Tuesday, April 25, 2006

8 Things to look for when buying a mobile phone


I have a lot of work to do today (and tomorrow and yesterday) but I'm going to take a couple minutes and compose a post for the people. Hmm...what should it be...maybe something useful. Here are 8 things to look for when buying a mobile phone.
  1. Beauty
    You're going to be carrying this thing around for several years. Unless you wear glasses, your phone is the only fashion accessory that you will always have with you. You might as well get something that makes you happy when you look at it.

  2. Carrier
    This is a complex and important issue. Voice coverage in the places you frequent is the most important feature, so check how your friends' phones work in your house, workplace, favorite bar, etc. I use Cingular/at&t because I can test different phones on the same account, and they have an unlimited internet plan.

  3. Buttons
    Make sure you can press one button at a time and dial in the dark. Some phones have novel key layouts, like keys in a circle or a slightly offset grid. Others have keys that are too close together for big fingers or gloved hands. Avoid these phones - they will make you hate life.

  4. Pocket feel and Face Feel
    A frequently overlooked feature, especially for the dudes (or anyone without a purse): this thing will be riding around in your pocket, and if it feels annoying in there (too big, too thick, nobby) it will make you sad. The Razr is the ultimate pocket phone - it feels great in there. Closely related is the face feel. Does talking on the phone make you feel like a corporate tool or a major dweeb?

  5. Features
    Note that features didn't make the first half of the list. This is because I'm a realist, and I know that if I tell you to buy a phone based on feature set you'll ignore me.

    Here are the features that everyone needs, whether or not they know it yet:
    a. voice calling
    b. contact list synching
    c. text messaging
    d. good web browser
    e. camera

    And here are the features that you should really get:
    f. computer connectivity (bluetooth or usb)
    g. text message/web browser connectivity
    h. great camera with flash
    g. mp3 player

  6. MP3 Player
    I know this didn't even make "must have" list above, but you really must have it. Buying a phone without a good MP3 player now is like buying one without a camera a few years ago. You think you don't want one because your iPod is so great, but once you really have a good phone and music player you'll leave the iPod at home. Mine has been sitting on my bedside table un-charged for months.

  7. Screen
    Get a phone with a big, bright, high resolution screen. Your pictures will look great and you'll be happy.

  8. Wrist strap
    As the Japanese Invasion continues, we will all want little decorations and stuffed animals on our phones. Be sure that your new phone has a place to attach a wrist strap. This will also keep you from dropping your phone in the toilet when you're puking in a bar and calling your ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend/mother.
Ok, as a reward for reading the whole thing I'll just tell you: get the Sony-Ericsson w800i.

3 Comments:

Blogger spencerg said...

Mostly agree but you omit two features that, for me, outweigh all others:

1. calendar synching
2. e-mail

I could not live too long without these things. Of course this requires an Outlook server or some such, but many companies run these. Of course, if all your good mail comes into your gmail account, it kind of defeats the purpose, I'll give you that.

Also, one feature of my current phone (1st gen. Audiovox Smart Phone for Windows) that is amazing, but I have never seen anywhere else - stereo telephone conversations. My headset provides phone audio in both ears. It is amazing! Instead of a too loud voice in one ear experience, you have that Pink-Floyd-on-acid-with-headphones experience that the voice seems to come from inside your head. Joan of Arc side effects notwithstanding, I can turn the volume way down and still hear really well, without the usual ear fatigue that long calls produce in mono headsets.

Once I thought I lost the headset (I didn't, in the end), so I tried to buy a new one. It played MP3s in stereo, but the phone in mono. Then I tried every pair in every store in Redmond, and none of them produced stereo phone. I called Audiovox and they SWORE that their headsets do not do this, that they are stereo for music and mono for phone. They say there is a traffic safety issue with stereo phones and that no one makes them. I don't understand electrically how this can be different only in my phone only with my headphones, and I may have the only stereo phone in the world, but it is amazing nonetheless.

7:49 PM, April 25, 2006  
Anonymous Evelyn Chai said...

One thing for sure, the hello kitty picture looks nice.

An also make sure it is a genuine phone which have a sticker at the back that shown it is.

In Asia, there are a number of mobile phone which is also look-alike but it is so called "clone".

Shopper also need to be aware of this also.

9:48 PM, April 26, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Good points spencerg. Calendar and email are great, especially for business type users, and the windows phones seem to be doing a good job with both. Go microsoft!

Evelyn, you should appreciate this story. It looks like a network of companies cloned not only electronic devices, but a whole company. They had offices, performed research, produced products, and developed whole new product lines, all under NEC's brand. It took years for NEC to figure it out and start shutting them down. My advice to NEC: hire these people and give them a raise.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/27/business/nec.php

6:41 PM, April 27, 2006  

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