Form, function and features
It shouldn't be hard to choose a cell phone when there are so many options available in stores and online. But with so much choice, it's easy to become confused about which features matter, which styles are better, and overall, which phone is going to be right for you.
To make the right choice, you need to think about the type of cell phone you'll need. Basically, there are two types – prepaid cell phones and service cell phones (cell phone plans).
Prepaid cell phones are great for casual users or for emergency phones. With these phones, you purchase a card or arrange to have your credit card billed for a set amount of minutes that lasts for a specific time frame.
Service cell phones require you to choose a plan through a provider. These options are better for people who make lots of calls. You can choose features and time packages that best fit your calling habits, for which you will be billed monthly.
Once you've chosen type, you can move on to features. While you can find cheap cell phones that are just intended for talk, if you're looking for a little more, check out the features you must have.
- Headphone portal and storage for music
- A QWERTY keyboard for quick texting
- A color screen, the bigger the better
- Web capabilities
- A 2-megapixel or higher camera
- Do I just want to talk, or will I want to text, too?
- Will I want to surf the web?
- How often will I use my phone and what type of calls will I make?
- What style and casing options are best for me? (Think flip phone if you're a little rough on your devices.)
- Will I need my phone to substitute for other devices, such as a camera or mp3 player?
- Motorola. Motorola cell phones are known for their sleek designs, like the RAZR and KRAZR.
- Nokia. Nokia cell phones have a trusted history, but are staying on top of technology and design.
- Sprint. While Sprint cell phones are not always cutting edge, their calling plans are known to be flexible.
Common Accessories or Add-Ons
- Bluetooth headphones
Cell phone prices run the gamut, depending on the features you want. A basic prepaid phone could run you as low as $50, but you'll pay more for features. A top-of-the-line phone with no contract could run as high as $300 or more. If you choose to sign a contract, you may receive your phone for free or at a significant discount. Just be careful of signing up long-term if you think you may need to alter your plan in the near future.
Upgrading your cell phone every two or three years to keep up with technology is one thing, but you don't want to have to replace your cell phone before you're ready to. If you can strike a balance between affordability, practical service and the features that are important to you, you'll have a phone that will last you until the next great innovation becomes available – or longer.