5 Tips for Smartphone Shopping

Is your two-year contract coming to an end? Or are you due for a new phone upgrade? Regardless of why you’re shopping for a new smartphone, it’s easy to get lost in the array of options available today.

With more carriers, price levels, and capabilities than ever before, shopping for a smartphone can be a surprisingly unintuitive venture. After all, you want to get the most for your money without compromising ease of use or quality. Determining what smartphone is right for you can be tough. Luckily, these five tips for smartphone shopping are the perfect cheat sheet for the curious buyer.

Choose the Carrier First

Before you buy a new smartphone, you’ll have to decide on whose towers you plan to piggyback. There’s a lot to consider when choosing the right carrier. The first step is choosing whether to sign up for a contract or opt for a no-contract service. It might be easier to get contract services with larger providers. It’s also important consider how good the coverage is, especially in the areas where you will use your phone most. As different carriers offer different smartphone options, it’s almost impossible to choose the phone before the carrier.

Know Your Data Needs

Photo via Flickr by Janitors

If you plan on using a lot of mobile data, buy a phone that can handle it. If you mostly use it for calls and texts, you won’t need so much. If you plan on watching videos online and continuously updating social media, you’ll need a lot more. Trying to update your Facebook all day on a flip phone is an exercise in futility. You’ll only drain more data than you plan on paying for.

Use the Pocket Rule

Smartphones are getting larger and more tabletlike. Although a bigger screen generally is brighter and offers higher definition, it also compromises usability, portability, and even privacy. After all, accidentally pulling up a private picture or document is easy to hide on a 4-inch display — but not necessarily on a 6-inch display or larger.

The “pocket rule” is an easy guideline for choosing a phone. If it doesn’t fit in your pocket and you don’t carry a purse, you’ll be gripping it all day and night. However, if you want the biggest and best phone possible, be ready to spend time getting used to its large dimensions.

Check the Safety Features

From hands-free calling and texting to parental controls and even identity protection, most smartphones have ways of helping you keep your information safe. At the very least, your new smartphone should feature some sort of voice command processor, an app for mapping directions, and encryption software.

Understand the Operating System

Android devices use their own operating system, which comes in many iterations depending on the device. To make the best decision on which Android smartphone to buy, read news and reviews as you keep with the latest in the Android world on a site like Android Headlines.