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How To Choose A Mobile Phone
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A couple of years back I was in the market for a phone as the Nokia handset I was using had become battered beyond recognition and was showing distinct signs of old age. It was a business phone and had served me well, but obviously, it was time to upgrade.
But which phone to buy?
I had all kinds of prejudices and biases against the leading manufacturers. Apple, I felt had a closed ecosystem, which would not suit my purpose. Samsung was a copycat and I had doubts about its quality. Also, I was not too enamoured of its partner Google and its Android operating system. Blackberry was struggling (during those days) and I had no opinion about LG phones. HTC seemed to be good but I was waiting to be convinced. Sony stood for quality but it was not known for mobile devices. I did not want a Nokia again, having used Finnish manufacturer’s handsets ever since I started using cell phones.
My budget changed from week to week. Sometimes I thought I would be better off with a low-end phone, while at other times I was sure that nothing other than a top-end phone would suffice. I wanted all kinds of features and at an impossible price. Mostly I was confused by the plethora of phones available – so many of them but which one of them would suit my needs?
This dithering went on for nearly a year until the matter was taken out of my hands entirely when I was gifted with a mobile phone – an iPhone! My earlier misgivings about Apple notwithstanding, I have grown to appreciate and admire its quality and ecosystem (yes!) and now cannot do without it for a single day.
I am sure many of you would have gone through similar soul-searching when planning to buy a mobile phone. It is not an easy choice, I agree but with a little bit of planning, knowing what features you need, how much you are going to use them, your budget range etc. you can narrow down your target and zero in on your choice – at least within a week or so!
The first step in choosing a mobile phone, in my opinion, is to fix your budget. If you have a budget range then it becomes easier to narrow down your choices. Remember, just having an unlimited budget does not really make it easier because you still have to decide about the features. There are so many models now available at the top-end.
Once you have the budget fixed think about the brand or manufacturer next. If you favour a particular brand then you need not look at any other make and just have to find the phones, which fall into that price range and take your pick.
However if you are not particularly bothered by the brand then you move on to the next step, which is the features.
Features or what all the phone can do and what it is capable of is the deciding factor.
GSM or CDMA? These are two technologies used for mobile communication and they differ in the way that voice (calls) and data travel over networks. Without getting too much into the technicalities of it, as a user it is sufficient for you to know that CDMA technology is more efficient for data transfers compared to GSM. CDMA technology is also more secure. About 80 percent of the mobile networks across the world use GSM, while CDMA is in use in certain parts of the world such as the United States, Canada, Japan and India.
If you opt for CDMA then your choices will be strictly limited because there are only a couple of service providers in India, which provide that protocol. With GSM, you get a wider selection.
Depending on your budget, you may be buying an entry-level phone, a mid-range one or a top-end one.
If you only plan to use your phone for making and receiving calls, sending text messages, a little bit of browsing and listening to the radio, there are a whole lot of them from Nokia and Samsung starting at a price of Rs 1000 onwards up to Rs 5000. Most phones these days come equipped with GPRS/EDGE capability, which enables you to browse the internet.
If you are looking for something with more features such as social media, mailing etc., then Nokia’s Asha range of feature phones is ideal. They are available in a price range of Rs 5000 to Rs 10,000 and function like smartphones.
With everyone becoming a photographer these days, a good quality camera is essential on your phone. What you have to look at is mega pixels (mp). The higher the mp the better the resolution of the camera. Barring Nokia’s gorilla 41 mp camera phone, most other phones offer anything between 2 mp to 8 mp cameras.
If you want to just take photos, which can be uploaded on to your Facebook and Twitter profile, you can do with a 2 mp camera. For most purposes, a 5 mp camera should suffice.
Smartphones start at a price tag of about Rs 5000 in India and they go all the way up to Rs 50,000-plus, depending on what kind of applications and features you are looking at.
Processor speed, better cameras, inbuilt memory, higher screen resolution, applications available, are some of the features that you need to look at when making your purchase decision.
You should always think about why you are buying the phone and how much of the features you plan to use and how frequently. This will make it easier to make your choice. You have to consider the fact that the more features a phone has and the more applications it is running, the faster it will consume your phone’s battery life. Of course, there are ways to conserve your battery and there are phones, which promise you longer battery life, but a low-end phone with fewer apps and features will remain charged for a few days compared to a feature-rich smartphone.
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