro is that 11Pro also has a telephoto camera to zoom in for crisp close-ups.

      Shop iPhone 11 Pro

      Learn more about iPhone range

        Samsung

        Galaxy S20 & S20+5G:

        • 12MP ultra-wide & wide-angle cameras to fit the full view and all the family in the frame – no cropped faces today!
        • 64MP telephoto camera to zoom right in without compromising on quality.
        • Bright night makes your night time pic clearer and sharper.
        • 40MP selfie camera for super detailed selfies.
        • 8K video for ultra-sharp moving images. You can even snap 33MP stills from your videos.
        • Sophisticated AI stabilises your action shots to reduce the cameras movement, so your footage won’t be blurry.

        Galaxy S20 Ultra:

        • The only difference between the S20 and S20 Ultra is that the S20 Ultra ups the ante with a 108MP wide camera for unbelievably sharp shots.

        Huawei

        P30 PRO:

        • 20MP ultra-wide angle lens -  capture the widest of landscapes.
        • 40MP wide-angle lens - less squeezing together and more posing.
        • 8MP telephoto lens – get closer without compromising on quality.
        • Huawei TOF (time of flight) - lets you customise camera focus.
        • 32MP selfie camera - for top quality selfies.
        • 4K ultra HD – crisp videos even while the subject’s moving.
        • 50x zoom – bringing what’s far away right in front of you.

        Shop P30 PRO

          SIM free & SIM only

          What is a SIM free phone?

          • A SIM free phone doesn’t come with a SIM card included. You buy the phone outright, then have to buy the sim card separately.
          • The benefit of a SIM free phone is that you pay for the phone upfront, with the only monthly cost coming from your SIM card.
          • You may need this option if you want to upgrade your phone but want to keep your number or contract package.

          What is a SIM card?

          A SIM card is a small chip that inserts into your phone to give your phone its identity – its identify being your mobile phone number. Without a SIM card you can’t make calls, send texts or connect to the internet (3G, 4G, 5G).

          What is SIM only?

          SIM only is when you only buy the SIM card. You may need this option if you want to keep your existing phone but want to change your minutes, text and data package.

          What is pay as you go?

          With a pay as you go phone, you buy bundles of minutes, texts and data which last 7 or 30 days depending on your network and which bundle you choose. You can set up direct debits or top up your credit before your pack runs out. If you don’t use all your texts and minutes by the expiry date, you will lose them, however some networks rollover the data you didn’t use to your new bundle.

          Shop pay as you go phones

          Android, iOS & HMS

          There are 3 types of operating system for smartphones - iOS for Apple iPhones, HMS for the latest Huawei phones and Google Android for everything else.

            iOS

            iOS

            Which phones use iOS? Exclusively used by Apple to power their iPhones.

            Which apps are pre-installed? Apple Maps, Apple Music, FaceTime, Safari and more.

            How do I get more apps? The Apple App store has over 1m downloadable apps.

            Do they include cloud storage? You get 5GB free iCloud storage, but you can pay for more space.

            Will it sync with other devices? Yes, you can sync an iPhone with your iPad, iPhone, Apple Mac and Apple TV.

            Anything else I should know? Newer models often come with free trials for Apple Pay and Apple TV.

             

            Android

            Android

            Which phones use Android? Samsung, Google, Nokia, Sony (to name a few) use Android to power their devices. Also older Huawei models are on the Android system.

            Which apps are pre-installed? Google Maps, Google Chrome, Google Drive, YouTube, Google Docs and more.

            How do I get more apps? The Google Play store has over 1m downloadable apps.

            Do they include cloud storage? You can get 15GB Google Drive storage with your Google account.

            Will it sync with other devices?  Yes, Android tablets and Google smart tech.

            Anything else I should know? Android phones have a customisation friendly interface.

             

            HMS

            HMS

            Which Phones use HMS? Huawei P40 Pro, Huawei P40, Huawei P40 Lite 4G, Huawei P40 Lite 5G

            Which apps are pre-installed? Alongside the standard apps, such as Browser and Photo, devices come pre-installed with Petal Search, Music Store and Video Store.

            How do I get more apps? Either through the Huawei AppGallery (the Huawei app store) or through the built-in Petal Search.

            Do they include cloud storage? You get 5GB free cloud storage as standard, but you can pay for more space.

            Will it sync with other devices? Yes

             

            Deeper dive

            We’ve simplified the in-depth features and specs that mobile phones offer. From battery and charging, storage and processors, we’ve demystified the nitty gritty details to help make your decision easier.

