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How to Choose the Right Cell Phone

Updated on April 19, 2016

How to choose a new cell phone that meets all your needs and will keep you satisfied for years to come.

Choosing a cell phone can be confusing. Today’s cell phones have more features and capabilities than ever before, and different people want different features on their mobile devices. This makes it even more complicated than ever to choose the right cell phone, whether you’re looking for a phone with tons of features or one that just makes calls. With so many different wireless devices to choose from, how do you know which is the right one for you?

Before you begin even looking at devices, it is important to know what you will be using your phone for. In fact, most experts recommend that you choose your wireless plan first. This avoids the issue of forming attachments to phones you might like but wouldn’t work for you because it allows you to determine all the features you would like to use first, and then look only at phones that have them. Then you can pick out a phone that meets up with all your criteria – since you wouldn’t want to end up buying a phone that doesn’t meet all of your needs. To get started, check out our Considerations When Choosing a Cell Phone Plan.

In addition, most cellular service providers offer phones at a discounted price or even free when customers sign a contract for one of their plans, so if you know that you are going with a plan that requires a contract, you might be able to get a discount on your phone.

Once you have at least a good idea of what type of plan and features you would like, there are many things to take into consideration when selecting a device to use with your phone.


Begin, of course, with practical matters such as the phone’s size and weight. In addition to battery life, you may also wish to take battery type into account. Then, narrow down your selection of available phones by eliminating phones that are too heavy, bulky, etc.

Screen Size/Features

A larger screen is generally more expensive, but necessary if you plan to use the phone for Internet and e-mail, or for camera and pictures. Also, you’ll want to make sure your phone has a backlit screen, which will help you read it in low-light conditions.

Multimedia Features

Many phones now have built-in cameras, video and audio recorders, and other multimedia features. If you know that there are particular features you would like to use, take those into consideration and eliminate phones that do not support those features. Also, if you plan on using your phone for multimedia, be sure that it has enough memory and storage capability to meet your needs.

Travel/International Support

If you determined that you will be using your phone internationally or for travel and selected a plan accordingly, be sure to also select a phone that will support it. Many countries do not support CDMA networks and require the use of GSM technology. If you plan on traveling to countries that only use GSM networking, be sure to select a phone that supports both. For example, the Blackberry World Edition Smartphone supports both CDMA networks as well as sporting a SIM card slot to function on GSM networks if necessary.

Tools and Applications

Virtually all phones now include basic functions such as phone directory, clock, calculator, call logs and automatic redial, but be sure that the phone you select also supports all the other features you plan to use. For example, you’ll need a good web browser if you plan on using the internet on your phone, and an e-mail client if you plan on sending and receiving e-mails. Also take into consideration other “novelty” features, like customizable ringtones for different contacts. While it might not be as big of a deal as other things, you wouldn’t want to buy a phone planning on using a feature and then discover that you can’t.

There are also additional features that are now available on phones, rather than carry around additional electronic devices. For example, many phones can now function as GPS navigation units or MP3 players. You might consider looking for a phone that includes any of these features you would like combined into your mobile device.


We all know that although we start out thinking we would never let any damage happen to our latest “gadget,” there are good chances something might go wrong. Be sure and check up on your prospective mobile devices’ warranty and replacement plans and make sure they are sufficient to your needs.


Many networks that require a contract also “lock” their phones so that they cannot be moved onto a different network without substantial reconfiguration, even if that network uses the same wireless technology. If in the future you are considering moving somewhere that your current wireless company does not provide service, or for some other reason may decide to transfer to a different wireless provider, you will want to know if the phone you are buying is locked to any particular network or not.

After you’ve made a list of a few different phones or devices that meet your criteria, it’s important to evaluate them. Reading our reviews will give you a good idea of how people who have already used and tested the phones liked or didn’t like them. You might also want to go into a store and see how a phone looks and feels.

Once you’ve selected a device, don’t forget to look at accessories, cases, batteries, covers, Bluetooth headsets that are available for your new cell phone or PDA.

In the end, this whole process all boils down to making sure you’re the happiest you could be with your new mobile device. You would hate to make a purchase that didn’t entirely meet up with your needs or expectations. So, take the time, be thorough, and get the most out of your brand new mobile device.


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    • IdeaMorphist profile image


      8 years ago from Chicagoland

      I had never considered all these factors!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very good hub. I find this very informative.


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