Making smart choices when purchasing a smartphone

smartphones Buying a smartphone can be a big decision, especially for first-time buyers who are wary of potentially spending over $200 on the phone itself and then having to sort through the maze of data plans. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or seasoned smartie, here are some things to consider when purchasing your next device.

(The following are not in any particular order and links will take you to some helpful resources)

1) What will you be using your device for?
Predict how you will use your device – will you mostly be making phone calls? Texting? Sending emails? If calls are your priority, consider your phone’s talk time and battery life. Also, check out the speaker quality – if you can’t hear your conversation partner, it doesn’t matter how many hours you’ll get out of your battery. If texting  or email is your preferred form of communication, take a look at the keyboard – will you be using a physical keyboard or a touchscreen? How do your fingers feel on the keys?

2) How much emphasis do you place on entertainment and media?
For some users, the ability to access media is a priority. If you like to watch videos and listen to music, look into how much internal storage your device has. Can you expand your storage via SD card? Also important is the quality of your screen and camera. Consider the device’s display and the number of mexapixels offered by your camera. If you’re a budding filmmaker, video resolution and HDMI ports may be something to look into.

3) What other technical specs, add-ons, and accessories are available?
Besides the ever-present operating system battle, there are other “tech specs” to think about. For example, are you interested in a dual-core processor? Dual-core processors are designed with multitasking and intense gameplay in mind, but the average user may not necessarily need that kind of power for the price. What about 3G or 4G? Weight? Size? How much RAM?

App markets anyone? Some might say that apps are the jewelry of smartphones – not essential, but certainly enhancing. Applications can increase your business productivity, help you find new restaurants, keep up with current events, and more. We know that Apple leads the market in app offerings, but the Android Market is right on its heels, with Windows Marketplace and BlackBerry App World following behind.

ACTIVE case Finally, while this may not be a dealbreaker, what accessories do you have to choose from? I love my Seidio ACTIVE in Burgundy, but I often wish I also had some kind of alarm clock/charging station/radio hybrid to use at home. If you’re a long distance driver, look into car mounts; if you’re an office professional, look into desktop cradles; if protection is important, look into screen protectors and cases. I know where you’ll look for those!

Other sites to help you with your decision:
CNET Reviews
Engadget Reviews
PCMag Reviews 

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