Your smartphone is likely to be used on a daily basis and probably integral to both your personal and business life. Whether it’s keeping in contact with friends, accessing social media or checking your emails, the latest and greatest smartphones are an excellent investment.

Of course, one of your biggest challenges though will be to pick between the various handsets at your disposal. With some of the world’s finest manufacturers rivalling each other in a competitive marketplace, it can be difficult to determine which is best for your use. Plus, when you consider the range of contracts available, you’ll probably see the industry as a minefield.

In 2016, this is unlikely to change. There are expected to be a number of incredible handsets released over the next 12 months, including the iPhone 7, Samsung Galaxy S7 and HTC One M10.

This will make it even more difficult to choose between the latest phones released. However, we’ve compiled information on some of the key aspects to choosing your next mobile phone contract and the handset you should take into account. With this handy mobile phone comparison guide, you’ll hopefully get an understanding of what to be on the lookout for in the near future.

How should I buy the handset?

When purchasing your next mobile phone, this will be one of the most important questions to consider the answer to. There are two options in this regards – contracts and SIM only deals. So, what’s the difference between the two?

Typically, most mobile phone customers choose a contract, as it bundles together minutes, messages and data all into one handy package. However, if you’d rather buy the handset outright, there’s the option of SIM only. Choosing between the two will likely depend on your budget and how much you have available to pay upfront.

With contracts, you won’t have to worry about putting down money to pay for the handset. Instead, you’ll pay for the total cost of the handset and your allowance, over a set period of time (usually 24 months). This will increase the total cost as you’ll be liable to pay interest, but also ensures you can get hold of new handsets without paying a huge price straightaway.

SIM only deals require a lump sum, but avoid the same interest as contracts. You’ll be able to sell or upgrade the handset whenever you want and will enjoy cheaper monthly payments. Essentially, it’s a decision you alone will make – So have a think about which is best for your finances and lifestyle.

How long will the battery last?

How often does your battery run out before you’ve chance to charge up again? The odds are you spend plenty of time checking your battery life and watching it drop into the red – then having to be careful how often you use your phone to ensure it doesn’t switch off.

Strangely enough, it seems the battery life of mobile phones has worsened over the years – But it’s something you’ll likely be keen on when selecting your new phone. In fact, if you’re using your smartphone regularly, you’ll likely be charging on a daily basis.

There are plenty of tests carried out on smartphones nowadays to determine the best in the business, with videos, data and general day-to-day use being factored into the equation. You may be surprised, but the iPhone 6 comes out top when compared to the current crop of handsets on the market – outperforming the Androids (of which Samsung is the best).

How much data will you use?

In this day and age, it’s one of the most important questions when choosing a mobile phone contract. 10 years ago it wouldn’t have factored into your decision, but with 3G and 4G capabilities now, data allows you to be connected on the go, in almost any location around the UK.

The problem is, data allowance is capped depending on your contract – and it’s common to use up your allocated amount. If this is the case it’s possible to buy more, but it’ll be costly to do so. For the fear of using up your allowance, people tend to opt for more, but much of this will be redundant.

Instead, you need a mobile contract that’s tailored to your daily habits. Data comes in megabytes or gigabytes and the average usage will vary from person to person. For instance, one person may need their smartphone for just checking emails, whilst another will play games, watch videos and even listen to music.

Consider which of the following you are:

Low data user: Will look at webpages, use social media and check their emails. You may also watch the odd video, but probably aren’t online for much more than an hour daily. An Internet allowance of 100MB should be sufficient for your needs.

Medium data user: You probably use data when commuting by train, download emails, play games, stream videos and listen to music. A data allowance of 500MB would likely be sufficient for your usage.

Heavy data user: The final bracket is for mobile phone users having a huge reliance on their handset. They’ll send plenty of emails, watch loads of videos and essentially have their handset as a pocket entertainment hub. If this sounds like you, an allowance of 1GB could be necessary.

How important are the camera specs?

Whenever a new handset is released, there always seems to be a buzz about the camera – particularly the number of megapixels included. And, this number seems to be continually rising. However, this is all just a ruse. The large brands are clever – A so called improvement will drive interest in the latest handsets and in turn, lead to a greater volume of sales.

Your mobile phone comparison guide wouldn’t be complete without considering the camera megapixels and what are we going to tell you? That actually, there isn’t a huge difference. Of course, mega pixels were revolutionary in transitioning photographers from the dark ages, but there shouldn’t be a huge emphasis on these when upgrading.

And there you have it; four factors to consider with your mobile phone comparison. Of course, you’ll have other thoughts in mind such as the interface and usability, but much of this will come down to your personal preferences.

Ensure to take note of the information in this guide and use it when deciding on the next mobile phone for you.