Smart Shopping for a Smart Phone: Part 3

After a few weeks or a couple days, the most important moment arrives: the decision moment.

Once you’ve gathered the information you need, organize it (even if only done mentally) as best you can and use it to make a decision. It also never hurts to throw out a last-minute Facebook or Twitter update, saying something like, “I think I’m going to go with @HTC’s Droid Incredible. Thoughts?”

I posted an update like this the day before my purchase and received two responses via Twitter — one from a satisfied Incredible owner who urged me to get it and another from HTC, also suggesting I go for the Incredible.

So, my mind was set. I purchased the Droid Incredible from and arranged to pick it up in the store, where the Best Buy experts could help me get it ready to go. After overcoming a few hurdles in the activation process, I walked out with my brand-new phone and a big smile.

But your job, like mine, is not over once you’ve purchased. You and I now have an obligation to help others by sharing thoughts and opinions on our own phones and experiences using many communication modes, including social media.

Here are a few ways you can share your buying experience and your opinions on the product you purchased:

  • Answer others’ product-related questions on Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! Answers or other social sites.
  • Write a blog post, Facebook note or tweet briefly reviewing the product after you’ve gotten familiar with it.
  • Talk about your experience with family and friends.

How else might you share your experience with others?


Smart Shopping for a Smart Phone: Part 2

First of all, sorry for being so slow on getting this post up. Those few days between Christmas and the New Year can really get to you quickly!

For the second part of my three-part smart shopping plan, I’ll discuss researching options.  Once you have an idea of what you want it’s time to start shopping around at different locations. The research phase can be separated into two distinct parts: primary methods and secondary methods.

Secondary Research Methods

As you probably know, secondary research means using information others have gathered about something — smartphones, in this case. Here are a few places to start researching smartphones online:

Carriers, Operating Systems & Specific Phones

Once you’ve done the research and matched your desired features with that of a few top choices, it’s time to delve into more specific research. For example, I narrowed my choices down to three: the Droid X, Droid Pro and Droid Incredible.

Primary Research Methods

I would suggest two main primary research actions: Talk to people and test devices.

Talk to People

This one may seem obvious, but communicate your interest and request feedback on as many channels as possible. For example, if you ask your Facebook friends, “What kind of smartphone do you have and do you like it?,” ask your Twitter followers (and friends on other networks) the same question or something similar. This will make it more likely you’ll get feedback.

Also, don’t forget about good ol’ face-to-face or telephone conversation. Ask tech- and/or mobile-savvy friends and family members what they think. Mentally compile all these opinions to help with your own decision.

Test Devices

I’m a big believer in seeing is believing, or, in this case, touching is liking (or disliking). Feeling a phone’s buttons and seeing what you can do with your own eyes will prove more helpful than any other research tactic.

Also, if you visit the carrier’s store or a tech-based store like Best Buy, you can talk with the sales people. Best Buy is a good place because they don’t really have any official ties with a specific phone or carrier besides perhaps the one they have.  Also, don’t feel pressured to buy right when you’re shopping around. Ask any questions to sales people and have them “pitch” certain phones to you, then think about it for a day or two.

During your device-testing phase, you can also compare prices, but don’t forget to look online, too. For example, when I was looking to buy a smartphone from Verizon, I first went to the Verizon store, where my choice phone cost $149.99 after a $100-mail-in rebate. When I came home, I looked up the phone at Walmart and Best Buy, both of which had the exact same phone for free with the purchase of a two-year contract, something I planned to get anyways.

I ended up buying my phone through Best Buy (over Walmart) because of Best Buy’s Walk Out Working service, meaning they helped me set up my phone through my carrier and everything, so I walked out texting my friends and checking my email.

Bonus tip

When shopping around and testing devices, be sure to ask sales people or friends about extra charges you may receive so you can prepare accordingly. There’s nothing worse for having to pay for something you thought was free or that you didn’t know you would be charged for.

Stay tuned for Smartphone Shopping Part 3: Purchasing and Following Up with Your Decision

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?

Continue reading “Smart Shopping for a Smartphone: Part 1”

Smart Shopping for a Smartphone: Introduction

While about 70 percent of American cell phone owners still have feature phones, smartphone ownership is expected to rise and perhaps even overtake features phone ownership by 2011’s Q3.

After two years of owning and having few qualms with my LG Chocolate 3, I am more than ready to join the age of the smartphone. Continue reading “Smart Shopping for a Smartphone: Introduction”