Tablet or Phone: Which should you choose?

Its never simple, is it?

If you thought there was a lot of choice when it came to tablets then prepare yourself, the world of smartphones is overflowing with options, big to small, expensive to dirt cheap. You name it, it probably exists.

The biggest topic that surrounds mobile phones is price, and the compromises you have to make if you opt for a more wallet friendly device.

Low and mid-range

Cheaper handsets are becoming increasingly more competent, with the mid range and budget markets being populated with both new devices, as well as last year's flagships.

There are some decent cheaper mobiles on the market, however. The likes of the Moto G, Nokia Lumia 520 and Huawei Ascend Y300 all provide a decent return for a smaller outlay.

Moto G
The Moto G is the best value smartphone around

If you fancy a little more power and functionality then the likes of the HTC One Mini and the Galaxy S4 Mini are a good shout, while the Google Nexus 5 is also very reasonably priced, bringing high end specs to the budget conscious.

Tablet or Phone  Which should you choose
The HTC One Mini repackages a lot of the HTC One in a smaller, cheaper package

The phablets

Screen size is just as hot a topic on phones as it is on tablets, as many manufacturers are pushing flagship screens as far as 5-inches. Phablets have also emerged intending to blur the lines between tablets and phones.

As a compromise device, a phablet might be just what you're after, although they tend to command higher price tags. The Galaxy Mega is available SIM free at around £440, with the more powerful Galaxy Note 3 requiring a heftier £630 outlay.

Whilst there is undoubtedly a link between screen size, power and price, you should also consider differences between dual and quad-core processors.

You should look for a compromise between the power of the processor, the GPU and RAM. Higher screen resolutions will need more power (and thus bigger batteries) to ensure everything chugs along nicely.

The flagships

The latest flagship devices come with oodles of power, but they also command a certain level of financial investment. The reward for this speaks for itself, just take a look at our HTC One, LG G2 and Samsung Galaxy S4 reviews.

Storage is also very important on smartphones, especially if you plan on filling one up with apps and/or media. This is highlighted by the lack of expandable storage on the likes of the iPhone 5S and HTC One.

iPhone 5S
The iPhone 5S doesn't come with expandable storage

Cameras are more important (and therefore also better) on smartphones than on tablets, as their smaller statures make them easier to carry. The best camera is the one that you have with you, and you're almost always going to have your phone with you.

The trick with smartphone cameras is not to be drawn into the pixel race, although that is still very prevalent. Nokia's Lumia 1020 comes with 41MP lens, the Xperia Z1 a 20.7MP camera, and both produce quality snaps, but you'll get decent shots from a high-end 8MP or 13MP rival.

Nokia Lumia 1020
Nokia Lumia 1020; a 41MP in a phone

OS choice is also rather important. iOS 7 is only available on iPhones, coming with its bright, simple to learn and use interface. It is also heavily locked down, meaning less customisation in a trade off for better security.

Android is far more open, and each manufacturer places their own UI over the top. These can be replaced via the Play Store however, along with features like the SMS app or even the keyboard.

Tablet or Phone  Which should you choose
Each mobile OS has advantages and disadvantages

Windows Phone 8 and BB10 are both locked down systems, and are both a lot newer than the Google and Apple equivalents. As such, they don't have the same vast app offerings on their app stores, but this is changing all the time.

Finally, you should consider just how important 4G is to you. In the UK, the 4G roll out is still very much in progress, although it is far more prevalent in other territories. 4G is now available on a wider range of devices, with the cheaper Samsung Galaxy Ace 3 sporting LTE capabilities.

This technology is only really important when it comes to serious web browsing, as the 3G structure is still very capable of loading web pages smoothly.