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Smartphone upgrade: The two features consumers focus on most

If you're in the market for a new smartphone, perhaps due to an unfortunate incident or simply desiring to trade in your personal device for the latest generation, CNET Senior Editor Lisa Eadicicco joins Wealth! to share insights on factors to consider when upgrading your smartphone.

Eadicicco highlights two aspects consumers prioritize when selecting a new phone, beyond a comfortable budget: screen size and camera capabilities. She emphasizes that these are the two features consumers tend to utilize the most, stating "they're two factors you can't really change."

Additionally, Eadicicco outlines several considerations when choosing a network provider, including exploring better deals, evaluating coverage in your area, and even testing out the carrier's service before fully committing.

For more expert insight and the latest market action, click here to watch this full episode of Wealth!


This post was written by Angel Smith

Video transcript

BRAD SMITH: when is it time for you to get a new phone? That's the big question. You might be waiting for the newest announcement from Apple or Google Pixel or whatever. You may be just waiting for your battery to get so low that you become that person who's always looking for a place to charge. It's me. Hi, I'm the problem. It's me. No matter when you decide the time is, it's always good to get the latest tips on how to get the best deal for what you're looking for.

Joining me now is Lisa Eadicicco who is the CNET senior editor joining us here on set. Lisa, great to see you. Thanks so much for joining us. We were just talking about this. How long I've been holding on to my phone, how long you were as well. But you finally upgraded. So what are some key factors that people should consider when selecting what phone to buy?

LISA EADICICCO: Yeah, absolutely. I think two of the biggest things to consider aside from your budget, of course, is the screen size of the phone itself and the cameras because those are the two things that people use the most in their day-to-day life. Of course, the screen that we're staring at all day, you want to make sure it's big enough to watch video, read your email, things like that. But you don't want it to be so big that it feels overwhelming to hold and use with one hand.

And then the camera, of course, we use to document our memories, take photos of pets, things like that. So you really want to make sure those two things are checking your daily needs because those are also two factors that you can't really change once you buy the phone. Like you can always buy more cloud storage if you need it. You can buy accessories to charge your phone on the go if you need it. So I would say those are two of the biggest considerations for sure.

BRAD SMITH: Now, it also comes with the selection process of which carrier. How do people know where to evaluate or begin evaluating the carriers as well out there?

LISA EADICICCO: Yeah, absolutely. So a lot of that will kind of vary depending on your location. So I think a lot of people do tend to stick with the same carrier if they're happy with their service. But there might be various reasons why you might want to switch. You might find a better deal elsewhere. A lot of carriers will also try to entice you to switch with certain deals.

So I would say for trying to decide on a carrier, think about your budget. I know one of our top picks if you're only subscribing for yourself and you don't have multiple lines that you need to have is T-Mobile has a great unlimited plan. But really think about your data needs, your location.

And the nice thing about that as well is that you can actually try out the network before you decide whether you want to commit. A lot of carriers let you do this. You can essentially just try out the network commitment-free for a certain period of time to get a feel for how the service is in your area. So if you are thinking about switching carriers, I would definitely recommend trying that.

BRAD SMITH: That's a key note right there. So the timing. A lot of people try to strike the right timing. We're waiting for all the big deal announcements but also the one more thing at the end of some of these keynotes that take place, whether it be from Google or Alphabet or whether it be from Apple. So how do we know the timing and making sure that we're getting into that new phone at the right time to make sure that we're getting the latest and greatest technology as well?

LISA EADICICCO: Yeah. The good news is a lot of these companies tend to release phones around the same time every year, so they kind of have an annual schedule to it. So if you're an Apple fan, you probably don't want to buy a new iPhone in August because the new one is going to come out in September, right? So that's always really good to keep in mind. For Google, it's usually around October is when they release new Pixel phones.

For Samsung, it's usually around February, sometimes January when they announce new Galaxy devices. So I would definitely recommend doing your research because even if you don't need the latest and greatest phone, a lot of the older models tend to go on sale and are discounted when the new one comes out. So either way, whether you want the latest and greatest or if you just want to save some money, it's worth waiting.