Ask the Expert: What Do I Want in My Next Mobile Phone? – Terry Seubert, Vita Plus

Posted on August 26, 2016 in Starting Strong - Calf Care
By Terry Seubert, Vita Plus IT services development coordinator

Question:  What factors should I consider when picking out my next mobile phone?

Answer:  Picking a mobile phone can be nerve-racking, especially with so many different factors to consider.  Remember, good or bad, mobile phones have become part of our busy, everyday lives.  They provide a way to stay in touch with family, friends, and work, while also functioning as a camera, social networking device, music player, GPS system, and a constant connection to the Internet.  Here are a few things to consider when picking your new mobile phone.

Choose the carrier best for you
First and foremost, choose the carrier with the best coverage in the areas you will use the phone the most.  Then, look for reasonable calling rates and a good customer service reputation.

What operating system (OS) is best?  Android or Apple iOS?
Android offers a wide variety of phones.  This OS is an open system, which means it is highly customizable. Its native search engine, Google, maps app, cloud-based drive and photo services are some of the most popular smartphone apps.

Apple iOS offers phones designed for intuitive and simple operation.  This OS is easy to master and access updates from day one, and works seamlessly with other Apple devices.

What size fits your needs?  Small, medium or large/phablet (oversized phone)?
You will hold this device a lot throughout a day.  Pick one that feels comfortable to you.

Small screens (less than 4.5 inches) are easy to maneuver with one hand; medium screens (4.5 to 5.4 inches) are the most popular design and fairly easy to operate with one hand; large screens/phablet (greater than 5.5 inches) are popular for watching videos and reading emails or books and require two hands to operate.

What features should my phone have?
Most phones have similar features: touch screens, good cameras, voice command capabilities, wireless charging, etc.  But none of these features matter if the phone doesn’t have a good battery.  The times when a single charge could last multiple days are over and most smart phones need to be charged once a day.  If you need your phone to last long work days, choose a phone with a battery that can last the day.

How should I pay for the phone?
The two-year contract price on a phone is gone; the cost of your phone is now separated from the cost of your service.  This leaves you with three options:

  • Pay it all up front.  This produces a lower monthly payment and is a good option for an affordable phone, but not a great option if you are purchasing a phone more than $600.
  • Pay for it over time.  This is a good option for purchasing an expensive phone because the full price is divided into 24 monthly installments.
  • Lease it.  Depending on the terms, this could be a good deal for anyone who likes to trade up to a new phone every year.

Chose the correct data plan
These days, you almost always get unlimited talk time and texts, but are charged for data.  The amount of data you burn depends on your Wi-Fi access and how often you regularly stream or download content.

  • Light data use (1GB monthly per phone): You spend more time calling and texting and use Wi-Fi to stream or use apps, like Facebook or Twitter.
  • Medium data use (2GB monthly per phone): You do a little bit of everything and moderately use Wi-Fi.  This is where the majority falls.
  • Heavy data use (greater than 4GB monthly per phone): You use almost no Wi-Fi and stream a lot of movies and games.

Data bundling is a good option for families.  This is where you buy data in bundles for members of the family to share.  Sometimes it’s better to buy more than you need because the cost per phone will drop.

The decision
After all these decisions have been made, one task remains: picking a phone.

Take your time and make sure the phone fits your lifestyle.  You will hopefully have this phone for two years, take it with you everywhere and use it more than any other appliance you own.

Check out all the phones your chosen carrier offers with the operating system and price range you want. Think about the tasks you’ll use your phone to do and try them on the demonstration phones in the store.  Check for comfort with the keyboard, switching between applications, and the fit in your hand and purse or pocket. If you know people who have a phone you’re interested in, ask them about it. Read online reviews and see what, if any, issues have occurred with the phone.

Follow these tips and you will find a phone that is right for you.

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Category: Starting Strong - Calf Care
Technology and data management