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How Do I Choose the Best Smartphone?

You should know if the device will primarily be used for business or pleasure before purchasing a smartphone.
It can be helpful to know which cell phone service providers have the best coverage in a particular area.
Because smartphones are designed specifically for mobile use, you should be aware of service quality in your area.
Consider how you're going to be using the device, as different smartphones offer different strengths.
A large touchscreen can be helpful if you want to watch video frequently on your smartphone.
Article Details
  • Written By: Jeremy Laukkonen
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 27 August 2014
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In order to choose the best smartphone, you will need to consider factors, such as how you intend to use the device and which providers offer service in your area. If you intend to use your smartphone as a portable music player, you will want to choose a device that is compatible with your existing music files. Other important features to consider when choosing a phone include the web browsing experience offered by each device, access to personal or company email, and the availability of applications, such as games and productivity software. You may also want to consider certain hardware components when choosing a phone, such as whether it has a capacitive or restive touchscreen. The provider is important as well, especially if the phone you want is only offered by a company that has poor service in your area.

One of the first factors to consider when choosing s smartphone is whether you will use the device primarily for business or entertainment. These phones can be used for both purposes, but some perform better in certain circumstances. If you work for a company that uses particular enterprise software or corporate email, you may want to choose one that is compatible with those systems. Some professions can also benefit from choosing a particular type of smartphone, such as the key box access functionality that real estate agents can get out of certain units.

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If you intend to use your smartphone primarily for mobile entertainment, you may want to consider a different set of features. A large touchscreen can be useful if you intend to watch video on the device, and a high speed Internet connection is necessary to stream content. If you have music files that will only play on a certain type of device, you may be locked in to that choice. Other phones are designed to integrate with music download or streaming services, so that is another option.

Another important factor to consider when looking for the best smartphone is the service provider. Many phones are available on only one service provider, and others are customized based on where you obtain them. Before you decide on which you want, it can be a good idea to research the quality of service offered in your area by each provider. Coverage maps are one way to determine which providers to look at, though asking people who live and work in your area about their personal experiences can be useful as well.

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Discuss this Article

Monika
Post 14

This article brought up a lot of really good points. I would just to add that instead of looking for the best smartphone, I like to look for the best unlocked smartphone.

I prefer to be able to unlock my phone if I want to switch providers or something, and not all phones are good for that. So when you're reading through reviews and articles about smartphones, try to find some information about unlocking the specific phone you're looking at. It's good to have options!

starrynight
Post 13

@indemnifyme - That's funny, I've never had a problem typing on my iPhone's touchscreen. I love my iPhone so much I can't imagine having any other phone, even if it did have a physical keyboard!

Anyway, I think people should the best smartphone is the most current smartphone. For example, the best smartphones of 2010 are almost obsolete by the next year! Cell phone companies are always introducing new networks (3G, 4G, etc) and new features. Usually older phones can't access the new networks and many new features aren't available on them.

So make sure you buy an up to date phone!

indemnifyme
Post 12

I think one thing to consider when you're choosing the best smartphone is whether it has a physical QWERTY keyboard or an onscreen keyboard.

I personally have a lot of trouble typing on the touchscreen. For whatever reason, it just doesn't work for me. I always end up pressing the wrong key! I get so frustrated whenever I try to type on a touchscreen.

On the other hand, I have a very easy time using a physical QWERTY keyboard. I can type on one of those almost as fast as I can type on a full size keyboard!

I text a lot, so it's essential for me to have a smartphone with a physical keyboard.

cloudel
Post 11

@StarJo – Speed is very important, especially for my boyfriend, who uses his phone to download music. It is actually his job to listen to music and write reviews, so he has to have quick and reliable access to these files.

After he got his smartphone, he heard about a portable speaker case that he could get for it. He simply puts his phone inside the zippered, cushioned case, selects a play list, and zips it up. There is a speaker on the front of the case that amplifies the music and simply makes it sound so much better than when it just comes straight out of the phone.

So, now he can quickly download music and actually enjoy listening to it. Before, it sounded kind of tinny and annoying, but the speaker case has made it more like an actual stereo.

StarJo
Post 10

Sometimes you just have to settle for less if the smartphone of your dreams comes only from a provider without towers in your area. I had my heart set on a certain one, but I couldn't have it, because it would not have operated well where I live.

I am fairly happy with the one that I got. It is fast, which is very important to me. I have little to no patience when it comes to waiting on a page to load or a file to download, so it is a good thing that I got this smartphone from a company with several towers in my area.

Perdido
Post 9

My husband primarily uses his smartphone to download and play games. He based his choice on his love for phone games, so he knew that he needed a fast connection.

Where we live, it can be hard at times to receive a regular satellite internet signal. However, his smartphone has no trouble accessing the internet.

