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Cell Phone Buying Tips - Plans and Service Advice

Jan 8, 2008
Cell phones are everywhere. Everyone has one or so it seems. Some people even have multiples. Carriers advertise attractive plans and promise the best networks, companies advertise the latest and most high tech phone technologies on the market. Lots of bling, rings and things can make buying a cell phone confusing to say the least. So how to cut through all the talk and determine which one is right for you. Consider your requirements:

How will you use the phone?

-Emergency use only. You just need the basics.

-Heavy usage, daily or almost constant use. Battery life can be important.

-Occasional. Take it with you but not attached to it or it to you.

-Family. Stay in touch with parents and children.

Make a list of your NEEDS:

-Coverage. Regional, national, or international, satellite.

-Contracts or pre-paid.

-Walkie-talkie type capability. Keep in touch with family, teams, co-workers, individuals or groups with the push of a button walkie-talkie style.

Make a list of your WANTS:

Style - Flip or clam shell, candy bar, slide or swivel and dual face design. A flip can be convenient as it is small and the flip feature provides protection for the keypad and screen and when open is large enough to cradle. The candy bar style is simple and quick to use while the swivel and slider phones are cool to use and can offer the protection features of a flip. The dual face is just that one face is the phone and the opposite face is for video, music etc.

Color and size - Pink, red, copper, silver, black, yellow - thick or thin, short or longer, large screen

Options - Into high tech? Then a phone on the cutting edge is for you. With a built-in Camera-always on hand you can delete, store or send your latest shots and video shots. Use your favorite pic as background. Music MP3, internet capabilities keep you in touch with email and web browsing, touch screen, keyboard, GPS etc.

Emergency use only. Most likely it will be stored in a compartment in your vehicle or on your person when you leave home but not used for casual convenience. Keep it simple.

Students and Children enjoy and you may too, many of the features offered other than simply talking verbally on the cell phone. To text message between friends is almost essential today. Some carriers now have television viewing capability. This can be a wonderful way to keep a child entertained instead of asking "are we there yet?" or "when are we going?" You get the picture.

Hands-free head sets. Choose what style best fits your needs: ear bud (wired or Bluetooth), boom style headset with a microphone at mouth position, installed or portable car kits that allow for conversation through the car stereo or external plug-in speaker. These portable kits are also available with Bluetooth technology.

Durability and reliability are important issues. Read reviews and ask friends about their experiences. Do your homework.

As a final note, read the fine print, understand what you are buying and ask questions. Know the law in your area, when where and how can you legally use a wireless device. Many states require hands-free use while driving.
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