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Which smartphone should I buy? Take our phone-picker test

Matthew Field
Samsung Galaxy S9, iPhone X, iPhone 8 and Nokia 8 - Reuters/Bloomberg/Telegraph

Samsung has released its new Galaxy S9 smartphone, its most advanced phone yet. But with a hefty price tag, is it the phone you should be buying?

The Galaxy S9 comes with a whole new camera, an infinity edge-to-edge display and costs £739 upfront. 

While these powerful specs make for a headline-grabbing smartphone, not everyone wants or needs this kind of phone. Stumped on what to buy? Take our phone-picker quiz to break through the smartphone jargon.

The Telegraph has broken down what to look for in a smartphone into a handy test, so you can see if the Galaxy S9, a new iPhone X, or something completely different is right for you. 

Take our phone-picker test

Phone Picker Flow Tool

What to look for in a smartphone

Android versus iPhones

One of the first calls you have to make when buying a new smartphone is will you go with Google's Android operating system or opt for Apple's iOS.

Android is on billions of devices worldwide and is the system used by almost all phones that are not made by Apple. It features Google's apps like Gmail and Chrome prominently and is used by phones like the Google Pixel 2.

Android is also easily adapted by smartphone makers, unlike iOS which is exclusively for iPhones. This means that versions of Android can appear on Samsung's phones even though they appear a little different and have unique apps and services, like Samsung's Bixby voice assistant.

Apple's iOS is its operating system which features apps like iMessage and Safari. It is designed to work with iPhones and provide seamless integration across Apple products like iPads, Apple Watches and the HomePod.

You can get a full breakdown of the Samsung Galaxy S9 vs the iPhone X here.

The Android-running Samsung Galaxy S9 and iOS 11 on an iPhone X Credit: Bloomberg/AP

Should I switch from Android to iOS?

Both operating systems have their benefits. iOS is regularly updated and sees almost all phones able to update to the latest version. Android relies on more third party manufacturers, so updates can be slow. The most recent models run on Android Oreo, which has improved safety features, however some still use the older Android Nougat and may need updating.

Unfortunately, switching from Android to iOS, while easier than it once was, is still not that simple. You can copy data like files and apps across when you switch from Android to iOS, but getting access to data like your iMessage texts and WhatsApps is harder due to the different encryption systems used by the phones.

That said, some of the best phones available are Android devices. Alternatively, if you are keen to buy into Apple's ecosystem then iOS might be best.

Key features

The most important features on a smartphone largely boil down to screen size, battery life and, more recently, camera quality:

  • Screen size: Current sizes range from just under five inches to close to six inches for screen size, which can be quite large to hold in the hand. Models like the iPhone 8 have a smaller, 4.8-inch screen while the Samsung Galaxy S9+ has a 6.2-inch screen.
  • Battery life: Any phone with significantly more than 24 hours is considered very good. Many manufacturers will judge battery on "talk time", but the phones will actually last days if left on standby. Phones like the OnePlus 5T are known for their excellent battery life of close to two days, iPhones notoriously tend to have less powerful batteries.
  • Camera: Most smartphones will take great pictures and high-end models compete to offer the best cameras. Megapixels (MP) are not everything, but they can create shots with greater close-up details. Some of the best smartphone cameras can be found on the Samsung Galaxy S9 and the iPhone X.

How much should I pay?

Unfortunately, most smartphones are now getting increasingly expensive. What else should you expect for a mini-computer in your pocket? The iPhone X is currently the most expensive phone on the market. You can see our full breakdown of the best smartphone deals to see what you can get for your money.

The iPhone X costs £1,000, but for that price you are getting, arguably, the best phone money can buy. Samsung's Galaxy S9 is cheaper, starting at £739. 

You don't have to splash the cash on such an expensive phone, however. The Nokia 8, which is a perfectly respectable smartphone with the latest Android operating system and a dual camera, can be found for just £399. The OnePlus 5T, one of our favourite phones last year, costs £449.

Whatever you decide to buy, make sure it is the phone to suit your needs, whether that's a powerful cameraphone or a budget dumbphone.

Not happy with your choice? Refresh the page to try our phone-picker game again.