Assessing Your Cellphone Needs

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Eighty three percent of Americans adults own cell phones, but do they own the one that best meets their mobile needs? Whether you’re upgrading your current phone or buying a cell phone for the first time, it’s important to consider what you need in a phone.

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Eighty three percent of Americans adults own cell phones, but do they own the one that best meets their mobile needs? Whether you’re upgrading your current phone or buying a cell phone for the first time, it’s important to consider what you need in a phone. Conventional phones make sense for those who want to make calls, send text, take basic photos and use voice-to-text. Certain data plans will even allow you to send email and photos with a conventional phone. Plans and prices of conventional phones tend to be less expensive than smart phones. If need a phone that allows you to access multiple email accounts, edit and send documents, sync organizers or connect to the Web at a moments notice, a smart phone is likely a better choice. The average, no-contract, retail price of a cell phone is more than $200. That’s why service providers usually offer significant discounts on the price. However, you’re required to sign a long-term contract before you’re eligible for the discount. Despite the carrier’s discount, smart phones need a high or unlimited data plan if you want to avoid overage charges. You’ll likely end up paying more per month for a smart phone than for a conventional phone. Weigh the tradeoffs: is a limitless data plan and constant Internet worth paying, potentially, hundreds more a year? Phones with built-in WiFi can make use of home WiFi networks or a WiFi hotspot to access faster data speeds required for streaming media and web browsing. Save money by piggybacking on a reliable WiFi network to offset data usage. The power of a cell phone’s Operating System determines how fast and easy to use it is; Google, Apple and Windows are the primary providers of cell phone operating systems. Talk to your friends about their experiences and look at consumer reviews of the different operating systems. Google’s Android OS is known for its mapping, GPS, real-time web, and social networking updates, while Apple’s iPhone is known for its touch screen, gaming, and multimedia functionality, The Windows Phone OS offers a Multi-touch display and comes preloaded with XBOX, Zune, and supports player-to-player gaming. A phone’s features and ease of use are often the deciding factor when people decide on a phone. When shopping for a phone keep these five “must have” features in mind: Text-ability: Phones that come equipped with a Qwerty keyboard offer precision and convenience for heavy text users, but many smart phone users find their touchscreen keyboard just as easy to manipulate. Multi-Media: Using your phone to take snapshots and videos means that the camera resolution needs to be a minimum of 3 megapixels. You can easily find both smart phones and conventional cell phones meet this minimum. Hands-free: At least 9 states prohibit using handheld phones while driving and 34 ban texting behind the wheel. For hands free, wire-free driving it is essential that your phone is Bluetooth ready and equipped with voice dialing capability. This is a safety feature that is essential –especially when a teenager is at the wheel. Memory: If you edit documents, browse web pages or store music and photos, chances are that the built-in memory your device comes with will soon run out. It is handy to have an SD card (additional memory) slot that can expand the memory on your device and facilitate quick file transfers. Cell phones are all but essential, so before making your next mobile purchase, make sure you: Test out phones at the store; check out its weight, screen size, interface and speed; Compare costs of carriers, coverage and the terms of different data plans; Consider the shape and size of different phones; Ultimately, only you’ll know which phone best meets your usage requirements and budget. Carefully considering your needs ensures you’ll make an informed choice.

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