New phones can cost over $1,000. That’s not pocket change. It’s a serious financial decision, yet many people sign up for monthly installments and buy these phones at MSRP anyway.
They do it because manufacturers are great at marketing the benefits of new devices. Tap or click here for details on Apple’s latest and greatest gadgets that are on the way. The good news is they also release lower-end phones around the same time, which could save you money.
It comes down to prioritizing features and what you’re willing to pay for them. If you’re unsure how to break it down, that’s okay. We’re about to do it for you.
Let’s talk about the most sought-after features for new phones
Here’s how to objectively look at the best features and determine what you really need.
Wireless charging is highly convenient, but how practical is it for you now? Do you visit an office that has wireless charging? Do you have lamps or mouse pads with wireless charging built-in?
It’s a great feature in theory but wholly unnecessary. This is more of a convenience, and anyone can get by without wireless charging. While most modern devices support it, wireless charging isn’t exactly amazing for efficiency.
Thinner bezels equate to more screen real estate, but are they that important? Bezels can act as a bumper between your fingers and the screen if you use your phone one-handed. Thin bezels are okay, but borderless phones tend to be more expensive without giving many benefits.
Remember when we wanted to make everything smaller and more compact? Phones are getting larger, and it’s a growing trend.
Because some use mobile devices to access the internet more than laptops or PCs, phone screens have become larger. Large screens have become a sign that a smartphone is more expensive, not cheaper.
High screen resolution
Most smartphones have equivalent or greater screen resolutions to HD PC monitors, even low-end ones. Even if it doesn’t match your 1080p monitor, a smartphone’s pixel density is so much greater that even low-end models look perfectly acceptable. If the budget allows, getting a 1080 x 1920 resolution on your smartphone is the perfect middle-of-the-road option.
Built-in memory is crucial because, with most Android devices, you cannot store apps on expandable memory (like a microSD card). If you want to host many apps on your phone, you need a good amount of built-in memory. 16 GB doesn’t cut it anymore.
If you enjoy taking photos and sharing them on social media, you need a minimum of 12 MP in your camera. You can put this feature higher on the priority list if it’s your only camera.
How do you prioritize cost over features?
We just listed some excellent features that many modern phones have, but how do you organize them in a priority list?
First, think about your phone’s primary use
How often do you use your phone? Are you primarily answering work emails and texting colleagues, or do you use it frequently? The more regularly you use your phone, the more it can be seen as an investment in something you enjoy. Figure out if your phone is used for:
- Personal connections.
- Social media.
- Mobile gaming.
Once you know the primary use, prioritizing features is much easier.
Next, ask yourself if this phone supports a hobby or a career
You can make money with just about anything these days. You can record gameplay on your phone and upload it to YouTube, take photographs that become stock images people will pay for, or support a profitable social media account.
Or, you could get a nice phone because it supports a non-monetized hobby. If you’re using your phone to make money or as a tool for your career, you can justify spending more on your phone.
Look at your budget, search by features
Shop around for any phone and you’ll quickly see enormous price disparities. Major manufacturers such as Samsung offer new phones in the $100 range, but they also have phones that cost $1,800+.
Instead of searching just by brand, search by these features.
- Internal memory: The lower the internal memory, the cheaper your phone will be. Internal memory is required for apps, but external memory can be used for file storage with Android gadgets.
- Display size: Bigger screens typically have more pixels and create rich, deep visuals that rival full HD PC monitors. Smaller displays save you money.
- Cell technology: The lower your cell tech is, the less you pay. You can still find new phones with 4G, although it will limit the phone’s usability compared to 5G. Older 3G models are being put to pasture by mobile companies ending support.
- Operating system: Simply put, are you an iOS or Android type of person? The cheapest iOS devices are generally more expensive than the most affordable Android devices.
- Camera resolution: Do you often take photos with your phone that you want to share with people? A mid-range 12 MP camera should suffice, though there are better, more expensive options.
- Model year: Technically, this is a feature because it limits the maximum available technology. We didn’t have 5G in 2018, so a phone in 2018 will have limitations. This is a great search term if you don’t want to sort by individual features.
Make sure your ideal features match your hobby or intended use for your phone. Don’t go overboard simply because phone manufacturers are good at marketing their high-end devices.
Don’t spend a fortune on your next phone
Your next phone doesn’t have to be the newest model on the market. It doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Prioritize the features you hold dear, be objective in which ones you can live without or with lower versions, and be realistic about your budget.