John Lewis guarantees explained

These networks connect to the web via 3G or 4G systems, but you can also surf the web via conventional Wi-Fi on most phones. Most phones are able to connect to Wi-Fi hot spots. There may be some issues with Android phones, with a few tweaks involving the Wi-Fi settings menu. Here's a handy guide to get you up and running. Not all Wi-Fi hot spots are free and no everywhere is covered by a Wi-Fi connection.

This means that relying on Wi-Fi to connect to the internet will inevitable mean that the web is sometimes unavailable. But with whole cities converting to free Wi-Fi, and free Wi-Fi spots available in libraries, museums, stations, airports and all sorts of businesses, you'll often be able to check your Facebook without paying a penny for data. Mobile phone gaming is increasingly popular, and the games available are becoming more complex as phone technology develops. But what should gamers look for when buying a smartphone?

Firstly, a decent screen size is essential, so look for 6-inches and above, and high definition screens are a major plus. RAM should be maxed out, and disk space matters too — anything about GB is good. Then there are things like speakers , which will matter to fans of action games which just don't feel right without a mixture of deluxe visuals and audio performance. But wait a second before opting for a premium phone like an iPhone X. The type of games you play will make a big difference.

Many people adore puzzle games, card games and platformers for mobiles, and these don't require top of the line performance. So if you just want to play Candy Crush, don't be seduced by the most expensive phones. If you do need a phone with maximum storage capacity, try to find contracts which offer storage for free.

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This is an area where phone companies offer target consumers with discounts and freebies, so hunt around and you'll probably find a gamer-friendly package. When you've picked the right phone for you, the next step is key: financing. Whatever model you choose, there will be an endless variety of ways to buy the phone, the SIM card , and the connection to a particular mobile network — and a huge range of prices as well.

Phones broadly fall into three categories: SIM-only, pay as you go, and contract. All three have their advantages and disadvantages, and there are ways to save money with all of them. However, before we deal with them, let's think about some general tips on saving money when it comes to buying your next phone. Always compare prices.

Whether you opt for a long-term monthly option or buying just the SIM, there will be plenty of competing options from the various mobile phone companies. It hasn't always been easy for consumers to find the best value deals in such a complex marketplace, but price comparison sites now make things much easier. Be careful about picking the right phone for your needs.

Too many people are swayed by the marketing of companies like Samsung or Apple, or the need to keep up with friends who own the latest devices. For most of us, mid-range alternatives from lesser companies like Huawei or Alcatel will do just as well, and cost much less upfront. And as we've noted, people are terrible at working out their data needs.

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Try to access your account or do some calculations to get a ball park figure for how much data you really need, and buy a package accordingly. Upfront costs can be lower than long-term costs. Whenever you buy something, you have to make a choice between paying more now, or running up interest by buying on credit, and the same applies to phones. If you find a handset you love at an attractive price, it makes sense to buy it and go SIM-free, instead of starting a package with higher final costs.

But the price of upscale smartphones can make this a tough thing to do. Still, if you have the money it's worth calculating final and initial costs, and spending the lowest amount. Instead, buyers access mobile phone networks as and when they need them, topping up their data allowance, texts or calls periodically. You can generally top up Pay as You Go accounts online, but some networks also cater for top ups at bricks and mortar shops, so it's not usually a problem to boost your account if you need to make a crucial call.

This might sound like a great setup, and it is, with reservations. If you don't use your phone much or want total flexibility about how much data you use, Pay as You Go is ideal. But it has a major Achilles Heel.


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Networks charge a premium for Pay as You Go users, and these packages can be incredibly expensive for regular mobile users. However, it's a simple and handy way to buy a phone. If you can't get a month deal due to a poor credit rating, and you can't afford a handset for deal featuring just the SIM, it could be the only option. And it can be useful for people who want to keep a handle on their data usage. This type of package is the most common way to buy a mobile phone. In these packages, buyers generally purchase the handset they desire for a very small initial outlay, even for high-end models.

