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Cell Phone Buying Guide

Updated on June 19, 2011

Nokia N96 Slide Phone

Top Slide Phone
Top Slide Phone

Buying a Cell Phone

In today's day and age communication is key to your personal and business lifestyle and success. One of the most important parts of day to day communication is your cell phone. Choosing your cell phone can be both difficult and confusing, their are hundreds of options and constantly advancing technologies all of which make buying a cell phone more difficult.

This cell phone buying guide aims to give you a deep insight into buying a cellphone and making sure you choose the phone that is perfect for you.

Choose Your Cell Phone Style

When you first look at cell phones you may find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer number of cell phone features. The best way to approach this is to take the simple steps first.

There are currently three basic styles of Cell Phones. The three styles of cell phones are Slider, Flip and Bar.

Bar phones are the simplest, with no flip or slide these phones are basic and hassle free. With no moving parts for the case they tend to be reliable, you may find the screen gets scratched though!

Slide phones reduce the size of your phone but does still leave the screen exposed. Slide phones have easy answering and more importantly do look damn cool! Since slide phones have a spring opening system they do sometiems fail, but can be repaired easily!

Flip phones are much better protected. Since the screen is covered it helps protect against accidental cracks, the hinges on flip phones are however prone to fail. Flip style cell phones are very compact and secure, they do not suite everyone though!

The truth of the matter is however that when you choose your cell phone you ahve to choose what feels right to you, some people simply suit different types of phones to others!

How Complex Do You Want your phone?

Remember that cell phones come in all styles and forms. For this reason when you choose your cellphone look out for those which suit your style. For those of you who are tech savvy you may like a brand new Blackberry or Nokia N96 symbian, whereas if your tastes go for a simple phone to call on then you can get a fairly cheap, but still good looking cell phone. By doing this you can get a phone that suits your needs without confusing you!

Some phones can automatically check your e-mail, some are focussed on the internet and then at the other end of the scale you have simple, large screened and big buttoned texting phones!

Those looking for simplicity may have to look around, the iPhone has a simple touch screen, but it is expensive and sometimes has too many functions for the average user. Blackberry's have some great functions and a larger keyboard, but can be difficult to set up. In many cases though the simple phones with a simple menu, large options and an easy to use set up can be most suitable for you.

Those wanting internet access on the move may find the apple iPhone a perfect solution. The iPhone has some great Internet navigation options, though it does lack in a few other key areas. The iPhone is also good for those who want unlimited functionality, with the iPhones huge range of downloadable applications.

Bluetooth? WiFi? GPS? 3G, Edge? What the Hell?!?

With the huge number of connectivity options offered to cell phone users it is more than easy to become confused as you get hit with an ever increasing barrage of acronyms. Fortunately with this cell phone buying guide we are here to help!

First off

GPS - GPS in itself is not a connection technology, instead GPS is a precise location technology which is an amazing feature in more recent cell phones. Since this locates where you are currently standing or driving it can use GPS technology integrated in maps to show you exactly where you are on a map, and give you directions to where you need to go!

GPRS - This is a slow speed data connection that is rather dated on most modern phones, but is a cheap reliable and widespread technology that gives you data on your phones around the world.

EDGE & 3G - These two cell phone technologies are the latest in mobile internet capability. They can run at near broadband speeds. Edge is a little bit slower than 3g, but both are amazing tools for using the Internet on the move!

Bluetooth - Bluetooth is a specialist wireless technology devised for cell phones. While it has limited range, at around 10 feet, it uses very little power, making ti an ideal solution for wireless headsets for your cellphone.

WiFi - WiFi is a faster, more stable and longer ranged wireless communications technology. Reaching speeds of up to 54MB per second it is the perfect way to transfer files, it does use a lot of battery power but since it is not used that often it does not really matter!

Free, Cheap or Expensive Cell Phones?

If you go for a pay monthly contract there is little doubt that you will be given a special offer on certain phones that the service provider sells. On these special offers you will get cheap, expensive and even free phones, but it all depends on what you need and what you are willing to spend.

The discount you get on your phone, whether you are looking for a cheap or expensive cell phone, tends to vary on the contract you take out. If you choose a tariff for only $30 a month your phone will undoubtedly be basic if you want it for free, or even cheap. If your contract is $70 - $100 a month however you may find yourself getting top of the range phones for $50 or even for free, even when they retail for $350.

If you choose carefully you can get a cell phone that suits you for free, with a tariff that is no more expensive than you need it to be!

I think it is best to warn you though, the cell phone providers will try to dazzle you with free cell phone handsets to try and pull you on to higher tariff contracts. Remember this, and make sure you don't buy a cell phone that is more complex than you need just because of a sales pitch sold it to you. Take a day to think it through and do not spend more money than you need on a ludicrously expensive cell phone tariff just so you can have a free fancy handset which has features you will barely ever use!

