What to Look for When Buying a Smartphone

These days, buying a smartphone is a significant investment. Although you tend to pay for the device monthly, it is still expensive overall, so make sure you are buying the right smartphone for the next few years. Read on to find out what to look out for before buying your next smartphone. 

Build Quality 

When it comes to smartphones, manufacturers tend to use one of two materials: metal or plastic. That said, some of them opt for plastic or aluminum. It’s worth checking the build quality of the phone before buying it as this can determine the quality of the phone and how long it lasts you. 

Frequently, smartphones fall on the ground; they tend to be dropped or fall out of pockets. Often, a smartphone falls from a significant height causing the screen to crack or the casing to break. If you tend to drop your phone, choose metal or plastic casing and invest in some insurance.   

I “require” my kids to add a glass face cover to their phones if I’ve helped pay for them.


A smartphone display is also a key consideration when buying a new phone. The size and quality of the display can determine the price, but there’s no point in paying for a larger screen you don’t use or buying a smaller one when you stream a lot of video content. 

First, consider how you typically use your phone. Are you using it to stream video content, take photos, and use editing tools, or do you tend to use your phone for social media, messaging, and checking emails? How you use the phone will determine the size and quality of the display. 


Nowadays, an iPhone 12 Pro Max is the same as a small computer. Indeed, modern smartphones are millions of times more powerful than Nasa’s guidance system on the Apollo 11 mission in the 1960s. But again, the processing power affects the price and there’s no point in overspending. 

Heavy smartphone users are people who download and stream lots of content, play video games on their phones, and use split screen modes. Heavy users will require a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor or something similar. MediaTek processors are better for light users. 


One of the best features of a modern smartphone is the camera. Camera quality is improving all the time, matching demand, as people are using them more than ever before. So what should you look for in a smartphone camera? Here’s a hint: it’s not all about the megapixels.

Megapixels mean that the image is larger on a smaller screen, but it doesn’t determine the quality of the image; for better quality images, you need to look at specifications such as the camera aperture, ISO levels, pixel size, and auto-focus. Think about your camera requirements.  


Battery life is a key concern for smartphone users. We’ve all had the experience of running out of battery life at critical moments. If you’re a heavy user that streams content and plays games, you need a 3500mAh battery or above; light users should be fine with a 3000mAh battery. 

I use a battery case, but my kids have let me know that is very uncool. So even though I’m NEVER scrambling to recharge like they are, cool wins out for them.

Youth Expectations 

If you are buying a phone for a young person in your life, the final piece to look at is expectations. YOURS and THEIRS. Be clear about what YOU expect from them by way of care for the phone, as well as what you expect in terms of usage limitations. Have a discussion about the PURPOSE of a phone you get them. Is it to play games or to communicate with you? The only right answer is what is right for your family.

Also be clear about how you will handle phone damage from neglect or irresponsibility. My kids knew if they dropped and broke their phone, a new one was not imminently arriving to replace it. They knew they could pay for repairs or a new one would arrive when THEY could pay for replacement. From what I’ve seen, this builds a sense of appreciation for their phone and not a sense of entitlement surrounding this privilege.

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