By Jim Donovan

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Samsung shook up the smartphone market with the debut of its Galaxy S4 last week, and if you’re shopping for a new gadget right now, sorting through the crowded field can be daunting.

It’s crowded out there for smartphone shoppers, and more choices can make it harder to find the best fit. Paul Reynolds, Consumer Reports’ Electronics Editor, says, “By the end of the spring or even by the end of March, we’re going to have a very competitive – maybe more competitive than ever – market in smartphones.”

Apple’s easy interface makes it popular, especially among novice smartphone users.

Android phones boast a greater diversity in hardware and more variety in screen size like the Galaxy S4, for example, which increased its size.

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Blackberry remains popular for business and also for those who prefer a physical keyboard over a touch screen, while the live tile interface of a Windows phone makes it user-friendly and helps users find what they need with fewer steps.

With smartphones fast becoming the go-to device for photos and videos, consider what you’ll need if you aim to ditch your traditional camera, and consolidate devices. According to Reynolds, “Really what people should be looking to is to look for a camera that has now at least 5 – if not 8 – megapixels of resolution, and has a lot of the enhancements for sharing.”

A new phone with more bells and whistles also needs a data plan that can handle it, so make sure to review your plan to avoid overage fees.

For more info, visit: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cell-phones-services/buying-guide.htm

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