Buying Guide For A First Smartphone

So you've made the decision to go and get your first smartphone – where do you start?  With so many on the market to choose from you should first do a little research; there is a wealth of information at your fingertips on the Internet so this should be your first port of call.  Choose a website which publishes reviews – here you can find out about the latest handsets, software and manufacturers news. 


Reviews are the best place to begin as they will give you all the details on each handset.  If you are looking for one with a good camera then the review will tell you about the quality of image that you can expect from each handset.  From here you can begin to make a shortlist of the handsets that you are interested in.

Your Intended Use

Think carefully about what you want from a mobile phone.  Are you a business user who needs to access emails on the go?  If the answer is yes then a BlackBerry is a good choice.  Do you simply want to be able to update your social networking sites while you are out and about?  If this is the case then there is a variety of handsets on the market that might suit, but a touchscreen feature will help a great deal here.  You can also consider the operating system.  Android phones are fairly easy to use and ideal for smartphone newbies, but other operating systems are becoming user friendly too.    

Visit Real World Stores

Then it is a good idea to visit a few mobile phone stores.  This way you get to see the handset and assess the design and the feel of it for yourself.  One of the hazards of relying solely on the Internet is that you have no real way of assessing the physical properties of the phone.  Have a chat with one of the sales assistants about what the phone is able to do and make sure you know about important factors such as battery life and the items that are included with the phone.    

Resist the Sales Patter

However, you should not feel obliged to purchase one from a store.  Find out more about in-store prices but feel free to go home and shop online for a better deal.  It is often the case that you can save a great deal of money this way. 

Contract or PAYG?

Determine if you want a contract or pay as you go phone.  If you opt for contract then you may be able to get the handset free of charge, although this does depend on the type of handset that you have chosen.  If you expect to make a lot of calls or send a lot of texts then a contract is often your best option as they may include free minutes and plenty of free texts in the package.
A light user might want to consider a PAYG phone, particularly if their usage is expected to be £10 per month or less.  There are few contracts around for this amount of money, but the downside of the PAYG is that you will need to pay for the handset so you need to factor this cost in. 

Phil Turner was amazed at the pay monthly phone deals that are currently available. He was thinking of buying his phone outright, but did the maths and found that would work out costing more than a contract.
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