Cell Phone Buying Guide

By: David Arnold Livingston

Whether it's your first or umpteenth mobile phone you are planning to buy, knowing or being reminded of the following tips will surely better your chances of getting the perfect one.

1. Features from which to choose:

You may either be enthralled by the looks of the latest cell phone your friend is using or fall in love with one that you found over the Internet. But the choosing doesn't end with how it looks. It is advisable to mentally dissect the cell phone with regard to its features. The key is to select one that comes with the options that will meet your needs. Here are some cell phone features that you may or may not consider important:

- size and weight- design (clam shell, PDA, side ways, slide, block)- screen colors and size- keypad- camera- FM radio, mp3 player- messaging (MMS, SMS)- e-mail- to-do list- voice commands- band support- E911 or enhanced 911- connectivity (bluetooth, GPRS, infrared, PC sync)- accessories (face plates, head set, themes, screen savers, ring tones)- battery life- dual mode

After narrowing down your choice of phones to about 2 to 3 models, research some more. Research what others have to say regarding the phones you think you would like to use. Look for reliable sources of phone reviews.

2. Be rebate alert.

This is for those who are in a tight budget. If you already are enjoying the service of a certain carrier, see which phones are offered fre'e with a rebate. If you have signed a contract, it often entitles you to discounts and rebates for phones. Better find out which ones they are.

For a better possible deal, instead of going to the carrier, surf and see the websites of the manufacturer for more rebates.

3. Save more by shopping around.

Checking out if your choice phone is sold by third-party retailers will help you get more value for your hard-earned dollars. If you can find general electronics stores not affiliated with carriers, buying phones from them is a lot better, too. However, you have to ensure that your carrier will support the phone. An unlocked phone that is also compatible with other GSM carriers will prove to be a good buy, too.

Auction sites may also help you in this endeavor. However, you have to be really careful if you choose to search for phones on these sites.

4. Choose a service plan properly.

Comparison tables regarding US service plans abound in the Internet. Over 60 plans from the largest nationwide service providers are available for your perusal. If you do cross-country traveling a lot, common sense will tell you to sign up for a national phone plan. Better overestimate the number of minutes you will use for every sent and received call.

5. There is a reason for the fine print.

You have to read the fine print. It is possible that you become liable for an activation fee. The fine print will inform you of that. Don't forget to check the policy of your carrier for what happens, in the event your phone is lost, stolen, or damaged.

There you have it. All you have to do is follow most, if not all, of those bits of advice and you will see for yourself how cell phone buying could be a cinch.

Cell Phones
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