Smartphone Buying Guide

By TopTenReviews Contributor
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To keep up with the speed of business in today’s world, you have to stay connected—always—and smartphones are stepping up to the plate. Not only can you talk, you can text, instant message, email and more. Smartphones also store contact lists, addresses and email addresses—information you need to keep business going while you’re on the go. But some of the features salesmen tote as must-haves are more show than substance. Read ahead to learn what really works at the speed of business, and what simply works.
 

Features to Talk About

 

Keep in Touch: Phonebook

Between personal life and work life, you have a lot of phone numbers to remember. Contacts add up quickly. Pick a smartphone with a large phonebook capacity—300 contacts at least, 500 preferably. And make sure your smartphone stores addresses, email addresses, and other essential information. A large phonebook helps keep the office running, even if you’re not there.

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Size Matters: Screen Size

Most smartphone screen sizes range from two to three inches. A bigger screen means a bigger phone, but pick a screen you can easily see. If you buy a smartphone with a touch screen, make sure you can use it without feeling like you’re playing the board game Operation.

 

Walkie and Talkie: Battery Life

Cell phone battery life is measured in two ways: standby time (when your cell phone is idle) and talk time (when you’re using your phone). Focus on talk time. Making and receiving calls, emailing and text messaging all drain power. Pick a smartphone with at least a four-hour talk time. This should last you most workdays.

 

Sweet Tooth for Bluetooth

Bluetooth technology transmits cell phone signals and data to an ear piece, car stereo, printer, fax machine or other cell phone. Talking through an earpiece frees up your hands to talk and work at the same time—which is extremely handy (and safer) when driving. Some states, like California, have passed laws that require hands-free devices if you talk on your cell phone while driving. Check local legislation for details and regulations.

 

Three’s a Crowd—Except on Conference Calls: Talking Functions

Without fail, someone always interrupts you when you’re talking on your cell phone. It’s inevitable. So pick a smartphone with features to help you take those interruptions with ease.

  • Call holding puts the person you’re speaking with on hold without disconnecting the line.
  • Call waiting lets you take a secondary call while staying connected to the first.
  • Conference calling connects multiple people simultaneously, letting you conduct business with everyone involved in a given job or project.

 

Systemizing 101: Organizer Functions

Smartphones aren’t just cell phones. They’re day-planners, personal reminders, web browsers and more. Smartphone features seem endless but aren’t all the same. Pick a smartphone with functions beneficial to you, like an alarm clock, calculator, calendar, instant messenger, picture messenger, to-do list or voice recorder—to name a few.

 

Features to Mention

 

Brain Power: Cell Phone Memory

Smartphones come with limited memory (internal or on a memory card) for storing photos, videos, music and voice memos. But contact information is stored separately. Unless you take photos for business purposes (like real estate properties), don’t stress memory capacity.

 

Making Music: Digital Players

Digital players support and play MP3s on your smartphone. You can download songs for ringtones, but you probably won’t give up your separate MP3 player. Don’t buy a smartphone just for the digital player.

 

Big and Bulky: Cell Phone Dimensions

For most people, cell phone choice comes down to aesthetics—style, color and size. But because of keyboards, touch screens and other features, smartphones are inherently bulkier than standard cell phones. That’s just the way it is. So pick function over form. You’ll want a phone that’s convenient to carry around, but don’t sacrifice features for size.

 

Capture the Moment: Camera Resolution

Cell phone cameras don’t hold up to digital cameras. Unless you photograph regularly for business (once again, like with real estate properties), don’t stress camera resolution.

 

In Conclusion

Buying a smartphone is a smart move to stay connected. From emails to instant messaging, smartphones boast the features you need to conduct business in the office and on the road. Don’t be fooled by the mantra of today’s gadgetry: “The more features the better!” Some features are worth talking about; others worth just mentioning. Look at our side-by-side comparison of smartphones to see which smartphone comes with the features you need and which is the best to move your business at the speed of business.

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