What Do You Look for When Getting a New Smartphone?


New smartphones are always being released by various different manufacturers. But for the most part, when we asked our writers what they were looking for when getting a new smartphone, they were looking for more functionality and great support rather than exciting new functions, but we did have a few exceptions to the rule.

Our Opinion

Charnita just bought her first smartphone a few months ago as she has always been a tablet person, so she was really just “looking for a basic, affordable Android phone (I knew I wanted Android OS) that could make calls and allow me to search the Web if needed, get directions, or play games when on-the-go.” She’s also looking for affordability.

Many of our writers look for support. Derrik looks for community support and likes his Motorola “because I know that after Motorola has given up all software support, I can turn on ADB, wipe the firmware and install an officially supported version of Cyanogenmod“. He also looks for an “unmolested” version of Android. Shujaa is on the same page wanting support and compatibility and pays attention to reviews.

Damien looks for software support and stays away from phone manufacturers that don’t bother to update/upgrade the software. He wants to have the latest and most updated version on his phone. Christopher also wants support, but also wants unlock/root ability and a good interface. He prefers stock Android overall, whereas Mahesh looks to see how it can be customized.

There always has to be an exception, and for this question, it’s me and Phil. As he said we “drank the Kool-aid.” The answer to this question for him is “Where’s the closest Apple Store?” I agree with that. I don’t look for different features in a phone as I buy iPhones, so there is nothing to compare them to. It’s different than buying Android. But, like Damien, I always want to have the latest edition and most updated version of iOS.

Your Opinion

Smartphones are turning into very personal items. We store our whole world on them, and sometimes they’re the first thing we turn to in any given situation whether it’s to look something up on the Internet, text a friend, check our social networks or to take a video. But that doesn’t mean that’s what we look for when buying a new one. What about you? What do you look for when getting a new smartphone?

Image Credit: Mueller / MSC via Wikimedia Commons

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.


  1. First, iPhone users are braindead sacks of shit. Apple devices are for hipsters who do not care for specs, nuances, or choice. It is lazy for tech writers to even use Apple devices. If you prefer a midrange device with a kiddie-safe OS whose only differentiation is the fruit logo on the back, then I suggest you write elsewhere, perhaps a website for creative baristas.

    Now that I’ve done my apple bashing for the day, on to the topic at hand. I look for a device that must have at least 2GB of memory. I have noticed that 1.5 GB is getting lagged by the ever power hungry apps coming out. I am not a creative barista so camera specs are not on top of my list. 8 megapixel still images and DVD quality videos are good enough for me. I can live with Lollipop devices for now, but any future purchase must have Marshmallow out-of-the-box. I am not a stock Android worshipper so I can live with TouchWiz or other custom UIs. Lastly, I want a device that can give a whole day’s worth of battery power. We can dream of devices that can push it two two or even three days of heavy use, but it’s not a reality at the moment.

    1. Actually iPhones have batteries that last more than a day. It doesn’t have to be a “dream.” Brand new iPhones can last a couple of days before charging up. Mine is three years old, and I still get a full day’s charge out of it. I charged it yesterday morning, and late the next morning I still have 43%. I never have to carry a charger around with me. I can spend the night somewhere and not have to worry about my phone being charged up in the morning. Then again, maybe that’s what makes me a “lazy” tech writer. What do I know? I’m just a “braindead sack of shit.”

    2. You’re an idiot, why don’t you read up on matters you wanna talk about? The iPhone has THE best CPU and on screen graphics performance -by a long long shot- and they don’t throttle their performance after 5 minutes of use (everybody else does) , it has been like this since I can remember! (visit Anandtech for more info) also ram isn’t all that important in iOS (You’d know this if you had any clue about iOS ram management), the only place where it actually makes a difference is when you open a lot of web pages. Also it has the best environment for the programmers, there are tons more useful APIs and theres also a lot more money in it.
      Not to mention the resell value, customer support, built quality and awesome accessories that Androids will never have

      1. iPhone has the best cpu ONLY when it first comes out. Then it gets superceded. Pretty dumb comment on your part. My Zopo 998 has superior graphics to the iPhone 6. Surprised me when I compared. Devastated the iPhone owner. But, at the end of the day the difference is minor and doesn’t impact on your ability to use the iPhone.

        Resale value is governed only by what people who can’t afford a new iPhone are prepared to pay for a second hand one. But then if you are happy paying the Apple tax then fine. Me, I’d rather save the price difference to spend on something else I need or want. YMMV

    3. First of all — iPhone users are NOT dead brained POS!!! They happen to love the simplicity of using an iPhone. Yes, I am a lover of an Android Smartphone, but, many people are not and thankfully, there is an alternative available, the iPhone.

      I personally liken the iPhone to AOL users. When users started using the Internet, back in the 1990’s — AOL was the only way to go. There were millions of CDs in Retail Stores, to get you started. Today, there isn’t ONE AOL CD on the shelves!!! Most of us, have progressed to using other browsers and means, to access the Internet. When I first when on the Internet, back in Feb. 1997, I used AOL and was a Member. AOL helped me to get surfing and understand how to surf. I will always be grateful to AOL, for that learning experience. One thing about the iPhones, they take some of the best Smartphone Pictures!!!

      Please, don’t insult the iPhone users. We both know, that navigating an Android Smartphone, can be confusing and definitely, a real learning experience.

  2. I look for a smart phone that accepts dual SIMs, offers full 4G LTE and has a removable battery. Not too many of these around on the U.S. market…

    1. I too, look for a removable battery. You are right, not too many NEW Smartphones have removable batteries, these days. This is why, I look for older Smartphones. Right now, I just got a Samsung Note 4, not the new Samsung Note 5. The Note 5 doesn’t NOT have a removable battery. Plus, there are not that many “improvements” with the Note 5, from the Note 4. Now, the Note 5 will take a SD card up to 1TB, while my Note 4 only will go up to 128GB. Now, why does a Smartphone need up to a 1TB, in the first place? Right now, there are no 1TB SD cards available, to my knowledge. Oh yes, there will be in the future, but, not right now.

      1. The best database site for searching that I’ve found so far is:

        Make your selection in the “Power Supply (Battery)” box.

        Overall, the search engine is a little bit complicated but if you know what you’re searching for it is quite useful.

  3. How about a smart phone that DOES NOT have Facebook, Twitter, etc. pre-installed? Or, at least make it easier to move off of memory and on to a micro SD, without rooting.

  4. Why such Iphone bashing? If you do not like Iphones it is ok. Everyone doesnt have to have an Iphone. There are other smartphones on the market too. I love my iphone 5. It is easy to use and it fits in my purse. I use my iphone for my GPS and can get directions by speaking to Siri. I stay up to date with my emails on the fly and can response when convenient. I love the Iphone, Mac and Ipad family for photos storage. I love the camera on my iphone for videos and photos. I feel that I have found a brand that has my business for a long time.
    PS I was an android user before the Iphone. I am just more comfortable with my Iphone now.

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