Cell Phones: How to Choose a Smartphone

| October 12, 2012

SmartphoneChoosing a smartphone involves deciding which features really fit your needs. Considering the cost of the investment, It’s important to do your homework. Keep the following in mind while doing your research and don’t forget to look through DexKnows listings to find a provider near you.

Choosing a network

For many, choosing a smartphone often means signing a two-year contract and agreeing to fulfill the contract’s terms in order to qualify for a discounted phone. That means you are reliant on what smartphones your network offers. You want to make sure to select a plan with the right amount of data and voice usage to fit your lifestyle.

When picking a network, make sure to look at the coverage map to make sure there is adequate coverage in your area. Look through DexKnows to find providers in your neighborhood.

Selecting a type

Today’s smartphones can be narrowed down to the iPhone (Apple), the BlackBerry, phones based on Google’s Android software and Windows-based phones.

The top choices are iPhones and Android phones. US News and World Reports states that iPhones make up 29 percent of smartphones in the United States, while Android phones control 52 percent of the market.

The blog Mandatory-tech.com says that of this writing the iPhone’s app store has the most apps available out of all smartphones. It is also easy to use. The catch is there isn’t much variety when it comes to iPhones, whereas users of Android phones have a choice of more models, more makers and more features. There are thousands of free apps to choose from. There are also different screen sizes. Microsoft Windows phones are newcomers to the smartphone scene. App selection is smaller than that of iPhones and Android phones but Windows phones are considered to still be a strong contestant.

Blackberry phones have the reputation of being phones for the workplace. They are the more serious smartphones, designed for email and to handle organizational tasks such as calendars. They have cameras and other functions of smartphones but not as many, and their small screens make for a limited viewing area.

Comparing features

Websites of cell phone providers often let you compare features on smartphones. When choosing features, try to choose ones you will use often. One example is tethering, which is using your smartphone as a wireless modem for a laptop. This feature often costs extra and may not be needed if you don’t plan to use your phone as a modem.

US News and World Report also suggests skipping the 4G network. It may be faster, but phone choice is limited, and most areas of the country still don’t support 4G coverage.

If your usage is mostly texting and emailing, maybe with some Facebook updating, you may also not need higher RAM (that’s memory) and a higher GPU (for playing videos and games).

Input matters

A consideration many may not think of is input, which is the way you enter your data onto your phone. Not everyone likes typing on a touchscreen, though smartphones with touchscreens tend to have larger screens. Blackberry users may be dismayed at trying to type on smaller buttons. There are other options, including smartphones with a slide-out QWERTY keyboard or a keyboard on the screen. Some smartphones have “swipe” technology, where you drag your finger across the keyboard to “type.”

Try them out

Before you settle on a smartphone, go to a provider and look at your choices in person. This is a suggested step, even if you ultimately plan to order a phone online. Going to a store and handling it lets you see how it fits in your hand and gives you an idea of how easy or difficult the phone will be to use. A sales representative may be able to narrow down your choices and help you select the right one.

Providers may also offer a certain length of time during which you can return the phone for free or by paying a restocking fee. Search through DexKnows and head to a provider near you.

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Category: Cell Phones, Evergreen, Products, Tech

About the Author ()

Central Ohio journalist with 15 years experience at daily newspapers. Freelance writer and amateur photographer. Storytellers are my heroes, poets my idols and photographers my looking glass.