People are always asking me for tips on what devices to buy when they need to replace an old one. Every time. Back in 2009, I wrote an article addressing how to choose a mobile. Here is a revised version of that article.
How large a display do you need? What type of tasks do you want to carry out with your phone? You will need a large screen if you intend reading documents or watching videos. For videos, you do need more than just size. You need a sharp, crisp screen.
If your priorities are voice calls, SMS, Facebook, Twitter and email, a smaller display may not be so much of an issue.
What Connectivity Options?
If you need internet on the move, don’t settle for anything that does not have at least GPRS (General packet radio Service). EDGE is even better. 3G the more so. And if you need super-fast access, a HSDPA/3.5G phone is a must. If available, there’s LTE/4G too for even faster speeds.
If you hang around hotspots a lot, you should be looking at a device with Wi-Fi. As for local connectivity, if you will be transferring files from one device to another, a phone with Bluetooth and/or USB file transfer is a must.
If you need to input a fairly good amount of text, you certainly need a device with a QWERTY keyboard. You won’t get laptop speeds, but it is way better than the typing experience on regular phone keypads or touchscreen keyboards. Most touchscreen mobiles also give a good typing experience. However, for speed and accuracy, nothing beats a hardware QWRTY keyboard, despite the hype surrounding touchscreen keyboards.
This is related to display by default. Usually, the larger the display of your device, the larger the device itself. The question is: what size is comfortable for you? Do you have small or large hands? What device size will you find comfortable to use?
If you do not want the hassles of nursing your phone through each day, you need to look out for a beefy battery. As a rule, if battery life is an issue for you, I recommend a battery of 1,450 mAh and above.
Of course, battery capacity is not the only determining factor for battery life. Large displays and active 3G/4G connections are power guzzlers, so look out for those too.
If you have specialised needs like photography, Office documents editing, medical applications, etc, you will need to ask questions about devices that meet those needs. Some of those specialised needs are hardware-based, and some are strictly a question of installing the appropriate mobile app on your device.
In all, remember, getting a mobile device is about your needs and wants, not what anyone else says or wants.
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