Sunday, 14 March 2010

How to choose a mobile phone?


What type of mobile phone user are you? Research has identified three distinct behavioural profiles:

1. Mobile Pioneers,

2. Mobile Wannabes and

3. Mobile Traditionalists.

The Mobile Pioneer (15 per cent of the market) embraces smartphone technology, downloads applications, and uses advanced features such as the internet, e-mail and social networking sites.

The Mobile Wannabe (25 per cent of the market) has tried to use some of these advanced features and would like to use them more.

Mobile Traditionalists (60 per cent of the market) generally use their phones for voice calls and occasional texting, with two-thirds of Traditionalists over 35 years old.

If you are a Mobile Traditionalist, or are simply in the market for a basic mobile phone, you could be forgiven for thinking that handset manufacturers have forgotten that for most people, a mobile phone’s primary role is for voice calls. For Traditionalists ease-of-use, good quality reception, a clear screen and easy-to-use buttons are essential. Less important are internet access, e-mail, or the latest smartphone technology.

So where do you start if you just want a basic easy to use handset? Before you start searching for models, take a little time to consider what you need. First, think about what style of phone you want. Models fall into categories such as candybar-shaped, slider (which offers protection for the keypad and camera lens), clamshell (also called flip-phones), Qwerty phones with a keypad (useful for texting) and the increasingly popular touchscreen type. Although popular, touchscreen models can be difficult to read in bright sunlight and vary considerably in their touch sensitivity and ease-of-use.

Next, think about the features you need. If you’re in the market for a basic mobile phone, ease of making a voice call should top your list of priorities. Good-sized buttons will help here, as will a simple menu system that will enable you to recall the telephone numbers for your favourite contacts.

After voice calls, texting is an important feature to consider. It is an increasingly popular way of keeping in touch, particularly with teenagers! An astonishing 4.1 million text messages are sent on average every hour in Britain. All phones, with the exception of just a few specialist models, can send and receive text messages. If texting is of prime importance, choose a phone with well-spaced buttons that feel comfortable to use. A Qwerty keypad can make texting easier.

A good quality and reasonable-sized screen makes sense. Check the size of the text and numbers on the screen. Some budget phones have tiny screen text that anyone with less than perfect vision will struggle to read. Ideally look for a phone with a colour screen with a good resolution. Screen resolution is expressed in the number of pixels - most new mid to high-end mobile phones have at least 240 x 320 pixel resolution.

Even the most basic of phones will offer a wide range of features such as alarms, timers and a calendar. A camera and the ability to play music are features that are available on many, but by no means all basic phones.

Using a camera to take a quick snap can be fun, and although the image quality won’t be as good as that of a good quality digital camera, you’re more likely to have your phone to hand when a photo opportunity arises.

Listening to music on mobile phones is very popular, and saves carrying around a separate MP3 player or radio. If this is of interest, it makes sense if your chosen phone supports the same music format as you use on your computer.
Whatever type of phone user you are, it’s worth picking a phone with a good battery life. Infrequent users are far more likely to find their phone has a flat battery when they finally want to use it. Regular users usually charge their phone every day or two as a matter of routine. Phones vary considerably in how long their batteries last, but take some of the manufacturers’ more extravagant standby and talk-time claims with a ‘pinch of salt’!

Finally, although it might seem obvious, before you choose any phone tied to a network or a contract, make sure that you will get a signal in the main areas where you plan to use it. Networks vary considerably in their coverage of the country, particularly in rural and remote areas. If you are not sure, ask friends, family, or work colleagues which network provides good signal coverage for them. Don’t just rely on the predictions made by the networks!

From London Times
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