Everything you need to know before buying a smartphone

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I love buying new smartphones. Who doesn’t get a rush from buying the latest, coolest tech? Especially when it’s a device you’re going to use as often as your handset.

But when I head to the store, or, let’s face it, search online, there are a few very important things I keep in mind. Because like everything else in life, buying a new smartphone can be a lot more complicated than it seems.

If you follow these four tips and do a little research, though, you’ll be back home staring at your new phone and ignoring your friends and loved ones, just like me, in no time.

What phone do you want?

Before you leave the house, you’re going to have to answer one incredibly important question: What phone do you want? Are you an iPhone fan? Want the newest Google Pixel? Interested in Samsung’s latest offering? Looking at an LG, OnePlus or the Essential Phone? If you don’t know, you’ll need to make like Summer Sanders and figure it out.

How do you figure out which handset to buy? Well, if you’ve already got an Android phone, chances are you’ll still with an Android phone. If you’re an Apple (AAPL) fan, you’ll probably stick with the iPhone. If you want to take a chance and switch from Android to Apple or vice versa, though, you’ll need to take a few things into account.

The vast majority of your existing apps will easily carry over from iOS to Android and Android to iOS, but it’s good to understand that Apple’s handsets usually get new apps before Google’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Android. The iPhone also usually gets updated apps before Android-powered devices. The reason for this is simple: the iPhone has a larger install base in the U.S., so developers are going to build their apps for the platform with the most users first.

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