They are probably the most omnipresent piece of modern technology – the cell phone. If you don’t already have one, chances are you’ll own one soon. The problem is, there are so many choices out there now, how can you decide which is the best phone for you?
If you are looking for something strictly for phone calls and texting, a simple cell phone is your answer. If you want to add some of the vast options available for phones these days without going overboard, feature phones are a nice middle of the road option. And, of course, if you really want to go crazy, more and more smartphones loaded with any range of features are available all the time. Here are some general features you should look for in any cell phone purchase:
Call quality. Whenever you are shopping for a phone, you should always make a few test calls. Some of the cheapest no frills phones have the best call quality, because that’s all they do. Similarly, many smartphones put their energy into flashy features instead of actually making a good, quality phone.
Design. How well the phone fits you and your lifestyle is important. You may or may not consider your phone a fashion accessory. If you do, of course a slick design is important, but don’t just buy the “cutest” or “coolest” phone you see. There is some practicality to consider.
Think about how and where you’ll be using the phone. Make sure it’s comfortable in your hand, against your face, on your shoulder, etc.
You also want to think about the size and shape for practical use and transportation reasons. Will it fit in your pouch, purse or pocket comfortably? Everything from tiny flip and flat phones to almost tablet-sized behemoths are available. Consider which would be best for you.
Choose the most practical model appropriate to your needs. Also consider your durability needs, in case you are accident-prone or would bring your phone in risky environments.
Cameras. This is usually the first thing feature phones add, and all higher quality phones have a wide range of camera attributes. Be warned. Larger megapixel size doesn’t necessarily translate to better image quality.
Make sure your phone has a flash – dual-LED and Xenon are the best – or your night and indoor pictures will be blurry and dark. Take a few test shots with the store’s floor model when you are looking for your camera phone to get a hands-on comparison.
Also consider how much you’ll be using the camera. Though the phone-as-camera approach is convenient, digital cameras aren’t very expensive anymore, and produce much better pictures than any phone can. You may just want to buy a separate camera, and not concern yourself about it when purchasing your phone.
Display size and resolution. If you are purchasing a smartphone and plan on spending any substantial time online or watching movies, you’ll want to be sure your screen is big enough to make the experience enjoyable instead of cramped and bothersome. Keep in mind that with a larger screen comes less convenience for storage and portability. The higher the resolution of your screen, the clearer your picture will appear. Again, how this matters to you depends on how you plan to use your phone. If you can adjust contrast, brightness and backlighting, you can make your phone easier to read in different lighting situations, and save some drain on your battery.
New tech compatibility. This can involve a number of things like the processor and 4G LTE compatibility. Quad-core processors are the new norm, as is use with a 4G network. Other new tech is introduced with each new model that’s released.
However, as nice as it is to have the best and brightest, last year’s model is often not a lot different and can cost substantially less. Decide which is more important to you, overall performance or price.