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Survey results: what you care about most when buying a phone

Take a look at how CNET readers make decisions about buying a new phone, from deciding what is important, what isn't and the factors that our readers just don't care about.

Several months ago, we posed a series of questions to readers of CNET Australia about the decisions which are most important to you when buying a new smartphone. All up, we collected just short of 2000 replies, and the results are quite interesting.

Combine the purple and red bars to find the most popular results. (Credit: Survey Monkey/CBSi)

The chart above shows the six major factors we identified as being the most important in making a new smartphone purchasing decision. For each consideration, the survey's respondents marked whether it was essential, important, a minor concern or not important at all.

We'll admit that it probably wasn't the best way to structure this question, but some of the information you can take away from the results is quite interesting. For example, the two least important factors are clearly which carrier the phone is on and which phone is used by family and friends. On the flip side, if you combine Important and Essential (the purple and red bars), the top rating factors are hardware specifications and perceived value for money.

Unsurprisingly, most people want screens between 4- and 5-inches. (Credit: Survey Monkey/CBSi)

There were less surprises when we asked about screen size, with most people choosing either 4 to 4.5-inch or 4.5 to 5-inch. The older iPhone's 3.5-inch screen took a hammering though, with only 2.9 per cent of the total votes.

We suspected that battery life would be a factor that everyone could agree on, and so we didn't expect to see many people choosing the "Battery life isn't a major consideration for me" option. We were right, but we were still surprised to see that a majority of respondentss went to the "single day is fine" option (55.3 per cent) rather than the "I want longer battery, regardless of the trade-offs" option (42 per cent). Battery life is the key area of change we are really hoping to see in new phones over the next 12 months.

A single-day's battery life is sufficient? We beg to disagree. (Credit: Survey Monkey/CBSi)

One of the results we found most interesting was to the question, "Do you want a 4G phone?" as 41 per cent of our survey participants said that they want 4G in their next phone. However, a larger portion of readers (49.6 per cent) said that they didn't care whether it has 4G or not. This result could be biased due to the timing of the survey, though. Considering the majority of these replies were made in the middle of this year, we wonder whether this figure may have reversed by now, given the increase in marketing and awareness built around 4G by both Optus and Telstra.

In some of the other results:

  • 62 per cent of respondents said that they didn't care about whether they had access to a phone's battery

  • 43 per cent are happy with 16GB internal storage, while only 7.4 per cent said that they wanted 64GB

  • 68 per cent want expandable memory via a micro SD card option

  • 52 per cent said that an HDMI port wasn't even a consideration

  • 45 per cent of readers said that they want to use NFC for phone banking, but 33 per cent said no, suggesting that there is still caution around this new technology.