Monday, July 20, 2009

Test drive wireless phones before buying

cell phone As many of you know, the market for wireless devices and phones has become saturated (there are many models and options now available), it has become increasingly important to be able to test and get a real feel of the phones you are interested in before purchasing. The large number of devices and services available can be overwhelming at times.  Thus its important to take your time and research before selecting a device.

While a device may look great online, it may not be as appealing when you set your own eyes and hands on it in person.
The opposite can be said - some devices are not so well displayed online but are actually great in person.

I recently went to Best Buy to run a small shopping errand, and out of curiosity, I checked on the latest models of wireless phones – Wow! there is a large number of devices available compared to 5 years ago! I took a good 15 minutes to take a look at some of the latest models.

While I won't name any specific models - some of my findings were:

- Some of the new phones look like they were designed for tweens and teenagers - not worthy of consideration for working adults. They should list the recommended ages on each device.

- Secondly I was surprised how bad some of the physical keyboards were. People still need to type messages and emails.
Note to manufacturers: don't make the keyboards any smaller. A combination of keyboard and touch screen is probably what most consumers want.

- Thirdly, you need to consider the operating system of each phone, and need to determine what kind of system you prefer and want (see below).

- Lastly, make it worthwhile to find store(s) in  your area that have the actual devices on display that you can examine before buying online.

Popular Phone Operating Systems
Some of the popular operating systems are (in no particular order)

- iPhone (Apple)
- Rim / Blackberry
- Windows Mobile (Microsoft)
- Nokia
- Android
- Other: Carrier specific

I suggest reading two previous previous blog postings highlighting some recommendations on how to select your next wireless phone / device.

1. “Wireless Devices: Phone Research and Shopping

2. “A Quick and Dirty Guide to Selecting Your Next Smart Phone / Wireless Device

As a reader, share with others what have you done or considered when making a decision in selecting a replacement or new wireless device?


SpeakUp Librarian said...

Interesting post, Donald. I just updated my cell phone. I have a Verizon LG ENV touch. It has a larger keyboard and a touch screen which avoids the keyboard altogether in many situations.

I would add to your discussion that for hearing aid wearers, be sure to look for M4/T4 rated phones. These are most compatible with hearing aids.

Anonymous said...

What about "WebOS"? It's currently on the Palm Pre, a device I like a lot. Plus, it has a physical keyboard in addition to its slick touchscreen interface.

codeman38 said...

Another thing to look at is what plans a particular phone is available on-- something which, I've found, even the stores aren't very knowledgeable about sometimes.

Even with CapTel, I rarely use even close to 300 minutes a month; texting and e-mailing are still much less stressful for me. Yet it's only possible to get a data plan on some devices if you sign up for a voice plan with that many minutes.