The act of dialing up a new cell phone can seem a little daunting these days. Nearly every pocket-sized calling device has countless other features, from a camera to GPS maps, and the latest smartphones also have more applications than some personal computers do.
What to do? Fear not—your perfect match is calling you...you just have to answer.
Comfort is Key
It used to be that how a cell phone felt in your hand was a major reason to buy it. There simply weren't many other components to it, so the tactile sensation of the keypad, the cellular carrier or the flip-versus-"candy-bar"style were the only real choices.
In my opinion, forget those now-quaint reasons for purchase. If it doesn't feel right, hang up on it. After all, you'll probably use it several times a day.
What Do You Really Need?
Think about what you really need or want. If your current phone has a numeric keypad but you'd rather type with two thumbs, then maybe a full keypad is for you. Or, if you prefer to surf the Web on the go, consider upgrading to more data offerings. If you want to have a lot of multimedia content, like music and movies, then maybe it's time to get a larger screen and storage space.
Try to be honest with yourself about what you really require for your lifestyle. Otherwise, you may find yourself overspending on a phone just to impress friends or to buy into a fad.
Style and Sound Quality
Even some of the sleekest flip phones still have screens that are fairly tiny, but some people still prefer that "flip feeling" with talking on a phone in public. There's something slightly more private about it, rather than talking into the air or using a wireless Bluetooth headset.
For many people, the sound quality of their conversation remains a critical component, and why not? It is meant to serve as your portable phone, after all. Many of them have decent cameras built in, but they still tend to be more on the gimmicky side.
From Basic to Bells and Whistles
In the smartphone category, phones will have a slightly more robust feel and seek to be more of a portable office with some fun features included. Many will have a touch screen and full keypad.
If all you want is a phone to keep in touch with loved ones, these may feel somewhat overwhelming. But, for business people or active downloaders, they remain indispensable.
Choose a Wireless Carrier Wisely
Of course, the ultimate deciding factor for you might be your wireless carrier. The whole sticky issue of long-term contracts, coverage areas and hidden fees may well push you in one direction or another.
A few things to remember: You don't have to get a two-year contract. You can pay more for the phone—including full price—and get either a shorter-term or even month-to-month contract. Also, it's worth asking friends and family for their input. Shop around and see what works best for your travel or work needs.
One last bit of advice: If and when you decide to get the latest and greatest cell phone for your chatty-infotainment needs, remember to think of the needs of the planet. Check out whether you can recycle your old phone through your carrier or manufacturer—don't just toss it aside. So-called "e-waste," or electronic waste, is a growing and massive problem in the United States and overseas, and every little chance to go green can make a difference.