Monday, October 17, 2011

Essential Features to Look for When Smartphone Shopping

Smartphones have forever altered the way we stay connected to friends, family and colleagues, but like any other technology, the variety of features and options to choose from seem endless. Ultimately, it is up to you, the consumer, to decide what smartphone features are essential in your life.  Of course, each additional feature can drive up costs, so it is just as important to opt out of features that you are unlikely to use with any frequency.  It helps to think about some of the standard features that come with smartphones so you can get the smartphone that is a perfect fit to your needs.

It used to be that memory was a big deal when buying into some kind of computer or smart technology. These days, you can always buy external storage or store data using a cloud service like Polkast, which means that internal memory is not as crucial as it once was. The smartphone should come with a healthy amount of on-board memory, however, so that you can store vital apps and media directly on your device.

One feature of the smartphone that is important is the data speed. While all of the major carriers are touting 4G smartphones, the fact is that 4G service is limited across the US (there is a reason that Apple didn’t find it important to add 4G service in the iPhone 4S).  And while 4G service expands, you may be paying for an extra feature on your smartphone that you can’t take use.  Bearing this in mind, review 4G coverage in your area against the length of time you expect to own your phone.  If you are someone who upgrades every year and 4G is not available in your area, than you don’t need a 4G phone.  However, if you keep your phone for several of years and 4G is expected to come to your area next year, then you investing in a 4G phone now makes sense.

Screen size and the speed of the processor in your smartphone are essential features that can get overlooked if you get excited about all the toys that come with your phone. If the smartphone that you buy has a weak processor, it will run slowly and that frustration can become a big problem for you. If you want to watch video content on your smartphone regularly, the screen size and resolution become very important features that can make or break your purchase decision.

Even if you can get a great price online (especially if you are looking for an unlocked phone), it still is a good idea to find a store with the exact make and model you want and spend some time with it. Look in particular at how you will type in messages during texting. If you plan to text a lot, a comfortable keyboard, be it a touchpad or QWERTY keyboard is important. Test drive that input method, because once you invest in a smartphone, you will use that system a lot.

There are lots of other features of smartphones to consider. You may look at the camera or GPS unit if you feel that those are features you will use a lot. That means that the more you know in advance what is important to you in a smartphone and what is not is crucial before you lay out your checklist for what functions of the smartphone are “must haves” for you and which ones are just toys.

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