The use of smartphones has seen a steady and rapid increase over time and space. These days, any decision to buy a smartphone is one motivated by knowledge that a good smartphone can allow you to accomplish more than you thought you could - whether professional or personal - and remain mobile.

However, as with most other electronics market spaces, there are an insane number of manufacturers and smartphones, making choosing your next big gadget-related investment a dicey proposition, if you have not conducted sufficient research into all possible angles.

There are a number of requirements you need to consider, ranging from something as simple as price and budget to whether or not you want a camera or a particular kind of technology; even brand can play a big role in determining what you will eventually plump for.

A survey conducted by GSM Arena on this topic threw up a huge list of criterion, from which select the ten most important points you should consider...

  • Social Networking

Social networking refers to the use of online platforms that focus on building social networks across the world, allowing users to share common interests, notifications of activities or events and even daily thoughts. The popularity of platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+ has grown exponentially in recent times and shows no real sign of slowing down, suggest that a smartphone capable of seamlessly integrating with any one or all of the aforementioned services is a must.

According to the survey, 53.2 percent of users polled tend to update and read statuses as well as upload photographs to their networking accounts every day, while another 26.6 percent do so occasionally. The most frequent users are, logically, enough, the younger generations (up to 24 years old) are the most active and account for nearly 60 percent.

  • Taking Photos

Smartphones users have long realised the utility of a good camera on their phones and manufacturers have hastened to comply with their requests. The survey suggests that 98.6 percent of polled users are frequent users of their smartphone's cameras - teenagers are the most frequent (take photographs every day) compared to people over the age of 50 (take photographs once a week). Women tend to use the camera's special features more often than men, who, however, retaliate by taking more photographs.

  • Listening To Music

As much as 60.7 percent of polled users said they listen to music on their phones every day, while another 34.6 percent said they do so occasionally. In effect, more than 95 percent of people with smartphones use their phones as much as portable music players as anything else.

  • Watch Online Videos

Perhaps unsurprisingly, men are more likely than women to watch videos online and these usually tend to be music videos or short comic clips and GSM Arena claims their popularity is almost double that of regular films.

Business Wire reported a 34 percent increase in accessing videos on smartphones over the past year and that 52 percent of all smartphone videos are watched at home, between 5 pm and 11 pm.

  • Mobile Gaming

Naturally, the thrill of mobile gaming is a big reason to buy a smartphone, particularly since the high-end devices like the newly launched Samsung Galaxy S3 sports such fantastic graphics and processing power. Predictably, mobile gaming is most popular among youngsters, with 60 percent enjoying games every day. The interest in mobile gaming seems to decrease with age though; the feature's overall score is only 47.7 percent. Finally, the survey suggests women are less enamoured by mobile games than men.

  • Web Browsing

According to the survey, 78.6 percent of all users browse the web on their phones daily. In fact, only one in 80 respondents has never done so. Women and people over 50 years of age tend to use the web less often than young men do.

  • Installing New Apps

Unlike traditional cell phones, smartphones allow users to install apps of their choice. According to the survey, only 45 percent of the users check the app stores every day, while the total visitors who tend to browse the app stores are double that number. Naturally, teenagers are the most frequent users, while women and people over 50 hardly browse the app stores.

  • Send SMS

One of the most obvious advantages of any mobile phone, let alone a smartphone, is the ability to text. Although its popularity has waned a little over the years, the report says as much as 78.7 percent of polled users confirm texting is something they do often

  • Alarm clock

Interestingly, according to the survey, a total of 97.8 percent of all phone users use the alarm clock feature; 82.7 percent use it every day. The reports suggest people in the age group of 25 - 32 use it the most, while the youngest (under-18) and the oldest (over 50) rarely do so.

  • Mobile internet usage

Finally, the lure of mobile Internet on the go makes for a very convenient way of accessing the Internet from a smartphone, via a USB modem. According to the survey, over 90 percent of all the users access the Internet (71 percent do so every day). Incidentally, teenagers score below average on this count, possibly because of the high cost of using the Internet.