1. Computing
Russell Ware

Before You Buy a Cell Phone

By April 30, 2013

The recent launch of the Samsung Galaxy S4, and the excitement surrounding it, has got me thinking about the way that people choose a new phone. I have bought dozens of handsets over the years, ranging from very simple feature phones to the latest smartphones, and I have to wonder how many of them were bought just because of a flashy commercial. Though it pains me to admit it, the answer is probably too many.

Samsung has recently been announced as the biggest smartphone company in the world, probably largely due to the massive success of the Galaxy range of handsets. I would be the first to admit that the Galaxy S3 is one of the best phones I have ever owned, but should that outweigh all other considerations when I go looking for an upgrade? I have been disappointed before when buying the latest handset, even though the model that came before was great.

These days I always try to follow three simple rules when looking for a new phone:

1. Wait. I never, ever, buy a new handset on launch day, no matter how much hype surrounds it or how much my gut tells me it will be brilliant. It is not unusual for phones to be launched with small but annoying bugs and problems. Buy a handset on day one and you won't have chance to learn about these.

2. Read. There will certainly be previews, and even some reviews, available for a phone before it is launched, but not usually enough to make an educated decision. I have had friends ask me if they should buy a particular smartphone because it has a micro SIM card, like that makes a difference to what the phone can do. Wait for a few days and there will be hundreds of reviews available, both online and in print. Read as many as you can, from a variety of sources, and learn about the phone before you make your choice.

3. Think. Although that may sound like obvious advice, when I say think, I mean really think about what you want from a new phone. Do you want it because it just because it is new or because your mates are all getting one? The Galaxy S4 might sound amazing, but the multi-core processor, 4G capability and S-Beam are overkill if all you ever do is make calls, send SMS messages and play the odd game of Bejewelled.

Comments
May 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm
(1) Diane says:

I have the older model verizon samsung. if anyone needs a new phone i do. the memory is linited and some web-sites i cant go because of the lack of memory. but its pre-pay. need smartphones on that plan. more people could afford to be connected if new phone costed less.

May 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm
(2) marcus clinton says:

this is good advice not just with cell phones but any other rapidly developing consumer products.just be carefull because you can go too far in the other direction. i know people who will not make a purchase until “consumer reports” breathes life into the product. you can’t answer a phone call from a print advertisement. in the late 80′s i was part of a sales force selling personal computers to busineses. we could not ” give them away” people could read, wait but they just couldn’t think for themselves so they got stuck in their own ruts.it’s ironic

May 7, 2013 at 5:18 am
(3) Bosede Amoo says:

This is a very good advise. It is better one makes maximum use of any equipment to pay for it worth.

May 14, 2013 at 3:59 am
(4) Mazoni says:

Well said, many are the times we buy because everybody is buying it when in the real sense it will go without use. Am looking for a phone right now and am now thinking what phone will work for me right now.

May 22, 2013 at 2:52 pm
(5) Ed F. says:

Great advice. I have been very careful to THINK before I buy, as I, like many others, buy on impulse, rather than logically. I also need to stay away from the biggest, baddest newest phones, perhaps be a bit more knowledgeable of the ones “left behind” .. For example, I do not want to jump into the S4 as much as I would like to consider the S3. .. I have had bad luck with the S2 from the get go, I still love the Samsung line of phones, but I am leary of getting back into a Samsung, so I really am exploring my choices…

Any suggestions for me? I know you have an S3.. Should I consider it? even though it is being left behind? How about other such phones? Do they get revised /upgraded if there are flaws with them?

May 27, 2013 at 9:24 pm
(6) Bhasker Raj says:

The suggestions are very useful.
Many people are misguided by the commercial ads and jump to buy.
To make a thorough search and the reviews will help to choose the right phone.
People cannot buy many phones, but the right choice will help.
A.S.Bhasker Raj
Bangalore
India

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