Buying a Mobile Phone, Word.

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Ok, so I started to read some other dudes guide about buying a mobile phone. It started by saying that buying a mobile shouldn't be a big deal. That's when I thought 'bugger that!', and started on my own guide.

A mobile phone is on of those accessories that we all basically have. Anyone in any role finds a mobile vitally usefull, whether to be contactable by work, family or friends, or to keep in touch with those we're in business and personal relationships with. Mobile phones are hugely important, and features can differ so much that buying a mobile phone will likely be a big deal - especially if you feel the need to consult a guide before doing so.

Firstly, you need to think about why it is you're buying a phone. Are you a casual phone user who likes to keep in touch with your friends while out and about? Do you send texts and picture messages like crazy? Are you in business and keep track of stocks, check e-mails etc? Do you just want a phone for your kids so they can call you in case of emergency? Work out what you need and what you don't need from a mobile phone, and in doing so you can avoid a lot of features you might find useless, and in doing so avoid paying a bunch of money you don't need to.

So, let's start out with some examples of mobile phone features:

Color Screen: Most mobile phones these days have color screens, although there are still a few base-model Nokia phone creeping around out there with monochrome screens. Obviously if you want to receive and send (with a camera) picture messages, then a color screen is essential. It also makes sms' (test messages) easier to read, as the color provides it's own light and the typically black letters contrast better on a white background than grey letters on a monochrome screen.

Camera: Also, most mobiles these days have cameras, although there remain quite a few that do not. Many people enjoy the ability to take photos and immediately share them with friends via mms (multimedia messaging, or simply picture messaging). If you see something interesting, unusual or eyecatching you can take a snap with your camera phone and share that image in a matter of seconds, and save it on your phone for later use. Camera qualities can differ hugely, however. At present, cameras range in 'resolution' (think size and detail of photo captured) from VGA (at the lower end of the scale) to multi-megapixel (the higher, the better). Depending on the resolution of your camera, images with great detail will be easier to capture and prove more worthwhile sharing. Attempting to use a VGA camera to capture something far away or with great detail has often proved to me an exercise in futility. A camera, however, is a feature that you may not require, and by considering phones without cameras could potentially save quite a bit of money. Some phones also have a flash or lighting device to assist in taking photos in low light.

Music: A lot of effort has gone into integrating portable music technology into the mobile phone: why carry around a phone and an i-pod when you can have something which does both? If only my i-pod nano could make and receive calls... anyway. Many phones offer mp3 playback in the form of ringtones, but there are an additional number who can work as well (arguably) as a portable media player in their ability to play back mp3's, wma's etc to the user via earphones. This is another feature which you can take or leave - obviously if you have another portable player you may not be interested, or perhaps you don't listen to music on the go. The important thing to consider when looking at a media-playing phone is storage, as a mobile phones base storage is fairly limited. You need something with expandable memory. Talk to your phone dealer about this, as my guide is already getting wayyyy too long.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth is a wireless protocal that is mainly used for the transfer of data at a nice speed over short distances. It's great for moving stuff from     our phone to your pc, or to a friends phone nearby (you can even play games with a friend!). You also often see accessories like bluetooth headsets, which allow you to talk on your phone by simply using a small earpeice, no wires at all! If none of this examples appeal to you, then fine, but you can see how usefull something like bluetooth could eventually be.

3G: 3G is an advanced style of phone network, used to transfer higher ammounts of bandwith than the traditional GSM network, allowing us to make video calls, watch mobile tv, and basically get a lot of interesting content on our phone. 3G is becoming very popular, and many new phones support this technology. Still, they tend to be the more expensive models.

Brands: Typically, the brands sold in Australian shops are well established and recognised. Sites like e-bay have exposed us to additional markets, such as overseas sellers, and often you can see phones on E-bay that aren't retailed here. Depending on how adventurous you are, you might be wary of buying these unknown brands, which is understandable. After deciding on the features you want in a phone, it's best to look for something that appeals to you visually - as you'll have it with you so often - and is comfortable to use. Look for a brand that has an interface that makes sense to you.

Anyhow, hope that helps. Buying a phone is a big deal, and I hope for you it's an enjoyable one. Word.
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