How much work do you put into finding a new phone?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| February 18, 2014

Searching for the perfect new phone can be an exciting adventure whenever it's finally time to upgrade. As exciting as it might be, however, it could also be considered an equally daunting task if you're going to be using your new phone for the better part of two years. We all know that technology ages pretty quickly, and as expensive as phones are it's important to find the phone that you think you'll be able to keep for a long time coming. So when all is said and done, exactly how do you go about making sure you're going to find the perfect daily driver for you?

The simple answer is research. Not just research, mind you, but research, research, and oh-my-god-why-cant-i-stop-researching research. While it's never a guarantee that even after all of that research you'll have landed yourself the perfect phone for the next couple of years, you'll more than likely find that after extensive research you'll be walking out the door more confident in your decision. I know I do.

I'm not sure whether it's an obsessive thing or what, but anytime I get that new phone itch I just start researching about the phones I'm interested in until I can't possibly find any more useful information. I research the specs, reviews, hands-on videos and unboxings, plus tinkering with the phone itself inside of retail store displays. I also find myself looking at comparison reviews and videos just to make sure whatever phone I'm interested in is at least somewhat better at certain things than other phones (namely the camera has been my recent point of interest). Seriously, I feel like I research phones up until the very moment that I buy it. It really is a very intense process for me.

It's a process I have come to embrace. Sometimes it doesn't always work out, such as with my Samsung Galaxy S4 versus the HTC One. I had researched both phones like it was the last thing I would ever do, and in the end I was thoroughly convinced that the Galaxy S4 was the phone for me. The HTC One? It was nice, and certainly had a great design, but I found myself more attracted to the Galaxy name and wondered how the brand had aged since I had my last Galaxy S device (the Samsung Galaxy S II was the last one I technically owned, but the Galaxy Vibrant was the one that I really loved the most). As it turned out, the Galaxy S4 had more problems than I knew about and wanted to deal with, so I ended up springing for the HTC One. In the end, though, I still don't feel like my time was wasted ($35 for the restocking fee was, though) and I learned a great deal about both phones in the process. It was a good learning experience, and when I get really intrigued by a phone and start doing research like that I'm reminded on why I have the job that I do. This stuff is actually fun for me, as weird as it might sound to a lot of people.

I think that doing research is half the fun in getting a phone. For me, it's never just one device that I get to learn about; I learn about a lot of devices through my research process. I mentioned that I liked to watch comparison videos, and generally one or two comparison videos inevitably lead me to check out other phones even if I hadn't originally planned on looking at a phone. The next thing I know, I've spent my whole night looking up phone specs. 

I put a lot of work into finding a new phone, probably even more than most people ever do. In the end, I feel that all of this extra research is somewhat justified. Not only do I have more confidence that I won't be walking out the door with a bad case of buyer's remorse (although as I've mentioned, this isn't foolproof) but I also walk out with extensive knowledge of the current lineup of smartphones. Although I'm always keeping up with the latest and greatest anyway, you still have to have a lot of passion for phones to be in any position in this business, and the process of finding a new phone is just one of my many favorite aspects of being a part of this industry.

So now I turn to you, readers; I want to know what your process is for finding a new smartphone? Are you like me and do extensive research, or are you a free spirited person who prefers to wing it and hope for the best? How does it usually turn out for you? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Images via TechRadar, Wikimedia

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