Consumers' buying choices of cell phones are influenced by both the available features and the form. With every killer feature added and modification in forms made, the consumers keep changing their minds. It is almost a rage to get hold of the latest model. This guide is written with a focus on the basic features to help you arrive at a model which will serve the daily needs as well as be trendy.
Categorization by Features
Size and weight
Those bulkier and heavy weight models of the wireless phones are things of past. You will be amazed to find one weighing as low as 2 ounce with no compromise on the essential features. You have to decide based on your usage and lifestyle what features matter most to you.
The models are slightly heavier if you desire to use it as palm computer, wireless phone or as a camera phone or if the instrument is prone to rough use.
Screen is one of the features you will want to consider before you buy one. The screen size is around 2 inches by 2 inches but you may want to see the world clearer and brighter with it. You may even want to see the web pages, still photographs, 3D games, music videos and TV. A slightly big screen with high resolution will satisfy the requirements. Go for the ones with TFT or Active Matrix screen as they provide a wider viewing angle than the LCD screens. They are also ideal for playing games and for taking and viewing video clips.
Many cellular screens handle information the way a computer would. The screens can download, process and store color images and displays. The quality however is not as good as computer screens and televisions and a lot depends on the resolution of the screen. Newer generations of cell phones have better displays with true color images, easier to work with and compact size. Screen resolution is thus an important feature that one can't afford to overlook.
Address book capacity
The name of your caller is flashed on the display, if the name is stored in the phone's address book. This is a common feature with most mobiles. There are some models capable of storing this information in the SIM card. This saves you the headache of typing in the name of the contacts each time you change your handset.
Ringing tones can help you identify your caller. The polyphonic ring tones too have become a standard feature with most handsets. You can look out for the models that can play MP3 songs as ring tones.
Cell phones come with address book capacity ranging from 100 to 1000 contacts.
Talk time and Standby time
The battery life of cell phones is expressed by either the talk time or by standby time. The total duration you can talk on your cell phone without recharging the battery is called the talk time. While the cell phone is in talk mode, it keeps on drawing additional power from the battery draining it fast.
Leaving the cell phone on without putting it to any other use too will discharge the batteries. This is standby time.
Networks determine whether you will get good coverage in your cell phone. Most cell phones are geographically sensitive, you step out of the range and the reception is gone.
Two networks are incompatible in the sense that different technologies are used to transmit voice and data. Thus a CDMA network phone cannot be used on GSM or vice versa.
Each network is used by various carriers and offer distinct advantages. So when you are choosing the carrier, consider the following features:
reception in your area
phones and tariff-decide which has the most economical plans
cost of extra services like voice mail, text message receipts, push e-mail
3G and streaming video
customer service-take feedback from friends and family members
Digital Camera Resolution
Camera phones image quality ranges from 0.3 pixels to 5 Mega pixels. Add to this the features like optical zoom, auto focus, automatic timers, flash and editing options, and night mode. Customers have been rushing back to the stores for brand new models introducing new killer enhancements. These higher mega pixel cameras are narrowing the gap between cell phones and digital still cameras.
Auto focus feature makes a lot of difference in the picture quality. A 2 Mega pixel camera with auto focus will produce superior photos than a 3 Mega pixel camera without the same feature! If you are interested in photography go for the camera phones that can shoot video clips. It may be just 15 or 30 seconds in duration though. You may even be able to upload your captured shots directly to the photo sharing sites.
Memory is an important part of a handset. Every handset comes with a decent amount of installed memory. Most have expandable memory slots to store photos, music and applications. The various types of memory cards available are:
Flash Memory Cards- likely to replace the presently used storage mediums
Secure Digital(SD) Memory Cards
RS-MMC (Reduced Size MultiMedia Cards)
It matters which format the phone supports, as each card has its own storage capacity. It will decide how much you can store and how much will it cost. A 1 GB microSD card is about $45 while a 1 GB miniSD card is $27 and 2 GB card $79.
Categorizations by User Type
Basic Cell Phone Users– If your primary requirement is just making and taking calls. A basic handset having features like text messaging, voicemail, clock, address book, alarm clock and calendar should meet the requirements. These cell phones can take in lot of abuse than the higher end models. They are comparatively smaller and lighter and offer better battery life because they lack many of the battery draining features found in the expensive models. Check out for good sound quality on calls. Such models are made of plastic and less expensive materials and not the usual chrome and metal.
Office or Business Users– As a marketing executive you may use more than 20 hours of play back time while traveling, 5 hours of talk time and 400 hours of standby time as you surf the web and navigate through the calendar. You want to stay organized and connected to office, but you don't want to always carry your lap top around. Well all this is possible with Smart Phones and will come at a cost.
The cell phone will act like a lap top connecting back to office with internet access. Some models have browsers and can get you access to almost any website. Wide sites can be viewed with scroll left and right options. Another must feature is push e-mail, your inbox is always up to date. If you travel a lot look for good roaming plan.
MultiMedia Phones– For the Elite User or for them who wish to use the handset other than for talking and text messaging. These handsets come with trendy features: big bright displays, full color screens with good resolution, multimedia messaging, camera phones, playing video clips, live TV and 3D graphics for gaming. You can play MP3 and also other music files.
Categorization by Price
Low range cell phones- The cell phones in this range are simple with essential features for conversation and messaging. They come without the flip cover and other frills. Some include color screens, polyphonic ring tones. Extras like Bluetooth and cameras may give you a great feeling, but if you are not going to use these features, it is waste to invest on them.
Mid range cell phones– The cell phones in this range will have better feature list than those in low price range like: better display, good sound quality, camera with 1 to 2 pixels with zoom feature, MP3 and FM capability and some with great looks. Some models come with high end ranges of one feature while compromising on other features.
High range cell phones– Recently launched ones with high end features come in this category. The bevy of features include more memory capacity, cameras with up to 5 mega pixels, touch screens, brighter, better and huge displays, and business applications.
Categorization by Brand name
There are umpteen numbers of brands there out in the market luring the customers with great features! Companies fall into oblivion and are also fast enough to recover with a few mergers and takeovers. A good research will help you feel confident about the purchase. Concentrate on the manufacturer's feedback rating, percentage of positive responses and also what extra features they provide at the same price when compared with other manufacturers. Some models of popular brands are: