Many are bout due for an upgrade and with all this new tech and hype it is easy to get confused and caught up so we are going to try and help you determine the device that is right for you.
1) Pick your carrier: I know this is mainly a vzw forum but vzw don't pay me. In all seriousness with At&t, Sprint, and other carriers rolling out LTE, users will have more choices. As far as LTE is concerned no other carrier coverage is close to that of vzw but that does not mean other carriers are horrible. At&t's hspa+ is actually comparable speed wise to the low end of lte (1bar of LTE) and having hspa+ to back up LTE can be beneficial for those on the fringe of LTE. Vzw has the fastest LTE but their 3g is not as fast as at&t's, so when you drop from lte the speeds are noticeable. So I suggest you look at your area and the places you visit frequently to ensure coverage is good in your area. For me At&t and Vzw are the best in my area followed by Sprint and t-mobile.
2) Dual Core, quad core, single core, 1 gig ram, 2 gigs HELP!!! : Let us slow this down a little. As a user ask why you use your device. If you are into gaming then having a device with more ram and more cores could be very beneficial. People use smartphones now for everything and for some people it has become their gaming system. The reality is for the avg users who mainly make calls, text, surf the web, and watch a few vids having dual core with a gig of ram is more than enough especially if you do not use a lot of apps.
So how do I decide what device is right for me because vzw reps will sell me anything? We are here to help I actually went into a store and saw a rep selling a razr and telling the guy the maxx is not really needed. I asked the customer if he ever owned an lte device (of course he didn't). I highly recommended for him to pay the extra 40 bucks for the maxx. You will be stuck with a device for 2 years that do not have a removable battery, unless you work near an outlet get the larger battery. Below I am going to help you determine the device best suited for you.
Android or apple: If you own a mac, ipad, ipod (or a combination) buying an iphone may be best for you being you already own one of the products and the apple ecosystem makes things a little easier as far as syncing everything, plus you do not have to buy an app twice. If you want a larger screen, keyboard, or something different then the iphone android is an awesome choice.
What Android device: If use your device heavily for gaming and multitask a lot look for a device with more ram and and will support peripherals for gaming (Samsung devices like the s3 and future note 2 excels in those areas as far as gaming, also look for a device with more ram).
If your device is an all day device mainly used for calls, text, emails and a few vids (work phone) look for a device that can go longer on a single charge (ie razr maxx or buy an extended battery).
If you love using your phone camera and want quality photos whether it be night or day look for a device with a high quality camera (many HTC and Samsung devices).
If music quality is big look at some of the newer htc devices.
If you live or work in a fringe area where vzw (or choice carrier) is the best carrier but signal is not strong Motorola devices are known for their radios even in areas where other phones would cut out motorola devices will still hold on to the signal for calls.
Hopefully I covered everything but more than likely I could have missed something so if any one want to contribute feel free. But this thread is meant to help customers determine the best device for THEM not you so if owning an iphone or choosing a different carrier is best for them then so be it we are here to help in this thread and not bash.