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How Do You Buy A Phone

The huge number of choices from a variety of phone manufacturers should make shopping simple, but sometimes this makes it more confusing, whether you're looking for the highest-quality, elite phone or a more affordable phone, like the Google Pixel 6A. The best devices on the market not only have different prices, they also have different camera specs, screen sizes and storage capacities.

how do you buy a phone

In general, performance lines up with cost. The very latest, greatest technology usually comes at a premium. Flagship phones pack the best cameras, the most powerful processors and may even sport cutting-edge tech like flexible displays. The high prices mean that these phones are only worth considering for those who want the absolute latest tech in their pockets.

Not everyone needs such top tech however, or may simply be unwilling to spend the $1,000 or more typically required to get it. Luckily, the midrange sector of the phone world has been one of the fiercest battlegrounds for companies to compete in, resulting in some amazing phones that won't break the bank. Features like wireless charging and cameras with multiple lenses that were once the domain of flagships are now commonplace on midrange phones.

5G is the latest standard that promises lightning-fast mobile data speeds when you're out and about. Like any new technology, it's commonplace to see it on higher-end devices but it's also increasingly common to find on much more affordable phones too.

Coverage for 5G isn't everywhere yet, so it's important to ask yourself whether you need 5G speeds at all and crucially, whether they're available where you live. If you're planning on keeping your phone for at least a couple of years, you can safely expect 5G to become more of the norm in that time. If you're on the fence about it now, it may be that in nine months you'll feel differently and might regret not taking the plunge sooner.

All phones have gotten steadily bigger over the last few years, with the iPhone 14 Pro Max measuring a whopping 6.68 inches and the Galaxy S23 Ultra coming in at 6.8 inches. Small phones aren't that common anymore but there are a few options to consider if you don't want a massive screen stretching out your pockets.

Apple opted not to update the iPhone 13 Mini this year, but it is still officially on sale through the Apple Store and at 5.4-inches it's quite a lot smaller than the 6.1-inch iPhone 14. On the Android side, the Google Pixel 6A's 6.1-inch display makes it one of the better smaller phones, but even then it's hardly what you'd call tiny.

Camera features have been a major point for bragging rights in recent phones, with manufacturers always wanting a bigger, more exciting number, be it the number of megapixels or quantity of actual camera lenses. Three rear cameras are now common -- a regular lens, an ultrawide lens and a telephoto lens -- with even budget-focused phones packing multiple cameras.

Look out for features like optical (rather than digital) zooms, night mode for better low-light images, and optical image stabilization. Sometimes these features might not be clear, and it's not possible to judge a camera's performance just by looking at the specs. If you really care about your phone's photography skills, then take some time to look at the reviews and see how its camera performs before you spend your money.

Most phones, from the budget end through to elite flagships, can last most of a day on a single charge. Bigger phones might have bigger batteries, but they also have bigger screens and often more powerful processors, so they suck that extra juice down quickly. Few phones will give you more than a day of use. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Top-end phones pack powerful processors along with 12GB of RAM or even more. It's enough to make these phones run any task without breaking a sweat, but you don't need to spend flagship level money to get great performance.

Most decent midrange phones offer enough power to handle all of your everyday needs. You'll still be able to play almost any game from the Google Play store and edit your high-resolution photos in apps such as Snapseed. There's little you could throw at most midrange phones that they wouldn't be able to handle.

Most phones, even the budget ones, come with at least 32GB of storage, of which 10 may be taken up by preinstalled apps and the phone's operating system. If you don't ever plan on recording any video and gaming isn't your thing, 32GB might be enough, but otherwise you should consider 64GB or even 128GB to be a minimum.

Higher-end phones -- particularly those that can record high quality 4K video -- offer capacities of 256GB or more. With that much space, you'll barely need to think twice about having to clear out old files.

