Smart Shopping for a Smartphone: Part 1

Before you can even begin to look at what smartphone options are available, you have to have at least a general idea of what you want.

To do this, ponder two main points:

  1. Identify your reason for buying a smartphone versus a feature phone. How could owning a smartphone benefit you and your life?
  2. Decide what you need your smartphone to do for you.

Then, ask yourself what features are most important for you to have. Some question examples include:

  • Am I or do I plan to be heavily involved in social media tools through my smartphone?
  • How important is the camera aspect of the smartphone to me?
  • How often do I plan to charge my smartphone battery?
  • How much do I plan to talk per day on my smartphone?
  • How much do I plan to text per day?
  • How much do I plan to surf the web or check e-mail through my smartphone?
  • Do I need something ultra-thin?
  • Do I need a slide-out keyboard or would something virtual work?
  • Would I use a GPS feature from my phone?
  • Would I benefit from having a phone that is also a personal WiFi hotspot?
  • How important are apps to me?
  • Would I use my smartphone frequently for work-related purposes?

Before finalizing this step, don’t forget about two other decision areas.

  1. Choosing a cell phone carrier. If you have one already, you can most likely just upgrade your phone and even keep your current number.
  2. Choosing your data plan needs. Unless you’re really strapped for cash, I would suggest going with the highest option for personal use, which, for Verizon, is $29.99 extra a month. This will give you the most options. However, if you really are tight on cash, the $15 per month option through Verizon is better than nothing — just watch out for extra charges if you go over the monthly 150 MB limit.

Last but not least — my smartphone features breakdown:

  • I will often use my smartphone for checking and updating social media tools. I am a recent social media addict, after all!
  • The camera aspect is very important to me. I always forget to bring my camera with me, but I always have my phone. However, my current 2.0 megapixels just isn’t cutting it. I want a really good camera phone.
  • I charge my phone practically every night and also in the car with my car charger, so I don’t need an extremely long-lasting battery.
  • I don’t talk too much on my phone.
  • I’m more of a texter. Therefore, my current phone plan (which I will keep) has fewer minutes but unlimited texting, including video and photo texting.
  • I will probably use the web a lot throughout my day, especially while running errands or at work.
  • I need something that’s not too bulky because I often carry my phone in my pocket.
  • I don’t need a slide-out keyboard. Even though my fingers aren’t the skinniest, I’m willing to sacrifice a keyboard for a little thinner phone.
  • Absolutely I would use GPS, since that is another thing, like my camera, that I always forget at home.
  • Yes. I often work remotely in very “rural” locations or family members’ homes that lack wireless internet for my laptop.
  • Apps are important. Currently, I love adding free or inexpensive tools to my iPod Touch to make my experience with the device more interesting and efficient.
  • Yes. I would use my phone for work- and non-work-related purposes. The line between these two areas is blending more every day for me.

So, what are your answers to the questions? And what questions did I forget to ask that are important to you?

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