Smartphone features you NEED

Smartphone features you NEED

An employee of Samsung Electronics holds the Galaxy S4 LTE-A smartphones at a showroom of its headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, July 5, 2013. Even after setting a record high profit, Samsung Electronics disappointed investors who increasingly doubt its mainstay smartphone business can maintain rapid growth. Samsung Electronics Co. on Friday estimated its April-June operating profit at a record high of 9.5 trillion won ($8.3 billion). But it fell short of forecasts by analysts who held higher expectation for the world's largest smartphone maker. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI)-- Buying a new phone? There's no end to the smart things these devices can do!

Apple's iPhone 5s can scan your fingertip to unlock the screen.
This Samsung phone lets you just wave your hand to answer calls.
And Sony's got a phone that can survive a dunk!

"The newest phones do loads of things, but you can easily get lost in all their features. In our labs, we've identified the essentials," Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports said.

A high-quality display is a must-have. It makes surfing the web, reading an e-book or watching video a pleasure.

"Displays of four-and-a-half inches used to be the exception. But now we're seeing more phones with even bigger screens squeezed into cases that fit your hand," Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports said.

Next up, a really good camera. No phone should be without it.

"Cameras keep improving. And a lot of new phones have controls and editing tools that make your pictures even better," Mike Gikas of Consumer Reports said.

Also important --- battery life. What good is a phone that can't keep up with you?

"There are some that actually let you talk for more than 24 hours on a single charge."

If you're shopping for a phone, Consumer Reports found many to recommend. Among Androids, Samsung's Galaxy S 4 is top-rated. It has a high-quality display, a great camera and long-lasting battery life. Also consider the LG G2 for its excellent display and super battery. If you prefer Apple's operating system, Consumer Reports says the iPhone 5s is the best iPhone yet.

Consumer Reports also tested Apple's new iPhone 5c - that's the one that comes in fun colors like blue, green, and pink. It's a chunkier and less costly alternative to the 5s, but they share a lot features like a top-notch camera and excellent 4-inch display.