If you are looking for an expensive cell phone it is sometimes cheaper just to pay the extra on top of your cheaper cell phone contract, unless of course you talk a lot in which case a higher tariff contract would be for you!

On top of that you can find some fantastic cell phone deals on Ebay and Amazon, sometimes up to 50% off the price you would pay at your standard cell phone retailer!

Cell Phone Digital Camera Guide

Nearly every cell phone you buy in today's day and age has a digital camera built in. Most of them are only useful for taking shots of you and your friends, but are useless for professional photos. Certain cell phones, such as those in the Nokia N-Series however have fantastic digital photography functions while maintaining their cell phone capability. Important factors when looking at digital cameras in cell phones are,

  • The number of mega pixels

  • The quality of the lens

  • Built-in lens cover

  • Sample pictures

If you make sure all of these are good then you should have a pretty decent cell phone camera. For sample pictures you can check out many cell phone review sites which include sample pictures taken with the camera.

When you are choosing a cell phone I would strongly recommend you think about what you need in a cell phone camera. If you are looking for a high quality camera it may be better to get a separate digital camera. If you are just taking party shots with your friends then a standard cell phone camera should suffice!

Cell phones with digital camera capability nearly always have the ability to take video footage as well. Unfortunately the technology for this tends to be very poor quality, but again, it is fine for taking videos of you and your friends when a quick video taking solution is required!

Cell Phone Brands

There are several large cell phone manufacturers out there, some of them have been established for some time, some are new to the market, and a few are just trying to truely promote innovation. When you are looking to buy a cell phone this guide will help you choose which cell phone brand is best for you.

First off though, lets have a run down of the main cell phone manufacturers,

  • Nokia

Nokia is one of the largest, most successful and innovative cell phone manufacturers in the world, with some amazing features, pioneering designs and stunning reliable set ups the Nokia cell phone range is bound to have a phone jsut right for you, unfortunately they do tend to be a little expensive. Most recently the Nokia N-Series has caught the hearts of many with it;s astounding feature packed phones.

  • Samsung

Samsung have been in teh cell phone making game for some time, on top of a history of electronics manufacturing that places it well in the cell phone rankings. Samsung phones do not really have much pizaz but they are sturdy and reliable.

  • LG

LG is fairly new to the cell phone market, but itstunned the world with it's low cost but incredibly stylish designs. With releases such as the LG Chocolate, which break the mold of traditional cell phone designs, you can find a unique well made and beautiful cell phone with LG.

  • RIM

RIM are most famous for their Blackberry devices, which are business orientated e-mail and office suite compatabile. While initially they worked only with a Blackberry Enteprise Server RIM have now expanded their technologies and encased them in some suave professional cases to hit the consumer market. Blackberry devices are reliable, but have a strange keyboard, with more buttons than a normal phone but less than a qwerty keyboard.

  • Motorola

Motorola only really made it big in teh United States until they released their ultra thin Razr series, which was a storm teh world over. Despite holding sway over teh US market I have never really liked Motorola's, though they are undoubtedly good phones in their own right. in my experience these phones tend to be a little flimsy.

  • HTC

HTC are most famous for their Touch range. While tehy focus primarily on touch screen cell phones HTC have made some innovative advances in the cell phone world.

  • Sony Ericsson

Sony Ericsson have become one of the worlds leading cell phone manufacturers with some amazing media focussed cell phones. While not for everyone the Sony Ericsson ranges can focus on either applications and web browsing or music and games. Whichever you choose you will be guaranteed a stunnign multimedia device when you choose an Sony Ericsson cell phone.

  • Apple

Apple are one of the oldest names in the computer industry, but are pretty new to the cell phone market. Since they joined this cometitive market they have dominated sales with their one and only cell phone release, the iPhone. This great device is amazing for surfing the web online, yet it does lack when you want to send a text.

  • Google

Google have become one of the worlds most leading and innovative web based software developers in the world.  Now however they are expanding their horizons as they released the first Google phone, the Google Android.

The Android is interestingly the worlds first opensource phone, meaning you should soon see hundreds of free applications appearing for it.  THis could be an iPhone killer, since it has none of the prohibative costs that are attached to Apple's iPhone.

So Which Cell Phone Manufacturer Should I Choose?

My only answer to that is choose the cell phone manufaturer that suits your needs, gives you your functions and has the style you love the most! 

The chances are once you have started using phones from one manufacturer you will use them for years to come, since you soon get used to a certain style of texting and navigation with your cell phone.

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