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Looking for a Smartphone?

Updated on March 21, 2013

Don't have a smartphone yet?

By now, everyone knows what a smartphone is. If you're in the population who does not know, here is a simple low-tech definition: It's a phone that does more than just call or text. You can surf the internet, check your email, participate on social media, use it as a GPS, and more. This lens will offer a few things you should consider, whether you are planning to buy for yourself or for someone else as a gift. How simple or complicated are your needs? Business owners and salespeople usually like to maximize their availability for communication. Others don't have time for social media apps or don't want to be bothered during the day with multiple forms of contact. Where are you on the spectrum?

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What do I do with mine?

HTC Droid Incredible 2

I have had my HTC Droid Incredible 2 for nearly a year and a half now. Being able to access the internet from anywhere I have cell phone service has changed my life! Within the first week I had the phone, a family member called me from another town and needed a phone number from the internet. At the time, I was riding in the car with my husband. Instead of telling her, "I'm sorry, but I'm not home. I'll have to call you back in a couple of hours," I told her I could call her back in two minutes with the number. That's exactly what I did!

I have been able to take pictures or videos and instantly upload them to Facebook, instantly email them, or instantly send them by text message. The quality of photos on the HTC Droid Incredible 2 is amazing. I received a nice Sony video camera for Christmas the year before I got my phone, and the Sony is also capable of still shots. Guess what? We took a trip to Disney and I quickly learned that the video and photo quality on my phone were superior to the nice Sony camera I received!

I have also used the Kindle app and turned the phone into a tiny e-reader. I read an entire novel on it. I ended up buying a Kindle Fire anyway, so I could have a bigger screen. I also was afraid that I would jam up my phone's memory, at the rate I was downloading books. I may or may not have been right, but ultimately decided it was time for an e-reader anyway. I'm an author, after all!

I think my family and friends would say that they have one complaint about my phone . . . I'm using it too much instead of engaging with them! Sure, I'm answering emails and checking news and weather. But I do need to find a happy medium.

One of my friends was recently pulled over for speeding. The policeman saw the phone with the lit up screen in her lap and asked, "Were you texting while driving?"

Typical of my sassy friend, she responded, "No! I was checking Facebook."

It's tempting, but it's a very bad idea to attempt to use the phone while driving. My old phone had buttons that I could feel. I was able to keep my eyes on the road and dial with one hand while driving with the other. Since the numbers are on the screen instead of being bumpy little buttons, I can no longer do that!

Take the poll! Do you have a smartphone?

Why or why not?

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What's the cost?

Are you buying for yourself or someone else?

The number one consideration for many people is financial. Is this worth the investment? With many cell carriers, you will pay an additional amount on your monthly phone bill to have a "data plan." The data plan is what gives you internet access and access to the "apps" or applications available from your carrier. My carrier is Verizon, and I have been pleased with them.

The short answer to the cost question is that it depends on your carrier! Check with them to find out, or shop around. There is the initial cost of purchasing the phone, then there is a monthly cost for "data" on top of your monthly bill, which I mentioned earlier.

Just how "smart" is it?

Keyboard or touchscreen?

If you do a lot of texting, you may find the smartphone easier and quicker for that function than your run-of-the-mill flip phone. If you do not have a QWERTY keyboard on your current phone, but are texting every day, you will think you have died and gone to heaven when you get your hands on a smartphone. Now just like with a computer, the keyboard will take some getting used to. Don't throw in the towel and take it back to the store in the first few days because you can't get the feel of the keyboard yet and accidentally cussed out your mother-in-law, thanks to autocorrect. I found that after about a week, I was accustomed to my keyboard. Many smart phones will show you a larger one in landscape format, as opposed to the tiny, close keys in portrait mode. This can be accomplished with most phones by simply orienting the phone physically from up-and-down to side-to-side position.

Some smart phones even have a voice recognition feature. You speak your message into the phone, and it automatically types it in. Before you hit send, I recommend taking a glance to make sure it heard you correctly. Once again, you do not want to inadvertently cuss out your mother-in-law. Still, probably not a good idea to text while driving, but it sure does keep your hands free, no matter what you are doing.

Will the virtual keyboard bother you? When I bought my phone from the Verizon store, I told the salespeople that I needed a smartphone (like a Blackberry or some such) that had an actual keyboard. That was all I would consider, in the beginning. However, after the salesperson and a manager both stressed to me how small the keys were on these phones, and how much smaller the screen and display would be on these phones, I agreed to the HTC Droid Incredible 2.

The entire face of the phone is a screen, so the keyboard is virtual. What this means is that the keyboard appears on the screen, which I touch, and the phone gives back a slight vibration to let me know I have successfully registered a letter or number.

The bigger screen is definitely a plus. Whether I am using the phone as an e-reader, trying to find my way somewhere with the map feature, or just surfing the net, I am really glad the screen is not any smaller. Many times, I still have to enlarge the type to read things anyway. (Enlarging is very easy to do, by the way . . . just a quick swoosh of your fingers over the screen.)

In short, I love my smartphone. I cannot imagine going back to a regular flip phone. I have access to so many shortcuts and conveniences, thanks to the phone that is so much more than a phone. I have been pleased with Verizon and the HTC Droid Incredible 2.

Where are you on the spectrum?

What are your needs when it comes to a phone?

See results

What do you prefer?

Keyboard or Touch screen?

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Find a service here . . . or just shop around and do your homework on which service is best for you. These are the two services I have had. I feel that they are both at least as good as others out there, if not better. I would say this in terms of customer service, service areas (coverage), and their products.

I'm an author, and you can download my book on your phone! - Like southern fiction?

I'm a southern author, and I currently have one book of short stories available for Kindle, Nook, or other e-book formats. Once you have your smartphone, use one of your e-reader apps to download my book!

No plans to buy a smartphone? You can just order my book in paperback!

The Ballad Of The Shirley T And Other Stories
The Ballad Of The Shirley T And Other Stories

Humor, social injustices, revenge on an ex-lover, hustling drug dealers. It's all here! Buy it now!



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