Changing your smartphone can be a bit of a minefield.
Do you stick to the same manufacturer and have the invaluable familiarity? Or, do you make the leap to Android and take advantage of a wider range of deals?
Well, the good things is, switching either way has never been easier.
Smartphone buyers sit in two camps. There’s Google’s Android operating system and Apple’s iOS for iPhone.
Both have great features and really it comes down to personal preference, but if you tend to always plump for Apple because everyone else has, it would be wise to at least check out the options.
Switching from Apple to Android
Android smartphones are great value for money and you have much more choice of handsets. It can also pay dividends not to be hemmed in by Apple and its operating software, with Google giving you greater flexibility.
Android smartphones offer different things in terms of storage, navigation, size, features and processors and contracts are often shorter than the 24-month Apple tie-ins.
The cameras on almost all comparative Android phones are infinitely better than the iPhone – even the 6. The iPhone 6, for instance, has a 8MP camera, whereas the Galaxy S5 has double at 16MP camera.
Swapping from Apple to Android now is much easier. Manufacturers including Samsung, Sony and HTC have dedicated switchover sites with step-by-step guides on how to switch over your data, photos and emails.
We tried it, on three different devices, and it is much easier than you might think.
Tips on how to swap your phone
As always it pays to shop around. Look at the tech websites including Which? and Tech Radar for the latest on release dates, and think about what you need your phone for.
Check what happens if you go over your data usage in a month. The option to buy bolt-ons of data can often be handy.
When a new phone is released, often the previous model will plummet in price, so keep an eye out for deals.
For those who don’t want to get stung by fees abroad, Three offers all customers a free roaming feature, so you can use your phone abroad at no extra cost in 16 destinations including the USA, France, Italy and Australia (extending to Spain and New Zealand in April).
What’s on the market?
Sony Xperia Z3 Compact: top for camera lovers
The slick Xperia Z3 Compact offers a super fast 4G network, a whopping 20.7MP camera packed with filters and 4K video capture.
It also has clever shooting modes such as TimeShift Burst allowing you to choose the best photo from 30 taken per second. The Sony phone shoots sharp, clear and bright photos and videos with ease.
Sony uses all the latest technology from its actual cameras on the shelves in its phones.
Importantly, the company has just started rolling out Google’s first Lollipop release software on its products, and one of the first phones to have this will be the Z3.
Improvements include new-look notifications and lock screen, with fully customisable settings, so you only get the information you really need, multi-user profiles and guest mode, making it easy for family and friends to use your device, or createdual environments for work and play.
Oh, did we mention it’s also waterproof?
Nokia Lumia 735: top for the technophobe
This mid-range smartphone has a large screen and simple navigation. This is the pick for parents or those who are not seriously into their gadgets but want easy functionality.
New Lumia Denim software is due for release and though this doesn’t change the handset, it should improve the capabilities and processing.
Crucially, the Denim developments should give HD photo and camera capabilities.
The Lumia 735 is free on contracts from around £18 per month, runs on Windows and has a wide screen so is easy to operate.
The next big phone release to look out for
There’s big talk about this in the phone world. The Galaxy S6 Edge has a curved, very high pixel display. Its camera comes with f1.9 lenses and high-resolution sensors on both front (5MP) and rear (16MP) cameras and the company claims to charge from empty in half the time it takes the iPhone.
The phone also comes with Qi wireless charging, same as a number of Lumia products. According to the developers, the S6 lets you watch two hours of HD video from just ten minutes of charging. Phones should be in shops by April.
Wireless charging: coming soon
Wireless charging is a key trend, with new phones launching in 2015, but for consumers it’s likely to be the faster charging that is really of most interest.
Still, with retailers jumping on board – Ikea is launching furniture including bedside tables and desks that wirelessly charge your phone, and McDonalds has said it will offer charging spots in 50 of its restaurants across the UK – wireless is worth watching out for.
The Apple watch
For all you early adopters, April is the month for the Apple Watch. Scheduled to hit the market on 24 April, Apple’s smart watch is bound to take its share of headlines.