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What Mobile Phone Should I Choose?

By: Thomas Muller - Updated: 4 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
What Mobile Phone Should I Choose?

The mobile phone market is a veritable minefield, with customers bombarded with features, tariffs and extras. How do you cut through it all to find the right phone for you?

What Do I Want From a Mobile Phone?

The modern mobile phone is a camera, a picture messenger, fashion accessory, status symbol, music and video player, Internet surfer and games platform. One the main reasons why choosing a mobile phone is such a nightmare is because it is not a device for just communicating anymore.

The key to deciding which mobile phone is for you is to ask yourself what you want from it. Do you want look super sophisticated - or like you have more money than sense - with a super flash miniature entertainment centre with all the latest features or do you just want a basic model that does the job of telephoning and texting without any fuss?

There are three broad types of user, and phones are available that cater to each:

  • Basic – those users who just want a phone to make and receive calls and whose feature needs only extend to basics like text messaging, voicemail and an alarm clock.
  • Cutting Edge – users who want to take advantage of the latest technological features, such as camera, colour screen, Internet access, and who want their phone to look stylish.
  • Business – users who need their phone to act like a miniature laptop or electronic filofax, such as by including computer connections and Internet access.

Monthly Contract or Pay as you Go Tariff?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself if how often are you likely to use the phone. This will first help you decide whether you want a ‘pay as you go’ or monthly contract phone.

Pay as you go is usually the best bet for the more basic phone user who doesn’t plan to make too many calls. Users just pay for what they use and they’re not tied down to a contract and monthly line rental, and won’t be lumbered with a bill every month. The downside is that you have to pay for your own phone – which wouldn’t be expensive if you stick to basic – and the call charges are generally higher.

For those that plan to use their phone frequently and crave the latest technology then a monthly is the best option. In return for committing to a fixed-term contract – the shortest is 12 months - with monthly line-rental, you get lots of cheap calls offers and are able to pick up the latest phone equipment at a fraction of the price. Generally speaking, the higher line rental you commit to the cheaper your calls and the better the handset.

Negotiating ‘Free’ Offers

Many first time buyers are lured by all the ‘free’ offers that accompany contract phones, but it’s important to remember that the money saved is just offset by other expenses. The handset may seem free but the mobile phone operator just takes the money from you by alternative means, such as the revenue they receive from the monthly bill. Don’t be blinded by offers, but instead work out how much you will pay over a contract period. Remember contract phone costs soon mount up.

Choosing a Network

Whether it’s Vodafone, O2, Orange or T-Mobile, a network is a key component in your experience as a mobile phone user - it is responsible for quality of signal coverage and customer service you receive for example - and so choosing the best and most appropriate is crucial. When choosing a network it is worth considering their coverage in your area and what networks your contacts are on, because same network users are entitled to cheaper calls.

Choosing a Model

Choosing a mobile phone involves a lot of considerations before you even get to thinking about the handset itself. Once you do and are faced with an array that is suited to your tariff, price and network demands, it is worth considering several factors to help single a good mobile that has the features you want:

  • Battery life – the battery power should be able to keep the phone running for between 40 and 100 hours between charges.
  • Call screening – this facility enables users to know who’s calling before they decide to answer.
  • Camera – the ability to take photographs is a hugely popular feature of modern phones.
  • Colour screen –a colour screen is unnecessary unless you plan to view pictures or video or just want a bit more clarity in your display.
  • Hands-free – useful equipment if you need to use your mobile while driving or another activity that requires two hands.
  • Internet access – are you planning on using your mobile to access the Internet?

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