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Updated February 23rd, 2019
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What to consider when choosing a new mobile phone

Buying a new smartphone is an investment, not just in terms of the physical product but also in how you use the device. With many phones purchased on 24-month contracts, making sure you're happy with your purchase over time is almost as important as the desire to get the shiniest new phone.

Whether you're picking up a top of the line phone or just a cheap prepaid device, there are a number of factors you should consider before you make your purchase:

  • Price: While this won't necessarily stop you from choosing the device you want, it will have an impact on the type of phone you can afford. Many of today's flagships cost well over $1,000 outright and are subject to extra monthly payments even if you're picking up the phone on contract. That said, there are plenty of opportunities to pick up cheap phones from retail partners if you shop around, which can help ease the strain on your wallet.
  • Operating System: For all intents and purposes, there are two mobile operating systems to choose from, Google's Android platform or Apple's iOS. While Windows Phone technically still exists, it accounts for less than 1% of market share in Australia, and other custom operating systems are also too small to consider as a viable choice. The choice between the two platforms comes down to a matter of preference for hardware, with iOS exclusively on offer for iPhones, while Android is on the vast majority of Australian smartphones.
  • Screen size: The trend over the past few years has definitely tended towards the "bigger is better" mantra, with phone screens approaching 6 inches on the diagonal. Having a bigger screen makes reading text and watching videos easier, but drains the battery faster and can be difficult to control one handed.
  • Screen resolution: Smartphone screen technology has come a long way in the past few years, with the ability to get devices with 4K capable screens now possible. For the most part, those resolutions are wasted on a device smaller than six inches, but it's worth comparing the Pixels Per Inch (PPI) specification to see just how many pixels the manufacturer was able to cram into an inch, with more pixels generally resulting in a crisper image on screen.
  • App availability: This is tied to the operating system, but can definitely be a deal breaker. While many popular apps are available for both iOS and Android platforms, there are still plenty of examples of apps and games that are only available on one platform. If those apps are important to you, you should ensure you choose a phone that will offer the app in question.
  • Battery life: Battery life is the one feature of smartphones that hasn't really changed significantly. While manufacturers have managed to offer improvements through both cramming more battery into larger phones and reducing battery consumption through smarter software, battery technology still remains largely the same as it was when Apple launched the first iPhone. For a full day's battery life, you should probably focus on phones with 3,000mAh or more.
  • Connectivity: Not all Australian carriers use the same network frequencies, so ensuring your phone works on the full spectrum of frequencies for your carrier is essential. It is fairly complicated, but you can compare the networks and their respective frequencies to get a better idea.
  • Camera: The smartphone camera has all but replaced the compact digital camera market, and the quality of phone photos gets better every year. It's not all about megapixels though, with sensor size and twin lens technologies helping make smartphone pictures even better.
  • Storage: If you're buying a phone that's going to house your entire life, from contacts to photos and videos and everything in between, you need to make sure you have enough storage to keep it all. Lower storage devices are cheaper, but look for an expandable memory microSD slot so you can expand the capacity at will. Alternatively, look for a higher capacity device.
  • Contract availability: Not all phones are available on contract over 24 months. If you can't grab a phone on contract, be prepared to pay more for the phone up front. However, doing so will likely save you money in the long run.

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6 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    LVJanuary 8, 2019

    Hi. I’m looking to buy a cheap mobile and am considering the Samsung Galaxy J5 Pro and the LG Q7.
    Key considerations include: reliability, operating speed, ease of use, battery life and camera quality. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnJanuary 8, 2019Staff

      Hi LV,

      Thank you for reaching out to finder.

      While we do not provide specific product recommendations, we can help guide you through the process of comparing options. Please check the links below for our review pages on the Plans | Pricing | Specs for both phones.

      Samsung Galaxy J5 Pro: Plans | Pricing | Specs:
      LG Q7: Plans | Pricing | Specs:

      Hope this helps!


  2. Default Gravatar
    MonicaAugust 18, 2018

    I’m looking for a new phone. I have a Samsung S5 that is dying. I’ve been looking at the Samsung J5 and J7, the A5 and A7 or S7 and Huawei Nova 3i. Not sure which would be the best. I mainly use my phone for games, facebook, youtube, internet banking, emails and I like taking photos.
    It’s very confusing with so many around. My kids also sometimes use the phone so I dont want to spend too much.


    • finder Customer Care
      JeniAugust 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Monica,

      Thank you for getting in touch with finder.

      Since you have these prospected brands and models that will replace your dying phone, my best recommendation is to see these handsets personally so you can check how convenient or comfortable they are to you. On this page, it discussed factors you should consider before you make your final decision like the price, screen resolution, battery life etc.

      I hope this somewhat helps.

      Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any other enquiries.

      Thank you and have a wonderful day!


  3. Default Gravatar
    LorettaMay 22, 2018

    Do you sell the Nomi phone suitable for seniors? Is so, how much and all details please.

    • finder Customer Care
      NikkiMay 22, 2018Staff

      Hi Loretta,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      Unfortunately, we don’t have the Nomi Phone available on our site. You may try visiting their website of this to check on details and price.


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