The Fine Art Of Finding The Best Cell Phone Buy

Donovan Baldwin
 


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In the last few years, cell phones have become so versatile that the once simple act of buying a cell phone can seem almost impossible. Even more, the thought of finding the best cell phone buy among all the possibilities seems even more impossible. . . it that's possible!

It is true that with so many cell phones and so many cell phone services, finding the best cell phone and cell phone service to buy is daunting. Arming yourself in advance with some basic data and expectations, might just make the experience a little easier.

Possibly more important than the cell phone itself is the selection of the service provider. In fact, many different providers offer the same cell phones with the purchase of their cellular phone service package. With all the names, big and small, it can be a daunting task to wade through their individual offers.

First, there are the numerous and varied providers themselves. As this is written, you can choose among Cingular Wireless, Sprint, Nextel Communications, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless among the big companies. While the smaller companies such as Alltel, Metro PCS, Amp'd Mobile, and U. S. Cellular tend to sometimes more regional, their services may still provide what you need at a cost you can afford, and cost is a major consideration for many.

However, no matter which cellular phone service you eventually pick, you will need to look into such things as roaming, amounts of minutes, when minutes can be used, and the coverage area. These are important factors when selecting a cell phone service provider, and it is a good idea to sit down and make a list of such things as how many minutes you think you will need, where will you be using your cellular phone, what will you be using it for, who will you be communicating with, and what features you would like it to have.

Here is a partial list of features you might want to consider when buying your next cell phone. Does it have or need to have an external screen or caller ID; can you store phone numbers and save text messages? Does it even support text messaging? How about instant messaging and email features? You might feel you need a camera phone, and, if you do, you need to know how many pictures can you take and store, whether or not you can take video, and if you can send those pictures to others.

You might want a speaker phone or a phone with the ability to make conference calls. If you do want a speaker phone, you will have to decide if you need a full-duplex speaker phone. This feature will allow both you and your caller to speak more naturally at the same time as if in a normal conversation.

Many businesses find cellular phones with Push-To-Talk capability to be of value because this walkie-talkie feature allows employees and management to instantly reach others in their group without having to place a telephone call. Close friends and family members often appreciate this feature as well. Another feature that a business user might look for is the ability to connect to, and interact with, other devices. Newer cell phones provide such Buck Rogers type abilities as power point presentations.

In addition to the performance features of your cell phone, you may want ask yourself what kind of cell phone person YOU are. Many people just need a basic cell phone and basic cell phone service. This is what my mother-in-law has. She just wants a phone for 911 calls in an emergency and for frequent check-ins with her family as she bombs around the Arizona country side. A busy executive, on the other hand, may need all, or most all of the features available. A traveler is going to have other concerns such as whether the phone and the service will work in most of the places where they travel.

The fashion conscious may be more concerned with what the phone looks like than with performance features. Many cell phones DO have interchangeable face plates so that one can accessorize if necessary. In addition to the abiity to communicate in walkie-talkie fashion, my two daughters love this feature!

Once you have figured out your wants, needs, and budget, then the real fun begins. There are places, particularly in large metropolitan areas, where you can pick through a myriad of cell phones and cell phone services, and generally competent staff can help you pick the best combination of features and costs.

Today, it seems that every street corner, mall, or strip mall has a big sign screaming Cingular, Verizon, and I am seeing more Metro PCS in my neck of the woods. Most of the time, however while the cell phones offered and the services may be quite good, you will be limited to what that particular storefront or kiosk is prepared to offer. Often, comparing rates, service areas, features and so on means driving to several different locations and getting sales spiels from several different businesses. Then YOU get to go home, figure out what you really want, and then go back to one or more of those businesses to place your order.

Fortunately, particularly for those in isolated areas, there are websites where you can shop for and buy a cell phone online and just have it shipped to you. It generally arrives in a few days and these are the same cellular phones and services that you would find if you went to a physical location in New York City, Sacramento, or Dallas. In fact, some online distributors have special sales and offers that may not be available in town or at the mall. Another factor is that many of these sites allow you to compare the phones, the features, the service details, and the costs of several different offers at one website.

Another factor is that while I personally have often found knowledgeable and helpful representatives who operated in my best interests in storefront operations, these service sponsored kiosks and stores are sometimes trying to make the best cell phone buy. . . for themselves. Internet operations have much less overhead, employee salaries, rent and so on, that they ofen can afford to just put the options up for you to browse through at your leisure. You view all the info in the comfort of your home, make your selection, fill in a few blanks and a few days later you have a new cell phone delivered to your home or office.

Whether you like driving around and talking to sales people or if you like the convenience of shopping online, finding the best cell phone buy is going to depend on you doing your homework in advance.

Donovan Baldwin is a Dallas area writer. A graduate of the University Of West Florida (1973) with a BA in accounting, he is a member of Mensa and has held several managerial positions. After retiring from the U. S. Army in 1995, he became interested in internet marketing and developed various online businesses. He has been writing poetry, articles, and essays for over 40 years, and now frequently publishes articles on his own websites and for use by other webmasters. He has a store where you can buy a cell phone online and also provides affordable health care benefits for individuals, households, and businesses. He is actively seeking those in the U. S. who would like to start a home based business .

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