Buying a mobile phone

A guide to buying a new mobile phone

Have you ever wondered what life was like before the invention of the mobile phone? It’s hard to imagine now that mobiles dominate our everyday life.

Although the mobile phone is primarily used for voice communication, the advancement of technology means the modern day mobile is capable of a number of other feats. From SMS messages for sending text, and MMS messaging for sending multimedia (photos, sounds and videos), to surfing the Web, listening to Internet radio, downloading music and reading the news, the rise of smartphones has made mobile phones much more than just a communication device.

Getting started

Before buying a mobile phone, you need to work out what you are going to be using it for. You might just need it for emergency calls, or the odd situation where you need to contact someone. On the other hand, you might use it as a business tool for scheduling meetings, downloading documents and checking your e-mail.

If you won’t be making too many calls, and don’t need any additional features, then a pre-paid account could be best for you. A pre-paid account begins with a starter kit, and includes a mobile phone number, registration instructions and call credit card. Some packages also include a handset. Calls are paid for with a recharge card or docket that contains a set dollar amount of call credits. Pre-paid accounts also allow you to recharge over the phone, on the Internet or even with a credit card.

For those who will be using their phone more often, a contract or post-paid plan may be the best option. This consists of signing up for a fixed period of time (usually 12 or 24 months) for a set monthly fee. There are also capped plans, which mean you only pay a certain amount per month if your usage doesn't exceed a maximum value.

Choosing a mobile phone

Choosing a phone can be a daunting task. Mobile phones cost anywhere between $50 and $1000, depending on features. An entry-level phone is capable of voice calls, voice mail and SMS messages and will have a phone book to store contact numbers, while a high-end handset can make video calls, connect to a wireless network, browse the Internet, capture digital photos and record video clips. The rise of smartphones has brought many features normally reserved for high end phones to the lower end of the market: as an example, a smartphone that can connect to the Internet, download apps and connect to a wireless network can be bought for as little as $100.

Mobile phones typically come in a candy bar, clamshell or slider form factor. Candy bar phones are the most common, especially in smartphones. These are narrow and long, and most can be operated with one hand. The clamshell, or flip-phone, has the advantage of a small size that opens up, usually to a keypad and screen. Some models may even swivel for taking photos. Slider phones, where the keypad slides out from underneath the screen, offer space for a screen on one side and keypad on the other, while keeping a neat, small shape. Some models even feature a swivel keypad that is used horizontally for two-handed operation.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags mobile phonessmartphones

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

PC World Staff

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?