Choosing the right smartphone can be a difficult task, with all of the different options available today. From Apple to Samsung to Motorola and beyond, there are many great brands of smartphones to choose from, but each one will have its own set of strengths and weaknesses that should be considered before making your purchase. Here are 10 questions you should ask yourself when choosing a smartphone.
1) When will you use it the most?
If you’re going to use your phone mostly during commutes or workouts, consider a design with armband compatibility. If you plan on using it for business purposes, look for one with a calendar and contact management app already installed. If social media is more your thing, check out apps like Twitter and Facebook before making your choice.
2) What kind of camera do you need?
Smartphone cameras are better than ever, but they still vary widely in quality. If you’re planning on taking your phone everywhere with you and using it to capture life’s greatest moments, then you should focus heavily on camera quality. But if photography isn’t your primary concern—if, for example, you only use your phone for quick Instagram shots—then you can get away with a lower-quality camera.
3) What is your budget range?
Budget range plays an important role in helping you make decisions. Are you willing to spend $100, $200, or even more than that? Smartphones are available within every budget range, but we recommend you don’t go below $100 if you want a solid phone with all of today’s features. If your budget is tight and you’re looking for something less expensive, there are plenty of used phones out there or pay-as-you-go deals from Verizon and other carriers.
4) Are there any design features that are must haves for you?
I’m sure there are, but what you should be most concerned with is whether or not it fits your budget. Smartphones can cost $50 and they can cost $1,000—what’s really important is finding one that works for you. The best place to start is asking yourself how much money you want to spend, which will eliminate any options outside of your price range. What else? Is there anything specific about size, storage space, battery life…anything like that?
5) How do you plan on using the phone – media consumption, calling, texting, etc.?
Smartphones have become more and more powerful over time, which means they can be used for practically anything. If you plan on using it just for calling, texting, and some media consumption like streaming music or movies on your train ride home from work every day, then you can safely get a low-cost phone.
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6) Do you have any special needs – waterproof, durability, etc.?
If you’re very clumsy, you may want to choose something that’s built tough. If waterproofing is important, be sure you know whether your phone is actually sealed or if it has simply been tested under controlled conditions.
Durability is especially important if you use your phone for business or travel. You should take special care of your phone and make sure it’s durable enough to withstand wear and tear. If you drop your phone a lot, you’ll want one that can survive minor drops and scratches. If there’s one thing all phones have in common, it’s that they will break eventually.
7) What accessories will you need – extra battery pack, charger, etc.?
When choosing a smartphone, first think about what accessories you’ll need. If you like to take lots of pictures or go camping with your friends often, you may want an external battery pack so that you don’t run out of juice halfway through an outdoor adventure.
8) What is your preferred operating system – Android vs. iOS vs. Windows Phone vs. BlackBerry vs. Other?
Android and iOS are by far the most popular operating systems for smartphones, but Microsoft is gaining ground with its Windows Phone. You can also get BlackBerry phones that run on Google’s Android software or use one of many different feature phones that run on Windows Mobile. There are also tons of other devices, such as those running Palm’s WebOS, Nokia’s Symbian, or Samsung’s Bada platform. With so many options out there, choosing a new phone should not be taken lightly.
9) Where and how will you be using your phone (indoors vs. outdoors, etc.)?
If you spend most of your time inside, say at home or in your car, then an indoor phone will be fine. But if you’re always outside—at work or at play—then you’ll need something that can withstand all kinds of weather. A good rule of thumb is to buy a phone made for outdoor use.
10) Is it compatible with other devices or programs you already own or might purchase in the future (laptop, tablet)?
If you’re using an iPhone, Android or Windows phone, you’re probably okay here. But if you’re like most people, your phone is just one of many gadgets in your life. You probably have laptops, tablets and other connected devices—if you don’t know what that means yet, it will become clearer as soon as you start searching for a new smartphone.