I can be out in the backyard with my regular cell phone, walking around and holding it up to the sky to try to get a signal, while he is happily clicking away on his smartphone. It is frustrating to me at times, but I must admit that I prefer accessing the internet with an actual computer with a large screen, even if it is slower. Not everyone likes to use such a small screen, especially people like me who can't see all that well without glasses.

myharley
Post 8

I am a real estate agent, and love my smartphone. I think this has simplified my life in so many ways.

One of the most convenient things is being able to get access to the key boxes when I need to show a house. I know some of the fees and insurance can get a little pricey for a service like this.

My real estate company covers this fee for the agents because they know how beneficial this is for us. It saves so much time and hassle.

My smartphone is my lifeline for a successful business. It not only keeps me in constant touch with my clients and potential clients, but it simplifies and streamlines everything I do.

I know most cell phones have cameras in them, but the quality of pictures I take with my smartphone are much better than my old cell phone. I get just as good quality with my phone as I get with a nice digital camera.

Now I don't have to carry around a phone and a camera, but have everything I need in one device.

andee
Post 7

I work from home on my computer, so don't use my smartphone a lot for the internet access on a daily basis. I use my smartphone to watch movies, and I love all the choices of apps there are.

If you asked 10 people what is the best smartphone and why, you would probably get 10 different reasons why they love their smartphone.

It took me awhile to be comfortable with the fact of paying the extra money every month for the data package. Now that I have a smartphone, I can't imagine ever going without one again.

When I travel, I love having immediate access to the internet at any time. No more waiting until I got to a hotel to check my email or look something up online.

bagley79
Post 6

@jholcomb - I have found reading the reviews when buying a smartphone or any kind of electronic device to be very helpful.

When I was looking to buy my first smartphone, I asked the man at the Verizon store which one he preferred and why. He recommended the Android over the iPhone and listed his reasons why.

This wasn't good enough for me, so I got online and started doing a lot of reading and researching on my own. I like to read professional reviews from a few different companies.

When these reviews line up with the customer reviews, then I feel a little bit more confident in my decision.

Sometimes it really just comes down to a matter of personal preference. Even then, I feel like I have done my research, and know something about the smartphone before I buy it.

SteamLouis
Post 5

@burcinc-- If you're going to use your smartphone abroad, make sure to get one which has GSM. GSM can be used globally. Most smartphones have Windows Mobile now which will allow you to open documents, so you might want to check for that. I'd also recommend a sliding keyboard for you.

A touchscreen is okay for writing text messages and emails. But if you need to type a lot and work on documents, it's not very efficient. A sliding keyboard works much better.

I personally think that you will like Android, and any service provider with coverage in your area and GSM should be fine. I use Tmobile, but I've heard good things about Verizon as well.

burcinc
Post 4

@rugbygirl-- I'm open to using an iPhone or a Droid, but I'm not sure which one I should go with.

I'll be using it for work so I need to be able to access email, open documents and make credit card payments on my smartphone. Is there one that makes all of this available?

I also need to be able to use it internationally. It's actually the main reason I'm getting a smartphone because I'm going to have to travel a lot for work from now on and will need to do a lot of work-related things on the go. So I need international coverage.

Can you recommend a brand and service provider for me? Which is the best smartphone on the market with the technical qualities I need?

discographer
Post 3

Wow, it seems like there is a lot to consider!

I'm hoping to get a smartphone soon and the most important factors I'm looking for is a big enough screen, fast internet connection, music player and affordable. I'm not very tech savvy so I don't what the other details mean.

I think I will opt for a service provider that has periodic upgrades. Because I really can't afford to get a new smartphone every time a newer version of something is out. I need that to be taken care of by my service provider so I need the best smartphone plan for what I can afford. I already have a service provider in mind.

Aside from that, I want to make sure that the screen is big enough so that I don't strain my eyes trying to read emails and such. And I also like to use my phone as an mp3 player, so that's a must too.

rugbygirl
Post 2

Something else to consider is what operating system you want the phone to have, as each phone will generally come with just one. Are you a Mac lover? Yeah, you probably want an iPhone running iOS. Or do you want an Android or Windows phone?

So besides reading reviews of phones, you're also going to want to research the different operating systems available to figure out which one is going to work best for what you want the phone to do. Each will have different apps, features, etc. And different phones may run different versions of the operating systems, so you'll want to see which particular version runs on a phone you're looking at.

You might want to buy a phone that is really popular rather than one that's not. If not a lot of people are buying a particular phone, you might find that it does not get operating system upgrades in a timely manner.

jholcomb
Post 1

When you're looking for the best smartphones or any other gadget, don't forget to check out reviews!

There are basically two kinds of reviews: editorial reviews and customer reviews. Editorial reviews are done by people who work for magazine or reputable websites like CNet. Customer reviews are what you see at the bottom of the page on a website like Amazon. A lot of sites will have both.

The editorial reviews will usually tell you how something seems right out of the box, while customer reviews may have more information from people who have actually been using the smartphone. Both can be really helpful in making your decision. The reviews may also discuss the kind of service customers got from the service provider and/or the maker of the phone, which can certainly also factor into your decision.

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