I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately as I recognize that when it comes to smartphone buying, I’m stuck in a crossroads about my next device. Yes, it’s true that my position as a tech blogger affords me the opportunity to try the latest and greatest, often at the same time. However, with a 10 month old my primary methodology for selecting a smartphone lately comes down to camera, camera and camera.

That being said, there exists a plethora of other factors that I can consider, and I know these thoughts will be echoed by almost every one of you. Which begs the question: “What order should I place these when I purchase a smartphone?”

The same argument could be offered for a car, a home, a tablet or even the drink you want with lunch. Everything has an order, but for me it really comes down to the camera. If I asked the very same question on November 25th of 2012, I can all but guarantee my answer would be “timely updates.” Fortunately, my life has moved in different directions and now my needs are different, but I know there is a list of things I can consider when picking up my next Android device.

For now, I’m leaning toward grabbing a Moto X for two reasons. The first being size; anyone familiar with my history on my previous site will recognize that I made no qualms about knocking the obnoxious growth of device screens. The second is the fact that Motorola released an update to the Moto X that took the camera from decent to good. That’s good enough for me, but do you see the issue I’m having? I just made the argument above that my primary focus is the camera, but here I am stating that size is also a factor all while ignoring that the Nexus 5 has a better camera and fast updates.

In other words, I’m advocating buying the smaller phone with the slightly lesser camera but because of the size even as I wrote an editorial that my primary reason for not buying the Nexus 5 wasn’t the camera. So, now I’m a hypocrite and I find myself in a bit of a flux as I convince myself that the Moto X is right for me all while ignoring that I wrote an editorial not two weeks ago that completely null and voids my primary argument for buying a the Moto X.

Of course my entire “discussion” so far centers on hardware and software. I haven’t even begun to take into account carrier, pricing, and coverage. Perhaps that is a different discussion entirely, but at some point we need to consider that T-Mobile is less expensive overall than AT&T, Verizon, and often less expensive than Sprint. That doesn’t even take into consideration the MVNO services like Straight Talk or Simple Mobile that can drop your monthly pricing down even further. The bottom line is that price is a major factor but for the moment, I’m concerned about the devices themselves. I’ve long been a believer that you select your carrier first and then your device, but I know not everyone adopts the same philosophy. For the moment, we’ll just agree to disagree on how big of a role carrier and price will play and focus solely on the devices themselves.

So, here’s my question for you as I try to sort this out in my mind: What are the primary factors that affect your smartphone buying decisions these days? Is it hardware? Is it Nexus-speed updates direct from Google? Is it price? Perhaps it’s none of the above, but I want to know, how will you rank the various aspects of the smartphone world the next time you decide to pick up something new?

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