The cost of the handset is then paid off in instalments over the period of the deal, along with a fee for data, calls and texts. In most contracts , the buyer receives a SIM-card with the phone, and pays on a monthly basis over months. During that period, the customer won't be able to break the arrangement which is the point of contracts in general , so they will be tied to a particular network until the term runs out. Contracts can be great if you know what you are looking for and are happy with being tied to a network. You can get hold of a sophisticated, cutting edge phone without spending huge amounts of money, and you can often get good deals for data, calls and texts.

The flip-side is that customers can often be persuaded to sign contracts which don't deliver good value in all areas, which makes using price comparison sites and the HotUKDeals mobile phone listings absolutely essential. Contracts also require a credit check, which can pose problems for some buyers. Some deals are also interest-free, and these are the ones to go for. They are relatively rare, but by checking the HotUKDeals mobile phones listings you should be able to track them down.

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If you see a month package that you like, it could be worth pursuing. But be sure to calculate your data needs, and don't buy more than you require. Stay away from salespeople in high street mobile phone shops if you feel vulnerable to a hard-sell, and think about whether you need an expensive handset or not.

These deals are very different to contracts. In these packages, customers buy the SIM card which contains their phone number, and can be added to any handset which accommodates that type of SIM.

You'll have to sign an arrangement to purchase the SIM, but these contracts tend to have some major advantages over handset and SIM deals. They are often more flexible and short term, letting you sign up for 30 days, at which point you can leave and try a different network.

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And even month contracts featuring just a SIM card are cheaper than buying the handset as well. Of course, there's a catch. With this type of deal, it helps if you possess a handset or purchase one.

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In many cases, this will require hunting around for an affordable smartphone handset, and it will often be possible to make big savings by combining your handset purchase with a SIM only deal. In many cases, phone companies will want to sell a handset and a SIM as part of this kind of deal.

If you aren't careful, this can be costly, as upfront phone prices can be poor value. Always check handset prices alongside the equivalent cost without the SIM, and the month cost, before making a purchase. Apple has a special form of mobile phone finance called iPhone Payments , which has its own unique features. These packages allow you to buy up to date models like the iPhone X over extended periods, usually of 20 months.

The finance to make the purchase is provided via an interest free loan from Barclays, which needs to be paid of via a Direct Debit on a monthly basis. Payments is intended to cover the costs of expensive top of the line Apple phones, and it doesn't come with data or storage allowances as part of the deal. On the plus side, the handsets provided are unlocked, so you can combine a SIM only deal with Payments to come up with an iPhone financing plan. However, it's important to note that to take advantage of them you'll have to attend an Apple Store in person. You can find your nearest location on their website.

So far, we've talked about general phone attributes and the major ways to buy a phone, but it might help to briefly mention some of the most popular brands and models before you dive into the mobile phone listings.

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At the peak of the mobile phone market, you'll find Apple , Samsung and Google. The Apple iPhone X and the iPhone 8 are the top of the range models in their famous series, and offers industry-leading specifications. But their X edition is closely matched by Samsung's Galaxy S9 , with its high resolution wraparound screen. The Google Pixel 2 is slightly cheaper, but has the finest camera around, so photography fans take note. Further down the scale, you can find high-quality phones from brands like Huawei , Nokia , Xiaomi , Moto and Alcatel — all of which offer large screens and fast processors and should be accessible for buyers on a budget.

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The Moto G5 is a particularly strong budget Android phone. Then there are Windows phones. These aren't as numerous as Android phones, or as popular as iOS phones, but benefit from compatibility with Microsoft's mobile version of Windows. The Lumia range from Lumia is the gold standard here. However, be aware that Microsoft has more or less withdrawn from the mobile scene, so development of apps and the OS is an issue.

Mobile phone accessories can be purchased to increase the life of your handset, add storage space and provide a portable charging option. Phone Case — Mobile phone cases serve a number of different functions; primarily they are designed to protect the handset from scratches or bumps, but they also add a stylish touch of personalisation.