All the basics you need to know before buying a smartphone this holiday season

Are you thinking about getting your first Smartphone, or shopping for one as a gift for someone else? You're not alone. Smartphones are expected to be one of the hottest buys this holiday season. But how do you know you're getting the right one for you - or someone else?

Consumer advocates have things to keep in mind before you go smartphone shopping. Smartphones are able to do more and more these days, which means there is more to consider when choosing a mobile phone.

 "What apps I can get, usage, that kind of stuff, internet, get emails on it from professors," says Joey Ertter, who is thinking of buyine a smartphone.

"The accessibility to be able to get on email and easy texting," says Martha Burt.

First, figure out what you - or the person you're buying for - really wants to do with the smartphone. Elisha Unger, a Best Buy sales manager says the phone needs to fit your lifestyle.

"Are you going on the internet?  Are looking to attach it to Facebook? Are looking to send a ton of messages?" asks Unger.

Consumer Reports Senior Electronics Editor Mike Gikas explains that really has to do with the operating system - what makes the phone work the way it does.

"If you're a real social networker, if you're comfortable with technology, you may lean towards an Android phone," Gikas says.

Some of the most popular Androids out there right now include the HTC Thunderbolt and Evo, and the Motorola Droid has been a favorite for years.

If you're big on TV, music, and games, you might lean more towards Apple's iPhone.

"It's a superb multi-media machine," Gikas says.

And if messaging is your big thing, a Blackberry may be for you.

"They have great keyboards, now they have the latest crop of better screens," Gikas says.

What about ease of use? Both best buy and consumer reports agree - go for the iPhone.

"Even though it is a Smartphone, it's on the cutting edge of technology, it's really simplistic in the way that it operates," he says.

With so many touch screen phones out there now - if you're buying a phone for a teen - or adult - who loves to text, don't forget the keyboard! Some are made especially for gamers.

"So if they're really into gaming and maybe playing some gaming apps you can have that real easy access to navigate through different games," he says.

If you like taking pictures, the camera on the smartphone is something to consider as well.

"This one has an 8 megapixel camera, which is really good for a Smartphone.  Smartphones originally had 3 megapixels, 4 megapixels," Gikas says.

But it's not all about the phone itself, make sure you choose a carrier that covers the areas you travel to most like your home, school or work.

If you are interested in 4G, a type of coverage that promises faster internet speeds, check out its availability.

As for the plans, most carriers no longer offer unlimited data, so you'll want to try and figure out how much you'll use the internet - and that includes apps!

"Statistically, it was shown that people by and large look at their cell phone 150 times a day," says Gikas.

If you like to text - unlimited texting is probably the way to go!

The phones ability to connect to your car, stereo, and computer are also things to consider. If you are looking for a gift for someone who already loves their Smartphone, Unger says there are new "app-sessories" that enhance the experience.

And don't forget about 7 Action News apps for Android and iOS devices. Go to wxyz.com/mobile .

Print this article Back to Top

Comments