Tablet or Phone: Which should you choose?

If you thought there are a lot of choices when it comes 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 and a raft of new Chinese options available.

There are some decent cheaper mobiles on the market. The Moto G (2014), Sony Xperia M2 and EE Kestrel all provide a decent return for a smaller outlay. Nokia's Lumia 530 and Lumia 630 also present decent value for money.

Moto G (2014)

If you fancy a little more power and functionality then the likes of the HTC One Mini 2 and the Galaxy S5 Mini are a good shout, with the Nokia Lumia 830 also providing competition for Microsoft's mobile OS.

The phablets

Screen size is just as hot a topic on phones as it is on tablets, as most manufacturers are pushing flagship screens beyond 5-inches. Phablets have emerged intending to further 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. This year a trend has emerged for QHD screens with the LG G3, Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Google Nexus 6 all offering pixel packed screens.

iPhone 6 Plus

Perhaps highlighting just how far these devices have come, even Apple has gotten in on the phablet game with the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus.

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 still command a certain level of financial investment. The reward for this speaks for itself, just take a look at our HTC One M8, Sony Xperia Z3 and Samsung Galaxy S5 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 iPhone 6, although Apple do offer 64GB and 128GB variants.

HTC One M8

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. You'll get decent shots from a high-end 8MP or 13MP snapper. This year's flagships seem to have peaked at around 20MP, with the Nokia Lumia 930 and Sony Xperia Z3 both offering these goliath sensors, with both also offering expandable camera apps.

OS choice is also rather important. iOS 8 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. Most handsets available at the moment are shipping with Android 4.4 KitKat, although 5.0 Lollipop is filtering through.

Windows Phone 8.1 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 in progress although has come on in leaps and bounds in the last year, although it is far more prevalent in other territories. 4G is now available on a wider range of devices, with the cheaper Galaxy Ace 3 and Lumia 635 both offering 4G.

This technology is only really important when it comes to serious web browsing (think video and music streaming), as the 3G structure is still very capable of loading web pages smoothly.