Buying a Smartphone
Smartphones 101: How to buy a smartphone
Types of Smartphones
Smartphone Buying Tips:
- Choice in operating systems generally comes down to personal preference
- Consider how much storage capacity you need; to have lots of apps, photos and files you will need a large capacity device
- Cloud-based applications can increase your storage capabilities and allow access to your files via the internet from any location
Smartphone applications (apps) can be used for all aspects of fun and functionality. A smartphone gives you easy access to a massive range of apps — many are free, others must be purchased. These include apps for gaming, brain training, banking, exercise, travel, video chat, photo editing, restaurant reviews, taxi services, news, radio stations, and all forms of social media.
Operating System +
Like on your desktop or laptop computer, the operating system is the interface that controls and manages applications, maps, communication, calendars, media and all of your personal files. Operating systems work with different levels of security and functionality, which means that testing out the different platforms before making your purchase is always a good idea. Your choice of operating system will also impact how you connect to other devices like your laptop, tablet, etc.
Most smartphones have high-resolution touchscreens that control all functions. Screen sizes range from 2.2 inches to 6.4 inches and display resolution ranges from 240 x 320 to 1020 x 1920 (full HD). Larger screens with higher resolution will stream video files more smoothly and with better picture quality.
Every smartphone has a microprocessor to execute commands and power applications and programs. A more powerful microprocessor allows your smartphone to operate more smoothly, execute commands quicker, and is able to run the latest software and applications.
All of your files, photos, apps, and music will be stored on your smartphone’s hard drive, so the more storage space that you have, the more media that you can have at your finger tips. Storage can range from 2GB up to 64GB, but for some models external SD memory cards can be purchased to increase your storage capabilities. You can also backup photos and files on your laptop, or use a cloud based storage option offered by most manufacturers. This allows you to store data on the internet — a definite consideration if you intend to use a lot of media.
Wi-Fi and Cellular Enabled +
The vast majority of smartphones will allow you to connect to the internet via available Wi-Fi networks and your cell phone network provider, meaning that you’ll never be without access to the internet. When travelling abroad beware of roaming charges that can quickly add up when using your smartphone to surf the internet. If you are unsure of your cell provider’s roaming policy it may be a good idea to turn roaming off and just use the internet when Wi-Fi is available.
Data ports allow you to connect your smartphone to your desktop or laptop and transfer photos, music and other media from one device to the other. Android, Blackberry and Windows smartphones use a standard mini-USB to USB cable; with iPhones you’ll need a cable that is specific to Apple devices only.
Camera and Video Camera +
Smartphones can come with a front facing camera, or both a front facing and back facing camera to allow you to participate in video chats. The quality of your photos and videos depends on the number of megapixels your camera can deliver, so if taking high-resolution pictures is a priority be sure to check the specs.
Your smartphone will come with a rechargeable battery and charger. The life of your battery depends on how many hours you are using your smartphone and what you are using it for. Apps that demand a lot of screen activity will drain your battery faster than ones that function in the background.
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Smartphone Maintenance Tips:
- Keep dirt and sand away from your smartphone
- Keep food and liquids away from your smartphone
- Use a protective screen sheet to prevent scratching
- Use a protective case to protect your smartphone from bumps and drops
- Keep track of your internal memory storage; low internal memory could stop your smartphone from operating at optimal speed
- Restart your smartphone daily to prevent memory blocks
- Keep your smartphone out of direct sunlight as the battery will drain faster when your phone is hot
- Closing unused apps could help save on data charges
- Dimming the screen can help to preserve your smartphone’s battery life