Each year there's slump in sales of mobile devices in the January/February. That's because all the holiday gifts have been bought and the MWC - and all next-generation phones it brings - is just around the corner. This doesn't mean it's a bad time to buy a phone, you just have to know what to look for and what to avoid.
Right off the bat, we'll tell you that early 2014 flagships should be avoided - many are due to be replaced in less than a month and even if you don't want the new one, the old one will drop in price. 2013 and late 2014 models are safe - they are already well-priced and not due for replacement for about six month respectively.
As for what's included, well, almost everything! The only platform we didn't include (aside from one-offs like Jolla or Ubuntu) is Tizen. Android, Windows Phone, iOS, BlackBerry and Firefox are all represented.
The major reason we skipped over Tizen is availability - as a rule we only include phones that are easy to buy internationally. Regionally-limited versions are both hard to keep track of and hard to recommend to our global audience.
Some price segments were clearly dominated by certain phones or lines. The Under €100 segment is essentially Lumia-land (hard to beat quad-cores and good screens on the cheap), while in the €100-€200 range Motorola's Moto G phones set the standard for quality.
The next €100 span proved rich in camera functionality and a couple old-but-gold phablets. Next up, for €300-€400 you can get a phone that offers quality even if its price may seem a bit steep. This shopping guide doesn't focus of frugality, instead we recommend some of the best phones that fit your budget.
The next price segment, €400-€500, well that one is practically empty - there are good devices in here, but mostly 2014 flagships that will soon find it hard to justify their price tag. Only the Huawei Ascend Mate7 qualified and that should soon fall under €400.
That's not to say we omitted all 2014 flagships. For example, the price of the LG G3 has plummeted while the feature set is almost as hard to beat as it was months ago. On the other end of the spectrum is the Apple iPhone 6 Plus, whose price will not budge until the iPhone 6 Plus S is unveiled - and that's half a year away.
Finally, we have a quick summary of the phones we didn't include in this guide and the reasons why. Those are mostly the flagships, but also some phones that have been bested in price and features.
The first quarter of each year is typically less profitable for manufacturers, but that doesn't make it a bad time to buy a phone. You just need to do some research - that could be tedious or intimidating, so consider the following pages as a cheat sheet that points you in the right direction.