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New mobile phones - a buyer's guide

Confused by the latest mobile phone technology and jargon? Read our guide to new mobile phones.

Each week more new mobile phones hit the market, bringing new functions to handsets which have the potential to change our lives. But with a dizzying array of manufacturers, models and operating systems to choose from, it’s hard to keep up let alone make sure you buy the right mobile phone for your needs.

This guide to new mobile phones will lead through the latest mobile phone technology. Along the way we’ll try and explain what new phones can do in jargon-free language.

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What can new phones offer me?

Once upon a time a mobile phone was little more than a device for making calls and sending text messages. Those days are now long gone. Over the last decade more and more new mobile phones became multi-functional pieces of equipment that pack in everything from a camera, a media player, web browsers and email on the go. This trend, which was dubbed 'convergence', blurred the lines between digital cameras, personal stereos and communication devices.

Since then, new mobiles have become even more advanced as manufacturers started to become more forward-thinking. The newest phones are now so powerful that they're actually closer to netbooks than traditional handsets. We’ve also seen the phenomenal rise of applications, or apps, which refers to software that can be downloaded from a dedicated software emporium directly to your handset. Meanwhile, the advent of advanced mapping technology, GPS and augmented reality have turned new mobile phones into excellent satellite navigation devices.

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Why buy a new phone?

The advanced functions of new phones have massive potential to make life easier and add a dash of high-tech fun to your days. One example is GPS combined with mapping software, which harnesses satellite navigation to give you turn-by-turn directions to unfamiliar locations.

Other handy features of new phones include push email and QWERTY keyboards, which combine to make picking up and composing messages on your phone as simple and efficient as it is at home.

Touchscreen controls have eliminated fiddly buttons and complicated menus forever, allowing you to use your phone and access features quickly and easily, simply by touching the screen with your fingers.

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Applications explained

The advent of application stores, which are online markets for software, is arguably the biggest mobile phone development of recent years. These markets, such as the Apple App Store, Android Market, BlackBerry App World and Windows Marketplace, are brimming with software for owners of new phones to download. Different apps bring new functions to your handset, meaning you can change what your mobile phone can do almost every day!

Are new phones necessarily expensive?

In general, new phones will cost more than older models, but that’s not to say that they’re prohibitively expensive. The great thing about mobile phone contract deals is that they allow you to spread your payments for a new mobile phone. This means that you can get your hands on the best, most cutting-edge mobiles without having to a find a large lump sum. If you feel that you don’t want or need to own a phone with the latest functions, it may be better to opt for a cheaper phone, of which there are hundreds to choose from.

Which company makes the best new phones?

This is an almost impossible question to answer, largely because it’s a question of preference and opinion. However, some of the best regarded new phones are Apple’s excellent iPhones, as well as high-end smartphones from Samsung, Sony Ericsson and HTC that run on Android, and the latest Windows Phone mobiles from Nokia.

To find phones by a certain manufacturer simply use our uSwitch phone finder app. Using this will allow you view all the phones we carry by a particular mobile phone maker and compare a host of great deals across a range of networks.