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Questions to Ask yourself before buying a Smartphone

Updated on January 26, 2011

Thinking about buyings a smartphone for the first time? Or just upgrading your current smart phone? Either way they are a lot of things you should consider before going out and making a purchase. While smartphones are incredibly useful (and fun) they are also very pricey. Thats why you need to ask yourself a few questions before you go out and buy your new smartphone.

Here is a nice checklist to help you decide which model is right for you. 

Why do I need a smartphone?

This is the most important question. You might find that you actually don't really need on at all. But if you are the type of person who's become an internet and social networking addict a smartphone is a great investment. On the other hand if you are not so tech savy and only need a phone for calls and the occasional message or email, it might be best to think about buying a more old fashioned and cheaper standard mobile phone.

What will I use it for?

The next big question is what will you use your phone for? Almost all the smartphones out today can of course handle personal use quite well. The same goes for business use. However, some companies are known for making much more business friendly devices. Blackberry for example has long been the leading business smartphone back before apple even entered the game. Microsoft has also had lots of experience with mobile smartphones for business and has recently released the Windows 7 mobile OS.

However, Apple's iPhone, and Google's Android phones are relatively new to the smartphone scene. These phones have mobile appstores with thousands of apps available to customize your smartphone for your business.

Touch or Keyboard?

Also important to figure out for yourself is what kind of interface you want for your phone. Almost all smartphones these days have some sort touch screen capability. What not all smartphones have though is a keyboard. This can be a big issue for some people, especially if you are use to the tactile response of a button press. The iPhone for example has no keyboard available on any version. However, every other maker of smartphones has both keyboard phones and touch only phones.

Head to your local mobile store and get some hands on time with the ones they have in stock. Practice writing emails and see how many mistakes you make.

One thing to keep in mind: Keyboards take up space. A full touch phone usually has a much bigger screen making web browsing and video play back so much nicer. Keyboard phones might have cramped screens or the added bulk of a swing out keyboard.

What size suits me?

Size is everything when it comes to smartphones. The size and shape of the your phone can really make or break it. Some devices are very small with the smallest being the xperia mini which is roughly the size of a credit card and others can be as big as the Dell Streak which is somewhere between a smartphone and a tablet with a 5 inch screen. If you don't mind a handful, getting a bigger devices means you'll also get a nice big screen and usually more powerful hardware. If on the other hand you op for a small device, the form factor can be really nice as you can simply carry it in your pocket and whip it out easily. However if you are a heavy internet user your experience will suffer on the cramped screen. Weight too is something to consider as your phone will be with 24. A big clunky device in your pocket can be a real drag to carry around all day. 

Battery Life?

This is something you'll have to look at once you narrow your selection a bit. Smartphones are energy hogs for several reasons.

The first is that smartphones by their very nature enourage the user to have the screen on and the phone's hardware to be processing information. People like to surf the internet, post to twitter and listen to music all at the same time. Traditional mobile phones which are meant for basic tasks don't expend that much energy during normal use. Of course you could not use all your smartphones features, but then what is the point of even owning a nice new smartphone? 

Another reason is that smartphones now are being built with ever brighter, larger, and higher res screens. These screens are a huge energy drain especially for power users. 

And finally, as alluded to before, smartphones work hard. They have much more powerful processors in order to handle all of the demands of running games, internet and playing media. 

So make sure to check out reviews and see what people are saying about battery life. Having a smartphone that needs constant charging and can barely last a whole day can end up being a burden. 

How much am I willing to spend?

Let's face it. For the most part, smartphones are a huge expenditure. So the best thing to do is figure out your budget. Find a price your comfortable with and then find phones that fit your budget. Stick to it! Don't be dazzled by some extremely high priced smartphone once you walk into the phone store. 

Also keep in mind that smartphones have tons of extra costs beyond the initial purchase. For almost every phone you're going to want to buy accessories such as holders and screen protectors or new headphones or bluetooth headset. 

And most importantly don't forget about the app stores and markets. There are plenty of free apps that are fantastic, but all of the best apps always cost something. Also don't forget about the price plan of your service provider! Smartphones make for larger phone bills because of the increased amounts of information your phone will be sending and receiving. Make sure you can pay for it!

Release dates?

One thing that's worth checking is if there is any news about upcoming smart phones. Phones are constantly being released and old phones are constantly becoming obsolete. An older smartphone may be perfect for you, but most people want to get the most update technology at the time. If you're not paying attention you may end up regretting your decision later when an updated version of the phone you just bought goes on sale. 


Thanks for reading. I hope you found this little list of questions to ask yourself before buying a new smartphone helpful. I know from personal experience that a list like this really helps when selecting the right smartphone for you. Good luck with your purchase!


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    • Scribenet profile image


      7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Enjoyed this Hub since I have been reading up on smartphones and wondering if it is worth the cost. Good pointers for making the decision...I probably won't get one, but they are fascinating, multitasking devices!!

    • vaguesan profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Osaka, Japan

      Thank you for the comments!

      @Kali yeah, they are becoming very common these days. I know some people though who still like to use their old school flipphones + a smartphone. I can't imagine why. Just more stuff to carry around. As for getting a slow phone, that sucks. That's why it's important to check out smartphones before you buy so you can see how it works.

      @Sirrot Thanks for the extra information! I'll think about incorporating it into this article somewhere. It's still a work in progress.

    • profile image

      Kali Brianne 

      8 years ago

      My best friend has a smart phone and she said it was the best thing she ever did, my teacher now is even letting them in the classroom she even said it wasn't a distraction, but then my sisters friend said that she threw it away because it was slow, junkie, and repulsive- (she is very picky)...


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