              Mobile phone processors

              What is a processor? - The processor is your phone's brain. The better the processor, the smoother and faster your phone will run.

              Processor specs - Every process has a number of cores, dual (2), quad (4), hexa (6) or octa (8), and the more it has, the smoother it can do more things at one time.

              Processor speed is also important. This is measured in GHz and a faster processor is a more powerful processor.

              RAM is the final piece of the processor puzzle and once again, more of it means better performance. More RAM will provide a much smoother transition when using multiple applications at once.

              To get the performance you want, you need a phone with enough cores, speed and RAM to satisfy your usage. Below we've put together a handy guide to help you decide if a phone has enough power for what you need it for.

                Android processor comparison

                  Basic performance

                  Cores: Dual-core or Quad-core

                  Processor speed: Up to 2GHz

                  RAM: 1 to 2GB

                    Mid-range performance

                    Cores: Quad-core, Hexa-core or Octa-core

                    Processor speed: Up to 2.5GHz

                    RAM: 3GB to 4GB

                      Top performance

                      Cores: Hexa-core or Octa-core

                      Processor speed: Up to 3GHz

                      RAM: 4GB +

                      iPhone processor comparison

                        iPhone 6

                        Cores: Dual-core

                        Processor speed: Up to 1.5GHz

                        RAM: 1GB

                          iPhone7/8

                          Cores: Quad-core or Hexa-core

                          Processor speed: Up to 2.3GHz

                          RAM: 2GB

                            iPhone X/XS/11

                            Cores: Hexa-core or Octa-core

                            Processor speed: Up to 2.65GHz

                            RAM: 3GB to 4GB

                              Battery and charging

                                Battery size - A bigger battery often means more battery life. Battery size is measured in mAH (milli-amp hours) and is included on most of our product pages.

                                How do screen quality and processing power affect battery life? Screen brightness and fast performance can sometimes place a greater demand on the battery. This means that mid-range models often have better battery life than top-of-the-range phones.

                                Battery saving tips

                                - Use Wi-Fi instead of 4 or 5G

                                - Use power-saver mode

                                -Turn down screen brightness

                                -Close background apps

                                -Turn off your location

                                  Wireless charging

                                  Wireless makes charging your phone so easy. There are no wires, all you need to do is place your phone on the charging mat and leave it to power up.

                                  Shop phones with wireless charging

                                    Fast charging

                                    Phones with fast-charging technology are able to re-power your phone in a fraction of the time that it takes a traditional charger.

                                    Shop phones with fast charging

                                      Portable power packs

                                      If you're going away or find yourself always running out of battery, a portable power pack is a great way to make sure your phone can last all day.

                                      Shop portable power packs

                                        Mobile phone storage

                                          Mobile phones come with two types of storage: internal and cloud.

                                            Internal storage 
                                            Internal is the amount of physical storage space on your phone. You can get phones with 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512GB of storage.

                                            - With 8, 16 and 32GB you may find that space fills up quickly if you take lots of photos and videos.

                                            - 64GB and 128GB phones provide ample space for even the most snappy users, with more room for apps, games and podcasts too.

                                            -Devices with 256 and 512GB have more than enough space for all the essentials, as well as high-quality video files.

                                            Cloud storage
                                            Most Android and Apple phones come with a set amount of free cloud storage, through either Google Drive or the iCloud. Storing items in the cloud frees up physical storage and lets you access files from other devices.

                                              Phone screens

                                              The size and quality of screen you need often depends on how you'll be using your phone.

                                                Screen size

                                                Over time, mobile phone screens have gotten bigger to improve video watching experience. And if you regularly use your phone for watching YouTube, TV shows or movies, then a big-screen is a must-have.

                                                The benefits of a more compact design is that it's likely to fit more comfortably in your hand and pockets.

                                                  Screen quality

                                                  Resolution and pixel density are the best way to determine screen quality. The higher the resolution and the more pixels per inch, the sharper the screen will appear.

                                                  For increased immersion and a greater viewing experience, choose a model with a curved or infinity screen.

                                                    Screen protection

                                                    There's nothing worse than a cracked screen, so look out for devices that feature toughened glass, which provides extra protection against drops.

                                                    Some phones also feature shock resistance, water-resistance and even waterproofing. But before you go dropping and dunking your phone, always check the specs for the depth and distance it can handle.

                                                    Find the best phone for you

                                                    Select your budget, favourite brands and how much storage you need and we'll give you a list phones that match your choices.

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