Mobile Phone Buying Guide | Go Argos

Mobile Phone
Buying Guide

Make the right call and find the mobile phone with the best specs
and features for you.

Shop all mobile phones


Operating Systems

There are two main types of operating system; iOS and Android.


Summary: iOS is the operating system used by Apple iPhones. With regular updates, the latest features and a clean and clear layout, it's a popular choice.

Apps: The Apple App store has around 2 million apps.

Updates: iOS uses a standard number system for updates (iOS 10). Check out the Apple website to find the latest version.


Summary: Android OS is used by a variety of smartphone makers, including Samsung, Sony, HTC and LG. This means they offer a broader range of prices, specs, features and customisation.

Apps: Android's use the Google Play Store which has around 2 million apps.

Updates: Android OS uses sweets as names for new versions (Marshmallow, Nougat, Oreo). Go to Android's website to find the latest version.



Screen Size and Resolution

Screen size affects how a phone sits in your hand and resolution defines the quality of the screen's display.

Screen Size

Phones with smaller screens are more likely to sit more comfortably in your hand. Larger phone screens are better for work and watching videos.


Screen Types

There are three main players when it comes to screen type: LCD, AMOLED and Retina display.


LCD is the most commonly used screen type and is used in a range of devices. Higher quality LCDs will have bright colours and clearer viewing angles.


AMOLED screens tend to be easier on battery life, allow for thinner phone designs and offer bright and vibrant colours.


Retina display is a brand name used by Apple for screens that have a display where pixels are not visible to the naked eye. They offer crisp displays of text and images.


Dust and Water Resistance

Most smartphones have certifications for how resistant they are to water and dust. The two most common are IP67 and IP68.


An IP67 rating means a phone is resistant to dust, general dirt and sand. It also means a phone is water resistant for up to 30 minutes at 1m depth.

IP 68

Mobile phones with an IP8 rating are also resistant to dust, dirt and sand. This rating means a phone is resistant to water at 1.5m for up to 30 minutes.


Even with a water resistance rating, it is not recommended to try and use your phone underwater. Resistance is for protection, not use.


Camera Guide

Most smartphones come with a front camera, for selfies, and a rear camera for everything else.


More pixels mean better clarity, better zooming and better cropping. However, they're not everything. There are other features that can make a good camera a great one.


The sensor is the part that captures the image. A bigger sensor will give you better shots by capturing more light.

Image stabilisation

A feature that helps to prevent blurry images by compensating for slight shakes and keeping the lens still.

HD and 4K

Many smartphones let you capture and record photos and videos in HD and 4K. These take up more storage space, but are the highest quality you can get when it comes to smartphone cameras.

Gyroscope & Virtual Reality

This tiny sensor gives your phone a 360 degree view of the world and is required to get the full experience for VR apps like Pokemon Go.


Having a good camera app can make all the difference when snapping quality shots. Try out a few to find one with the best filters and features.



Most phones come with built-in storage and the amount you need depends on how much you plan to keep saved.

How much storage do I need?

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.



Processors, RAM
and Battery Life

Get to grips with smartphone specs.

What is a processor?

The processor is essentially the brain of your smartphone. It determines how fast your phone is, how well it can multi-task and how well it can handle important tasks. There are a number of different processors with varying specs, but here are the main specs to look out for and what they mean.




The number of cores a processor has determines how it
fares when multi-tasking. The more cores a processor has,
the more things it can do at once.

Dual Core

Suitable for basic use. May struggle to multi-task and run more demanding apps.

Quad Core

Suitable for everyday tasks like social media, listening to music and browsing the web.

Octa Core

Great for gaming and managing several tabs and apps at once.


More RAM (random access memory) should mean better performance and smoother multi-tasking. 2GB RAM will offer a noticeable improvement over phones with 1GB and so on. Some models offer up to 4GB and 6GB if you're after strong gaming and multi-tasking performance.

Battery life

Battery life varies from phone to phone, and can depend on your usage. Some phones with more powerful processing power can use up battery faster than those with more modest specs.

Fast Charge

Many phones now utilise a fast charge feature, letting you get back to full battery quicker than ever.

Top tip - Extend your smartphones battery life by dimming the brightness settings and turning off any Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS settings that you aren't using.




Connect to other Bluetooth capable devices.



Connect to home and roaming.



Access to better maps and directions.

Hot Spot

Hot Spot

Lets you use your mobile as a Wi-Fi router.



Lets you use mobile payment services and access local connections.


SIM cards and SIM free

Choose the phone and SIM combination that suits you.

SIM free phones

SIM free phones

SIM free phones are a flexible choice as they come without a SIM card. So you can use your current SIM card, switch to a SIM only contract, or change to pay as you go. This can often be cheaper than a contract and you can upgrade whenever you want.

SIM cards

SIM cards

There's 3 different types of SIM card for you to choose from - pay as you go, flexible and SIM-only. To help decide which one will suit you best, check out our handy guide which tells you everything you need to know.

Using your phone abroad

Using your phone abroad

Going abroad with your phone? Check with your provider first about costs as your monthly usage plan probably won't cover you overseas and you could come back from your holiday with unexpected charges.

Basic phones

Basic phones

If you are after a mobile for simply calling and texting, then a basic mobile is likely to be for you. With long battery life, limited features and a low price, they're perfect if you just need the basics.



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.


A case can protect
your phone against
drops and bumps.

Shop all phone cases


Choose from our range of mains, USB and super-fast lightning chargers.

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Portable power

Power packs and wireless power pads let you stay charged when you're out and about.

Shop all portable power chargers

Memory cards

Increases the amount
of storage space your
phone has.

Shop all memory cards

Screen protectors

Prevents damage and
scratches to your
phone's screen.

Shop all screen protection

Argos Tech Support

Need help or more information? Visit Argos support for product manuals, contact details and more.

Find out more

Advice to keep your children safe online

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