The following article( courtesy of /www.wirelessguide.org) is an exhaustive how to guide for choosing a wireless device. Enjoy.
How To Choose Your Cell PhoneChoosing a wireless phone is largely a matter of personal taste and budget; the latter depends on what promotions are being offered, which tend to fluctuate almost weekly. Size of memory, functionality and battery life are also important factors.
Your choice of phone depends on your choice of carrier. All carriers have their own mutually incompatible digital networks. This means that a Sprint PCS phone, for example, won't be compatible with VoiceStream Wireless or AT&T Wireless service.
Most cell phones look like smaller versions of your phone at home, with the addition of a screen and a few extra buttons. Flip phones fold in half and open to reveal the screen and keypad. Web sites offer phone ratings and reviews that can help you make your choice. You might also want to go into a store and see how a phone looks and feels.
Above all, make sure the phone you pick has the features you need, or think you might soon need. Dual mode phones are essential for anyone who travels between the city and the country, because they shift to analog coverage when digital isn't available.
To take advantage of special discounted wireless phones (some are offered free), a customer may need to sign up for at least one-year's service.
If you desire certain features, ensure the phone is equipped. For example, hands-free microphone so you can talk and drive, memory dialing to pre-program numbers; radio mute will automatically turn down the volume when you make a call; auto answer will pick up the phone for you after two rings; voice mail, etc
Analog phones tend to be less expensive than digital phones. However, the rules of cell phone pricing are changing because cell phones are purchased mostly with an accompanying service plan. Through various licensing and marketing agreements, cellular service providers can often offer phones at a discounted price or even gratuitously to their customers when they order a phone activated with one of their plans. As cellular companies expand their digital service, digital phone prices will continue to drop, adding new options for the price-conscious wireless phone shopper.
- Low cost cell phones (< $100) : typically larger and heavier with minimal features, although they generally perform just as well as more expensive phones.
- Mid-priced cell phones ($100-$300) : smaller and lighter with extended-life batteries, alphanumeric text features and more.
- High-end cell phones (>$300): offer the latest features, the smallest designs and the most attractive styling.
Functions seem to be one of the most important thing to consider when people choose a cell phone. Besides calling and receiving calls, people are demanding more out of their mobile phones.To keep themselves amused while waiting for anything, they expect a phone to come with more computer games. For those who drive, phones that come with voice dialing and voice answering seem to be popular as they can keep their hands off the cell phone while driving but still be in touch.
Transmission TechnologyMobile phones can use three technologies: digital cellular, analog cellular, and PCS.
Phones are compatible with a specific transmission technology. Therefore, if you already know the plan you want to use, you must get a phone that works with the available technology.
- Analog Cellular: This is the oldest technology of the three, where signals are identical to those sent and received by an ordinary radio. The sound quality is generally inferior to digital cellular and PCS, and phone conversations using this technology are easily intercepted by electronic scanning devices. It does, however, have the greatest coverage, especially in rural areas.
- Digital Cellular: Software inside phones using digital cellular technology convert and reconstruct digitized messages for sending and listening. The sound quality as well as the privacy of your conversations is superior to analog cellular, and digital phones have extended data capability features including voice mail and caller ID. They are also lighter and have a longer battery life then analog phones.
- Digital PCS: Personal Communications Service (PCS) differs from traditional digital cellular service because it operates on the 1.9Ghz frequency band. This allows greater network capacity and data capability then a standard digital phone. The different PCS technologies include CDMA, TDMA, and GSM.
Options: Digital Cellular, Analog Cellular, Digital PCS
When you choose a phone, you should consider how long it can last on standby (turned on, but not in use), and how much talk time you have before recharging. If the battery runs out, it simply turns off the mobile phone until you recharge it. Talk time is the amount of time a battery can power a phone when it is being used to make or receive calls. A longer talk time could save you a lot of time and frustration, but if you do not talk on your phone a lot, it could be unnecessary.
Range: 60 - 600 minutes
Standby TimeThe period of time a battery can power a phone when it is not being used.
Why is it important? A longer standby time could minimize the number of times you would have to recharge your phone per week, which could be usful if you travel a lot.
Range: 1.5 - 484 hours
Hands Free OptionMany mobile phones offer you the option of talking into them without actually having to hold the handset up to your ear. Some phones accomplish this by allowing you to plug an ear piece/microphone device into them while others easily install into a car kit that allows you to hear your party through your car's speakers while you speak into a microphone.
WeightThe weight of your mobile phone, measured in ounces.
Things to Consider: The weight of a mobile phone is a very important feature because most people carry their phones with them. If you do get a larger phone there are a number of accessories available that will aid you in carrying your phone.
Range: 2.7 - 13.9 oz
Internet CapabilityA number of high-end mobile phones are capable of basic Web browsing and email functions. Although it will pale in comparison to the surfing you can do on your computer, you can send and receive e-mails and get selected information from specific web sites.
Options: Email, Web Browsing, None
Phone Book Storage CapacityAs the teens become more affluent, carrying a mobile phone is not only for the adults. Teenagers are carrying mobile phones not only as a form of contact, but also using it as a form of enhancement for their appearance. Hence you can see them changing the casing of their phones to suit their personality and their clothing. From here we can see that when buying a mobile phone it is important to buy one of great appearance so that you will look good when you are using it. You will also not want to change your phone just because you don't like the design.
The number of names and telephone numbers that can be stored in a mobile phone's directory.
Why is it important? A large phone book can serve as an organizer as well as a time saver; putting friends, family, and work contacts at the touch of a button. If you already own a PDA or a similar item, a large phone book may be unnecessary.
Range: 9 - 400 Names and Numbers