If the phone supports microSD cards then it's a different matter, as you can pick up 32GB microSD cards (or bigger) for very little money these days and popping one into your phone will dramatically increase the amount of storage you'll have access to. Unfortunately expandable storage is a very rare feature on phones these days.

This article was co-authored by Mobile Kangaroo. Mobile Kangaroo is a full service repair shop and Apple Authorized Service Provider headquartered in Mountain View, CA. Mobile Kangaroo has been repairing electronic devices such as computers, phones, and tablets, for over 19 years, with locations in over 20 cities.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 170,009 times.

I'm that 5G guy. I've actually been here for every "G." I've reviewed well over a thousand products during 18 years working full-time at, including every generation of the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy S. I also write a weekly newsletter, Fully Mobilized, where I obsess about phones and networks.

Although buying an unlocked phone may not save you money at checkout, it can be a better value in the long run. Unlocked phones give you the freedom to shop around and move between carriers for the best deal when needed. You can also resell an unlocked phone at any time if you want to upgrade.

Sure, you can spend a few hundred dollars on a brand-new midrange phone, but you also might be able to score one of last year's flagship models, which likely offers better specs and performance, for the same midrange price. When new phones are released, older models are usually discounted, and carriers frequently offer the same, or similar, promotions on these phones as they do on the new versions.

Look for guaranteed trade-in promotions from carriers or manufacturers and compare them with prices at Best Buy and Gazelle. Dedicated trade-in sites aren't quite as seamless as swapping your old phone out to the same store where you're picking up your new one, but they often pay more money. Just be sure to give an accurate assessment of the quality of your phone for the best estimate. Samsung, in particular, is good about accepting trade-ins, especially old iPhones and Pixels.

Even the most expensive phone is basically just a fancy brick if it doesn't have service. There are a lot of options out there beyond AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon, and they can save you a lot of money. Once you find the right phone, head over to our story on the best cheap phone plans to find the right cost-effective service for you.

Our smartphones are at once the most personal, useful, and most-used device in our lives. Yet with rare exceptions, we buy a single phone and stick with it for two years or more, making that initial purchase a somewhat daunting task. Choose wrong, and you're stuck with your clunker for at least the next 24 months.

Coverage aside, other factors could push your decision towards one carrier or another. If you are a frequent traveler and want to be able to use your smartphone everywhere you go and receive calls made to your normal number, AT&T and Verizon both offer competitive international roaming packages. Sprint also has international data roaming options, but T-Mobile recently launched a plan that offers free data in over 100 countries, albeit at low speeds.

Verizon and AT&T both offer new sharing plans that let you purchase a single bucket of data and then share it with a variety of devices. If you intend to get an LTE tablet to go along with your smartphone, these plans make it easy to pay for service on both the phone and tablet at the same time, without having to manage two recurring bills. Sprint and T-Mobile do not currently offer such plans, but both provide unlimited data plans with no overage fees (in T-Mobile's case, your speed slows down once you reach a certain bandwidth limit).

All three have matured enough to provide fast, responsive, and generally reliable performance on the current crop of smartphones. The decision you make, then, is no longer tied to if one platform is faster than another, but rather aesthetic appeal, which apps and services are most important to you, and what kind of hardware you want.

iOS also offers one of the best camera experiences you can get on a smartphone, and has a plethora of third-party apps available to share and edit photos after the fact. Further, iOS devices have a rich ecosystem of third-party accessories, from cases to tripods, to chargers, if there is something you want for your phone, you can probably get it to fit an iPhone.

You can buy phones on-contract direct from carrier stores or third-party resellers (Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, etc.), though many third-party resellers have a secondary early termination fee on top of the standard carrier one if you break your contract early. The lesson: read the fine print.

Online bazaars such as Swappa promise to verify the devices listed for sale and have pretty much any high-end smartphone you can find, with prices fluctuating with the market. And when it comes time for you to get a new phone, you can sell your old phone yourself or use services such as Gazelle or NextWorth to trade in your phone for cold hard cash. 041b061a72


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