A quick guide to the most important aspects you need to consider when picking a new smartphone.It’s just a matter of time before you have to get a new phone. It’s not just that you want the latest model to replace the one you own that’s starting to feel a little out of date. It’s also that your current phone is starting to get a little slow. Heck, maybe it barely even works these days. Modern smartphones are, after all, designed to become unfashionable and even unusable after a couple of years of use. That’s planned obsolescence for you!

But how exactly how you supposed to pick a new smartphone? A lot of people make mistakes during the process because they’re so eager to get the process over and done with. That, or they’ve had their eye on a particular model for the past few months and have been eagerly awaiting the end of their current contract so they can get it. Either way, consumers tend to get a bit of tunnel vision when it comes to the process of buying a new smartphone. Then they end up getting something that has a plethora of problems or isn’t really suited to their needs.

So here’s a quick guide to the most important aspects you need to consider when picking a new smartphone.

Good reviews and recommendations

Take the time to read up on reviews of your phone. You may have been eyeing a particular model for some time, but don’t let your love of the design and brand name blind you to the problems that professional critics may have noted about it. You should also ask your friends who own similar smartphones for their thoughts on the model.

Monthly vs upfront costs

You should consider which option is better for you: paying monthly for a contract or simply buying the handset straight up. A lot of people dismiss the last one completely because it can be such a big upfront cost, but the fact is that it will generally save you a huge amount of money in the long run. Of course, that depends on the monthly cost and the length of the contract. Weigh your options carefully!

Free gifts

Phone manufacturers and network providers are all very eager for you to join them. Customer acquisition is an expensive and extremely competitive process, which is why it’s possible to get a good phone contract with free gifts, even if you don’t have the best credit in the world. These free gifts can range from tablets to games consoles, which can be extremely helpful if you were planning on purchasing one of those things in the near future anyway.

Data allowance

You know that you want to use the online functions of your phone a lot. But the bigger data allowance packages can really increase the amount of money you pay every month. Something you need to remember is that your data use can be dramatically decreased if you turn off your mobile data and rely on WiFi as much as possible. You may find that your total data usage in a given month drops from a couple of gigabytes to just a couple of hundred megabytes!